2019 Mazda CX-9

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$32,280

starting MSRP

Key specs

Base trim shown

SUV

Body style

24

Combined MPG

7

Seating capacity

199.4” x 67.6”

Dimensions

Front-wheel drive

Drivetrain

Overview

The good:

  • Excellent handling
  • Responsive drivetrain
  • Luxury-grade interior in Signature trim
  • First- and second-row comfort
  • Information-packed head-up display available
  • Available adaptive cruise control works down to a stop

The bad:

  • Ride quality on rough roads (20-inch wheels)
  • Numb steering feel
  • Third-row space, visibility
  • Small cargo area
  • Multimedia system usability
  • Second-row captain's chairs not offered

4 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2019 Mazda CX-9 trim comparison will help you decide.

See also: Find the best SUVs for 2024

Notable features

  • Apple CarPlay, Android Auto now available
  • 360-degree camera system now available
  • Seats up to seven in three rows
  • Turbo four-cylinder engine standard
  • Front- or all-wheel drive
  • Low-speed automatic emergency braking standard
See also: How Do Car Seats Fit in a 2019 Mazda CX-9?

2019 Mazda CX-9 review: Our expert's take

By Mike Hanley

mazda cx 9 2019 01 dynamic  exterior  grey  profile  urban jpg mazda cx 9 2019 02 angle  exterior  front  grey  overhead jpg mazda cx 9 2019 03 angle  exterior  front  grey  urban jpg mazda cx 9 2019 04 exterior  front  grey  urban jpg mazda cx 9 2019 05 detail  exterior  front  headlights jpg mazda cx 9 2019 06 exterior  grey  profile  urban jpg mazda cx 9 2019 07 angle  exterior  grey  rear  urban jpg mazda cx 9 2019 08 exterior  grey  rear  urban jpg mazda cx 9 2019 09 detail  grey  rear  taillights jpg mazda cx 9 2019 10 badge  exterior  grey jpg mazda cx 9 2019 11 energy  exterior jpg mazda cx 9 2019 12 black  brown  cockpit shot  front row  interior  two tone jpg mazda cx 9 2019 13 black  brown  front row  interior  two tone jpg mazda cx 9 2019 14 black  brown  front row  interior  two tone jpg mazda cx 9 2019 15 detail  front row  interior  steering wheel jpg mazda cx 9 2019 16 detail  front row  instrument panel  interior jpg mazda cx 9 2019 17 detail  front row  instrument panel  interior jpg mazda cx 9 2019 18 center console  front row  interior jpg mazda cx 9 2019 19 center console  detail  interior  upholstery  woodgrain jpg mazda cx 9 2019 20 center console  controls  detail  interior jpg mazda cx 9 2019 21 center console  detail  drive mode  interior jpg mazda cx 9 2019 22 center stack display  interior jpg mazda cx 9 2019 23 center stack display  detail  interior jpg mazda cx 9 2019 24 camera  center stack display  interior jpg mazda cx 9 2019 25 center stack  climate control  detail  interior jpg mazda cx 9 2019 26 center stack  controls  detail  interior jpg mazda cx 9 2019 27 center console  interior  outlet  storage jpg mazda cx 9 2019 28 black  brown  controls  dashboard  detail  interior  two tone jpg mazda cx 9 2019 29 black  brown  doors  interior  two tone jpg mazda cx 9 2019 30 audio system  detail  doors  interior jpg mazda cx 9 2019 31 interior  second row jpg mazda cx 9 2019 32 armrest  cupholders  interior  second row jpg mazda cx 9 2019 33 armrest  interior  outlet  storage jpg mazda cx 9 2019 34 interior  third row access jpg mazda cx 9 2019 35 interior  third row jpg mazda cx 9 2019 36 interior  trunk jpg mazda cx 9 2019 37 folding seats  interior  trunk jpg mazda cx 9 2019 38 interior  trunk jpg mazda cx 9 2019 39 interior  storage  trunk jpg mazda cx 9 2019 40 interior  outlet  storage  trunk jpg mazda cx 9 2019 41 interior  outlet  trunk jpg mazda cx 9 2019 42 hook  interior  trunk jpg mazda cx 9 2019 01 dynamic  exterior  grey  profile  urban jpg mazda cx 9 2019 02 angle  exterior  front  grey  overhead jpg mazda cx 9 2019 03 angle  exterior  front  grey  urban jpg mazda cx 9 2019 04 exterior  front  grey  urban jpg mazda cx 9 2019 05 detail  exterior  front  headlights jpg mazda cx 9 2019 06 exterior  grey  profile  urban jpg mazda cx 9 2019 07 angle  exterior  grey  rear  urban jpg mazda cx 9 2019 08 exterior  grey  rear  urban jpg mazda cx 9 2019 09 detail  grey  rear  taillights jpg mazda cx 9 2019 10 badge  exterior  grey jpg mazda cx 9 2019 11 energy  exterior jpg mazda cx 9 2019 12 black  brown  cockpit shot  front row  interior  two tone jpg mazda cx 9 2019 13 black  brown  front row  interior  two tone jpg mazda cx 9 2019 14 black  brown  front row  interior  two tone jpg mazda cx 9 2019 15 detail  front row  interior  steering wheel jpg mazda cx 9 2019 16 detail  front row  instrument panel  interior jpg mazda cx 9 2019 17 detail  front row  instrument panel  interior jpg mazda cx 9 2019 18 center console  front row  interior jpg mazda cx 9 2019 19 center console  detail  interior  upholstery  woodgrain jpg mazda cx 9 2019 20 center console  controls  detail  interior jpg mazda cx 9 2019 21 center console  detail  drive mode  interior jpg mazda cx 9 2019 22 center stack display  interior jpg mazda cx 9 2019 23 center stack display  detail  interior jpg mazda cx 9 2019 24 camera  center stack display  interior jpg mazda cx 9 2019 25 center stack  climate control  detail  interior jpg mazda cx 9 2019 26 center stack  controls  detail  interior jpg mazda cx 9 2019 27 center console  interior  outlet  storage jpg mazda cx 9 2019 28 black  brown  controls  dashboard  detail  interior  two tone jpg mazda cx 9 2019 29 black  brown  doors  interior  two tone jpg mazda cx 9 2019 30 audio system  detail  doors  interior jpg mazda cx 9 2019 31 interior  second row jpg mazda cx 9 2019 32 armrest  cupholders  interior  second row jpg mazda cx 9 2019 33 armrest  interior  outlet  storage jpg mazda cx 9 2019 34 interior  third row access jpg mazda cx 9 2019 35 interior  third row jpg mazda cx 9 2019 36 interior  trunk jpg mazda cx 9 2019 37 folding seats  interior  trunk jpg mazda cx 9 2019 38 interior  trunk jpg mazda cx 9 2019 39 interior  storage  trunk jpg mazda cx 9 2019 40 interior  outlet  storage  trunk jpg mazda cx 9 2019 41 interior  outlet  trunk jpg mazda cx 9 2019 42 hook  interior  trunk jpg

