2011 Mazda CX-9 Photo
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Reviewed by Marty Padgett
Editorial Director, The Car Connection
Quick Take
The 2011 Mazda CX-9 can carry seven in comfort, but it loves curves more than almost any other roomy crossover. Read more »
Decision Guide
Opinions from around the Web

The proportions try to trick your brain into thinking the CX-9 is smaller than it is, and almost succeed.

Car and Driver »

manages to avoid the chunkiness of many SUVs, in part because of its angular nose and carlike grille »

a stylish, refined entry [in its class]

Consumer Guide »
Pricing and Specifications by Style
$29,135 $34,535
FWD 4-Door Sport
Gas Mileage 17 mpg City/24 mpg Hwy
Engine Gas V6, 3.7L
EPA Class 2WD Sport Utility Vehicle
Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity 7
Passenger Doors 4
Body Style Sport Utility
See Detailed Specs »
8.4 out of 10
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The Basics:

With a family connection to Ford's crossovers--everything from the Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX, to the bigger Flex and MKT--the Mazda CX-9 veers off into its own distinctive niche. It's comfortable for five or seven people, some younger and smaller, but it's also a touch more involving to drive than the usual big ute.

The CX-9 has been around since 2007, and last year, it received a mild touch-up. It didn't need much to please our editors: the SUV-less looks embrace a car vocabulary, all curvy and smoothed over, more like an Audi Q7 than anything else. It's not quite that nuanced, but the CX-9 delivers a lot of finesse for its size.

Performance is the CX-9's trump card. A 273-horsepower V-6 and a common-sense six-speed automatic push the crossover around with little effort and lots of refinement. Steering's pretty charming for such a large Mazda--one with all-wheel drive as an option--and the ride's not too overbearing, unless you opt into the somewhat silly 20-inch wheels.

Five adults will still be friends after a stint in the first and second rows, but you won't be putting anyone fully-grown in the third row unless they're under five feet tall. It's a bit tough to climb over the second-row seats, too, but both the back rows will fold down so the CX-9 can swallow a hundred cubic feet of stuff.

Its safety record is strong, and the CX-9 is pretty well equipped without adding cost. For navigation and other high-end features, you'll have to spend up to the Grand Touring model, but the base Sport is a good value for drivers who want a few more signs of life than the ordinary crossover can deliver.


  • Sporty handling
  • Spacious front and middle-row seats
  • Smooth, honed exterior
  • Cabin walks fine near-luxury line


  • Firm ride, especially with 20-inch wheels
  • Cargo space thin behind third-row seat
  • Nav system can befuddle first-timers
Next: Interior / Exterior »
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