Though the powertrain has not changed for 2009, Mazda's CX-9 is still one of the fastest and best-handling large crossovers.
The V-6 engine in the Mazda CX-9 pumps out 273 horsepower and twists 270 pound-feet. Motor Trend reports, "While we still wouldn't mind a tad more low-end grunt, the 3.7 nonetheless behaves in a silky, refined manner." Unlike many high-horsepower V-6 engines out there, the Mazda's does not require premium fuel to hit its claimed power. A six-speed automatic that Motor Trend describes as "seamless as a rubber glove" is standard.
Car and Driver reports "a front-drive 2008 CX-9 we tested shaved 0.5 second off the 7.8-second time posted by a front-drive 2007 model." Motor Trend clocks in just slightly slower, at 7.8 seconds to 60 mph. Automobile says its normally cranky critics "have been moved to paroxysms of joy when discussing the CX-9. One called the V-6 engine charming, the six-speed manu-matic transmission silky." Road & Track agrees that the transmission "shifts quietly and smoothly." ConsumerGuide notes that "CX-9s with the 3.7-liter V-6 averaged 17.3-18.1 mpg with slightly more highway driving than city use." That about matches the government fuel economy ratings of 16 mpg city/22 mpg highway (2WD) and 15/21 mpg (AWD). Maximum towing capacity is 3,500 pounds.
Reviews read by TheCarConnection.com praise the handling of this Mazda; 2009's CX-9 is "taut and agile," Consumer Reports says, "and the ride is firm and steady, yet comfortable," though it adds "braking distances are a bit long." Road & Track describes the steering as "satisfyingly firm with zero float." ConsumerGuide reports that "this crossover rides more firmly than others in this class."
The Mazda CX-9's steering feel and feedback are loved in reviews read by TheCarConnection.com. Car and Driver asks, "How does Mazda get such lively steering in each of its vehicles? It feels like the CX-9 wants to be a sports car." Motor Trend describes steering as exemplary for a minivan or an SUV, citing "a solid, on-center feel with zero play off-center and superb, linear response throughout the turning range." In other extensive road tests of the 2009 Mazda CX-9, reviewers at Kelley Blue Book find that it "acquits itself surprisingly well on curvy country roads." When traveling faster, the Mazda CX-9 "rides smoothly and quietly at freeway speeds." ConsumerGuide reports that "a tidy turning radius makes it easy to maneuver in tight spots, a surprise given this crossover's large overall size."