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Pros & Cons

  • Sporty handling
  • High-quality interior materials
  • Firmer ride quality than some rivals

Rankings & Awards

The 2012 Mazda CX-9's #10 ranking is based on its score within the 2012 Affordable Midsize SUVs category. It is the winner of our 2012 Best Affordable Midsize SUV with 3 Rows for the Money award. Currently the Mazda CX-9 has a score of 8.0 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 68 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 9.0
Performance: 8.4
Interior: 7.9
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.0
Safety: 7.3
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2012 Mazda CX-9 Overview

The Mazda CX-9 is powered by a V6 engine that test drivers agreed provides adequate power for acceleration from a stop or on a freeway, and reviewers said the standard six-speed automatic transmission is responsive. Fuel economy is an EPA-estimated 17/24 mpg city/highway, which is on par with other SUVs’ fuel economy in the class. When it was new, the CX-9 was praised for its athletic handling, responsive steering and strong brakes. However, some critics noted that the CX-9's ride is a bit firmer than most midsize SUVs.

Reviewers were impressed with the 2012 Mazda CX-9's premium interior materials and pleasing design. They reported that the front seats are comfortable, spacious and offer a commanding view of the road. Auto journalists also noted that the middle row of seats has plenty of space and that the reclining seatback improves comfort for anyone sitting there. However, the third row was criticized by some test drivers because it lacks headroom. Standard features include tri-zone climate control and Bluetooth. Features that were optional when the CX-9 was new include a 10-speaker Bose stereo system, navigation, a rearview camera and a rear-seat entertainment system. The CX-9 has up to 100.7 cubic feet of cargo space, which is quite good for the class. Still, three-row SUVs like the Chevrolet Traverse offer a bit more cargo space overall.

The 2012 Mazda CX-9 was our 2012 Best 3-Row SUV for the Money.

Other SUVs to Consider

With its standard four-cylinder engine, the 2012 Toyota Highlander returns better fuel economy than the CX-9. When it was new, reviewers praised the Highlander for its serene ride, upscale interior materials and straightforward center stack controls.

The 2012 Buick Enclave earned high marks from reviewers for its attractive cabin design and use of luxurious materials throughout. Additionally, test drivers said the Enclave has a comfortable ride and composed handling.

Compare the CX-9, Highlander and Enclave »

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