2011 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring AWD Review – Zoom-Zoom for 7?

Expert Reviews Mazda

2011 Mazda CX-9

Interior Comfort and Ergonomics

The CX-9 has a long list of standard equipment that one expects on a $40,000 crossover vehicle nowadays, from heated front seats and side mirrors to steering wheel mounted controls. The 8-way power driver seat and Bluetooth® are also standard. Also standard are some not-so-common features, like the separate rear seat climate control unit with top and bottom vents, a nice touch rarely seen on a sub-$40,000 vehicle.

Keyless entry and start button is also standard, as is leather trimmed seats. The seats are comfortable and firm, and the second row seats slide back and forth to give more legroom to the third row seats. Even with the third row seats up, there is still decent luggage room in the back. It is quite easy to slide the second row seats forward to access the third row, with a huge lever on the side of the second row seats and there’s another lever to fold them flat for more cargo room.

2011 Mazda CX-9 front bucket seats are power adjustable

Our tester has the optional moonroof/Bose 10-speaker package, rounding out a nice long list of amenities. The interior materials feel a bit cheap on a $40,000 car, however, and the design and layout looks just like any other Mazda. But this is the top-of-the-line Mazda. The one major complaint I have about the interior is the angle of the navigation screen. It is slanted at an angle that makes it impossible to read in direct sunlight. The funny thing is that there is a tilt option to adjust the screen, but it tilts it in the wrong direction, making it even harder to read.


The CX-9 base Sport trim starts at $29k and has the same 3.7 liter V6 and has FWD. The mileage is slightly better at 17 city/24 highway, while the AWD version gets 16/22. The tester is a Grand Touring edition with AWD and the optional features MSRPs at an even $40,000. These prices are in the same range as the CX-9’s major competitors such as the Ford Explorer, Toyota Highlander, the Chevy Traverse, and the Hyundai Veracruz. The Mazda is the best looker of the bunch, but the styling is starting to feel stale.

Mazda CX-9 navigation system

More Stylish Than a Minivan

If you need a 7-passenger vehicle but don’t want to the bulk and poor fuel efficiency of a full-size SUV, and you hate to be seen driving around a minivan, then a mid- to full-size crossover SUV is your best bet. You don’t get as much storage room as the full-size SUV and you don’t get the convenience of power sliding doors on the minivan, but at least you look more stylish. And if style is important to you, then the Mazda CX-9 should definitely be on the top of your consideration set.

RATING 4.5 4.0 4.0 4.5 4.5 4.0 4.25/B+

2010 Mazda CX-9 2010 Mazda CX-9 Review
Rating: 3.75 stars
By Gary Chan 

“My overall impression of the CX-9 is that it is an easy vehicle to drive. As a driver, you won’t have to put much effort into the driving process which is a great vehicle quality for those looking for such in a crossover vehicle.”

2008 Mazda CX-9 2008 Mazda CX-9 – the Zoom, zoom, zoom SUV!
Rating: 4.75 stars
By Holly R. 

“The “Touring Edition” has all the bling: 20″ wheels, leather interior, navigation system, 6-disc CD changer, heated seats, back-up assist camera and on and on. It was actually pretty “hot” looking for a 7-passenger SUV.”

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