In the automotive industry, minor improvements often come in the form of performance, handling and design — all things synonymous with Mazda. So when the manufacturer’s engineering and product marketing divisions began to discuss minor refreshes for the 2010 CX-9, they quickly realized the difficulty of the task.
Quickly successful when it first debut in 2007, the CX-9 raised the standard for three-row crossover SUVs. From its dynamic styling and safety to versatility and performance, Mazda’s flagship crossover SUV continues to impress automotive critics and customers is its fourth year of production.
For the 2010 model year, the CX-9 receives a significant exterior and interior facelift, added options and reinforced safety features.
Many mid-sized crossover SUVs strive for the utilitarian look. The Mazda CX-9, however, is designed to evoke a strong pride of ownership. Without sacrificing versatility or efficiency, the CX-9 strives for the sophisticated appearance of a vehicle costing two to three times as much. Its smooth and flowing silhouette, prominent wheels and tires, muscular fenders and steeply angled windshield give the CX-9 a dramatic-but-refined look.
The Mazda CX-9’s front end is unmistakably Mazda, with its elegantly sculpted sporty five-point grille and wide, bold bumper. A horizontal streak of chrome floats on the front grille bar, giving a distinctive and high-quality feel. Side windows form a flowing, open and modern greenhouse, allowing clear vision from all seating positions. The unique, trapezoid, dual chrome exhaust pipes accentuate the fine detail put into the design.
The exterior of the CX-9 is sleek and sophisticated for 2010. Key enhancements include:
New family face features including a bolder five-point grille, radiator grille, front combination lamps and fog lamps; Larger, more aerodynamic side mirrors; Rear garnish, which complements the look of the front fascia design; Rear combination lamps that mimic the same Nagare-inspired texture as front lamps, while incorporating a new red lens at the bottom to show stability; New exterior color – Dolphin Gray.
Inside the CX-9, the driver is greeted by a neatly organized combination of cylindrical shapes and blacked-out instruments on a T-shaped instrument panel. Brightly edged gauges and indirect blue illumination set a cool mood. Indirect lighting also is embedded in the ceiling for a warm glow. Horizontal elements in areas such as the center panel, door trim and seat design intersect with vertical accents to create the same harmony present in fine furniture.
New for 2010, upscale interior appointments further enhance the level of quality and sophistication CX-9 customers have come to expect, while maintaining the basic styling theme of the outgoing model. Enhancements include:
Chrome accents on center IP, A/C controls, automatic transmission lever knob, vent louver knobs, inner door handles and door trim; New fabric seating surfaces; Piano-black insets on steering wheel and around audio display; Smooth leather and subtle stitching on seating surfaces offer a more quality-feel (standard on Touring and Grand Touring models); High-density fabric provides richer look and softer touch for cloth seats (Sport models); New double-lid design center console allows for ease of opening and has ample storage for up to four DVDs and nine CDs.
Powered by 3.7-liter V6 engine with 273 horsepower, the 2010 Mazda CX-9 has standard front-wheel drive and is offered in three trim levels: Sport, Touring and Grand Touring. All models include air conditioning, power windows, power door locks with remote keyless entry, trip computer, cruise control, six air bags, Bluetooth, phone capability and a choice of black or beige interior hues.
The CX-9 Sport is equipped with 18-inch aluminum wheels and tires, halogen headlamps, Bluetooth, hands-free phone capability and cloth upholstery. Power front seat adjusters are optional. Stepping up to the Touring model adds leather seat trim, power front-seat adjusters.
Warranties for the 2010 Mazda CX9, include: a comprehensive three-year/36,000-mile warranty covers every part on the vehicle except those subject to normal wear; five-year/60,000 mile powertrain and a five-year/unlimited-mileage corrosion and 24-hour roadside assistance warranty.
Article Last Updated: February 14, 2010.
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A sports, travel and business journalist for more than 45 years, James has written the new car review column The Weekly Driver since 2004.
In addition to this site, James writes a Sunday automotive column for The San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., and a monthly auto review column for Gulfshore Business, a magazine in Southwest Florida.
An author and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and online publications, James has co-hosted The Weekly Driver Podcast since 2017.