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2021 Mazda CX-9 Pros vs Cons

Why Buy a 2021 Mazda CX-9?
Reviewed & fact checked by
James MurdochNorman Ruckpaul

Are You Considering a 2021 Mazda CX-9? Here Are Some Reasons For and Against

The Mazda CX-9 is the solution for drivers who need three rows of seating but are not willing to give up on driving a sporty vehicle. Like most Mazdas out there, the CX-9 offers plenty of luxury in the cabin and impressive power underneath the hood. Of course, no SUV is perfect. There are some design flaws that may have you hesitating before choosing this as the next vehicle for your family.

What's New for 2021?

This year, the CX-9 makes major upgrades to its infotainment system. All models now get a 10.3-inch touchscreen and the system itself is supposed to be more user-friendly. It also includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, finally making these features standard on all models of the CX-9. From the Touring trim level and up, a wireless charging pad joins the list of standard equipment.

The top-of-the-line Signature trim gains some new features for 2021. On the safety front, it adds a driver-attention monitor and reverse automatic emergency braking. As far as its design, the interior gets new quilted leather and the exterior is showing off a new grille design.

Ten Reasons You May Like the 2021 Mazda CX-9 – The Pros

1. Standard Turbocharged Engine

A turbocharged four-cylinder engine powers the 2021 CX-9. Since most competitors go with V6s, you may worry that the CX-9 is underpowered. The turbo four-cylinder can give you 227-horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque when you fill up with regular gasoline. For even much punch, opt for premium fuel and you will get 250-horsepower along with 320 lb-ft of torque. This is enough power to have the CX-9 feeling light and responsive. All of that torque means you get satisfying acceleration. In fact, it can go from zero to 60 in just 7.1 seconds. That is pretty quick for a vehicle of this size.

2. Strong Fuel Economy Numbers

Mazda has made the smart move of opting for a four-cylinder powertrain to bring impressive fuel economy numbers. Front-wheel drive CX-9 models promise the best ratings yet, with 22mpg in city driving and 28mpg on highways - an unbeatable option among its non-hybrid peers. All wheel drive variants also make their mark at 20/26 mpg respectively; you won't find better mileage anywhere else.

3. Sleek Exterior Look

The Mazda CX-9 seamlessly blends athleticism with sophistication and style. Its KODO design language, LED headlights, and Soul Red Crystal Metallic paint create an arresting presence that will captivate onlookers from any angle. With its 20-inch alloy wheels offering enhanced agility on the roads plus added practicality through roof rails and a power rear liftgate - all paired with a thrilling drive experience courtesy of its impressive spoiler – this SUV is truly one to behold.

4. Standard i-Activsense Suite

Although it is no longer terribly uncommon for a vehicle to come standard with driver aids, the ones found on the CX-9 are just a bit more advanced than average. All models have what Mazda calls Advanced Smart City Brake Support with Pedestrian Detection. Unlike most forward-collision systems, this one is designed to detect pedestrians both day and night. Also standard on all trim levels are blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane-keep assist. Rounding out the advanced safety features found on all models are automatic high beams.

5. Impressive All-Wheel-Drive System Available

All-wheel drive is available on all trims except the Signature, where it comes standard. The i-ACTIV AWD system is incredibly good at adjusting to changing traction. In fact, it is so quick that you may wonder if it is psychic. This makes the CX-9 a great choice for anywhere that has bad weather of any kind and/or for people who like to occasionally leave the pavement.

6. Upscale and Comfortable Cabin

When comparing the CX-9 to its rivals, it is immediately clear that this three-row Mazda SUV has more luxury and sophistication. Standard for all models are upscale features like heated front seats. You will find a variety of soft-touch surfaces throughout the cabin. Depending on the trim, there are also several types of fancy interior trim types you can find. Examples include brushed aluminum and rosewood, which is reserved for that Signature trim level. The standard setup for the CX-9 includes a second-row bench seat and room for seven. You can also choose to go with second-row captain's chairs, which opens up the back but reduces seating to six.

7. Agile and Engaging Handling

The CX-9 SUV's lightweight SKYACTIV®-Body construction and sophisticated suspension system ensure a smooth, responsive ride. Furthermore, its i-ACTIV AWD®, electric power assisted steering and ventilated disc brakes provide traction in any situation, while G Vector Control Plus optimizes weight distribution for optimal cornering control. Together these features create an unparalleled level of comfort and performance on the road.

8. Multi-function Commander Control

The CX-9's multi-function commander control is designed for those who desire an alternative to touchscreen navigation. With its ergonomic placement of both buttons and knobs within easy reach from the driver’s seat, this system enables users to quickly select their desired features in the vehicle's infotainment system with ease. Enjoy improved convenience today - choose a precise command experience over searching through tedious touchscreens.

9. Handy MyMazda App

Stay connected to your Mazda wherever life takes you with the Handy MyMazda App. Get access to exclusive services such as unlocking vehicle stats and locating a CX-9 on the go, all from your smartphone. Plus, this app makes sure that drivers are always aware of important maintenance items - like headlights needing attention - so that their adventures can start worry free.

10. