Mazda has a cult-following with their CX-5 which making CX-9 in the same design language of Mazda’s Kodo “Soul of Motion” is a very smart move on Mazda's behalf. A big, open-mouthed grille proudly sports a chrome flying “M” badge at the center and complemented with LED grille accent lighting, which looks great at night. Expressive LED headlights and fog lights peer out from squinting eye ports. The long hood bulges modestly at the center, and a strong shoulder line carries back all the way to the tail lights. Twenty-inch aluminum alloy wheels fill the arches. The whole impression is of a vehicle in motion, ready to take on any obstacle, even when parked. CX-9 is elegant and beautifully finished.
When you enter to the cabin, you immediately are welcomed by the scent of beautiful Nappa leather upholstery and eloquently appointed buttons and knobs to control this vehicle. Genuine rosewood trim covers the center console, making it feel more like hand-carved furniture than an automotive design piece. Mazda installed 53 lbs of noise-cancelling insulation below the floor of the CX-9, to keep the cabin quiet and stable regardless of the road conditions.
A well-tuned suspension offers great handling; steering is light but precise. A 250-hp 2.5-liter turbo four coupled with a six-speed automatic and either front- or all-wheel drive. The EPA estimates 22 mpg city and 28 mpg highway for front-drive models; adaptive cruise control and automated emergency braking are standard on Grand Touring and Signature trims. Blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, High Beam Control (HBC), Lane Keep Assist (LKA), radar adaptive cruise control, rear backup sensor, Smart City Brake Support (SCBC) and Smart Brake Support (SBS) are all included on the Signature trim, optional on some lower trim levels.
CX-9 is available in four trim levels: Sport (starting at $31,520); Touring (starting at $35,970); Grand Touring (starting at $40,170); and Signature, already loaded at $44,015. Front-wheel drive CX-9s come with an EPA estimate of 22 mpg city/28 mpg highway, while AWD models 21 mpg city/27 mpg highway.