2021 Mazda CX-9 review: High style with tradeoffs

Mazda’s CX-nine is nevertheless a looker.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

Think it or not, the second-era Mazda CX-nine is currently 6 many years outdated. But it nevertheless appears thoroughly clean and fresh new, and its driving dynamics also carry on to produce. Even so, 6 many years is a extended time in the automotive globe, which is why Mazda gave the CX-nine some styling and tech updates for 2021 to enable hold it appropriate.

Really don’t Like

  • Coarse motor
  • So-so infotainment
  • Considerably less cargo house than rivals

Nip and tuck

In the scenario of my variety-topping CX-nine Signature check car or truck, 2021 delivers a trio of exterior modifications. The grille is now concluded in Titanium Gray Metallic, there are bigger exhaust stores all around again and the complete bundle rides on new 20-inch Amazing Silver wheels. None of the modifications are earth-shattering — especially the bland 10-spoke wheels — but the CX-9’s style and design stays handsome over-all.

Slide into the Signature’s cabin and you might be greeted with an attractive, simple dash created from some definitely handsome elements. The dash and door panel toppers are smooth to the touch, the difficult plastics on lessen portions are perfectly concluded and the Santos rosewood trim will make the complete inside seem top quality. In addition, the initially- and second-row Nappa leather seats get new diamond-quilted bolsters and contrasting piping, though the serious aluminum accent trim now sports activities a patterned finish.

Those updates be part of the other top quality fixings in the CX-nine Signature, such as 3-stage heated and cooled entrance seats, heated second-row captain’s chairs and a smooth, leather-wrapped, heated steering wheel. There is also a conventional sized moonroof, which will disappoint supporters of gargantuan panoramic glass tops, as Mazda won’t provide a person of all those.

Place in entrance is generous with cozy and supportive entrance buckets, massive door panel compartments and a sizable middle armrest. The middle row captain’s chairs are on the flat facet with more than enough house for grown ups, but the rearmost seats are incredibly comfortable. Head- and legroom for any person above five ft, 6 inches tall is fundamentally nonexistent, but at the very least there are cup holders and a pair of USB ports again there for any little ones you deliver along.

In the cargo house group, the CX-nine falls driving its level of competition. With all seats deployed, you can find 14.four cubic ft driving the third row, which grows to seventy one.two cubic ft when both equally rear rows are folded. In comparison, driving the rearmost seats, the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander provide sixteen cubic ft of storage house, though the Kia Telluride options a hearty 21 cubic ft. With the two again rows flipped down the Honda (eighty two.one cubic ft), Kia (87 cubic ft) and Toyota (eighty four.3 cubic ft) all dwarf the Mazda.

The CX-9’s inside build high-quality and elements are truly outstanding.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

Major monitor tech

The most noteworthy update to Mazda’s most important crossover is the addition of a 10.3-inch middle infotainment monitor. The huge screen arrives conventional on all CX-nine models, giving crisp resolution and satisfactory graphics, but this nevertheless isn’t really a touchscreen, so you can have to fidget with the middle console controller to enter locations into the Signature’s conventional navigation method.

Even without touchscreen abilities, Mazda Hook up is a relatively intuitive interface, running a twelve-speaker Bose audio set up, satellite radio, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi hotspot. If you dread Mazda’s tech, and some on the Roadshow team do, you can opt to hand infotainment controls in excess of to possibly Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

The CX-nine absolutely won’t deficiency electric power details, with a wi-fi charge pad positioned at the foundation of the middle console, USB charge ports inside of effortless access of all 3 rows of seats and twelve-volt stores in the entrance and trunk spot.

A 10.3-inch infotainment monitor is now conventional on every single CX-nine.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

On the driver-guidance tech entrance, every single CX-nine arrives with adaptive cruise regulate, computerized emergency braking, lane-preserving aid and blind-place monitoring with rear cross-visitors notify. My Signature tester’s security tech menu is beefed up further more with entrance and rear parking sensors, a head-up screen, visitors indicator recognition and a 360-degree digicam method with respectable graphic high-quality. 

