The 2010 Mazda CX-9 has a sporty, aggressive appearance, with oversize wheels and a rakish wagon look; the rather low, curvy snout gives it a curvier, more carlike silhouette from the front than most other crossovers. 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.
Most reviewers love the look of the CX-9. Edmunds says, "Mazda has gotten this crossover thing right...without it looking like a minivan." Consumer Reports likens the CX-9 to "a longer version of the CX-7 but...much nicer," while Cars.com contends "the CX-9 manages to avoid the chunkiness of many SUVs, in part because of its angular nose and car-like honeycomb grille." For such a large vehicle, it's "almost svelte, with a sleek windshield, a sinuous waistline, and buff haunches," says Automobile Magazine. Car and Driver notes its "handsome styling" and feels the Mazda CX-9, swathed in chrome and Copper Red paint, looks classy and expensive. Motor Trend asserts that "from the steeply angled windshield and sharp fender flares to the slanted headlamps and the distinct trapezoidal chrome exhaust tips, the CX-9 puts a spin on the traditional two-box sport 'ute and punts it into orbit."
Opinions are split on the success of the interior. Edmunds asserts that the Mazda CX-9 "offers one of, if not the best, interiors in its class in terms of styling, ergonomics, quality and space." Road & Track finds the Mazda CX-9 has an "equally appealing, if slightly less dynamic, interior design."
"The interior is beautifully designed, but there are some ergonomic oddities," assesses Car and Driver. ConsumerGuide states, "the navigation system...places some buttons and knobs out of easy reach for some of our testers."
Motor Trend reviewers are a bit more specific about what they enjoy in the Mazda CX-9, citing "metal-rimmed gauges and simple but elegant center stack, delights aesthetically and ergonomically." They note the effect on the CX-9 is brought together with "calming, indirect blue lighting and a pleasing mix of horizontal and vertical elements."
TheCarConnection.com’s editors note that the brightwork in the CX-9 is amped up a bit more for 2010—to good effect.