The Mazda CX-9 continues to be a rare example of how a big crossover can still be fun and engaging to drive. With 310 lb ft of torque, from its turbocharged 2.5L engine, you’ll find acceleration to be plenty generous given its size. Handling is surprisingly sharp as well, especially when compared to similarly proportioned crossovers that seat seven. Finally, all this verve and vroom is wrapped in exterior packaging that looks aggressive and sporty. Far from plain and boring.
New for 2021 is an overhauled 10.25” color display and refreshed interface. A better exterior camera system, rear automated braking, driver-attention assist, new wheel designs, gorgeously quilted leather upholstery and more. Most of these changes only being offered in higher trim levels. A new Carbon Edition package takes things a step further. Adding black exterior trim, black 20” wheels, a blacked-out grilled and red leather seats in the Grand Touring model.
The CX-9’s cabin remains a place that is built to impress. Full of upscale materials and handsome styling. The overall result is an interior space that’s clean and luxurious. Each element and piece of trim thoughtfully integrated for maximum effect. Brushed metal, padded paneling, Nappa leather and open grain in the optional rosewood. Every component good separately, only to be much better when combined.
Though you’ll find seven sets of seatbelts in the new CX-9, this doesn’t mean seven people will comfortably fit. Unsurprisingly, you’ll find the third row of seats to be extremely tight. When occupied, it also eliminates most of the cargo space. When down though, the story changes. Luckily, the second and third row folds and tucks away easily, allowing for quick configuration and set-up changes.
With the newest CX-9, Mazda has found ways to infuse plenty of magic into the sheetmetal. Despite its length, height and seating for seven, there’s still plenty of that famous ‘Zoom Zoom’ on tap. Sharp and sporty from the outside, with an interior that would look perfectly at home wearing Audi rings or the BMW shield. Factor in an extremely long list of safety, security, luxury and driving features, and the obvious value is impossible to deny.
Price as tested: $48,100.00