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2012 Mazda CX-9

Overview
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2012 Mazda CX-9 Review

By

KBB Expert Rating: 7.1

In a world that regularly tells us we can't have our cake and eat it, too, the 2012 Mazda CX-9 SUV is a welcome exception to the rule. The 7-passenger 2012 Mazda CX-9 combines the attributes of a luxury performance sedan with the functionality and versatility of an SUV. Having won numerous awards year after year, the Mazda CX-9 SUV continues to impress with its styling, features and reliability. Built from the same platform that spawned the Ford Edge and Lincoln MKT, the 2012 Mazda CX-9 is the last of the global platform designs shared between Ford and Mazda. As such, the CX-9 benefits from the best resources and ideas of two automotive giants versus one. In the 2012 Mazda CX-9 SUV, you'll get the safety, comfort and strong resale value every family wants, but in a vehicle that also delights the senses and awakens the driver in all of us.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you crave a family vehicle that doesn't look, drive or bore you as would a minivan or station wagon, the 2012 Mazda CX-9 SUV will bring a smile to your face.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Some may find the 2012 Mazda CX-9's third-row seat too small for full-size folks, and its limited towing ability won't serve those who need to pull trailers exceeding 3,500 pounds.

What's New for 2012

There are no major changes for 2012.

Driving the CX-9

Driving Impressions The 2012 Mazda CX-9 SUV delivers good acceleration and demonstrates impressive handling, so long as the passenger load is not maxed out. With a full crew onboard, the CX-9's suspension...

seems to bog down a bit and its V6 engine has to work hard to achieve the same sporty feeling you get with just four passengers. To be fair, we can say the same about every one of the CX-9's competitors. We will say that despite the 2012 Mazda CX-9's size and weight, it really does get around curves and hug the road like a smaller vehicle with a lower center of gravity. Credit for this handling performance goes to 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 thick stabilizer bars at both ends. On the freeway, the CX-9 rewards its passengers with a comfortable ride, a fairly quiet cabin and a host of appealing features (such as the available rear-seat DVD entertainment system) to keep everyone happy on long trips.

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 (AWD) models, sensors signal control modules to automatically send more torque to the axle with the best traction. Up to half the engine's torque can be sent to the rear through a computer-controlled coupling connected to the rear differential.

2012 Mazda CX-9 Details
Interior

Mazda is renowned for its inviting, user-friendly interiors and the 2012 Mazda CX-9 SUV has about as nice an interior design as you'll find. Bordering on luxury-car plush, the 2012 Mazda CX-9 pampers its occupants and gives full control to its driver via the well-placed switchgear and brightly-lit, information-filled gauge cluster. The center stack is raised from the dash and flanked by two wood trim "spears" that also appear on the door panels. Thankfully, Mazda's annoying miniature navigation and information screen didn't make its way to the CX-9's cabin. When you order the available navigation system, you get a nice big view screen and controls that are easy to understand and use. As is typical in Mazda cars, the seating is superbly supportive without being overly-bolstered and the thick-grip three-spoke steering wheel feels just right. Rear-seat passengers enjoy equally-comfortable accommodations with a 60/40 second-row seat that can recline as well as slide forward for easier third-row access. Speaking of the third row, it's a place best suited to small kids, as the 50/50 seats are a bit thin and upright. When not in use, the CX-9's third-row seat folds flat into the floor, creating a large cargo area.

