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MSRP
$33,890
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2020 Mazda CX-9 Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 8.7

The 2020 Mazda CX-9 has light steering, which allows it to maneuver around corners and into tight areas where other three-row SUVs dare not go. Its suspension is firm, but the ride remains comfortable. The CX-9’s turbocharged four-cylinder engine helps deliver satisfying acceleration and great fuel economy.

  • "In a segment where V-6 power is basic, Mazda took a risk by offering a turbocharged four-cylinder engine as the CX-9's sole powertrain in the hope of gaining a fuel-economy advantage. It sounds gutsy and managed an impressive result in our acceleration testing, where it scooted our Grand Touring test vehicle from zero to 60 mph in 7.1 seconds. The 2020 CX-9 is clearly the driving enthusiast's family hauler." -- Car and Driver
  • "The CX-9’s modest size makes it easier to maneuver in tight confines, and its turbocharged 4-cylinder engine delivers impressive power and good fuel economy on par with most V6 rivals." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Composed and relaxed best describe the CX-9’s ride. The suspension does an admirable job of swallowing any type of pavement imperfection and keeps body motions to a minimum. Even with the 20-inch wheels and tires that come on high-end versions, there’s only a slight compromise to comfort." -- Consumer Reports

Acceleration and Power

The 2020 CX-9 features a 227-horsepower 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard. This engine helps move the CX-9 with enthusiasm, and passing slower cars on the highway is a breeze. Still, some critics note that a couple of extra transmission gears would help the CX-9 move a little quicker off the line. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is available.

The front-wheel-drive CX-9 gets an EPA-estimated 22 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway, which are excellent figures for the midsize SUV class. The all-wheel-drive model loses 2 mpg on the highway.

  • "Mazda’s masterful turbocharger exhibits no sign of lag, making this diminutive engine perform like a larger V6." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Don’t let the mere 227 horsepower fool you. In everyday driving, the 2.5-liter four-cylinder turbo delivers a healthy swell of thrust that makes the car feel effortless. In fact, tromping on the gas pedal when merging produces a hint of torque steer, an ungracious tug of the steering wheel. The sprint to 60 mph took just under 8 seconds, putting it in the hunt with its peers." -- Consumer Reports
  • "Mashing the gas delivered a noticeable delay and made overtaking a guessing game—something it shouldn't be. Eight forward gears seems to be the standard these days, and I think the Mazda could benefit from those extra two cogs." -- Motor Trend

Handling and Braking

The CX-9 offers one of the most enjoyable driving experiences in the midsize SUV class, with light steering and a taut suspension that keeps this Mazda secure in corners. The ride overall is comfortable. The brake pedal is firm, and the brakes provide good stopping power.

  • "Surprisingly light on its feet, it often feels as if you're driving a smaller SUV. The suspension is firm, but it's still supple enough riding over rough stretches of road. While not as communicative as other Mazdas, the CX-9's steering still imparts vigor that's missing from other crossovers. The firm suspension and accurate steering culminate in superior cornering control." -- Car and Driver
  • "Most midsized three-row SUVs feel rather mundane to drive. By contrast, the CX-9 is an inspired revelation, feeling alert and hunkered-down through the corners. As such, it drives more like a German luxury SUV than the lumbering competition. Ride comfort is commendable as well, with the CX-9 absorbing bumps with aplomb. It's also quiet inside, lending it a substantial, upscale feel." -- Consumer Reports
  • "Then there’s the fun-to-drive factor that makes even short trips in the CX-9 memorable ones. A relatively lightweight body and sophisticated G-Vectoring technology combine to give the CX-9 impressive cornering abilities and a commendably comfortable ride." -- Kelley Blue Book
U.S. News Best Price Program

2020 Mazda CX-9

MSRP: $33,890 - $46,215

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