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2013 Mazda CX-9 Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2013 Mazda CX-9 was new.


Interior: 7.4

The 2013 Mazda CX-9 interior is decent, with no reviewer calling it out for being particularly good or bad. Most agree that the basic design is well-executed, with some soft-touch surfaces and hard plastics. Reviewers say the front seats are roomy and comfortable, and the second row can handle adults, but that the third row is best left to kids. Even the base model is well-equipped, but reviewers complain that some features are hard to see and use.

  • "To some, a black-on-black interior is dull. It never gets old in my closet, and in the CX-9 it underscores the crossover's sportiness. Suede trim, shiny maroon plastic panels and red contrast stitching on the seats augment the black theme. Other editors thought it bland and not enough of an update compared with the Traverse's interior, but I thought the overall look was sleek and clean - though the shiny plastic was a dust magnet. The words "shiny plastic panels" don't inspire thoughts of coziness, but most of the touch points in the CX-9 are padded and cushy, making for an overall comfortable interior." -- Cars.com
  • "There are padded surfaces where you expect to find them (armrests, center console). Further, Mazda does a decent job of visually hiding the fact that there's a lot of hard plastic trim in the cabin. The faux-wood trim isn't entirely convincing, but the other dashboard surfaces are nicely textured. The Grand Touring's leather and suede-like upholstery combination looks and feels classy." -- Consumer Guide


The 2013 Mazda CX-9 can seat up to seven people in three rows. While reviewers generally agree that the front seats are comfortable, they say the third row is a tight fit for anyone but small kids. The second row, according to most reviewers, is comfortable enough for adults, provided the front seats aren't pushed back too far. Several reviewers complain about rearward visibility from the driver's seat and say that the optional blind spot monitoring system helps.

  • "We are also impressed with the plush driver's seat and easy-to-reach controls." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Wide-opening rear doors are great for access to the second and third rows but are slightly unwieldy in tight parking spaces. As in most seven-passenger crossovers, the third row is for preteens old enough not to need a booster seat and young enough to consider the trek back there an adventure. For adults, the way back is short on leg- and headroom, although sliding the second row forward can increase knee space in a pinch." -- Car and Driver
  • "Second-row room is fine for most adults as long as the front seats are not set all the way back. Third-row room isn't great; even moving the 2nd-row seat forward doesn't help a whole lot. In addition, the passage to the 3rd row is quite narrow. Space is fine for kids, but even moderately sized adults will ride in an uncomfortable knees-up position." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Picking up my 9-year-old from winter camp last week, he and his best friend were so excited to discover the CX-9's third row, they didn't even bother collapsing the middle seat to get there. Being less than five feet tall, neither boy complained about the head or leg room - both of which incrementally diminish with each row." -- Orange County Register 

Interior Features

Standard features in the 2013 Mazda CX-9 include a six-speaker stereo with a touch-screen display, Pandora Internet radio, text message audio delivery, a USB port and Bluetooth. Optional features include navigation, a rearview camera and keyless start.

While reviewers like that the CX-9 comes with lots of standard features, they complain that the optional navigation system can be tough to use and that the touch screen is too small. They also dislike that some gauges and controls are tough to read.

See full 2013 Mazda CX-9 specs »

  • "For starters, the 5.8-inch screen is very small, making for even smaller buttons on the panel. The response time is also slow - some buttons required two or three pushes to register." -- Cars.com
  • "Overall, the system works well, with easy-to-reach buttons and intuitive operation. The touchscreen display itself is a bit on the small side, which can compromise legibility and operation of the "virtual" buttons. Regrettably, CX-9 continues to suffer from the instrument-panel brightness issue we've complained about on past models." -- Consumer Guide 


The 2013 Mazda CX-9 has 17.2 cubic feet of cargo space with all seats in use, which is enough for a few grocery bags. With the third row folded, the CX-9 has 48.3 cubic feet of cargo space and with the second row folded it has 100.7 cubic feet. The CX-9 has a center console between the front seats for small-item storage. Most reviewers say that the CX-9 has good, but not standout, cargo space for the class. Some reviewers point out that competitors like the Chevrolet Traverse and Ford Explorer have more. However, test drivers appreciate how easy it is to fold the third-row seats and how much small-item storage there is throughout the cabin.

  • "There's not a lot of cargo space behind the 3rd-row seat. A somewhat shallow well provides a bit of under-floor storage for smaller items. Folding the rear two seating rows opens up a much more generous cargo hold that can accommodate just a shade more than 100 cubic feet. Interior storage is quite good, with a generously sized center console and door pockets." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Folding the third row, however, is another easy maneuver; it's a two-step process, up or down. When it's raised, the CX-9 has just 17.2 cubic feet of cargo space, well shy of the Explorer (21), Pilot (18) and Traverse (24.4). With both rows of seats down, the Traverse wins again with an impressive 116.3 cubic feet of space, compared with the CX-9's 100.7 cubic feet." -- Cars.com
  • "Collapsing the third row with the Grand Touring model is especially easy for parents who long for octopus arms that can wrangle kids as well as groceries. The lift gate automatically opens with the press of a button on the key fob, and the third row easily collapses with a clever system of pull tabs. Pull on the small tab under the head rest, and it flips forward. Pull on a second one at the back of the seat, and the whole thing falls forward." -- Orange County Register

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