$7,591 - $8,961

2009 Mazda CX-9 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2009 Mazda CX-9 was new.

Scorecard

Performance: 8.5

Reviewers said that the 2009 Mazda CX-9 offers performance that's as sporty as a midsize crossover can deliver.

  • "No vehicle this size can ever be called nimble, but among large crossovers, Mazda's flagship stands out as being the most enjoyable to drive." -- Edmunds
  • "The CX-9 takes a curve better than any non-BMW SUV out there and has remarkably good steering." -- Car and Driver
  • "A utility vehicle that's fun to drive? Yes, indeed, and you don't have to buy a premium brand such as the Porsche Cayenne or BMW X5 to get such an animal." -- Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Acceleration and Power

Under the hood, the 2009 Mazda CX-7 has a 273-horsepower 3.7-liter V6 engine. The engine in two-wheel drive is rated for 16 mpg in the city and 22 on the highway. The engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission that reviewers were generally positive about.

  • "CX-9's V6 engine provides sufficient power in any situation. The transmission is generally alert, but it's sometimes slow to downshift for more passing punch." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Despite the price differential among the three trim levels, the good news is that all models come with the same 3.7-liter V-6 engine, which cranks out an impressive 273 horsepower and 270 foot-pounds of torque. That gives the CX-9 quite sporty performance, coupled with a six-speed automatic transmission." -- Fort Worth Star-Telegram
  • "The V-6 engine did the job admirably, even for this speedy mama. What really disappointed me, though, was the low-end 15.3 combined mileage that I got during my test drive. The CX-9 gets an EPA-estimated 15/21 mpg city/highway. Granted, I live in the hills and rarely get onto the highway, but I expect more from a crossover." -- Mother Proof
  • "Smooth is the defining word for this powertrain; the V6 revs freely and the automatic changes gears without a hint of harshness." -- Cars.com

Handling and Braking

The 2009 Mazda CX-9 is light on its feet despite its 4,284-pound curb weight. Reviewers also found the CX-9 fun to drive for a midsize SUV.

  • "It's like the Jackie Gleason of crossover vehicles. ... Despite his girth, our favorite Honeymooner could skip the light fandango like nobody's business. And even with seven seats and a length of almost 200 inches, the CX-9 doesn't feel objectionably large or heavy on the road." -- Edmunds
  • "Arguably the best in its class for structural rigidity, which in turn yields benefits in terms of ride and handling, two of several areas where the CX-9 gets high marks." -- Car and Driver
  • "Let's be clear that the CX-9 is no sports car, but a crossover with some sporty traits peppered in." -- AutoWeek
  • "Over a wide variety of road surfaces, the CX-9 was supple and quiet. And it cornered much flatter than an equivalent minivan might, with a nice build-up of forces at the steering wheel." -- Motor Trend
  • "Driving the CX-9 was pretty smooth, but it felt heavy in turns and during acceleration. Trying to turn the CX-9 in tight quarters, like a parking lot, was cumbersome." -- Mother Proof
  • "It's only when you throw it into a tight turn that you start to feel its true size as moderate body roll develops. It's stable on the highway, and overall offers a very car-like driving experience, albeit one from a higher vantage point." -- Cars.com
  • "The price for the responsive handling, however, is a relatively stiff ride on anything but a smooth surface. ... The passengers will just have to suffer quietly while Mom or Dad has fun at the wheel." -- New Car Test Drive

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