2022 Mazda CX-9

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Martin Padgett Martin Padgett Editorial Director
December 21, 2021

Buying tip

Sport CX-9s have excellent value, but if you must have leather, the next-pricier Touring has it, plus some other affordable luxury touches.

features & specs

Carbon Edition AWD
Grand Touring AWD
Signature AWD
20 city / 26 hwy
20 city / 26 hwy
20 city / 26 hwy

The 2022 Mazda CX-9 crossover SUV has slim third-row and cargo space, but has good road manners to spare.

What kind of car is the 2022 Mazda CX-9? What does it compare to?

With the CX-9, Mazda has a seven-seat SUV and its largest vehicle ever. The three-row crossover rivals vehicles like the Toyota Highlander, Subaru Ascent, even the Volvo XC90.

Is the 2022 Mazda CX-9 a good car?

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We give it a TCC Rating of 6.5 out of 10, with high marks in styling and safety. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What’s new for the 2022 Mazda CX-9?

All-wheel drive has been made standard across the board. 

It’s become a familiar shape, but the CX-9 still earns its welcome, with well-tuned handling and, especially, a trim SUV shape that doesn’t pander to rugged clichés. Mazda’s biggest vehicle has a slim front end with a reasonably sized grille and emblem—that alone is victory—and wears pretty curves draped over all its corners, for a look that’s at once substantial and elegant. The interior shares a spare but sleek appearance, split along the horizon with metallic trim and topped by a 10.3-inch non-touch display, with wood trim and nappa leather in top Signature editions.

A 227-hp 2.5-liter turbo-4 streams its power to all four wheels through a 6-speed automatic, generating ample if not exciting forward thrust. It has fewer gears than a Toyota Corolla, so the CX-9 can’t launch as briskly or cruise as silently as it might with more cogs, but it still clips along easily at highway speeds, where its low-speed turbo lag disappears. Acceleration’s average, but handling and ride are a cut or two above, thanks to excellent suspension and steering tuning, particularly on CX-9s with the smaller 18-inch wheels. 

The lovely interior Mazda has crafted comes with less space than vehicles in its size class, but front passengers get well-shaped seats wrapped in cloth; heating, cooling, and leather are available. Row two trims back on leg and head room versus rivals, but also offers a bench seat or two great captain’s chairs. The third row’s small and more difficult to access, but it can be folded out of the way to expand storage to more than 38 cubic feet, even with four or five passengers are on board.

The CX-9 earns a Top Safety Pick+ award from the IIHS, and five stars overall from the NHTSA. It has standard automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitors, and active lane control, too—but its rotary-knob infotainment causes distractions for some of our editors, who long for the touchscreens Mazda sanctioned until just recently.

How much does the 2022 Mazda CX-9 cost?

It’s $36,505 for a CX-9 Sport with all-wheel drive, heated front seats, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. At the top end, the $48,435 CX-9 Signature wears wood trim, nappa leather, and has a panoramic sunroof and premium audio. 

Where is the 2022 Mazda CX-9 made?

In Japan.


2022 Mazda CX-9


The CX-9 is a styling standout, still.

Is the Mazda CX-9 a good-looking car?

It’s been on the road a few years, but the CX-9 still looks understated, sleek, and fresh. We give it an 8 here, with two points for the exterior, and one for its interior. 

Mazda penned a subtly curved body for the CX-9, and left the junk jewelry for another occasion. This crossover isn’t svelte, but it looks far more lithe and lean than it might, if left to another set of stylists. Very few of its lines are straight, and it sits wIth a sporty stance on big wheel wells. It manages to scale up the curves from Mazda’s smaller vehicles in a natural way; it’s curved to appear as if it’s in motion even when it’s still. 

Inside, the CX-9’s dash drops low, with a tablet-like 10.3-inch display perched on top. With a spacious feel and few visual distractions to pull the driver’s attention away, the CX-9 shares the simple and linear design of smaller Mazdas but trims them to a convincing grade of luxury. It’s notable on all versions but especially on the Signature, which wears open-pore wood trim and soft nappa leather to bridge the gap between its mainstream Mazda badge and the new premium SUVs with which it competes.

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2022 Mazda CX-9


Very good handling elevates the CX-9’s performance.

We give the CX-9 a 6 for performance. The extra point goes to handling; though it’s a large crossover, Mazda imbues its biggest vehicle with some of the charm of its smaller sedans and SUVs.

Is the Mazda CX-9 4WD?

