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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
9.2
Out of 10

Based on 259 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
    9.4/10

Great car; very comfortable; little to no problems

By on Tuesday, April 21, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 105,000

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

Pros: "great drive; great pick-up; long trips are easy"

Cons: "No cons"

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

"Rides well; very comfortable; great pick-up; 21.5 mpg around town and 24.5 mpg on trips; ride and mileage changed when new Bridgestone Ecopia 422 tires added. Color still looks great after 7 yrs."

Good handling, Good Performance

By on Friday, March 20, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 73,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "fun to drive"

Cons: "couuld have more cupholders. center console compac"

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

"After 1200 mile trip very comfortable, drove well gas milage could be better got 20mpg to 22mpg depending on speed under 70mph gets best milage. Vehicle still gets looks and compliments. very well made."

16 people out of 35 found this review helpful

It's a wonderful automobile.

By on Thursday, March 12, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 120,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "All around great car."

Cons: "Maybe a little better gas mileage"

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

"Seating is good, leg room is good, steering wheel controls, hands free Bluetooth, comfort driving. All around good."

5 people out of 11 found this review helpful

I will never own anything else!

By on Tuesday, March 10, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 28,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Interior, exterior, handling, passenger capacity"

Cons: "Nothing"

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

"It took me awhile to settle on what car I wanted and when I finally settled on a Mazda CX9 I was all in. How smart of me! This is a great car inside and out. I have always driven sporty cars and with four children I wanted something practical but still made me feel young (honestly speaking here). It is fun to drive, handles extremely well in all weather conditions and feels like you are driving in a luxury car. The driving comfort is top notch. When my present car comes to the end of its life somewhere down the road I will undoubtedly buy another one. Just a great car!"

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

I absolutely love this car!

By on Tuesday, February 17, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,000

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: "Easy to drive and feels sporty"

Cons: "None"

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

"I have owned a 2007 and now drive a 2013 Grand Touring. This is one of the best cars I have ever owned. It is luxurious and handles extremely well. I don't feel like I am driving a mommy mobile yet I have the room of one. This car is comfortable to drive and controls are easy to access and operate. It has great power and feels very solid. Have never had any mechanical issues and my 2007 had 90,000 miles on it when I traded it in. Would buy another one in a heartbeat!"

11 people out of 22 found this review helpful

Great vehicle, reliable, comfortable.

By on Wednesday, February 11, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 64,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"Very sharp looking Silver machine. All creature comforts without the GPS, no big deal. Otherwise is comfortable, reliable and spacious. For kids, dogs, shopping bags etc. Highly recommend it."

17 people out of 29 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

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