The 2012 Mazda CX-9 maintains its reputation as a fun, sporty SUV. Powered by a 3.7-liter V-6 that produces an ample 273 horsepower, the CX-9 remains one of the strongest offerings in the larger, three-row crossover SUV segment. In 2008 it was named Motor Trend Sport/Utility of the Year, winning for its high versatility.
The CX-9 can hold up to seven passengers with 17.6 cubic-feet of cargo space to spare; tackle mild unpaved roads with the available all-wheel drive system in place; and entertain and comfort passengers with upgraded materials and multimedia options. The CX-9 also takes corners confidently despite its bigger build.
You'll notice the CX-9's prominent five-point grille, with what has become known as Mazda's "smile" design cue. More aerodynamically efficient exterior mirrors, rear garnishing, and rear lamps in recent years have kept the CX-9 fresh and appealing in the segment.
Engine: 3.7-liter V-6
Transmission: six-speed automatic
Models: Sport, Touring, Grand Touring
After a recent midlife face-lift, there are no changes for Mazda's first three-row SUV. The update included an exterior refresh, including new wheel styles, plus chrome interior accents, upgraded leather, and two-stage heated seats on the inside. Updated rear climate controls, keyless entry, start system, and a 4.3-inch LCD were also new.
The CX-9's athletic appearance builds on an expectation of performance, while offering ample utility. Designers hoped to achieve a "sophisticated appearance" with the CX-9's redesign. A thick chrome bar makes the front five-point grille pop, while the flowing profile, raked windshield, and muscular corners evoke an attractive, sports-car like attitude.
The 2012 Mazda CX-9 has a well designed interior, among the top of the class. Sporty accents such as brightly colored edges on gauges and blue backdrop lighting keep things lively. Driver and passenger heated seats are an option. Mazda's LCD Multi-Information Display screen is available with navigation and real-time traffic in a 4.1-inch size, relatively small compared to new offerings on the market. Some models have a rearview backup camera option and blind spot monitoring.
Performance & Handling
The 2012 Mazda CX-9's engine is powerful and responsive, though not as fuel efficient as others in the class. Still, you don't often expect sporty driving dynamics from an SUV, and the competition certainly doesn't offer as much as Mazda in that regard. The CX-9 makes a great family hauler, offering a smooth in-town ride or for longer trips, but the added sportiness infused by Mazda engineers will make for a happy driver.
Antilock disc brakes with brake assist come standard on the CX-9. Driver and passenger dual front, side, and side curtain airbags are also standard. Dynamic stability control and traction control help to keep all four wheels planted. On Grand Touring models, there's also an available blind spot monitoring system.
EPA Fuel Economy
Front-wheel drive: 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway
All-wheel drive: 16 mpg city/22 mpg highway
- Clean styling
Cargo and passenger room
You Won't Like
- Fuel economy
Third-row seats for adults
Sporty SUV with room for seven
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