The verdict: A strong dose of sportiness — and luxury in the highest trim level — elevates the 2019 Mazda CX-9’s driving experience, but the trade-off is less cargo space and third-row passenger room than most competitors.

Versus the competition: The CX-9’s buttoned-down handling and responsive, turbocharged drivetrain are strengths that contribute to one of the best driving experiences in the three-row SUV class, but competitors like the Honda Pilot, Volkswagen Atlas and brand-new Kia Telluride (see their specs compared) have roomier interiors that are better for families with kids (and all the stuff that goes with them).

The CX-9 was last redesigned for the 2016 model year. For 2019, Touring and higher trim levels gain Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity; the rest of the changes are listed here. We tested a top-of-the-line Signature trim with all-wheel drive. Its only option was $300 Machine Gray paint, which brought its as-tested price to $46,710, including a $1,045 destination charge.

Drives Like a Mazda

You can usually count on Mazda to deliver driving performance a cut above the class norm, and the CX-9 is no exception. It’s easily the best-driving three-row SUV from a non-luxury brand.

The biggest thing that separates the CX-9 from its competitors is ride and handling. Taut suspension tuning results in well-controlled body motions that give the SUV a planted feel in corners. Most three-row SUVs make their considerable bulk known when you toss them into corners, but the CX-9 willingly plays along when you have the urge to drive it like the Miata you owned before you had kids. The ride got a bit bumpy on rough roads, but our tester came with large 20-inch wheels and low-profile tires, a combination that tends to degrade ride comfort. The SUV’s standard 18-inch alloy wheels with taller-sidewall tires likely improves the ride.

