Go

2012 Mazda CX-9

Overview
Share this page
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?

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)

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?

2012 Mazda CX-9 Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.2
Out of 10

Based on 273 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

Nice car for a larger car need.

By on Sunday, July 17, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 72,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "nice seats and durability"

Cons: "A little noisy on high way, might just be mine."

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

"Larger storage with all back seats down, have moved plenty large boxes and coaches. Smaller kids can sit comfortable in the third row, as five full size adults sit in front and middle seat. This car has given me lots of safety, while providing a smooth ride for family and friends. I would recommend this to anyone."

Really nice SUV and Priced right

By on Friday, May 13, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "comfort style utility"

Cons: "none"

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

"Nice comfortable driving car for trips. Plenty of room. Never really used the 2 seats in the back but have carried 5 adult passengers in reasonable comfort. Also quite serviceable from utility aspect. Hauled furniture lumber mulch rock and just about everything from home depot except full size plywood. Break boost fixed under warranty. Gas mileage at 70-75 mph is 23-27 on the highway."

4 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Excellent SUV for the price

By on Tuesday, April 26, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 75,000

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: "Lots of standard features on the Grand Touring"

Cons: "3rd row is a little small, but works great for kid"

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

"This is my 2nd CX9 Grand Touring, I LOVE my car!! I traded-down from the Acura MDX which was a great car. I drove the Acura to 100K miles with no problems. The Mazda CX9 had a lot of the bells & whistles w/o the addtl cost as the MDX. I drove the 1st CX9 til 85K miles and traded it in for another one (different color) in 2012. I now have 75K miles and still love my car. With 2 kids and their sports gear and long trips, its very comfortable!. The 3rd seat is a little small but its comfortable for the kids. My other drawback is they don't have a model with the Nav + Sunroof + DVD system - all 3 combined. So I had to add the headrest DVDs for the kids. Never had a problem with either CX9 mechanically. I highly recommend this car. Waiting to see the new 2016 model as the body is changing and they will be making a 4 cyl turbo - which should help with the mileage. Let's see.. stay tuned - new models should be out in the next 30-60 days. Can't wait to test drive this one."

4 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Fantastic crossover

By on Wednesday, April 13, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 133,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "pick up, handling,deep cup holders, bose system"

Cons: "cabin noise, windshield blind spot"

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

"I have owned my CX-9 for over 8 years. I have loved this car since the moment I first drove it. Although it seats seven it handles like a small sports car. It has more power "zoom-zoom" than some 8 cylinder vehicles I have owned in the past. It is excellent when merging onto highways or when entering a busy street when alot of power is needed. It has never not started for me in 8 years. I have driven it in some hairy,snowy conditions and it handles like a pro. The cargo space is great and the 3rd row seats have more room than some 3rd rows I have seen. The cabin noise is a bit noiser than some other cars and I do find a terrible blind spot at the angle of the drivers side windshield( which took some getting used to)but overall I have loved this car and am looking on purchasing another very soon."

2 people out of 4 found this review helpful

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."

19 people out of 33 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."

13 people out of 17 found this review helpful

Share this page
Advertisement
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?

Advertisement