Mazda is well known for making peppy cars that handle well, offering a fun driving experience even for family vacations and trips to the grocery. Many SUVs, however, lack the positive driving experience that many people crave. The 2011 Mazda CX-9 manages bring high performance and excellent handling to the SUV market without compromising on power. Furthermore, Mazda has managed to do this at an affordable price.
Body Styles: crossover SUV
Engines: 3.7-liter, V-6
Transmissions: six-speed automatic with manual shift control
Models: Sport, Touring, Grand Touring
The Mazda CX9 remains largely unchanged for the 2011 model year.
Popular parts for the Mazda CX-9 can customize a vehicle and help keep it in top condition. Exterior accessory parts include bike carriers, roof racks, and fog light kits. Keeping the 2011 Mazda CX-9 in top condition could require genuine brake, wheel, motor, and transmission parts. Mazda recommends always having the CX-9 serviced at an authorized dealership to help ensure that the vehicle receives proper attention to prevent future malfunctions.
The Grand Touring is the highest trim level. It offers driver presets, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a blind-spot warning system, fog lights, and xenon headlights. The Grand Touring also includes 20-inch wheels (Sport and Touring have 18-inch wheels). Unfortunately, many drivers have complained that these large wheels have a negative impact on the SUVs drivability, making it feel stiffer than the lower trim levels.
The 2011 Mazda CX-9 has enough power for most drivers, but it does not skimp on style to make this power affordable. Many critics have commented on the spacious, yet comfortable, interior, mentioning that it feels more like a car than an SUV. The first two rows of seats offer plenty of headroom even for tall passengers. The third row, however, has a low ceiling. Putting the kids or groceries in the back row, however, is easy thanks to the rear doors' large openings.
The CX-9's interior maintains a sporty appearance with wood and chrome trim complimenting its leather and clothe seats. The red and blue lights on the instrument panel can also make drivers feel like they're sitting behind the wheel of a sporty car rather than a hulking SUV. Reviewers have, however, complained about some interior parts because they are made of sub-par plastic. The 2011 CX-9 also lacks the storage bins commonly found in today's SUVs. With 101 cubic feet of storage capacity, though, it's hard to complain about this minor oversight.
The 2011 Mazda CX-9 comes in three trim levels: Sport, Touring, and Grand Touring. Sport is the base model, but even it has many of the features that today's drivers want from their vehicles. The Sport includes remote keyless entry, three-zone climate control to keep everyone comfortable, a trip computer, Bluetooth compatibility, a six-speaker sound system with an auxiliary jack as well as a CD player. It also includes steering wheel buttons that let the driver control cruise control and audio easily without risking an accident.
The Touring version adds a few nice features, such as leather upholstery for the front and middle seats, automatic headlights, and heated mirrors.
Buyers can also choose to add packages to customize their 2011 Mazda CX-9s. Popular features include sunroofs, navigation system, rearview camera, remote ignition, a power tailgate, roof rails, and an entertainment system for the backseat. Buyers can also upgrade the vehicle's audio system to a Bose surround sound with a six-CD changer and satellite radio.
Performance & Handling
The 2011 Mazda CX-9 is powered by a 3.7-liter, V-6 engine that generates 273 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque. That's more than enough power for the average drive. The SUV only comes with one type of transmission: a six-speed automatic with manual shift control. Choose all-wheel-drive, and the Mazda CX-9 can haul up to 3,500 pounds in addition to its own weight. The front-wheel-drive version is still powerful, but it does not have the strength of all-wheel drive.
Consumers often worry about fuel efficiency when they consider buying a large vehicle like the 2011 Mazda CX-9. When it comes to efficiency, the CX-9 stays in the middle of the pack with a reputable 17 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. That's not going to impress your eco-conscious friends, but it's also not a gas-guzzler like some SUVs. All-wheel-drive, of course, has slightly worse efficiency with 16 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway.
The 2011 Mazda CX9 comes standard with anti-lock disc brakes with brake assist technology, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags, active head restraints to minimize whiplash, and stability control with rollover sensors for enhanced safety.
EPA Fuel Economy
2011 Mazda CX-9: 17/24 mpg city/highway
2011 Mazda CX-9 all-wheel-drive: 16/22 mpg city/highway
- Solid performance
- Stylish interior
- High-quality build
You Won't Like
- Stiff ride quality on Touring models with 20-inch wheels
The 2011 Mazda CX-9 was obviously designed with families in mind. Unlike many crossover SUVs of its size, though, it handles well in the city as well as on long road trips. The price is also affordable for most families looking to buy a relatively new SUV.
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