The CX-9 is one of a handful of three-row SUVs, like the Atlas and Subaru Ascent, powered by a standard turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The CX-9’s turbo 2.5-liter four-cylinder pairs with a six-speed automatic transmission, and the powertrain has been tuned for driving enjoyment; gas pedal and transmission response are good, and the engine’s low-end torque — 310 pounds-feet available at 2,000 rpm — is there when you need high-speed passing power. The CX-9 includes a Sport mode that heightens drivetrain response by holding lower gears longer before upshifting and increasing gas pedal sensitivity.

mazda cx 9 2019 03 angle  exterior  front  grey  urban jpg mazda cx 9 2019 04 exterior  front  grey  urban jpg mazda cx 9 2019 06 exterior  grey  profile  urban jpg mazda cx 9 2019 07 angle  exterior  grey  rear  urban jpg mazda cx 9 2019 08 exterior  grey  rear  urban jpg mazda cx 9 2019 03 angle  exterior  front  grey  urban jpg mazda cx 9 2019 04 exterior  front  grey  urban jpg mazda cx 9 2019 06 exterior  grey  profile  urban jpg mazda cx 9 2019 07 angle  exterior  grey  rear  urban jpg mazda cx 9 2019 08 exterior  grey  rear  urban jpg

The one area where the CX-9’s driving experience falters is its steering; while steering precision is fine, the wheel has a numb feel.

Premium Cabin Quality*

The other thing that distinguishes the CX-9 from the competition is its upscale cabin materials and finishes, which are as nice as what you’ll find in some luxury SUVs. However, this observation comes with an important asterisk: It’s true on the Signature trim level only.

It’s not uncommon to see differences in cabin quality between base and top-of-the-line trim levels, but the gap is wider than normal in the CX-9. Things the Signature trim gets that lower trims don’t include Nappa leather upholstery, Rosewood trim and additional LED accent lighting. Those extra luxury touches don’t come cheap: The all-wheel-drive-only Signature costs $2,725 more than a Grand Touring AWD model.

mazda cx 9 2019 12 black  brown  cockpit shot  front row  interior  two tone jpg mazda cx 9 2019 14 black  brown  front row  interior  two tone jpg mazda cx 9 2019 23 center stack display  detail  interior jpg mazda cx 9 2019 31 interior  second row jpg mazda cx 9 2019 12 black  brown  cockpit shot  front row  interior  two tone jpg mazda cx 9 2019 14 black  brown  front row  interior  two tone jpg mazda cx 9 2019 23 center stack display  detail  interior jpg mazda cx 9 2019 31 interior  second row jpg

Besides being finished in upscale leather, the front bucket seats in Grand Touring and higher trim levels are heated and ventilated, and the second-row outboard seats are heated. Comfort is good in both rows; the front buckets are supportive, and the second row has good legroom for adults when the seat is in its rearmost position. The second-row bench seat also reclines (second-row captain’s chairs aren’t offered).

It’s a good thing the second-row bench slides forward and backward, because third-row passengers are going to be hollerin’ for more legroom — there’s very little to spare with the second row slid all the way back. Second-row passengers won’t be able to help with third-row headroom, however, which is severely restricted by the CX-9’s sloping roofline. Outward visibility back there is also limited due to small rear-quarter windows, resulting in a third row that some might find claustrophobic. Unlike the third-row seats in the Atlas and Chevrolet Traverse, the CX-9’s isn’t made to carry adults.

Tech Hits and Misses

Our test vehicle was packed with tech features, some better executed than others. One that’s done well is the available head-up display, which includes speed limit info as well as graphical indicators for the available lane departure and standard blind spot warning systems. However, the blind spot warning indicators are harder to see at a glance than the ones Kia and Genesis incorporate into their HUDs.

There’s also an available 360-degree camera system that gives a bird’s-eye view of your surroundings as well as forward and rear views. The extra visibility is welcome, but the system’s pixelated front and rear image quality is disappointing considering other models’ crisp, HD-quality images.

mazda cx 9 2019 24 camera  center stack display  interior jpg mazda cx 9 2019 24 camera  center stack display  interior jpg

The standard Mazda Connect multimedia system includes a 7-inch touchscreen and a console knob controller. Touring and higher trims get an 8-inch touchscreen in addition to CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. The knob controller is intended to be the main interface, as touchscreen functionality is disabled when the CX-9 is in motion.

