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2016 Mazda CX-9 Review

The 2016 Mazda CX-9 cracks the top half of its class thanks to thrilling handling, swift acceleration, and an upscale interior. It's held back by below-average cargo space and some tricky infotainment controls.

Pros & Cons

  • Dynamic handling
  • Quick off-the-line acceleration
  • Excellent seating comfort in first and second rows
  • Long list of available features
  • Below-average cargo room
  • Cramped third row
  • Multi-step infotainment controls

Rankings & Research

The 2016 Mazda CX-9's #4 ranking is based on its score within the 2016 Affordable Midsize SUVs category. Currently the Mazda CX-9 has a score of 8.3 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 15 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 9.1
Performance: 8.8
Interior: 8.2
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.6
This model has never been fully tested for safety. Its overall score is being calculated without safety.
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2016 Mazda CX-9 Overview

Is the 2016 Mazda CX-9 a Good Used SUV?

The 2016 CX-9 is a good used midsize SUV. Like most vehicles in the Mazda stable, the CX-9 boasts agile driving dynamics. This three-row SUV takes off quickly from a stop, but it can feel a little underpowered at higher speeds. The CX-9 has a rich interior with two rows of supple, comfortable seating. However, its third row is cramped. There’s a decent list of standard features and many more available amenities, but it can take some time to become familiar with the infotainment system.

Why You Can Trust Us

We’ve researched 19 Mazda CX-9 reviews, as well as hard data points like reliability scores and cost of ownership estimates, to help you make the best car-buying decision possible.

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking cars since 2007, and our team has more than 75 years of automotive industry experience combined. While we’re passionate about cars, we’re even more committed to providing helpful consumer advice. To ensure our reviews remain impartial, we refuse expensive gifts and trips from car companies, and an outside team handles the advertising on our site.

How Much Is the 2016 Mazda CX-9?

Our site has approximately 200 listings for the 2016 CX-9, with prices ranging from about $23,900 to roughly $35,500. The average list price is around $30,300. Actual prices fluctuate depending on the vehicle's features, mileage, condition, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2016 Mazda CX-9 Cost to Own?

At the time of this writing, we don't have enough data to estimate five-year ownership expenses for the 2016 Mazda CX-9.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New CX-9?

The most notable difference between the 2016 CX-9 and 2018 CX-9 is that the new model includes standard blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and low-speed automatic emergency braking. However, you can still find these features in certain used 2016 models. The 2018 CX-9 costs about $8,000 more than a used 2016 model. You're better off saving money and buying a used CX-9 with the features you want instead of buying a new model.

Read about the new Mazda CX-9 »

Instead of a used CX-9, you may also want to consider a high-ranking new midsize SUV like the 2019 Kia Sorento. The Sorento starts at just below $26,000, but it has an upscale interior quality and standard features that you can't get at all in the CX-9, such as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Kia's UVO infotainment system is user-friendly as well. An optional 290-horsepower V6 engine moves the Sorento with authority, and while it can't match the agility of the CX-9, its handling is stable and composed. If you’re looking for a seven-passenger SUV, you must check out the Sorento.

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Which Model Year of the Mazda CX-9 Is Best?

Mazda fully redesigned the CX-9 for the 2016 model year. Changes for this new generation include a more fuel-efficient turbocharged four-cylinder engine to replace a thirsty V6, and a nicer interior quality with more modern features. There were no major changes made for the 2017 CX-9, so you're better off saving some cash by sticking with the 2016 model. You could likely save more money by shopping for an older 2015 CX-9, but you'll miss out on the benefits of the redesign.

Compare the 2015, 2016, and 2017 CX-9 »

How Reliable Is the 2016 Mazda CX-9?

The 2016 Mazda CX-9 has a slightly above-average reliability rating of 3.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

Read more about CX-9 reliability »

2016 Mazda CX-9 Recalls

At the time of this writing, there are no open safety recalls that apply to the 2016 CX-9.

See more information on Mazda CX-9 safety recalls »

Which Used Mazda CX-9 Model Is Right for Me?

The 2016 Mazda CX-9 is available in four trims: Sport, Touring, Grand Touring, and Signature. All models have the same engine and are available with either front- or all-wheel drive, except for the AWD-only Mazda CX-9 Signature trim.

The base model has a typical list of standard features like Bluetooth, two USB ports, tri-zone climate control, alloy wheels, and a touch-screen infotainment system. The best combination of price and value is the Touring trim, which adds leather upholstery, heated front seats, an 8-inch infotainment screen, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert. The rest of the CX-9's driver assistance features, along with amenities like navigation, satellite radio, and a Bose stereo, come in the Grand Touring model.

See 2016 Mazda CX-9 trims and specs »

What Does Mazda's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Mazda offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles six years old or less and with fewer than 80,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. Mazda extends the original limited powertrain warranty to seven years from the original sale date or 100,000 miles and provides a one-year/12,000-mile limited warranty after the expiration of the original three-year/36,000-mile warranty. Every CPO Mazda must pass a 160-point inspection. Additional benefits may include towing, a 90-day complimentary SiriusXM satellite radio trial subscription, extended coverage, and 24-hour roadside assistance, so read the Mazda warranty page carefully.

