2023 Mazda CX-9 Review

2023 Mazda CX-9 Review
  • Stylish exterior
  • Equally appealing interior
  • Good safety record
  • More fun than many rivals
  • Standard AWD
  • Horrendous infotainment
  • Tight third row
  • Turbo-4 lacks refinement
  • So-so warranty
  • This year, the base CX-9 Touring does everything we need for just $40,000 or so.

The 2023 Mazda CX-9 is a sporty three-row SUV, for drivers who prioritize fun over interior space and practicality.

What kind of vehicle is the 2023 Mazda CX-9? What does it compare to?
With three rows of seats, the 2023 Mazda CX-9 can square off against the Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot, among many other three-row crossover SUVs. 

Is the 2023 Mazda CX-9 a good SUV?
It’s a driver-focused crossover SUV, which may or may not be what your family needs. Cargo and third-row space are below average, but the 2023 CX-9 is priced well, beautifully appointed inside, and polished to drive. It’s a conundrum, earning a 6.2 out of 10 on the TCC scale.

What's new for the 2023 Mazda CX-9?
Mazda dropped the base CX-9 trim level this year, so the lineup now starts just north of $40,000—a $5,000 hike from 2022. At least that money buys a pretty well-equipped crossover SUV. 
2023 Mazda CX-9 Review

The CX-9 has been around for a while in its current form, so its sleek, mega-CX-5 styling may seem familiar. It’s still a good-looking vehicle, with a broad grille up front and narrow headlights that give way to curvy but not voluptuous lines from the side. There’s not a wasted surface here.

Inside, the CX-9 packs a big 10.3-inch display, but it’s not a touchscreen and it’s controlled by a fiddly center console knob. Standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility helps a little, but even then basic tasks are tedious. 

The 227-hp 2.5-liter turbo-4 offers circa-2005 power sent to all four wheels via a circa-2005 6-speed automatic transmission. Handling is a bright point, but power is not. The CX-9 feels labored with a full load of passengers aboard. Its turbo-4 pumps out 250 hp on pricier premium fuel, though that’s only a minor upgrade. 

It may not be quick, but it’s quite nice from the driver’s seat. The cabin features nice materials assembled with care as well as comfortable front and second-row seats. The third row is only for kids, something we can’t say about similarly priced rivals from Toyota and Subaru. Cargo space is ample, though again competitors go a step farther with more space. 

Excellent crash-test scores from the NHTSA and the IIHS are serious selling points, though, and the entire lineup comes with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitors, and active lane control. 

How much does the 2023 Mazda CX-9 cost?
The deletion of the base Sport trim this year means the base CX-9 now costs $40,025. That’s a lot of money, but it does buy standard all-wheel drive, leather seats, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and a host of crash-avoidance features. 

The trim CX-9 lineup tops out about $10,000 higher for the Signature, which wears softer leather, real wood, and a Bose audio. It’s almost a luxury SUV. 
2023 Mazda CX-9 Review

Where is the 2023 Mazda CX-9 made?
In Japan.


The 2023 Mazda CX-9 is a cut above the typical family-oriented crossover SUV.

Is the Mazda CX-9 a good-looking car?
It’s a great choice if you want to stand out in the carpool lineup. The 2023 Mazda CX-9 is a stylish vehicle, with sporty lines and a gorgeous interior. It’s an 8 on the TCC scale, with two points above average for its exterior and one for its cabin. 

Subtly curvy, the 2023 CX-9 boasts a big shield-like grille up front surrounded by narrow headlights. A smattering of brightwork up front is repeated at the rear, one of few styling flourishes you’ll find here. 
2023 Mazda CX-9 Review

The CX-9 eschews hard edges for soft curves, and hints of unpainted plastic give it a hint of ruggedness—but this SUV has a low enough stance that it won’t be confused with anything from the Jeep lineup. It’s particularly gorgeous in extra-cost Soul Red. 

Inside, the CX-9 is simple and elegant, especially in range-topping Signature trim. The purposeful dash is low and light on knobs and buttons, admittedly to the detriment of its infotainment interface. The chunky, three-spoke steering wheel and crystal clear gauges tell us everything we need to know: the CX-9 was built to be driven.


The 2023 Mazda CX-9 is a lot of fun to drive, but it won’t win a drag race.

Mazda bills itself as a builder of sporty cars, and the CX-9 delivers—to a degree. Its polished handling overcomes its mediocre acceleration. We score it 6 out of 10. 

