$10,912 - $13,250

2013 Mazda CX-9 Performance Review

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


Performance: 8.5

Most reviewers love how well the 2013 Mazda CX-9 drives, with some calling it the perfect SUV for people who need lots of space, but don't want to sacrifice performance. Test drivers report that the engine has plenty of power and the CX-9 handles corners more like a sport sedan than an SUV.

  • "Like many Mazdas, the large, three-row CX-9 crossover is more fun to drive than most of its competitors." -- Car and Driver
  • "Despite everything that physics tells us, the big CX-9 can indeed be enjoyable to drive around corners. Even better, the Mazda largely accomplishes this task without sacrificing ride quality. Of course, schlepping the kids to soccer practice and daily commuting are more typical tasks for a large crossover, and here the CX-9 still excels, with a spacious, adult-sized third row of seats and sharp new styling." -- Edmunds
  • "The words ‘agile’ and ‘sporty’ aren't usually tip-of-the-tongue when describing a large crossover - unless it's the CX-9. One of its greatest strengths is that it drives like a much smaller, sportier vehicle. Light and precise steering, ample power, a responsive transmission and agile handling make it engaging to drive - even if it's just to the grocery store." -- Cars.com 

Acceleration and Power

The 2013 CX-9 has a 3.7-liter V6 engine that makes 273 horsepower. It's paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is available. The EPA estimates that a front-wheel drive 2013 Mazda CX-9 should get 17/24 mpg city/highway.

Most reviewers are pleased with the powertrain on the 2013 CX-9. They report that it has plenty of power to get on the highway or pass. A few reviewers complain that Mazda's SkyActiv engine technology isn't used in the CX-9 for better fuel economy.

  • "Most people don't expect spirited acceleration or much corner-carving ability from a large SUV. Nor should they. These vehicles are designed for hauling people, not necessarily derriere. The CX-9 is a welcome exception. Stomp on the right pedal and you'll be pleasantly surprised at just how quickly the Mazda's 273-horsepower V6 gets this big vehicle up to speed on the freeway." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The V-6 offers plenty of power, and although the 273-horsepower, 3.7-liter engine doesn't feel very smooth at idle, it's spirited from a stop and delivers even, linear power that's competent on the highway. Prompt downshifts from the alert six-speed automatic transmission mean passing is no problem." -- Cars.com
  • "One area where the CX-9 is showing its age is fuel economy, and the Mazda now lags a bit behind leaders such as the new Pathfinder. We managed 18 mpg during our test, a number boosted by a high percentage of highway driving." -- Car and Driver 

Handling and Braking

Reviewers say that when it comes to handling and braking, the 2013 Mazda CX-9 really shines. Most agree that it drives like a much smaller car, athletically tacking corners and helping the driver feel connected to the road. Reviewers appreciate the confidence-inspiring brakes and direct steering, and several note that as sporty as the CX-9 is, the ride is never rough or harsh.

  • "Like many large crossovers, the 2013 Mazda CX-9 provides admirable road trip transportation, offering a comfortable ride on long journeys. It separates itself from the pack by driving like a smaller, more agile vehicle thanks to its precise, communicative steering and buttoned-down composure in corners." -- Edmunds
  • "Arguably the most engaging three-row crossover, CX-9 drives like a smaller vehicle than it is. It responds quickly to steering inputs, body lean in fast turns is well controlled, and brake response is very good." -- Consumer Guide
  • "And the CX-9 isn't just good in a straight line. True to that ‘zoom-zoom’ marketing slogan, even Mazda's largest vehicle tackles corners with confidence." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The profile of the CX-9 is long, but driving it doesn't feel like a car that can pack seven and also haul 3,500 pounds. It handles like a smaller car." -- Orange County Register

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