2021 Mazda CX-9 Sport Snowflake White Pearl Mica 6-Speed Automatic AWD 2.5L 4-Cylinder
20/26 City/Highway MPG
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The 2020 Mazda CX-9 is an affordable three-row crossover with high-class looks and sports-car handling. It isn't the biggest or roomiest crossover around, but it should have no trouble pleasing buyers whose priorities go beyond maximum carrying space.
The biggest change for 2020 is that low-trim models now come standard with Mazda's active-safety suite. Rain-sensing wipers, a power driver's seat, and heated front seats have all been made standard as well.
All CX-9 models use a 2.5-liter turbo-4 that puts out a stout 250 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque on premium gas. A 6-speed automatic transmission is standard. Gas mileage checks in at 22 mpg city, 28 highway, 24 combined for front-wheel drive models. Opt for the optional all-wheel drive and those figures drop to 20/26/23 mpg.
The newly standard suite of active-safety features mean that every CX-9 comes standard with automatic emergency braking, active lane control, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitors, and rear cross-traffic alerts.
The crashworthiness of the CX-9 is commendable, with the NHTSA awarding it a five-star overall rating. The IIHS has called high-trim CX-9s with LEDs a Top Safety Pick+. Lower-trim models without LEDs have poorer headlight scores, which precludes them from the award.
The only engine on the menu is the 2.5-liter turbo-4, but we're not complaining. The boosted engine makes more power than many of the V-6s that can be found in this segment; feed it premium gas and a strong 250 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque is at the ready. Stick to 87 octane and output falls to 227 horses and 310 lb-ft, though this is still plenty of power.
The CX-9 is one of a dwindling number of larger crossovers still running a 6-speed automatic. That hinders the fuel economy of the CX-9; in its most efficient form, highway economy is 28 mpg. Many other competitors easily crack the 30-mpg barrier.
With a nod to performance enthusiasts, the CX-9 has surprisingly snappy handling traits. It can tackle a corner with gumption, despite being a hulking three-row crossover, and the body remains planted in twisty bits of road. Buyers who are trading in their sports car for a family car may find some solace in the CX-9's eager chassis.