The large Mazda CX-9 crossover is not young: it has been produced for about eight years, and the new Mazda CX-90 model has already been introduced – although it is not a direct descendant, both cars will be produced in parallel. But “the bell rang”, right? Is it possible that this was a wake-up call to the need to buy right here and now? After all, the car is fully ready: past issues have been corrected, and little things have been improved. And what do we have in the end?

Design: large “cross” in corporate style

How to make a large 5-meter crossover light and dynamic from the outside? Ask Mazda CX-9, which multiplies KODO’s signature style by 5 meters in length. Numerous bulges and curves, barely noticeable sharp lines on the doors, headlights, and lights are emphasized by LED circles. There is also a huge radiator grille and wheels with gray paint.

By the way, these details – the grille and wheels – indicate that we have a car with the latest updates. After all, since its debut, the Mazda CX-9 crossover did not receive a classic restyling or facelift, but often received certain small updates for the new model year: interior decoration, new leather on the seats, a changed “climate” unit, the addition of ventilation, an expanded list of equipment…

The main focus is on the radiator grille with double slats and wheel rims: these are the details that give fresh updates to the second-generation Mazda CX-9, which was presented at the end of 2015. From that time until now, the general design and dimensions have not changed: length – 5.075 meters; width – 1.97 meters; height – 1.75 meters; wheelbase – 2.93 meters. The clearance is declared at the level of 220 mm, and the minimum equipped weight is 1960 kg. By the way, for the first time, the Mazda CX-9 model appeared in 2007, and it is then that the main concept was formed: it is a large family crossover with a spacious 3-row salon.

Is the interior spacious enough? Yes, “enough”: given the 5-meter length, it cannot be otherwise. However, in front, the driver and passenger are separated by a massive central console, which somewhat limits the feeling of space in width. And in the back part of the interior, sometimes you want to move the second row of seats a little further to the third and the trunk to gain more legroom. No, no, get it right: there is enough space in the back even for large adults who will sit there comfortably. But if you move the second row, they could half-lie there.

However, what makes the interior of the Mazda CX-9 definitely good is the sophisticated style and quality of finishing materials: almost “premium”. Soft leather on the seats with nice decorative stitching, dark wood trim, and for dessert, a minimal but noticeable shiny chrome decoration.

And the Mazda CX-9 crossover seems to attract with attention to details and even some real “home comfort”. For example, the “climate” unit is made with traditional buttons and switches. The niche under it is deep and with wireless charging. The instrument panel successfully combines a 7-inch display and classic indicators with arrows. Add chrome and lighting – and you get a small “masterpiece” in front of the driver’s eyes. And add the ability to adjust the second row of seats, a separate “climate” zone in the back, heating with the ability to adjust, blinds from the sun. And the third row, somehow, can accommodate two people – small adults or teenagers. There will also be a 230-liter trunk; if you fold the third row and use the 5-seater interior configuration, then even 840 liters.

The interior is, let’s say, “classic” in its design and has enough space. However, the Mazda CX-9 crossover leaves a pleasant impression thanks to the quality of finishing materials and attention to numerous details.

Equipment: 4-cylinder turbo engine instead of naturally aspirated V6

It is not for nothing that I mentioned the Mazda CX-9 crossover of the first generation above. After all, in general, the design is similar: load-bearing body, four-wheel drive, and independent suspensions. No heavy “frames” and “bridges” from SUVs for difficult off-road – instead, we have the usual light construction, built with an emphasis on interior space and good driving qualities. Of course, the Mazda CX-9 car of the second generation took all this in general and multiplied it by the SKYACTIV philosophy, which has been relevant for the Mazda company since the 2010s. However, this is not the main difference.

The main difference is in the engine installed under the hood of the Mazda CX-9 of the second generation. If previously a multi-liter naturally aspirated V6 was considered a “classic” for such large cars, then the second Mazda CX-9 crossover received a relatively small turbo engine: only 2.5 liters of working volume divided into four cylinders. I spoke in detail about this engine and its features on the example of Mazda6 Turbo – I definitely recommend checking it out.

The large crossover Mazda CX-9 has a load-bearing body, fully independent suspensions, a traditional 6-speed automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive – everything according to the canons and rules of the class for such cars. The only fundamental difference is the use of a 4-cylinder 2.5-liter turbo engine. It develops not too impressive power (231 hp at 5000 rpm), but promises a lot of torque (420 Nm at 2000 rpm).

Behind the wheel: good driving!

