CX-9 nearing retirement, but still a standout in its segment


April 22—“Leave You Wanting More”

It’s an old showbiz adage that it’s best to bow before the audience gets bored with your performance.

Despite its age (the current platform dates back to 2016), it’s notable because Mazda’s popular CX-9 is preparing to “finish off stage” after the 2023 model year. To do. His three-row crossover segment for families.

Suffice it to say that the CX-9 says “Goodbye, goodbye, goodnight” to the market and is on its way to the curtain call.

But the spirit of the CX-9 reportedly lives on in its replacement, the bigger and more luxurious 2024 CX-90, which basically stands for “more” in the showbiz maxim. I’m here. I will report on the CX-90 as soon as it becomes available.

In the meantime, we were able to score our last long-range encounter with a top-of-the-line 2023 CX-9. This carried Coles and many of their belongings across the river and through the woods, visiting with family over Easter weekend. Kentucky. With a total of about 1,300 miles round trip and nearly 20 hours of driving time for him, it was the perfect time to get acquainted with Mazda’s biggest outgoing crossover.

Eight years after the current generation was introduced, its basic shape and mechanical details haven’t changed much, but the CX-9 is one of the more sophisticated crossovers on the market. Other manufacturers have stepped up their game in this regard lately, but I think Mazda more or less stands out by creating shapely sheet metal and top-notch interiors for the mainstream crossover segment. It is no exaggeration to say that

The 2023 CX-9 comes in five trim levels (Touring, Touring Plus, Carbon Edition, Grand Touring and Signature), all powered by a turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-4 engine that produces 227 horsepower and 320 ft-lbs of torque. Demonstrate. All-wheel drive is standard, as is a six-speed automatic transmission.

Pricing for the Touring CX-9 starts just north of the 40 Grand and includes a set of 18″ alloy wheels, keyless entry and ignition, electric rear lift gate and sunroof, leather upholstery and second row captain’s chairs. . Up to 6 passengers, 3-zone climate control, multiple USB ports, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone apps, 10.25-inch infotainment interface with console-mounted controls, wireless charging pad, suite of safety features detection systems, etc.

Increasing the trim level adds larger wheels, a special paint and appearance package (especially the Carbon Edition), ventilated front seats, a digital instrument cluster, premium audio, heads-up display, traffic sign recognition and more.

A top-of-the-line signature-trimmed CX-9 ticked every box on Mazda’s wish list. All of the above plus a set of 20-inch polished aluminum alloy wheels, rain-sensing wipers, Nappa leather trim seats with quilted stitching, 12-speaker Bose audio, wood interior trim, 360-degree exterior camera array, and more . The base asking price of $48,460 increased to $50,330 with shipping and specialty paint charges.

The CX-9 has a new exterior and a cabin design that is close to luxury, using plenty of high-quality materials that are pleasant to the touch. Instrumentation and controls are presented logically and attractively. The LED infotainment interface sits high on the dashboard and is controlled by a console-mounted dial, which takes a little getting used to, but it’s actually more than a traditional touchscreen that collects fingerprints. Excellent.

The smooth-rolling Turbo 4 engine provides enough acceleration (reported 0-60 mph time in 7 seconds) to traverse the mountains of Maryland and West Virginia, and it’s fast 26 mpg on the road was also decent. Handling feels crisp with good steering feedback and strong braking. The large 20-inch wheels make road noise quite noticeable on rough surfaces, but overall his CX-9 made long trips quick and comfortable.

Over the years, the Cole family grew from two adults and two children to four full-sized humans. That said, the CX-9 provided plenty of space for everyone to create their own space. However, I would have liked a little more front legroom, more legroom on the driver’s side, and a slightly lower seat position.

At 14.4 cubic feet, the cargo hold is small compared to current competitors, but with the second and third rows stowed it becomes a more convenient 71.2 cubic feet. A properly equipped CX-9 can tow 3,500 pounds.

JOHN COLE reviews cars for The Times-Tribune. When he’s not driving, he drives Penn behind Times-Tribune editorial cartoons. Please contact

JOHN COLE reviews cars for The Times-Tribune. When he’s not driving, he drives Penn behind Times-Tribune editorial cartoons. Please contact

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