According to our research, Mazda’s CPO program is about average for an affordable auto manufacturer. Honda, Hyundai, and Kia all have better programs.

See the best CPO programs »

How Safe Is the CX-9?

The 2016 Mazda CX-9 was only sparingly crash tested. It earned the highest score of Good in two individual evaluations from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

All CX-9 models come standard with a rearview camera. Available advanced safety features include rear parking sensors, a head-up display, automatic high-beam assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, a following distance indicator, and automatic emergency braking.

See CX-9 safety scores »

2016 Mazda CX-9 Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2016 Mazda CX-9 or 2016 Honda Pilot?

The Honda Pilot was also fully-redesigned for the 2016 model year. It’s one of the most spacious midsize SUVs, seating up to eight people across three rows with ease. It also has a muscular V6 engine and relatively engaging handling. Though the Pilot has more cargo space than the CX-9, the Honda’s lower trims are short on standard features. These SUVs are similarly ranked, so your decision will come down to whether you prefer the Honda’s extra space or the Mazda’s superior driving dynamics.

Which Is Better: 2016 Mazda CX-9 or 2016 Toyota Highlander?

The 2016 Toyota Highlander is similarly ranked but designed to appeal to different shoppers. The Mazda has the edge for athleticism and agility. The base Highlander’s engine is less powerful than the CX-9’s, though an available 270-horsepower V6 improves its performance. The Toyota is more family friendly, with seating for up to eight and more cargo space than the Mazda. Both of these are solid choices, so your decision just depends on the factors you prioritize.

Compare the CX-9, Pilot, and Highlander »

2016 CX-9 Performance

How Does the 2016 Mazda CX-9 Drive?

The 2016 Mazda CX-9 comes standard with a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 227 horsepower. You can also fill it with premium fuel to unlock 250 horsepower. This SUV produces lots of torque – 310 pound-feet – to get you moving quickly from a stop, but you may wish for more overall power for passing cars at highway speeds. Steering is precise through turns, and its suspension keeps body roll to a minimum, while also delivering a smooth and comfortable ride. Front-wheel drive is standard, and i-ACTIV all-wheel drive is available.

Does the 2016 Mazda CX-9 Get Good Gas Mileage?

The 2016 CX-9 gets 22 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway, which is great fuel economy for the class. AWD models earn 21 mpg city and 26 mpg highway, which are still great figures for this segment.

Read more about CX-9 performance »

2016 CX-9 Interior

How Many People Does the 2016 CX-9 Seat?

The 2016 Mazda CX-9 seats seven people on standard cloth upholstery. Available amenities include an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat, a four-way power-adjustable passenger seat, heated front seats, leather upholstery, and premium Nappa leather. Comfort in the first and second rows is excellent. The third row is best left for children, however, which is not uncommon for three-row SUVs. Yet, when the 2016 CX-9 debuted, critics noted that its last row offered less space than the outgoing 2015 CX-9’s.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2016 Mazda CX-9?

The Mazda CX-9 has complete sets of LATCH connections for both second-row outboard seats. The middle seat has a tether anchor and can borrow lower anchors from either side. There's also a tether anchor for the third-row passenger-side seat. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the CX-9's LATCH system the second-highest rating of Acceptable for general ease of use. The lower anchors are set a bit deep in the seat, and it's hard to find and identify the tether anchor for the second-row middle seat.

2016 Mazda CX-9 Features

Standard features in the 2016 CX-9 include tri-zone automatic climate control, a six-speaker audio system, HD Radio, two USB ports, Bluetooth, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a rearview camera, and a 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system. Available features include proximity key entry, push-button start, a moonroof, two second-row USB ports, a 12-speaker Bose premium stereo, navigation, satellite radio, and an 8-inch touch screen.

This Mazda's infotainment setup can take some time to get used to. You can use the touch screen when the car is stopped, but when in motion, you control functions through a knob on the center console. Sometimes it takes several steps to perform basic commands, but redundant buttons and controls on the dash are easy to see and reach.

See 2016 Mazda CX-9 specs »

Read more about CX-9 interior »

2016 Mazda CX-9 Dimensions

Mazda CX-9 Cargo Space

The Mazda CX-9 has 14.4 cubic feet of cargo space behind its third row, 38.2 cubic feet with the third row folded, and a maximum of 71.2 cubic feet with both the second and third rows of seats folded. Those values are below average for the class. A power liftgate is available.

2016 CX-9 Length and Weight

The 2016 CX-9 is 16.6 feet long. Curb weight is 4,054 pounds for front-wheel-drive models and 4,301 pounds for all-wheel-drive models.

Where Was the 2016 Mazda CX-9 Built?

Mazda built the 2016 CX-9 in Japan.

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