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Mazda CX-9 2022 Review: The Ideal Three-Row SUV

Image Source: Unsplash

The market for three-row SUVs is packed with numerous choices. If you’re in the market for a large SUV that doesn’t compromise on driving pleasure, the 2023 Mazda CX-9 might be the perfect fit for you. Unlike most large SUVs that prioritize comfort and family space, the Mazda CX-9 is designed to offer an enjoyable driving experience, even while shuttling kids to school.

The 2023 Mazda CX-9 stands out in its segment for its engaging driving dynamics, a characteristic that Mazda is known for. Instead of creating a bulky and uninspiring SUV, Mazda infuses a sporty feel into every vehicle it produces. Despite being on the older side since its arrival in 2016, the CX-9 maintains its stylish edge compared to rivals like the Toyota Highlander with its sleek and classy exterior design.

Stepping inside the CX-9, you’ll find a cabin that exudes luxury with its premium materials and sleek design. The upscale interior boasts brushed aluminum and genuine rosewood accents, along with comfortable Nappa leather seats. While the CX-9 is geared towards the driver, it does come with some trade-offs, notably in space. While there are three rows of seats, the third row lacks ample legroom and headroom for adults. Additionally, the cargo space behind the third row is limited compared to some competitors, offering only 14.4 cubic feet, which expands to 38.2 cubic feet with the third row folded—less than what the Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride provide.

The CX-9 is equipped with a 10.25-inch display on top of the dashboard, providing a modern and sleek interface. It supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto; however, the infotainment system, controlled via a Multifunction Commander dial on the center console, can be challenging to navigate, requiring multiple steps for simple tasks like selecting playlists or destinations, leading to user frustration.

In terms of safety features, the CX-9 comes standard with a range of driver assistance technologies such as adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, and lane departure warning. The CX-9 excels in crash tests, earning the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating for 2022.

Powering the CX-9 is a turbocharged 3.5-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. The engine produces 250 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque with premium fuel, or 227 hp and 310 lb-ft with regular fuel. Despite having fewer cylinders than some competitors, the CX-9 delivers strong performance, with abundant torque available at low revs, providing excellent acceleration without turbo lag.

Mazda has not only focused on the engine but also on the suspension to ensure a fun and agile driving experience. The CX-9’s suspension strikes a good balance between comfort and responsiveness, making it nimble and enjoyable to drive on twisty roads without feeling like a large SUV. Its fuel efficiency ratings of 20 mpg city, 26 mpg highway, and 23 mpg combined are competitive in its class, although all-wheel drive is standard, limiting options for those seeking front-wheel drive. The CX-9 can tow up to 3,500 pounds, which is lower than some competitors.

For 2023, Mazda offers the CX-9 in several trim levels, starting from $40,025 for the base Touring trim and going up to $49,735 for the range-topping Signature trim, including destination charges.

In summary, the 2023 Mazda CX-9 is an exceptional choice for buyers seeking a three-row SUV that combines driving enjoyment with upscale design and features. Despite some interior space limitations, the CX-9 remains a standout in the three-row SUV segment, offering a compelling package for families seeking a more engaging driving experience.

Image Source: Unsplash

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