2016 Mazda CX-9: A Fashionable Family Car

Mazda Cx-9
The Mazda CX-9 is a stylish and affordable crossover photo credit: Jenn Greene

No Sacrificing Style for Space

The 2016 Mazda CX-9 is a premium third row family crossover that lets you have style and space. Mazda believes in the details when it comes to cars and the CX-9 is not lacking, from nappa leather seating to head up display to twelve BOSE speakers for optimum surround sound. And with a price point starting in the low $30s and topping out in the mid $40s, even fully loaded it’s not out of reach.

We got a close look at the CX-9 on a recent trip to Orlando; the CX-9 helped us to get around town to all the attractions in comfort and style.

The 2016 Mazda CX-9 redesigned with muscle and style

As a crossover vehicle, the CX-9 has third row seating but is not a full size SUV. Accommodating both passenger and cargo room often mean it’s tough to make a three-row look sleek and sporty, but Mazda kicked that trend to the curb. I love that the cargo space had enough room for our four–yes four–large pieces of luggage and a carry ons for an extended vacation. I only had to put part of the third row down to fit everything. The exterior has very clean lines with a front end that resembles some muscle cars –not your typical crossover.

Mazda Cx-9

The sleek front end looks more like a sports car than a crossover. Photo: Jenn Greene

No Need for a V-6 Engine with SKYACTIV Technology

The CX-9 features Mazda’s SKYACTIV technology that gets a little more oomph from a smaller engine. The V-6, standard for a crossover this size, was replaced with a 2.5 liter turbo charged 4-cylinder engined, which produced 250 horsepower and felt plenty fast enough. I found it to be quite quick for a crossover vehicle and had to keep an eye on the speedometer, as it gets away fast. Handling is great, responsive for the driver but comfortable for passengers; the CX-9 offers a smooth and seamless ride. Every aspect of the vehicle is engineered to maximize driving dynamics and efficiency. I didn’t notice any difference between the SKYACTIV technology and a traditional V-6 engine, if anything it performed much smoother.

An Interior that makes you say ‘ahhhh’

Mazda has made quite a change with the interior from the old model. The head up display is my favorite option; I love not taking my eyes off the road to look at speed. Also, the large navigation screen is great for those of us that struggle to see tiny screens. The leather seats are sleek and durable, and can handle any spills the kids may throw at it. I look for great leather when I buy my handbags, so why wouldn’t I do the same with my car?

Mazda Cx-9

Sturdy and Comfortable leather interior highlight the CX-9. Photo: Jenn Greene

Safety is big in the Mazda Family

With i-Activsense technology Mazda offers safety features such as backup camera, alerts during driving and distance recognition.

Here is what else you can expect to find in the Mazda CX-9:

  • Distance recognition support: once you reach 19 mph the sensor will ensure you are at a safe distance. If you are too close you will be alerted.
  • Seating for 7 passengers
  • Stability Control
  • Traction Control
  • Adaptive front lighting helps you see around corners at night, with headlights that adjust with the steering

My favorite safety feature was the advanced blind spot monitoring. With luggage stacked to the ceiling it was comforting to have an alert warn me on the side mirrors if a car or truck was close by.

Mazda Cx-9

Good, but not great, fuel economy despite the smaller engine

In some cars the smaller engine with turbo means better fuel economy. The CX-9,  however, performed on par for cars this size. We got around 20 MPG in city driving around Orlando, comparable to many other third row vehicles on the road. But it really is to be expected with 4,300 lbs under your feet.

Maybe its best feature: All this for a very approachable price 

With a price point starts at $31,520 for the sport edition, this is a great vehicle for families without paying the price of a full-sized SUV. Of course, upgrading with all the bells and whistles – and all wheel drive, LED lights, rosewood trim, power lift gate and more – can take the price up past $44,000. But even at the topped out price, it’s a great bargain that leaves you a little extra cash for tooling around Orlando.

Disclosure: Mazda provided the CX-9 for my test drive; opinions expressed here are all my own.

Mom, Wife, Writer and Avid Traveler Jenn wears many hats. She grew up in the car industry and has... More about Jenn Greene