- Enjoyable to drive
- Roomy second and third rows
- Lean, aggressive exterior
- Interior neither too glossy nor too drab
- Ride might be too firm for some
- Not much cargo space behind the third row
- Navigation system
The 2010 Mazda CX-9 loves curves more than almost any other roomy crossover, yet has three rows of useful seating.
Originally introduced in 2007, the seven-passenger CX-9 crossover is closely related to the Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX. The 2010 Mazda CX-9 is quite curvy, combining the handling and road manners of a wagon, the ride height and utility of an SUV, and a sporty style that’s in line with Mazda's recent zoom-zoom tack.
For 2010, the CX-9 receives slightly different styling at the front, along with redesigned side mirrors, plus additional chrome plating for some instrument panel and door panel edges. The CX-9’s interior remains stylish but not too obvious. Overall, the look of the CX-9 is more aggressive and overt compared to other roomy crossover models, yet it doesn’t make any reference to off-roading.
The strong, 273-horsepower, 3.7-liter V-6 in the 2010 Mazda CX-9 outmuscles most other rival engines, and unlike some others, it doesn’t require premium fuel. A smooth, six-speed automatic is standard, and maximum towing capacity is 3,500 pounds. The CX-9 has crisp, responsive handling for a vehicle of its size and weight, though it’s not as nimble as Mazda’s smaller CX-7 and the ride quality can be too firm for potholed surfaces. But fuel economy remains near the low end of the pack, with an EPA city fuel economy estimate of 17 mpg city. The CX-7 is able to tow up to 3,500 pounds.
Even though the 2010 Mazda CX-9 is just a mid-size offering as far as crossover vehicles go, all three rows are usable, and the front two rows are spacious for even the largest adults. The second row is split 60/40, reclines, or folds flat for cargo duty—although there isn’t a tremendous amount of space behind the third row. The interior looks and feels upscale, with pleasing materials and impressive build quality.
The CX-9 is arguably one of the safest vehicles in its class, with top crash-test scores and a host of active and passive safety features now including standard active headrests, anti-lock brakes, and electronic stability control. A blind-spot monitoring system and rear backup camera are optional.
The CX-9 is the best bargain, TheCarConnection.com thinks, in its base-model Sport form, which comes as well-equipped as some luxury-brand crossovers for slightly over $30,000. On the more upscale, leather-trimmed Touring and Grand Touring models, true luxury features are offered. However, fitted with top options like the Bose Centerpoint surround-sound system, a nav system with real-time traffic, and a DVD entertainment system, the bottom line can exceed $40,000—past the price of entry for some luxury-brand crossovers its size.