There’s always been a lot to admire regarding Mazda’s largest and most expensive SUV – the CX-9.
It has continually gained in appeal over the years because it’s considered refined, stylish and delivers a nice blend of performance and fuel economy.
It also has a reputation for being sporty and fun to drive. Maybe that combination is why last year was its best ever for sales – 34.493.
An attractive exterior has always been part of the profile. The 2022 Mazda CX-9 is no different, providing sharp styling that includes a sleek roofline and angular front grille. The interior also receives good marks, thanks to its high-end materials and clever cockpit layout.
Changes have been made since the last time we drove the CX-9, which received its last major redesign in 2016. New for 2022 is equipping every CX-9 with all-wheel drive – front-wheel drive is no longer an option. Mazda also adds a new Touring Plus model that is worth a look.
The Mazda CX-9 still ranks up there with competitors like the Kia Telluride, Hyundai Palisade, Honda Pilot, Ford Explorer and Toyota Highlander.
A switch was made several years ago when Mazda shelved the V6 and replaced it with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine. That resulted in more pep while also significantly increasing the fuel efficiency.
The lone engine choice remains a turbo 2.5-liter, four-cylinder that generates 227 horsepower and 310 pounds-feet of torque. The CX-9 goes 0-60 mph in 7.2 seconds and gets 20-28 mpg. The maximum towing is 3,500 pounds.
Mazda has earned a reputation for producing vehicles that are a pleasure to drive. It’s typically a stretch to assume a midsize SUV will have a fun factor, but the CX-9 delivers a smooth, pleasing ride in all types of driving situations.
It has a refined feel and there’s very little noise. It’s nimble on extremely curvy roads and doesn’t back down on challenging climbs.
The CX-9 standard safety bundle includes rearview camera, lane departure warning with lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, forward collision warning with pedestrian detection, forward automatic, emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and automatic high-beam headlights.
AT A GLANCE, 2022 MAZDA CX-9
- Performance: turbocharged 2.5-liter, four-cylinder, 227 horsepower
- Mileage estimate: 20-28 mpg
- Estimated Price: 35,400 to $47,300
- Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles; drivetrain: 5 years/60,000 miles; roadside assistance: 3 years/36,000; corrosion: 5 years/unlimited
Despite the overall appeal, two frequent criticisms of the CX-9 remain. It’s capable of only carrying seven passengers, while some midsize SUVs can transport eight. The CX-9 also has one of the least roomy third rows that is definitely kids only.
The CX-9 also has a smaller-than-average cargo space of 14.4 cubic feet. It expands to 38.2 cubes with the third row down and 71.2 overall.
Mazda makes up for those two faults by providing a sizable list of standard interior features, including eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support, 9-inch touchscreen, heated front seats, rain-sensing windshield wipers, six-speaker audio, two USB ports, and leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.
The 2022 Mazda CX-9 continues to merit consideration when purchasing a midsize SUV. It has an appealing look and includes solid performance, good fuel economy and a smartly designed interior.
Weidel on Wheels is featured regularly on www.tahoeskiworld.com. Auto writer Jeffrey Weidel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @jeffweidel.