This screen lockout makes using the CX-9’s newly available smartphone connectivity more difficult than it needs to be. CarPlay’s familiar icon-based interface appeared on the dashboard touchscreen when my iPhone was connected to the CX-9, and it responds to touches and swipes — when you’re stationary. When you’re moving, you must use the knob controller to navigate the system, which isn’t ideal for a touchscreen-optimized interface like CarPlay. The knob controller is relatively easy to use, but Mazda’s decision to disable the touchscreen is frustrating.

mazda cx 9 2019 22 center stack display  interior jpg mazda cx 9 2019 20 center console  controls  detail  interior jpg mazda cx 9 2019 22 center stack display  interior jpg mazda cx 9 2019 20 center console  controls  detail  interior jpg

Grand Touring and higher trims have a 7-inch instrument panel screen in the center of the instrument panel, but it doesn’t add much. The screen’s speedometer, for one, is just a digital representation of a traditional analog speedometer. Mazda didn’t take advantage of the design freedom a screen affords. However, I do like how Mazda has integrated a following-distance indicator in the center of the screen to alert you when you’re too close to the car ahead of you. The warning is also shown in the head-up display.

mazda cx 9 2019 16 detail  front row  instrument panel  interior jpg mazda cx 9 2019 16 detail  front row  instrument panel  interior jpg

Cargo

The CX-9 has one of the smallest cargo areas among three-row SUVs, with 14.4 cubic feet of cargo room behind the third row and a maximum of 71.2 cubic feet with the second and third rows folded. Useful features include third-row head restraints that automatically lower when folding the seat and a shallow hidden storage bin under the cargo floor.

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Safety

The CX-9 received the highest score in all Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests, as well as IIHS’ highest rating for front crash prevention (when equipped with the optional Smart Brake Support automatic emergency braking). The Touring trim had the best-performing headlights in IIHS tests, with an Acceptable rating; the base Sport model’s headlights were rated Marginal, while the high-end Grand Touring and Signature’s lights were deemed Poor.

Other available active-safety features include lane keep assist and adaptive cruise control that works down to a stop.

Value in Its Class

We last compared the CX-9 against the three-row SUV competition in 2016, when the current generation of the SUV was brand new. It finished fourth in a field of eight SUVs and was just as much of an outlier then as it is today, with its focus on driving performance and style at the expense of passenger and cargo room. The field has only gotten stronger with the arrival of models such as the Atlas and Telluride — both of which are worth a test drive — but if you can live with the CX-9’s shortcomings, there’s nothing else in the class that drives like it.

Cars.com’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

Photo of Mike Hanley
Mike Hanley has more than 20 years of experience reporting on the auto industry. His primary focus is new vehicles, and he's currently a Senior Road Test Editor overseeing expert car reviews and comparison tests. He previously managed Editorial content in the Cars.com Research section. Email Mike Hanley

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.9
  • Interior 4.8
  • Performance 4.9
  • Value 4.8
  • Exterior 4.9
  • Reliability 4.8

Most recent consumer reviews

5.0

Nice car

We've had our 2019 Mazda CX-9 Signature model for over three years. It's a very nice, smooth riding automobile and it's surprisingly fun to drive. The turbo charged four cylinder engine has more than enough pep. The interior is comfortable and durable. Yes, we had to replace the cracked infotainment screen but all was covered with the additional protection plan we purchased when we bought the car. We wouldn't hesitate to buy another CX-9.

3.0

Mazda bad response for problems

Not sure I would recommend Mazda at this point. Bought the car used 2019 in 2023. All sorts of letters went to original owners to fix a spidering infotainment screen. From 2016-2018 ( mine was manufactured in 2018) I bought it, it was fine. 1 day with hot sun/ air conditioning I can not see my clock. I took it to a Mazda dealer and I have been waiting over a month for word from Mazda. Very upset at the response time and not caring from the dealer.

1.0

These don’t age gracefully

Infotainment / Dashboard screen cracks and very expensive to replace. Temperature gauge and A/C break and very expensive to repair. Waited several months for dealership in Lowell, MA to obtain part for repairs. Dealership can’t seem to properly diagnose and repair.

See all 57 consumer reviews

Safety

Based on the 2019 Mazda CX-9 base trim.
Combined side rating front seat
5
Combined side rating rear seat
5
Frontal barrier crash rating driver
5
Frontal barrier crash rating passenger
5
Overall frontal barrier crash rating
5
Overall rating
5
Overall side crash rating
5
Risk of rollover
17.4%
Rollover rating
4
Side barrier rating
5
Side barrier rating driver
5
Side barrier rating passenger rear seat
5
Side pole rating driver front seat
5

Warranty

New car program benefits
Bumper-to-bumper
36 months/36,000 miles
Corrosion
60 months/unlimited distance
Powertrain
60 months/60,000 miles
Roadside assistance
36 months/36,000 miles

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