A full-sized crossover sport utility vehicle, the Mazda CX-9 debuted in 2006 as a 2007 model. It’s been refreshed and tweaked along the way. But the original generation of the three-row, seven-passenger sport utility vehicle for 2015 remains largely unchanged from last year.

The Weekly Driver Test Drive

The 2015 Mazda CX-9 is offered in Sport, Touring and Grand Touring trims, and my weekly driver was the top-line Grand Touring option with front-wheel drive. It’s available with all-wheel drive and a towing package.

Like all Mazdas, the CX-9 has a long list of standard features. The Sport model’s equipment includes: 18-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, three-zone automatic climate control, a tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel, a height-adjustable driver seat, cloth upholstery, a 5.8-inch touchscreen central display, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, HD radio, Pandora radio capability, a USB/iPod interface and an auxiliary audio jack.

Packaged as an option are heated mirrors, heated front seats and an eight-way power-adjustable driver seat with power lumbar.
As the luxury trim, the Grand Touring model features: 20-inch wheels, xenon headlights, LED running lights, foglights, automatic wipers, a power liftgate, upgraded exterior and interior trim, keyless ignition and entry, driver memory functions and an auto-dimming rearview mirrors.

 

The 2015 Mazda CX-9 has a spacious interior.
The 2015 Mazda CX-9 debuted as a 2007 model. Images © James Raia/2015

Most options are bundled into packages. For the Grand Touring trim, my weekly driver included the rear-seat entertainment package that comes with a DVD player, a 9-inch screen, an 11-speaker Bose surround system, satellite radio (available separately), the navigation system and a 115-volt power outlet.

The Mazda CX-9 is powered by a 3.7-liter V6 that produces 273 horsepower and it’s matched with a six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control. It’s that configuration that translates into one of the vehicle’s strong points. It shouldn’t be mistake as a sports car on any level, but for its segment, the Mazda CX-9 is sporty. It accelerated with authority and offered a steady, if slightly noisy ride, particularly at freeway speeds.

In the second and third row, passengers have ample room and ride in comfort. The front and second rows have leather seating, further adding to the comfort while transporting a family on vacation, or a youth soccer team to practice.

Likes:

Powerful engine gets the job done.

Spacious interior in all three rows.

Easy access to third row.

Dislikes:

Not the most quiet ride.

Tom-Tom navigation system not intuitive.

An upgraded interior is due.

Facts & Figures: 2015 Mazda CX-9

Acceleration: 0-60 mph, 7.5 seconds.
Airbags: 6.
Fuel economy: 17 mpg (city), 24 mpg (highway), 19 mpg (combined) six-speed automatic transmission.
Horsepower: 273.
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $35,035.00
Manufacturer’s Web site: www.mazda.com.
Price As Tested: $38,400.00.
Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 3 years/36,000 miles; Powertrain, 6 years/60,000 miles; Corrosion, 5 years/unlimited miles; Roadside Assistance, 3 years/36,000 miles.

What Others Say:

“As is often the case with Mazda vehicles, the CX-9 three-row crossover is the sports car of its competitive set. Along with engaging dynamics, it offers plentiful cargo space and a versatile, well-designed cabin.” — Left Lane News.

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

“Beyond its sleek styling and firm suspension, the CX-9’s popularity is bolstered by its reasonable price, an extensive list of comfort and safety features and a strong reputation for reliability and resale. If the CX-9 has one shortfall, it may be the limited cargo space offered when the third-row seat is in use. This is a problem that plagues many 3-row SUVs, so we can’t really ding Mazda for it.” — Auto Trader.

The Weekly Driver’s Final Words:

“The Mazda CX-9 needs a redesign. But in its current edition, it’s a fairly priced seven-passenger people mover with a strong engine, a spacious interior and lots of safety and comfort features.”

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