After all, pay attention not only to the torque of 420 Nm but also to the revs of reaching this level – only two thousand. This is how it happens in reality: quite powerful and noticeable acceleration starts already from 2-2.5 thousand revolutions, and, it seems, does not end until the red zone of the tachometer. The engine shows excellent traction at medium revolutions (3-4 thousand), which turns into quite sufficient acceleration, so against the background of the 6-cylinder Mazda CX-9 crossover models, it does not look bad. The automatic transmission that can switch quickly and almost imperceptibly helps in many ways. You can say that six gears are not enough these days – but you can also be surprised by how faithfully and fully the transmission uses each of these gears.

What else makes the Mazda CX-9 crossover memorable is the chassis setup. However, here it is necessary to say what to compare with what. If you compare the Mazda CX-9 with similar 5-meter large cars, the “nine” shows the most lively character: it responds quickly to the steering wheel, turns clearly without hesitation or thinking, and shows small body rolls. If you take the Mazda CX-5 as a basis (yes, yes, I am aware that this car is a class lower), then the size and weight of the “older brother” can still be felt. An interesting feature of the Mazda CX-9 model is the ability to achieve a good level of comfort. Here it seems: for controllability, you need to “clamp” the suspension and it will be stiff. However, be aware of the long wheelbase and large wheels that literally “roll” over potholes – all this works to minimize the impact and transfer of bumps into the interior.

The main role in the character of the Mazda CX-9 is played by the engine: plenty of torque, especially at medium speeds. An additional “sport” mode allows you to maintain these revolutions constantly. But then be prepared to pay for it in fuel: 12.5-13 liters are used in the city if you drive actively – it will be even 14-15 liters. On the highway, at a speed of about 100 km/h, the car consumes 7-7.5 liters of fuel. By the way, a few “passport” numbers: the declared maximum speed is 210 km/h; acceleration to a hundred km in 8.6 seconds; fuel consumption in the city is 12.9 liters per 100 km; fuel consumption on the highway – 7.3 liters per 100 km. As you can see, this mostly corresponds to reality. And according to the indicator of acceleration to a hundred km, the car is even slightly ahead of itself and takes eight seconds.

Cost: configuration and prices of Mazda CX-9

The Mazda CX-9 crossover is always available in Ukraine with a 2.5-liter turbo engine, always with a 6-speed automatic transmission, always with all-wheel drive. Only the configurations differ.

They start with Mazda CX-9 STYLE 2023 with a price of UAH 1.79 million ($48 thousand), which offers the following: LED headlights, a rearview camera, 18-inch alloy wheels, leather seats (genuine and artificial leather), heated front and rear seats, multimedia system MAZDA CONNECT with a 9.2-inch display, separate climate control (three zones), front and side airbags, safety curtains, etc.

The next option is the Mazda CX-9 PREMIUM 2022 costing 1 .71 million UAH ($45.5 thousand), which added: adaptive headlights, electric trunk lid drive, 20-inch wheels, seat settings memory, BOSE audio, wireless charging, traffic control, system emergency braking in the city, ventilation of the front seats, etc.

The top of the line is the Mazda CX-9 worth 2.05-2.3 million UAH ($55-61 thousand) depending on the 2022 or 2023 year of production. In this case, you can additionally get a sunroof, rosewood interior decoration, all-round cameras, ACC adaptive cruise control, a digital instrument panel with a 7-inch display, control of “blind spots” mirrors, etc.

Test car Mazda CX-9 was presented in the maximum TOP configuration, which means all the best that the “nine” can demonstrate: adaptive headlights and “cruise”, traffic control, digital instrument panel, multimedia system, and 9.2-inch display, all-round view. However, it was not without small issues. For example, the image quality from the cameras is not perfect, and instead of a small hatch in the front part of the interior from a flagship family car for $50-60 thousand, you are already expecting a panoramic glass roof…

And a few words about the rivals. It turns out, there are only a couple: these are Toyota Highlander and Hyundai Palisade cars. Both also offer a colossal 5-meter size, a spacious interior with three rows of seats, and a full list of equipment. But the Mazda CX-9 crossover wins at the start price thanks to the offers of various configurations. At the same time, the Mazda CX-9 car loses due to the lack of an economical version: the “Japanese” can offer a hybrid and the “Korean” can offer a diesel – and Mazda has no answer to this.

Mazda CX-9 test drive results

Why did I start with the fact that the car was ready? Because the Mazda CX-9 crossover was able to retain all its advantages from birth in the form of a cool interior, a turbo engine, and suspension settings. Plus, it added new advantages – from the point of view of more modern equipment and options due to the expansion of the list of available equipment. But is a potential buyer ready to pay about two million hryvnias for an already old Mazda crossover? Although rivals are not cheaper; and as they say, years are experience, and experience is valued twice. After all, everyone has to answer the main question “to buy or not to buy?” for themselves personally.

Car provided by AVTO International