2019 Mazda CX-9 Expert Review

4.0 Overall Score
Performance 4.5 Comfort 4.0 Styling 4.2 Value 4.0

Editor's Overview

The 2019 Mazda CX-3 goes beyond the ordinary 7-passenger family hauler, offering a seductive exterior, luxurious interior and dynamic handling rarely found in an SUV of this size. More upscale than a Honda Pilot or Toyota Highlander, the CX-9 looks high-end, and its interior will make you feel like you’re riding in an Audi or a Lexus SUV.

You'll Like The 2019 Mazda CX-9 If...

If you’re seeking a family-friendly SUV that looks, rides and drives like nothing in this class, the 2019 Mazda CX-9 will satisfy that itch. The Touring trim is impressively well equipped, yet remains priced well below $40,000, while the Signature trim’s interior puts some luxury brands to shame.

You May Not Like The 2019 Mazda CX-9 If...

If you need an SUV with a big 3rd-row seat, a tow rating above 3,500 pounds and/or the horsepower of a V6 or V8 engine, the CX-9 won’t make the cut. You’ll get better fuel economy from a Toyota Highlander Hybrid and a lower base price from a Kia Sorento.

What's New

Mazda’s 2019 CX-9 gets a number of new features. Touring and higher trims gain Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, while the Grand Touring gains a 7-inch reconfigurable gauge cluster, ventilated front seats, power-folding mirrors and a 360-degree View Monitor. All models get a retuned suspension and additional soundproofing.

Interior Features

All Mazda CX-9s have 3-row, 7-passenger seating. Adults fit fine in the second row, but the third row is best for kids. The front seats are roomy, and the area feels commanding thanks to a wide console. Nestled in that console is a rotary dial and auxiliary buttons controlling the CX-9's standard dash-mounted infotainment display. The view out front is good, and we like that the left windowsill is wide enough to rest an arm. The 2019 CX-9 trails the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander in cargo room, but there's a respectable 71.2 cubic feet with the second and third rows folded.

Exterior Features

If you’re looking for a bit of elegance in your next family hauler, the CX-9 has it in spades. Dressed in Mazda's "Soul of Motion" design philosophy, the CX-9's sheet metal emphasizes sweeping forms, organic shapes and the idea of movement even at rest. We think it's beautiful. That big grille up front adds to the premium cred, yet doesn't seem overboard. The tapering roof and forward stance make this SUV appear smaller than it is, and even its rear is pretty thanks to a horizontal treatment of the taillights and rear lip beneath the window. A pair of exhaust outlets further emphasizes this SUV's sporty nature.

Driving Impressions

Mazda’s line of cars and SUVs has always had a special something that makes them stand apart from everything else in their price range, and the 2019 Mazda CX-9 is no exception. Compared to rivals like the Honda Pilot and Chevrolet Traverse, the CX-9 rides and corners like it’s glued to the road, with precise steering requiring minimal effort to affect course change. The retuned suspension retains its impressive cornering ability, but now returns a gentler ride over rough pavement. Helping with cornering is Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control that improves steering feel by varying torque and optimizing load control. And, while the CX-9’s turbocharged 4-cylinder isn’t exactly brimming with horsepower, its impressive 310 lb-ft of torque help move this big SUV with gusto, even when loaded down with passengers and cargo. If you seek the perfect balance of price, features and performance, we’d go with the Touring trim and optional Premium Package, which looks particularly nice in Soul Crystal Red.

Pricing Notes

The 2019 Mazda CX-9 has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $33,275 for a base model. Touring trims come in just over $36,300, and Grand Touring models start over $41,800. Adding AWD is an extra $1,800. The top-line Signature model that includes AWD standard starts around $46,300. At these prices, the new CX-9 begins slightly higher than rivals like the Highlander, Pilot, Traverse, GMC Acadia and Kia Sorento. But the price-to-features differential evens out or leans in the Mazda's favor as you climb trims. If you're simply looking for a low-priced 3-row SUV, there's the Mitsubishi Outlander, though that isn't as easy to recommend. Before buying, be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others are paying for their new SUV. The Mazda CX-9's resale value is expected to hold up well, though still trail the Highlander and Pilot.

