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2015 Mazda CX-9

Overview
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2015 Mazda CX-9 Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.3

The 2015 Mazda CX-9 is the company's largest model, a 3-row, 7-passenger crossover SUV designed to go head-to-head against the likes of the Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, Ford Explorer, Nissan Pathfinder and many others. However, the Mazda CX-9 does this with something special up its sleeve: Mazda-ness. That means it's designed to be fun to drive, and while it definitely has a leg up on competitors like the Highlander and the Chevrolet Traverse, the reality is that the CX-9 has been around since the 2007 model year, and its age is starting to show in the way it's equipped and packaged, and in fuel economy. Nonetheless, the CX-9 boasts a powerful V6 engine and enough visual punch to stand out from its competition.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you need the 7-passenger hauling of a 3-row midsize SUV, but you refuse to blend in with the crowd, the 2015 Mazda CX-9 presents a nicely styled alternative to mainstream offerings.

You May Not Like This Car If...

The Mazda CX-9 doesn't offer many features found in competitors, like adaptive cruise control, and the third row is definitely kids-only. There are also other SUVs that offer notably more towing capacity than the 3,500-pound limit.

What's New for 2015

Not much has changed for the 2015 Mazda CX-9. A new Titanium Flash color joins the palette, and a new Recreational Accessory Package adds roof rails, cross bars, a cargo net and stainless-steel rear bumper guard to certain combinations in Touring and Grand Touring models.

Driving the CX-9
Driving Impressions

The Mazda CX-9 used to be the "fun" choice for 3-row crossover-SUV buyers, a characteristic backed up by its style, its powerful V6 engine and its sharp handling. However, time...

... has marched on, and many of the Mazda CX-9's competitors have undergone a full redesign since this big Mazda entered the market for the 2007 model year, and some models like the Ford Flex even have a fun-to-drive advantage. The Mazda's heavy steering builds effort nicely in corners, and while the CX-9 still holds its own in a corner, the suspension can be stiff around town. That said, this isn't a market segment defined by fun-to-drive vehicles, so the fact that the Mazda CX-9 offers some bite in corners is still a noteworthy difference for SUV buyers. When you're just cruising around town, the CX-9 offers the amenities, quiet and creature comforts you'd expect from this class.

REAR CROSS-TRAFFIC ALERT
New last year, this safety system alerts drivers when a vehicle is about to cross behind the CX-9. Considering the CX-9's thick blind spots, it's especially helpful when backing out of busy parking lots.


FLEXIBLE 2ND-ROW SEAT
The 2015 Mazda CX-9's 2nd-row seat folds in a 60/40 split, pretty common for the class. However, it also reclines and offers easy access to the third row via a 1-handed release. It makes it a lot more flexible, and easier for kids to get to the third row.

2015 Mazda CX-9 Details
2015 Mazda CX-9 photo Interior

The Mazda CX-9’s comfortable interior offers plenty of luxury features, but is starting to look a little dated in some areas. First the good. The driver and front passenger have plenty of space, and the 2nd-row passengers get great leg- and headroom as well. Everything is easy to find and use, and there's decent storage space in the center console bin, glove box and various door-mounted bins. Unfortunately, the navigation system boasts a low-resolution, dated interface; there's little cargo space behind the third row, and that third row is strictly for the under-10 set.

Exterior
2015 Mazda CX-9 photo

While the 2015 Mazda CX-9 may be a familiar face, it has aged very well, and remains one of the more stylish 3-row crossover SUVs you can buy. Design updates have helped, most notably a couple years ago, when the CX-9 got a new grille that brought it more into line with the rest of the Mazda lineup. At the rear are bold red taillights and shiny twin exhaust outlets.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2015 Mazda CX-9 comes in Sport, Touring and Grand Touring models, all offering six airbags, anti-lock brakes and stability and traction controls. Sport models get 3-zone automatic climate control, a 5.8-inch touch-screen infotainment system with a 6-speaker HD Radio, and auxiliary and USB inputs, cruise control, remote keyless entry and 18-inch wheels. Touring models add blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, a rearview camera and leather upholstery with heated power front seats. The Grand Touring models add 3-position-memory to the driver's seat, automatic bi-xenon headlights, power tailgate, rain-sensing wipers, auto-dimming rearview mirror and 20-inch wheels.

Optional Equipment

The most prominent option on all 2015 Mazda CX-9 is swapping the standard front-wheel drive (FWD) with Mazda’s Torque Split All-Wheel-Drive (AWD) system. With the exception of a power driver's seat, that's it for options on Sport models, but Touring and Grand Touring models can be equipped with a navigation system, power moonroof and 10-speaker Bose premium audio system. Grand Touring buyers also can add a rear-seat entertainment system that includes a DVD player and 9-inch screen. A Towing Prep package available on FWD models (standard with AWD) ups the CX-9 towing capacity from 2,000 pounds to 3,500 pounds.

Under the Hood

The 2015 Mazda CX-9 carries on with a 3.7-liter V6 with 273 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque. It's plenty of muscle to get the CX-9 moving briskly, and in all models it's connected to a 6-speed automatic transmission with a manual-shift mode. CX-9s come standard with front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is available and is a smart option if you regularly drive in inclement weather, especially snow. While the engine has plenty of grunt, its fuel economy of 24 mpg on the highway lags many competitors. However, it drinks regular unleaded gasoline.

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

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