2021 Mazda CX-9 review: High style with tradeoffs

Victoria D. Doty

Mazda’s CX-nine is nonetheless a looker.


Jon Wong/Roadshow

Imagine it or not, the 2nd-era Mazda CX-nine is previously six years outdated. But it nonetheless appears to be clean up and contemporary, and its driving dynamics also go on to deliver. Even so, six years is a extensive time in the automotive planet, which is why Mazda gave the CX-nine some styling and tech updates for 2021 to aid preserve it related.

Like

  • Smooth styling
  • A very seriously good interior
  • Sharp and refined managing

Never Like

  • Coarse motor
  • So-so infotainment
  • Fewer cargo area than opponents

Nip and tuck

In the case of my selection-topping CX-nine Signature test auto, 2021 provides a trio of exterior improvements. The grille is now concluded in Titanium Gray Metallic, there are greater exhaust outlets all around again and the complete deal rides on new twenty-inch Amazing Silver wheels. None of the improvements are earth-shattering — primarily the bland ten-spoke wheels — but the CX-9’s structure continues to be handsome all round.

Slide into the Signature’s cabin and you happen to be greeted with an appealing, simple dash crafted from some actually handsome materials. The dash and door panel toppers are soft to the touch, the tough plastics on reduced portions are very well concluded and the Santos rosewood trim makes the complete interior glimpse top quality. In addition, the very first- and 2nd-row Nappa leather-based seats get new diamond-quilted bolsters and contrasting piping, though the genuine aluminum accent trim now athletics a patterned complete.

People updates sign up for the other top quality fixings in the CX-nine Signature, such as a few-stage heated and cooled entrance seats, heated 2nd-row captain’s chairs and a soft, leather-based-wrapped, heated steering wheel. There is certainly also a typical sized moonroof, which will disappoint followers of gargantuan panoramic glass tops, as Mazda does not supply one particular of people.

Room in entrance is generous with comfortable and supportive entrance buckets, substantial door panel compartments and a sizable middle armrest. The middle row captain’s chairs are on the flat facet with more than enough area for grownups, but the rearmost seats are very snug. Head- and legroom for any individual previously mentioned 5 feet, 6 inches tall is generally nonexistent, but at least there are cup holders and a pair of USB ports again there for any kids you deliver together.

In the cargo area group, the CX-nine falls powering its levels of competition. With all seats deployed, there is 14.four cubic feet powering the third row, which grows to seventy one.two cubic feet when both of those rear rows are folded. In comparison, powering the rearmost seats, the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander supply 16 cubic feet of storage area, though the Kia Telluride characteristics a hearty 21 cubic feet. With the two again rows flipped down the Honda (82.one cubic feet), Kia (87 cubic feet) and Toyota (84.three cubic feet) all dwarf the Mazda.

The CX-9’s interior construct high-quality and materials are definitely amazing.


Jon Wong/Roadshow

Significant display tech

The most noteworthy update to Mazda’s most significant crossover is the addition of a ten.three-inch middle infotainment display. The massive display arrives typical on all CX-nine products, featuring crisp resolution and passable graphics, but this nonetheless isn’t a touchscreen, so you’ll have to fidget with the middle console controller to enter destinations into the Signature’s typical navigation process.

Even without the need of touchscreen capabilities, Mazda Hook up is a relatively intuitive interface, working a 12-speaker Bose audio setup, satellite radio, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi hotspot. If you dread Mazda’s tech, and some on the Roadshow personnel do, you can opt to hand infotainment controls above to both Apple CarPlay or Android Vehicle.

The CX-nine definitely does not lack power factors, with a wireless demand pad located at the foundation of the middle console, USB demand ports inside of quick achieve of all a few rows of seats and 12-volt outlets in the entrance and trunk region.

A ten.three-inch infotainment display is now typical on each CX-nine.