OK, so what's next?
I'm interested in this car. What's for sale near me?
I'm interested in this car, and I'd like to trade in my current car while I'm at it.
Then again, maybe I should be thinking about a used car.

Notable Equipment

The 2019 Mazda CX-9 remains available in four trims: Sport, Touring, Grand Touring and Signature. Even the base Sport model offers amenities like 3-zone climate control that includes a 2nd-row control panel, 7-inch color touch-screen display with rotary controller, Smart City Brake Support (active at speeds up to 19 mph), blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, a rearview camera and 18-inch wheels. However, unless you opt for a package, you'll still have to manually adjust the front seats. Standard tech features include the Mazda Connect system with voice command, Internet radio streaming, Bluetooth connectivity, and AM/FM/HD Radio with an auxiliary input and two USB inputs.

Notable Options

We recommend at least the Touring trim, which includes heated and power-operated front seats, leather trim, power liftgate with adjustable height setting, a larger 8-inch command screen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto plus four USB ports. The Touring trim also comes with a significant active-safety system: Smart Brake Support (optional on the Sport). Grand Touring trims include navigation, 12-speaker Bose audio, a moonroof, ventilated front seats and a 360-degree monitor. Signature models have all-wheel drive standard, Nappa leather trim, rosewood accents and LED accent lighting in the grille. Many of the Touring and Grand Touring features are optional in packages on the Sport and Touring trims.

Favorite Features

The 2019 Mazda CX-9 is priced liked a mainstream family SUV, but its shapely skin and luxurious interior will have the neighbors wondering if you finally got that big promotion, or just won the lotto.

Horsepower is nice for top speed, but torque is what’s required to get you there quickly. The CX-9’s turbocharged 2.5-liter engine produces 310 lb-ft of the stuff at a low 2,000 rpm. Better still, the engine sips fuel (granted it prefers premium) to the tune of 28 mpg.

Under the Hood

Under the 2019 CX-9’s hood resides a 2.5-liter turbocharged Skyactiv-G engine, big on power and small on displacement. When using premium fuel, this engine produces 250 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque, although for those more frugal, regular 87-octane drops output to 227 horsepower. Mazda’s masterful turbocharger exhibits no sign of lag, making this diminutive motor perform like a larger V6. Power is routed to the CX-9’s front wheels (FWD) via a 6-speed automatic. All-wheel drive (AWD) is optional and preferred in places where snow covers the roads more than six months a year. Towing is a max 3,500 pounds, rather weak when compared to the Honda Pilot’s 5,000-pound rating, or the 7,400-pound figure offered by the V8-powered Dodge Durango.

2.5-liter turbocharged inline-4
227 horsepower @ 5,000 rpm (250 horsepower w/ 93-octane)
310 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/28 mpg (FWD), 20/26 mpg (AWD)

Editors' Notes

The 2019 Mazda CX-9 goes beyond the ordinary 7-passenger, 3-row family hauler, offering a seductive exterior, luxurious interior and dynamic handling rarely found in an SUV of this size. More upscale than a Honda Pilot or Toyota Highlander, the CX-9 looks like a high-end luxury vehicle, and its interior, especially the Signature trim, will have you believing you’re riding in an Audi or a Lexus SUV. The CX-9’s lightweight body and sophisticated G-Vectoring technology are responsible for the SUV’s impressive cornering abilities, yet despite its athletic prowess, the ride never gets harsh or jarring. However, while the turbocharged 4-cylinder engine can move the CX-9 with authority, it can’t tow as much as most 6-cylinder rivals, and its fuel economy isn’t all that much better.

Road Test Video Reviews

  • 2019 Mazda CX-9 Review - Three Rows of Joy
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  • 2019 Mazda CX-9 | CarGurus Test Drive Review
  • Reason FOR and AGAINST: 2019 Mazda CX-9 Review on Everyman Driver
  • 2019 / 2020 Mazda CX-9 | The Sexy Alternative
  • 2019 Mazda CX-9: FULL REVIEW | Fixing the Few Flaws for 2019!

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