All-wheel drive becomes standard this year.

How fast is the Mazda CX-9?

With a 227-hp 2.5-liter turbo-4 under its hood, the CX-9 has middling straight-line acceleration. The turbo-4 lags before it builds strong levels of boost, and its 6-speed automatic ships power to all four wheels through a transmission with fewer gears than might be ideal. With a lower launch gear or two, and a top highway cruising gear, the CX-9 could leap off the line better and loaf along at highway speeds in a more relaxed manner.

Mazda offsets that deficit with steering feel and ride tuning that truly have car-like qualities. It’s tall, with a high center of gravity, but the CX-9 quells vertical ride motions without rendering the ride stiff at the knees. It has the composure to hustle along on back roads, and the sharp turn-in and responsive steering to encourage it, with good feedback through the standard 18-inch wheels with all-season tires. Mazda sells some models with bigger 20-inch wheels, but we’d skip them, since they register more tire noise and firm the ride too much.

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2022 Mazda CX-9

Comfort & Quality

Call the CX-9 a five-plus seater.

It has well-sculpted front seats and abundant cargo space but the CX-9 doesn’t quite measure up to other big crossovers. We give it a 7, with points above the midline for those pluses.

It’s fine in front, where base models wear cloth upholstery over their firmly constructed seat cushions. The CX-9 does plush well, and it looks and feels even better with optional leather upholstery, heating, and cooling in front. Signature models wear swank nappa leather, even better.

Row two begins to scale back expectations. Tall doors grant easy access to a high-mounted bench seat or a pair of captain’s chairs, but three large passengers will need to be comfortable with each other to share the middle bench. At least it reclines, for better long-distance napping. The third row is small, and isn’t easy to reach, no matter your size.

With a shorter wheelbase and overall length than big three-row crossovers like the Telluride and Pilot, the CX-9 has more trim cargo space. It’s 14.4 cubic feet behind the third row, 38.2 cubic feet behind the second row, and 71.2 cubic feet behind the front seats, about a dozen or more shy of its larger competition. However, Mazda does a much better job at trimming out the interior than many rivals. It’s extra, in the right way, with soft materials, tightly fitted panels, and low-glow sheen.

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2022 Mazda CX-9


The CX-9 does well in crash tests.

How safe is the Mazda CX-9?

We give it an 8 here, with points above average for standard safety technology and crash-test scores. The IIHS calls it a Top Safety Pick+ on every model, while the NHTSA gives it four-star ratings for front-impact protection but a five-star score overall.

The CX-9 now has standard all-wheel drive along with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitors, and active lane control. Outward vision is like that in most three-row crossovers—iffy toward the rear roof pillars.

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2022 Mazda CX-9


The CX-9’s infotainment is a stumbling block.

With excellent standard equipment and good value, the CX-9 picks up a couple of points above average—then drops one due to its non-touchscreen infotainment system. Its 3-year/36,000-mile warranty and options list are average, while its score here is slightly above average, at a 6.

Which Mazda CX-9 should I buy?

Take the $36,505 CX-9 Sport. With newly standard all-wheel drive, it also comes with keyless start, a power driver seat, heated front seats, and a 10.3-inch display with standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. 

That display relies on a kludgy control-knob interface to dictate commands to the audio and phone, with voice control as a backup. It’s a frustrating multi-spin-and-click input system that drags eyes away from the road. We’re not all in agreement about its operation, but we are in agreement that losing the touch option is a step back.

You’ll still spend less than the average new car costs if you buy the $38,655 Touring. It has leather upholstery, 12-speaker Bose audio, wireless smartphone charging, a power front passenger seat, a power sunroof, and a power tailgate. 

How much is a fully loaded Mazda CX-9?

The $48,435 CX-9 Signature has nappa leather, wood trim, premium audio, and a panoramic sunroof. 

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2022 Mazda CX-9

Fuel Economy

The CX-9 posts average EPA ratings.

Is the Mazda CX-9 good on gas?

It’s average for non-hybrid crossovers, with EPA ratings of 20 mpg city, 26 highway, 23 combined. That earns a 4 for fuel economy.

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MSRP based on Sport AWD
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Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 8
Performance 6
Comfort & Quality 7
Safety 8
Features 6
Fuel Economy 4
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2022 Mazda CX-9 Pricing Insights

  • 2021 CX-9 still available; 2022s coming soon
  • Lease: From $319/month
  • Rebates: Up to $1,250 off
  • Finance: From 0.9% APR
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