Is the Mazda CX-9 4WD?
Yes, all-wheel drive is standard. Don’t take the CX-9 off-road, though, as its long overhangs mean it isn’t meant for serious four-wheeling. 
2023 Mazda CX-9 Review

How fast is the Mazda CX-9?
With regular unleaded, its 2.5-liter turbo-4 puts out 227 hp. Another 23 hp appears with costlier premium fuel. Either way, the turbo-4 furnishes acceptable but hardly blistering acceleration. The smooth 6-speed automatic transmission is a classy operator, but its lack of cogs against rivals with eight or 10 speeds means lower fuel economy and occasional out-of-breath moments.

The turbo-4 thrums at idle and snarls underway, never feeling as relaxed as some competitors’ 6-cylinders. 

Offsetting its pokiness is a combination of terrific steering feel and planted, balanced handling. The thick steering wheel serves up limited feel but boasts predictable heft and admirable accuracy. Even on the base 18-inch wheels, grip is terrific. Those smaller wheels (all but the base version ride on 20-inchers) furnish the best ride quality, though every CX-9 is controlled and comfortable. With composure more akin to a mid-size sedan than a big SUV, the CX-9 eagerly rips down winding roads yet maintains its line well on windy roads at high speed.

Comfort & Quality

The 2023 Mazda CX-9 is a two-row SUV with an occasional-use third row.

If you regularly need three rows of seats, keep shopping. The Mazda CX-9 is a comfortable, well-equipped SUV with plenty of space for four, but not a lot more. It’s a 7 on the TCC scale thanks to good comfort up front and a big cargo area. Most rivals offer more real-world third-row space, though.

The front seats include standard power adjustment for the driver and heating for both occupants. They’re firm but supportive. Row two includes captain’s chairs on most versions, which are accessed via wide-opening doors. The third row is a challenge to reach and offers limited room once aboard. Think Spirit Airlines-grade space, except a higher likelihood of reaching your destination on time. 

Cargo space is on the small side for a three-row SUV but still plentiful. There’s 14.4 cubic feet of space behind row three, which grows to 38.2 cubes behind the second row and tops out at 71.2 cubic feet of maximum cargo capacity.
2023 Mazda CX-9 Review

Where the CX-9 really shines is in its interior trim. Standard leather this year can be upgraded to soft nappa hides with real wood trim accents, something not often seen in mass-market brands.


Top crash-test scores make the 2023 Mazda CX-9 a very safe choice.

How safe is the Mazda CX-9?
All signs point to a safe three-row crossover SUV. 

The 2023 Mazda CX-9 scores an 8 from us thanks to top marks from the IIHS and the NHTSA plus a good array of standard fare.
2023 Mazda CX-9 Review

Every version comes with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitors, and active lane control. If a crash is unavoidable, the IIHS says the CX-9 holds up well enough to earn a Top Safety Pick+ score and the NHTSA rates it at five stars overall. 

Demerits include mediocre over-the-shoulder vision and a four-star frontal rating from the feds.


The 2023 Mazda CX-9 would score well for features if only the automaker would revamp its infotainment system.

A truly disastrous infotainment system holds the 2023 Mazda CX-9 back, even though it’s a decent value for what it is. It would earn points for base equipment and overall value for the money, but it loses one for the 10.3-inch touchscreen that requires inputs via a frustrating center console knob. The 2023 CX-9 is a 6 on the TCC scale for features. 

The CX-9 Sport costs $40,025 this year, which is a lot for a base three-row SUV but still a decent value given its standard fare. You’ll find crash-avoidance and driver-assistance tech, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, leather seats that are heated and power-adjustable up front, a wireless charging pad, a power tailgate, a sunroof, and 18-inch alloy wheels, plus standard all-wheel drive.

Mazda’s 3-year/36,000-mile warranty is nothing special, though.
2023 Mazda CX-9 Review

Which Mazda CX-9 should I buy?
The base version is our choice, but we can’t blame you for stepping up to the $42,775 Touring Plus. It adds 20-inch alloy wheels, cooled front seats, a second-row console, and more USB ports. 

How much is a fully loaded Mazda CX-9?
The CX-9 lineup tops out at $49,735 for the Signature, which comes with a surround-view camera system, Bose audio, a heated steering wheel, nappa leather, and real wood trim. It’s kitted out better than some rivals costing way, way more. 

Fuel Economy

The 2023 Mazda CX-9 is a guzzler.

Is the Mazda CX-9 good on gas?
It’s not a particularly frugal choice. Our 2 out of 10 rating comes courtesy EPA estimates of 20 mpg city, 26 highway, 23 combined. Regular fuel is acceptable, but running more expensive premium unleaded unlocks an additional 23 hp.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
2023 Mazda CX-9 Review 2023 Mazda CX-9 Review Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on November 11, 2022 Rating: 5


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