By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.4
When Mazda created the seven-passenger CX-9, it sought to build a family-friendly wagon that could also radiate the sporty, urban vibe created by its CX-7 crossover utility vehicle (CUV). Three years and a boatload of awards later, the 2011 CX-9 has successful accomplished Mazda's master plan, offering everything a growing family needs in a car and still looking cool while doing it. Sharing much of its architecture and drivetrain with the Ford Edge and Lincoln MKT (a product of the now defunct Ford/Mazda partnership), the CX-9 might be considered a bit of a world car, but regardless of its pedigree, its attitude is all Mazda. From its sleek good looks to its capable handling, stunning interior and standard safety features, the 2011 Mazda CX-9 truly is the coolest way for seven people to get around.
If you're youthful side craves the "Zoom-Zoom" attitude of a MAZDA3, but the responsible adult in you recognizes the needs of your growing family, the CX-9 may very well satisfy both.
Although the CX-9 is great for hauling kids and cargo, if you need to pull something heavier than 3,500 pounds, there is no substitute for a full-size, V8-powered SUV.
Other then improved fuel economy and some new wheels, there are no major changes for the 2011 Mazda CX-9.
Driving Impressions When not burden by too many passengers or toys, the CX-9 does a credible job fulfilling the marketing department's promise of a "Zoom-Zoom" driving experience. Despite its substantial size and...weight, the CX-9 acquits itself surprisingly well on curvy country roads and rides smoothly and quietly at freeway speeds. This combination of smooth ride and agile handling results from the CX-9's rigid unit-body chassis, low-friction MacPherson strut front and independent multi-link rear suspension, precise engine-speed-sensitive power rack-and-pinion steering and stabilizer bars at both ends. Add people and cargo to the mix, and the CX-9 becomes understandably less athletic.
60/40-Split, Sliding, Reclining Second-Row Seat
This versatile center-row seat slides five inches to accommodate long-legged folks either on or behind it. The seat also has reclining backrests, offers easy access to the third row with a one-handed release and folds flat into the floor to optimize cargo room.
Active Torque-Split All-Wheel-Drive
On available all-wheel-drive models, sensors signal control modules to send more torque to the axle with the best traction automatically. Up to half the engine's torque can be sent to the rear through a computer-controlled coupling connected to the rear differential.
The CX-9's interior is practically luxury car plush. From the driver's seat the first feature that comes into view is a quad chrome-ringed gauge cluster brilliantly illuminated by blue and red lighting. Controls for ventilation and the audio system are logically laid out, flanked by rich wood spears running from dash to floor mirroring similar pieces on the door panels. The well-contoured bucket seats and two-tone trim bespeak luxury trappings, but the thick-grip three-spoke steering wheel and six-speed automatic with manual shift gate scream performance machine. The 60/40 second-row seat reclines and slides forward to enhance third-row access, and both it and the 50/50 third seat fold flat into the floor. Like many three-row crossovers, however, the CX-9's third row seat is best suited for children or diminutive adults. However, unlike many three-row CUVs, there is an ample 17.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row.Exterior
As the big brother to the Mazda CX-7, the CX-9 is well suited to its more mature role. Though longer and heavier than the CX-7, the CX-9 retains Mazda's sports-car inspired styling, touting the company's signature five-point grille stretched over a wide, aggressive bumper. The styling theme is completed by a set of wrap-around headlights and a broad-shouldered tail with curving tail lights and twin trapezoidal chrome exhaust tips. Although gaining access to the third-row seat is still a bit of squeeze if you're an adult, the CX-9's long rear doors allow the best possible access and are particularly helpful when it comes time to install a childe safety seat. The tall roof can be easily accessed by standing on the bottom of the door opening, another helpful feature for those not blessed with overwhelming height.
The 2011 Mazda CX-9 is offered in three trim levels: Sport, Touring and Grand Touring. The base Sport comes with three-row, seven-passenger seating, power windows, locks and mirrors, tilt wheel, cruise control, AM/FM/CD audio, front and rear air conditioning, remote keyless entry, and six sets of airbags (front, side and full-length side curtain). Additional safety features include four-wheel ventilated anti-lock disc brakes (ABS), Traction Control System (TCS) and Dynamic Stability Control (DSC). The mid-range Touring and top-line Grand Touring add leather trim, power front seats and more.
Major options available on the CX-9 include SIRIUS Satellite Radio, DVD-based touch-screen navigation, Blind Spot Monitoring System, Surround Sound Bose premium audio with a six-CD changer (single disc when combined with navigation), rear DVD entertainment system, keyless entry and start, 4.3-inch view screen with rear backup camera and a power rear liftgate. All-wheel drive is an important functional option.
The 2011 Mazda CX-9's 3.7-liter V6 is a variation of the 3.5-liter engine that powers its American cousins, the Ford Edge, however, the 3.7-liter version is specific to Mazda and Lincoln. It powers the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission, or all four wheels with Mazda's available Active Torque-Split all-wheel-drive.
273 horsepower @ 6250 rpm
270 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/24 (FWD), 16/22 (AWD)
By buster on Thursday, November 06, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"we owned a 2007 rendezvous prior to this suv. really loved that car, but this one is a close second. not 100% satisfied with the transmission and the way it down shifts as soon as you take your foot off the gas peddle. Drove it to florida this past Feb. and it was quite comfortable and handled the road great. got about 22mpg on the road."
6 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By Mel on Wednesday, November 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 210,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I bought the car used and it is one of the best cars that I have ever owned mo major issues juts change the oil regularly and it keeps going"
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By sandy on Saturday, October 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,490overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "is really fun to drive and very comfortable"
Cons: "steering could be tighter"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"my only complaint is that the brakes will chatter when they get hot. not really comfortable braking when it feels like the antilock system is on, which it is not. also I find the steering is not as precise as I would prefer. I seem to make a fair amount of corrections when driving on a smooth toll road at maybe 65mph other than that the car is really quick and fast. and the 20" tires that came with the car are pretty unforgiving on the road, and are already showing signs of wear and drying out at under 16,000mi..I hope to replace them with something other than a high performance tire down the road."
12 people out of 22 found this review helpful
By Tim on Friday, October 17, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 41,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "trouble free,comfortable, roomy"
Cons: "I have yet to find a problem"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I traded in my Mercedes for one of the first CX-7's, which was an outstanding car, but ended up being too small and my wife wanted the 3rd row. I have since purchased 3 CX-9s. I drive a lot throughout California and put a ton of miles on my car and after driving for six or seven hours, I do not feel tired or sore from sitting. It is fun to drive and has all the power I need for passing on long stretches of highway. I have not had ANY mechanical or other issues with any of these cars. In fact, I have an appointment in two days to buy my 4th CX-9.."
7 people out of 12 found this review helpful
By TJ on Thursday, September 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "I can only say Mazda..... ZOOM ZOOM"
Cons: "Vehicle should come with side molding,for lights"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"The only thing I would have liked is a little better gas mileage.. The fit and finish is excellent, I just replaced my tires after 55,000. The ride is very good and has plenty of power when needed.. Only complaint is I need a ladder to wash it. Love the vehicle."
By Stanley on Saturday, September 06, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 21,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good driver for a big car"
Cons: "Getting in and out on all four seat not good"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"I have two negative issues 1. The drivers seat goes back to fully recline each time you unlock the car. 2. The passenger seat is too high and the angle of the windshield is too short. A lot of power, pretty good mileage on the highway! Sound system great , good lines Blind side is a great feature"
12 people out of 26 found this review helpful