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2011 Mazda CX-9

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2011 Mazda CX-9 Review

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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.

You'll Like This Car If...

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.

You May Not Like This Car If...

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.

What's New for 2011

Other then improved fuel economy and some new wheels, there are no major changes for the 2011 Mazda CX-9.

Driving the 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.

2011 Mazda CX-9 Details
Interior

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.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

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.

Optional Equipment

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.

Under the Hood

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.

3.7-liter V6
273 horsepower @ 6250 rpm
270 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/24 (FWD), 16/22 (AWD)

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2011 Mazda CX-9 Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.2
Out of 10

Based on 269 Ratings for the 2007 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.2/10
    Quality
    9.3/10
  • Reliability
    9.4/10
    Performance
    9.3/10
  • Comfort
    9.3/10
    Styling
    9.3/10

I love my CX9

By on Tuesday, October 27, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 17,202

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I was looking for a smaller SUV, the Hyundai Tucson, which I had owned in the past. I only looked at the CX9 because it had better incentives. At first look I thought it was too big, then I drove it. Handles great, even on mountain roads where I live. At the time I still had a child to transport and two German Shepherds. I really no longer need such a large vehicle for kids, but for the dogs and shopping and thrift stores, it is too good not to keep. I have the third row seats, which have been used only a few times, but there was plenty of room for the passengers. With the third row down the dogs have lots of room. My only issue is with the mileage, but it has been 100% reliable. My 2012 Touring, with upgrades has all the bells and whistles I didn't know I wanted, but love them. Have been looking to trade for a smaller car with better mileage, but can't seem to commit to the trade with how much I love my CX9."

17 people out of 29 found this review helpful

Perfect for drivers <6ft tall and regular size

By on Wednesday, September 30, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Has everything I need and well designed."

Cons: "Radio tuning knob is way too small"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"My wife and I are both less than 5'9. We have two kids in carseats and three dogs (200lbs of dog weight). The cargo area fits the dogs comfortably. I test drove larger SUVs, a PathFinder, HighLander, Outback, and Sienna. My research had Highlander at a clear favorite. I do like Toyota and I was a Toyota owner. Then I test drove the Mazda. Then I imagined all the miles I would be driving in this thing as the kids and dogs grew. Test drives matter. I think it matters for the driver to enjoy the drive. I can put a double stroller in the back and we still have room for the massive Costco runs that come with kids (diapers, toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning supplies, etc). I also got the roof racks to place a luggage box on. I have zero complaints about this car. Yes, I'd like better gas mileage, but not so much as to force a change to this car. I look forward very much to 200k on this vehicle. I love Subaru and Outbacks too. Basically, if you want an Outback but you need to haul more stuff regularly, then I would check out either the 2WD or 4WD CX9 and I think you'll be very pleased."

11 people out of 15 found this review helpful

Best vehicle I've ever owned, and I've owned a lot

By on Monday, September 28, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 68,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"After 68.000 miles and five years this vehicle still looks, feels, and sounds like new. And it has NEVER required any work other than routine maintenance. I love the handling. The only negative I have experienced is the gas mileage, which I can live with."

10 people out of 12 found this review helpful

Very happy with this car

By on Wednesday, September 02, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 62,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "see review"

Cons: "see review"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Before my CX 9 I always owned high end luxury cars which is all I can compare this car to. It has all the bells and whistles and handles very well; even in a near miss with a deer. There are only two things about this car that could be improved. The blue-tooth voice was very difficult to program; even the dealer could not figure it out. The seats could use a bit more padding, especially if you drive for long periods of time. A great car for the cost!"

15 people out of 24 found this review helpful

Luxury for a fair price

By on Wednesday, August 12, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Easy to drive, feels like a larger car"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This car is comfortable, with great leather seats. Easy to park, love the pick up and alerts when another vehicle is in a blind spot. Large enough for a large family, or three large dogs! Love this car."

12 people out of 16 found this review helpful

First time Mazda Owner - Blown away by quality

By on Friday, August 07, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Body integrity, options, handling, power, comfort"

Cons: "No Daytime Running lights, mpg a bit low"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Traded in a 2013 Highlander SE that had interior rattles Toyota could not seem to resolve. Very disappointing given Toyota's reputation. Started scouting CX-9, finally dumped the Highlander lease in favor of a 2015 CX-9 AWD Touring w/Tech Pckg. Wanted the extra ride comfort of the 18" wheels, so stayed away from the Grand Touring's 20" rims. 5 months into the new lease, I can say this: the quality on all levels blows the Toyota away. It feels solid, heavy, because an SUV should feel that way, unlike the Highlander which felt tinny, lightweight, and under-insulated. Body integrity, inside and out, is tight and well put together. Comfort, handling, power and looks are exactly what the reviews have been saying. Mountain curves and highway cruising is phenomenal. Bottom line? Best car I've ever owned, I'm racking up too many miles than the lease allows, because I always look for excuses to drive it. It's that kind of car. I'll buy it at lease end anyway, so no big deal. If you're looking in this category, BUY. THIS. CAR."

9 people out of 13 found this review helpful

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