Exterior

Some look at the 2012 Mazda CX-9 SUV and see what appears to be a stretched version of the sporty CX-7. But, actually, the two have no common components and don't even share the same platform. While it's true the CX-9 is both longer and heavier than the CX-7, it retains the same sleek exterior inspired by the RX-8 sports car. Much of Mazda's previous design language is still in place on the CX-9 and, for those not happy with the new look of Mazda (think Mazda3), this may be a good thing. The grille opening remains minimal, a 5-point design stretched wide across the front bumper, while the large black plastic lower air intake is outfitted with a chrome center bar. The 2012 Mazda CX-9's look is completed with a set of wraparound headlights and, around back, the broad-shouldered tail is fitted with curving tail lights and twin trapezoidal chrome exhaust tips. Long rear doors are designed to create an easier access point for those heading to the third-row seat, although it's still a bit of a squeeze to get back there. The CX-9's long roof is the perfect perch for equipment or a cargo container.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2012 Mazda CX-9 is offered in three trim levels: Sport, Touring and Grand Touring. The base Sport comes with three-row, 7-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 4-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 SiriusXM Satellite Radio, DVD-based touch-screen navigation, Blind Spot Monitoring System, Surround Sound Bose premium audio with a 6-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 2012 Mazda CX-9 SUV's 3.7-liter V6 is shared with former partner Ford and, as such, benefits from what might be argued is over-engineering. From its aluminum cylinder heads to its performance-oriented 10.3:1 compression ratio, the CX-9's V6 engine is a masterpiece of power and efficiency. The V6 sends power to the front wheels through a 6-speed automatic transmission or to all four wheels with Mazda's available Active Torque-Split all-wheel-drive.

3.7-liter V6
273 horsepower @ 6,250 rpm
270 lb-ft of torque @ 4,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/24 (FWD), 16/22 (AWD)

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2012 Mazda CX-9 Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.1
Out of 10

Based on 242 Ratings for the 2007 - 2014 models.

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

I really like this car

By on Thursday, August 21, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 48,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Great sized car - tons of room."

Cons: "Wish it got better gas milage. Tires."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"A Mommy Car with attitude. Drives nice, lots of room for friends or stuff. I even carried a full size washer in the box, in the back of the car. Only complaint was had to put tires and brakes on the car at 25K. Seemed early to me to spend this kind of money. I would recommend this car."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

brings a smile to my face

By on Thursday, July 31, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 39,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"never heard of the CX 9 before I got it . Went down to the dealership because of a flyer that came to the house . So far it has met and exceeded my expectations"

12 people out of 21 found this review helpful

Great car

By on Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 32,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "fun to drive, fast,comfortable"

Cons: "gas mileage, console too large, no auto door locks"

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

"I bought this car as pre owned after losing my toyota camry in a flood. I wanted something large and reliable. I never even thought of buying a Mazda but the used car inventory was very limited in my area at the time because of the flood. I was fortunate to find this car which was just turned in from a lease and fell in love with it. I drove it and could not believe how fast and how easy it was to handle, very comfortable even on long trips . I get many compliments on the car. It looks just as good as the more expensive SUV's around. My only complaints are that it is not as roomy inside as I had hoped because of the very large center console in the front and the doors do not automatically lock ,you have to remember to lock the doors when you get in the car . I would buy one again."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Totally repair-free auto...my first. Beautiful

By on Sunday, July 27, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 94,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fair price, drives/rides like a car. Trouble-free."

Cons: "no programmable garage door opener."

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

"This auto has never been to any shop for any repairs...I should probably keep it until it dies. Excellent appearance that still draws favorable comments. Outstanding for golf trips...holds our luggage, clubs and plug-in cooler with ease. Ride is exceptional...exactly like a car. Lack of programmable remote garage opener is a negative....using a garage door opener is so 1970's."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Great Car!!!

By on Thursday, July 10, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 49,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"Great family vehicle. Handles well and has plenty of interior space. Also, the vehicle is visually attractive for those of us who must have the room to haul kids and their stuff around but still desire a car that looks good."

4 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Best SUV value on the market today!

By on Saturday, June 21, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 34,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Driving dynamics design practicality reliability"

Cons: "Gas mileage, interior material quality"

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

"Have owned the CX-9 for 6.5 years since new. Comparison shopped it against all the competition and there was no competition. I am an avid car enthusiast and have owned a lot of high performance vehicles. This is one of my favorite vehicles of all time. Can do all the practical day-to-day missions of an SUV but does them with all the joys of a performance car. Handles like a vehicle 1000 pounds lighter. How does Mazda defy the laws of physics? My wife drives this car every day and even after 6.5 years does not want a new car (except maybe another CX-9). Bulletproof reliability, great design and looks inside and out and a very rewarding driving experience. Ours is the blue mica and we still get compliments on the color. Overall, one of the best car ownership experience I've ever had, strongly recommend this vehicle!"

6 people out of 11 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?