Jon Wong/Roadshow

On the driver-aid tech entrance, each CX-nine arrives with adaptive cruise control, automatic unexpected emergency braking, lane-trying to keep assist and blind-spot checking with rear cross-website traffic inform. My Signature tester’s safety tech menu is beefed up additional with entrance and rear parking sensors, a head-up display, website traffic sign recognition and a 360-diploma digital camera process with respectable picture high-quality. 

The course athlete 

Each individual CX-nine is motivated by a two.5-liter turbocharged I4. When working ninety three-octane gas, the massive-block four presents up 250 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque, with the latter on the web at two,five hundred rpm. Managing regular 87-octane fuel is also possible, but output drops to 227 hp and 310 lb-ft. Possibly way, the CX-nine feels downright energetic in Activity mode when accelerating away from stops, and proceeds to pull sturdy throughout the middle of the rev selection, creating quick perform of passing slower website traffic and seamlessly merging onto expressways.

Working with the CX-9’s motor is a six-speed automatic transmission, which is archaic by today’s criteria given the proliferation of eight-, 9- and ten-speed gearboxes. In procedure, while, there is not considerably to complain about with the six-speed, as it provides clean, very well-timed cog exchanges and it can help return course aggressive EPA-believed gas financial state figures of twenty mpg in the metropolis and 26 mpg on the highway.

The turbo four presents loads of lower-close torque, but seems raspy.


Jon Wong/Roadshow

The Mazda’s drivetrain, nevertheless, is on the coarser facet of the seem spectrum and slight vibrations are detectable when you wind matters up in direction of the engine’s 6,300-rpm redline. The CX-nine offers up some in towing when compared to its V6 rivals too, with a three,five hundred-pound ability. The all-wheel-generate Pilot, Telluride and Highlander can all pull 5,000 lbs ..

Down the road, the CX-9’s trip is buttoned-up, with the suspension getting the edge off small to medium impacts, and the cabin stays impressively hushed from frustrating road and wind noises. Toss this crossover into a corner and its body motions are generally stored in check out, with just the slightest dive below braking and lean at transform-in prior to hunkering down and working by means of turns. The twenty-inch Bridgestone Ecopia H/L 422 As well as tires supply loads of grip. Include in responsive and very well-weighted steering together with stout, quick-to-modulate brakes and you have a a few-row crossover that presents the sportiest reflexes in its course.

Significant twenty-inch wheels and tires contribute to the CX-9’s self-confident managing.


Jon Wong/Roadshow

How I might spec it

The Signature edition of the CX-nine pictured here is a expensive fella, stickering for $48,575 as analyzed. Thoughts you, it is packed to the gills with typical all-wheel generate, a extravagant Nappa leather-based interior and all the driver-aid technologies you could want, but I might be prepared to give up some goodies for a softer blow to the bank account. 

For my construct, I might start out with an all-wheel-generate Touring model that starts at $39,025, which includes $one,a hundred seventy five for destination. This trim arrives typical with eighteen-inch wheels, a leather-based interior and heated entrance seats, and need to-have characteristics like blind-spot checking and LED headlights come equipped on all CX-9s. I might then plunk down for the $395 Snowflake White Pearl Mica paint career and $two,060 for the Touring Quality Package deal, mostly for the Bose seem process, satellite radio, entrance and rear parking sensors and wireless mobile phone charger. All in, my suitable Mazda rings in at a far more fair $forty one,480. 

This CX-nine Signature will established you again $48,575.


Jon Wong/Roadshow

Form and effectiveness above purpose

The 2021 Mazda CX-nine starts at $35,335 which includes destination with entrance-wheel generate, putting it suitable in the same ballpark as Honda, Kia and Toyota. Upgrading to all-wheel generate tacks on an additional $one,900. Although the CX-nine does not supply as considerably purpose as its rivals, the Mazda packs a nutritious dollop of fashion, a definitely top quality interior and tighter managing chops than the other people. If people psychological characteristics are more than enough to glimpse previous the cramped third row and cargo area, I wouldn’t blame you. But if they aren’t more than enough to outweigh the deficiencies in practicality, I wouldn’t blame you for seeking somewhere else, both.

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