2021 Mazda CX-9

2021 CX-9 Photos
So you need a big family SUV, but you really don't want one. You'd definitely miss driving your smaller, sportier car, and frankly, you'd rather not hold a grudge against your kid(s) and significant other for forcing you into some vast, cumbersome beast of an automotive pachyderm. Well, there might be a happy medium: the 2021 Mazda CX-9. The CX-9 may be a three row, seven-passenger crossover, but it prioritizes driving enjoyment and interior ambiance over providing maximum space and practicality. Now that does mean it has less cargo space than those vast, cumbersome beasts and bigger kids will struggle to fit in its third row. It also can seat only seven passengers. In that way, it's better to think of the CX-9 as a two-row SUV with a bonus row for rare occasions. Honestly, that's what most people use their three-row crossovers for anyway, and if that fits your needs, then the CX-9 is a great way to go. It's a rewarding, comfortable and capable people-hauler that doesn’t feel like a punishment for parenting.   What's new for 2021? Though largely unchanged from when this generation debuted for the 2016 model year, the Mazda CX-9 gets a few small but significant enhancements for 2021. Headlining these updates is an all-new infotainment system with a larger screen and more advanced rotary control system. It makes a big difference. Mazda also updated the design of the wheels and grille on the top-end CX-9 Signature, and now offers a Carbon Edition model that slots between the Touring and Grand Touring trims. The Carbon Edition adds "Polymetal Gray" exterior paint, gloss black door mirrors, a unique gloss black front grille and 20-inch black metallic aluminum alloy wheels. Inside, it adds red leather seats and black interior trim on the dash, door panels and handle bezels. What are the CX-9 interior and in-car technology like? The interior varies by trim level, but with Mazda making moves to grab customers from some of the luxury brands on its "path to premium," the higher grades do look and feel like a high-quality, comfortable place to spend time. There are some rally nice materials in use, depending on the trim level, including Nappa leather and something called Santos Rosewood. It's all laid out in a straightforward, traditional way though crafted with care and attention to detail. Mazda's tech interface, which had been a liability in the CX-9, is upgraded for 2021 to the same one featured in the smaller CX-30. The dashtop screen is large and easy to see. The knob that controls it is the same unit as before, but it's still ergonomically placed on the center console, and like BMW's iDrive controller, can rotate through menus or move up/down, left/right among icons. This latter feature is key for using Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Wheeling through playlists or contacts is actually easier with a knob, but selecting icons on the menu screen is time consuming and annoying. So too is going between the Apple/Android interfaces …
Full Review
So you need a big family SUV, but you really don't want one. You'd definitely miss driving your smaller, sportier car, and frankly, you'd rather not hold a grudge against your kid(s) and significant other for forcing you into some vast, cumbersome beast of an automotive pachyderm. Well, there might be a happy medium: the 2021 Mazda CX-9. The CX-9 may be a three row, seven-passenger crossover, but it prioritizes driving enjoyment and interior ambiance over providing maximum space and practicality. Now that does mean it has less cargo space than those vast, cumbersome beasts and bigger kids will struggle to fit in its third row. It also can seat only seven passengers. In that way, it's better to think of the CX-9 as a two-row SUV with a bonus row for rare occasions. Honestly, that's what most people use their three-row crossovers for anyway, and if that fits your needs, then the CX-9 is a great way to go. It's a rewarding, comfortable and capable people-hauler that doesn’t feel like a punishment for parenting.   What's new for 2021? Though largely unchanged from when this generation debuted for the 2016 model year, the Mazda CX-9 gets a few small but significant enhancements for 2021. Headlining these updates is an all-new infotainment system with a larger screen and more advanced rotary control system. It makes a big difference. Mazda also updated the design of the wheels and grille on the top-end CX-9 Signature, and now offers a Carbon Edition model that slots between the Touring and Grand Touring trims. The Carbon Edition adds "Polymetal Gray" exterior paint, gloss black door mirrors, a unique gloss black front grille and 20-inch black metallic aluminum alloy wheels. Inside, it adds red leather seats and black interior trim on the dash, door panels and handle bezels. What are the CX-9 interior and in-car technology like? The interior varies by trim level, but with Mazda making moves to grab customers from some of the luxury brands on its "path to premium," the higher grades do look and feel like a high-quality, comfortable place to spend time. There are some rally nice materials in use, depending on the trim level, including Nappa leather and something called Santos Rosewood. It's all laid out in a straightforward, traditional way though crafted with care and attention to detail. Mazda's tech interface, which had been a liability in the CX-9, is upgraded for 2021 to the same one featured in the smaller CX-30. The dashtop screen is large and easy to see. The knob that controls it is the same unit as before, but it's still ergonomically placed on the center console, and like BMW's iDrive controller, can rotate through menus or move up/down, left/right among icons. This latter feature is key for using Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Wheeling through playlists or contacts is actually easier with a knob, but selecting icons on the menu screen is time consuming and annoying. So too is going between the Apple/Android interfaces …
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Retail Price

$34,160 - $46,805 MSRP / Window Sticker Price
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Engine 2.5L I-4
MPG 22 City / 28 Hwy
Seating 7 Passengers
Transmission 6-spd auto w/OD
Power 227 @ 5000 rpm
Drivetrain front-wheel
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