KBB Editors' Overview
By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 10/25/2013
The 2014 CX-9 is Mazda's largest model, a 3-row, 7-passenger sport-utility vehicle. Despite its SUV status, it remains a Mazda, meaning it's actually fun to drive. Thanks to a powerful V6 engine and dynamic handling, the Mazda CX-9 stands out from competitors such as the Ford Explorer, Chevrolet Traverse, Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot and Nissan Pathfinder because it feels more like a nimble sports sedan than a pragmatic people-mover. Even the Mazda's swoopy styling conveys motion and stands in contrast to blockier or bloated designs. That styling does sacrifice some interior room, however, and though Mazda's invigorating powertrain still holds its own, the fresher setups in some of the CX-9's rivals are more fuel efficient.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you need a vehicle that can haul up to seven people, yet your heart yearns for a car that's fun to drive, the Mazda CX-9 deserves your attention.
You May Not Like This Car If...
If you intend to regularly carry adults in the 3rd-row seats, the larger Chevrolet Traverse offers more room, while better fuel economy can be had in the freshly revamped Nissan Pathfinder. Both can also go beyond the CX-9's 3,500-pound tow limit.
What's New for 2014
The CX-9 mostly carries over for 2014. Slight changes include updated wheels and the addition of rear cross-traffic alert on Touring and Grand Touring models.
Most large SUVs are not known for spirited acceleration or the ability to carve corners. The 2014 Mazda CX-9 is a welcome exception. Press that right pedal, and you'll be pleasantly surprised at how quickly the Mazda's 273-horsepower V6 gets this SUV up to speed. That potency inspires confidence when entering freeways or getting around slower traffic. More significantly, the CX-9 doesn't just excel in a straight line. The most surprising aspect about the big Mazda's driving manners is its ability to corner like a smaller vehicle. Most buyers of a family SUV will crave comfort, though, and the CX-9 delivers here, too. In everyday driving, the Mazda is quiet, comfortable and easy to maneuver. Like other 3-row SUVs, visibility to the rear quarters is hampered. Here the standard blind-spot monitoring system on Touring and Grand Touring models helps greatly.
REAR CROSS-TRAFFIC ALERT
This safety system that's new for 2014 alerts drivers to vehicles approaching from behind and perpendicular to the car. This feature is especially helpful when backing out of busy parking lots.
FLEXIBLE 2ND-ROW SEAT
In addition to folding in a 60/40 split, the 2nd-row bench seat in the CX-9 slides, reclines and offers easy access to the third row via a 1-handed release. This all makes for better overall passenger comfort and great cargo flexibility.
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