2013 Mazda CX-9 Review, Photos & Price

  • MSRP: $29,725
  • MPG City: 17
  • MPG Hwy: 24
  • Seating Capacity: 7
  • Rating: 8.3

The 2013 Mazda CX-9 is a full size crossover SUV that offers a host of great features and excellent performance. It features a 6-speed automatic transmission powered by a V6 engine, and comes with a choice of all-wheel or front-wheel drive. This SUV is quick and nimble, and has plenty of power in addition to excellent cornering abilities, powerful breaks and direct steering. The ride is smooth and comfortable, and the vehicle is a lot of fun to drive. At only 17 mpg in the city, the fuel economy is not something that can be bragged about, but this is a trade-off from having peppy performance.

Mazda has spiffed up the 2013 CX-9 a bit with a new exterior design on the front and rear. In addition, the interior now comes standard with an impressive infotainment system and a 5.8-inch touchscreen. Text-to-speech capability, Pandora and HD radio are all included. A few of the optional features are a rear-view camera, blind-spot monitoring system and navigation. Some of the features that were optional previously now come standard.

Pros and Cons

  • Athletic handling and performance
  • Fun to drive
  • Quality interior design and materials
  • Gas mileage is below average
  • Lacking cargo space
  • 3rd row only suitable for kids

Base Specifications

  • Trim: FWD 4dr Sport
  • Passenger Capacity: 7
  • Passenger Doors: 4
  • Transmission: 6-speed automatic w/OD
  • Drivetrain: Front Wheel Drive
  • MPG: 17 City / 24 Hwy
  • Engine: Gas V6 3.7L/227
  • Horsepower: 273 @ 6250
  • Torque: 270 @ 4250 3.7L/227

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The sleek look of the CX-9 is reminiscent of a sports wagon, setting the model apart from other SUVs in its class. For 2013, the grille has been redesigned to shrink the “grin” a bit, and the new 1-piece housing features attractive flowing lines and curves. The headlights have additional sweep, and the new tail lights are boldly designed. The twin exhaust outlets have also been shrunk down to size and have a rounder appearance.

Standard Equipment: The standard package for the CX-9 has plenty of bells and whistles. Buyers have three choices of trim, and sports models come standard with 18-inch wheels, 3-zone climate control, keyless entry, cruise control, and a 6-speaker infotainment system with a color touchscreen.

With Touring models, power front seats, leather upholstery, a rear-view camera system, and in-seat heating all come standard. The Grand Touring models include 20-inch wheels, driver’s seat memory, rearview mirror with auto-dimming, rain sensing wipers, a power tailgate and automatic bi-xenon headlights.

Optional Equipment: Torque-Split All-Wheel-Drive is optional on all models as an upgrade to standard front-wheel drive. Several option packages are available, with notable features including a Bose 10-speaker audio system, power moonroof, and an advanced navigation system. A rear-seat entertainment system with a 9-inch screen and built-in DVD player is available on Grand Touring models.

Reviewer Comments

Easily fulfilling typical family needs, the 2013 Mazda CX-9 also benefits from a healthy dose of driving excitement.Edmunds

The Mazda CX-9 has struggled to keep its head above water in a sea of similar large crossovers, and though it’s not the roomiest, this stylish and fun-to-drive SUV deserves a second look in its updated 2013 form.Cars.com

Like many Mazdas, the large, three-row CX-9 crossover is more fun to drive than most of its competitors. While its underpinnings and powertrain are getting a little old, the styling has been updated nicely for 2013. And it can also perform a number of impressive accident avoidance tricks.Car and Driver

Performance and Powertrain

The Mazda CX-9 features an impressive 3.7-liter V6 engine. The 273 horsepower and 270 pound feet of torque provide plenty of raw power to keep this beast moving. Automatic 6-speed transmissions are standard in all models, as is manual-shift mode. They come standard with front-wheel drive. As previously mentioned, fuel economy is not the strong suit of this hefty ride, as it tops off at 24 mpg on the highway. The towing capacity is another feature that could use some improving, as the SUV can only handle loads up to 3,500 pounds.

Safety Features

The size, quickness and nimble handling make the CX-9 a safe choice, but it does come with some additional safety features worth mentioning. Standard features include a roll-stability control system, anti-lock brakes, traction control, stability control and six airbags.

Special Features and Interior Design

The 2013 Mazda CX-9’s interior design is basic, but sleek, clean and well-executed. The cabin includes a combination of padded surfaces and shiny plastics that look quite sharp at first glance. However, the amount of hard plastic trim can detract from the overall aesthetic upon closer inspection. The look and feel of the upper-end models cross over into the realm of luxury. Black cloth is standard on Sport models, but Touring models and above feature leather-trimmed upholstery. The sharp new touchscreen housed in the center of the dashboard certainly makes the interior feel more modern and luxurious.
As far as seating goes, the Mazda CX-9 seats seven across three rows. As in most SUVs, the third row is most suitable for kids. The CX-9 falls in the middle of the pack when it comes to cargo space. Its most notable features include the new color touchscreen display, text message audio delivery, Pandora Internet radio, Bluetooth and USB port.

The flexible second row seat is another standout feature. It reclines, folds in a 60/40 split, slides, and via a simple release allows third row access. This provides excellent cargo flexibility and passenger comfort, and enables passengers to enter and exit the vehicle comfortably and quickly.

Driving Impressions

Full size SUVs are not typically known for their speed, but the CX-9 is an exception. Its transmission is very responsive, and this large SUV takes corners like a sport sedan. The CX-9 delivers precise steering, speed and maneuverability in spades, just don’t expect its fuel economy to be any better than average for its class. It is more fun to drive than most of its competitors.

The muscle of its 273-horsepower V6 engine gets the CX-9 moving in a hurry and it handles surprisingly well at high speeds. Reviewers were pleasantly surprised by how much fun this sizeable ride was to drive. The cabin is comfortable and quiet and the V6 purrs away without making much noise. The car is easy to drive, and the blind-spot monitoring system comes in handy as the third row of seats reduces rear view visibility. The controls are well laid out and reached easily from the driver’s seat and the seat itself is plush and comfortable, even after a long drive.

Photo Gallery

Mazda CX-9 Front View Exterior

CX-9 Rear View Exterior

Mazda Side View

CX-9 Interior Dashboard

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