The class athlete 

Each individual CX-nine is enthusiastic by a two.five-liter turbocharged I4. When running 93-octane gasoline, the huge-block four presents up 250 horsepower and 320 pound-ft of torque, with the latter on the net at two,five hundred rpm. Jogging typical 87-octane gas is also probable, but output drops to 227 hp and 310 lb-ft. Possibly way, the CX-nine feels downright lively in Activity method when accelerating away from stops, and carries on to pull sturdy through the middle of the rev variety, generating effortless operate of passing slower visitors and seamlessly merging on to expressways.

Functioning with the CX-9’s motor is a 6-velocity computerized transmission, which is archaic by modern benchmarks given the proliferation of eight-, 9- and 10-velocity gearboxes. In operation, while, you can find not substantially to complain about with the 6-velocity, as it delivers easy, perfectly-timed cog exchanges and it will help return class aggressive EPA-approximated gasoline economy figures of 20 mpg in the metropolis and 26 mpg on the freeway.

The turbo four presents hundreds of small-close torque, but appears raspy.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

The Mazda’s drivetrain, however, is on the coarser facet of the sound spectrum and slight vibrations are detectable when you wind points up toward the engine’s 6,300-rpm redline. The CX-nine presents up some in towing as opposed to its V6 rivals way too, with a 3,five hundred-pound ability. The all-wheel-push Pilot, Telluride and Highlander can all pull five,000 kilos.

Down the highway, the CX-9’s trip is buttoned-up, with the suspension taking the edge off smaller to medium impacts, and the cabin stays impressively hushed from frustrating highway and wind noises. Toss this crossover into a corner and its physique motions are constantly saved in verify, with just the slightest dive underneath braking and lean at flip-in before hunkering down and running via turns. The 20-inch Bridgestone Ecopia H/L 422 Additionally tires provide a good deal of grip. Incorporate in responsive and perfectly-weighted steering along with stout, effortless-to-modulate brakes and you have a 3-row crossover that presents the sportiest reflexes in its class.

Major 20-inch wheels and tires add to the CX-9’s assured managing.

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How I would spec it

The Signature variation of the CX-nine pictured here is a pricey fella, stickering for $forty eight,575 as examined. Thoughts you, it is packed to the gills with conventional all-wheel push, a fancy Nappa leather inside and all the driver-guidance know-how you could want, but I would be prepared to give up some goodies for a softer blow to the bank account. 

For my build, I would begin with an all-wheel-push Touring design that starts at $39,025, which includes $one,one hundred seventy five for spot. This trim arrives conventional with eighteen-inch wheels, a leather inside and heated entrance seats, and must-have options like blind-place monitoring and LED headlights occur equipped on all CX-9s. I would then plunk down for the $395 Snowflake White Pearl Mica paint task and $two,060 for the Touring Quality Package, generally for the Bose sound method, satellite radio, entrance and rear parking sensors and wi-fi cellphone charger. All in, my ideal Mazda rings in at a far more reasonable $forty one,480. 

This CX-nine Signature will established you again $forty eight,575.

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Variety and performance in excess of operate

The 2021 Mazda CX-nine starts at $35,335 which includes spot with entrance-wheel push, placing it suitable in the very same ballpark as Honda, Kia and Toyota. Upgrading to all-wheel push tacks on an supplemental $one,900. Though the CX-nine won’t provide as substantially operate as its rivals, the Mazda packs a healthier dollop of design, a truly top quality inside and tighter managing chops than the some others. If all those psychological qualities are more than enough to seem previous the cramped third row and cargo house, I wouldn’t blame you. But if they aren’t more than enough to outweigh the deficiencies in practicality, I wouldn’t blame you for looking elsewhere, possibly.