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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.
Favorite Features

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 231 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

highly recommended!

By on Monday, April 21, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,500

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: "stylish interior, excellent handling, smooth ride"

Cons: "city gas mileage"

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

"Extremely pleased with our upgrade from minivan to Touring CX-9. The 3rd row seating still provides us with plenty of passenger room (or easy spacious fold-down cargo room when called upon), but with exceptional road handling that makes it very fun to drive. Blind spot monitoring is a great feature. And, favorite interior comfort and styling among vehicles we considered (Pilot, Pathfinder, Highlander, Journey, Traverse)... definitely test drive a CX-9 if you are in the market for any one of these."

I love this car!

By on Friday, April 18, 2014

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
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "roomy, quiet,smooth running"

Cons: "blind spots, gas mileage"

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

"I have had many cars in my life and have never bought the same make/model twice.....until now! The CX-9 is a great car that has never let me down. It drives like a dream, has excellent pick up, lots of fun options and it looks amazing. The Bose sound system is a real treat as is the dual seat heat, and climate control. It COMFORTABLY fits all 8 of us (myself, husband and 6 kids)...even on longer drives. There is lots of leg room and cargo space with the seats down. I have rarely had to take it in for anything other than standard repairs, ie: wheel bearings and exhaust. The only thing that ever bothered me are the blind spots. If you buy this car, they take some getting used to as they are pretty significant. It now has 105,000 miles and is still running strong. I would keep it, but we are downsizing 2 cars for one and a NEW CX-9 is the only way to go!"

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Best car ever owned-86300 miles w/ few problems.

By on Wednesday, March 12, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 86,300

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
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Reliability. Comfort. Family friendly."

Cons: "Big vehicle so gas mileage not great. Duh."

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

"Ultra reliable.Only had one major issues which was rear wheel bearings (rare problem) replaced under warranty at 50000 miles. Other than that, just tires and oil changes. Check brakes every year and still they are OK. Incredible. Drives great."

7 people out of 8 found this review helpful

you will spend way to much on gas

By on Friday, March 07, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
5/10

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

"Oh where to start...... I love/hate this vehicle. It looks good, drives good and is very comfortable to sit in. The ride is a bit clunky and I'm very disappointed in the gas milage. No where near what I expected. I don't drive crazy nor do I haul heavy loads yet I get only about 12 miles to the gallon. Please keep this in mind when considering the Mazda cx9"

4 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Solid all around value with a few minor drawbacks

By on Wednesday, February 12, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Handling, versatility, comfortable seating"

Cons: "Quirky radio/climate controls"

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

"Purchased new in early 2012, we were drawn to the Mazda CX-9 by the roomy, comfortable interior with high quality materials and a 3rd row seat in a fairly compact package. Ease of opening and folding the 3rd row seat sold the wife on this car. She loves it. So do I. With 22000 miles, the CX-9 has had only two unscheduled visits to the dealer. 1. A power steering belt broke; and 2. I had to cut the seat belt in the right rear to extract my child who had been squirming around and got himself inextricably entwined in the seat belt which cinched up around him and could not be unfastened. Mazda was good enough to cover that repair even though I didn't expect them to. A bit disappointed with 16-17 MPG city and 22 hwy. but with adequate acceleration. Had hoped for 3-4 MPG more each. Braking very good with 80% pads left after 22,000 miles. Brakes squeak occasionally when cold but there is a kit Mazda installs to eliminate this. Excellent driving position and comfort on long hauls. No fatigue after a 3 1/2 hour drive and that's exceptional for me with my bad back. Love the Blind Spot Monitoring system. Works great. The gauges are a bit dated looking and are either too bright or too dim at night with limited adjustability. A very slight turn of the dimmer knob either direction maxes it out either way. The rear view camera provides a somewhat distorted view to the rear. Daylight glare on the screen washes out that view. Handling is exceptional for an SUV of this size. But ride can be a bit bouncy on certain surfaces with the 20" wheels on the Grand Touring. And the OEM Bridgestone tires became rather noisy with a loud humm after 20,000 miles. The radio/climate controls beep every time you make a selection. Wish I knew how to turn that off. It's a bit annoying. And the radio/climate display read out at the top center of the dash is not prominent enough. I prefer a clearer, larger display. Also, the keyless ignition on the 2012 model is a bit quirky. The keyless fob allows you to turn the "dummy" ignition switch on the steering column, as opposed to a "push start-push off" button. None of that is that big of a deal to us however. Overall, we're very happy, and glad we bought the 2012 model. We DO NOT LIKE the 2013-2014 exterior redesign."

8 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Love my CX-9 - 115,000 miles and going strong!

By on Saturday, February 01, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 115,000

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: "Fun to drive, feel safe, love the sleek style"

Cons: "none"

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

"I drive a lot of miles and really enjoy the luxury and comfort and handling of the CX-9. It has all the features I want in a sleek and sexy style. Handles well and I feel safe in this vehicle. Our daughter is learning to drive in this SUV and I feel comfortable knowing it has great safety features."

2 people out of 3 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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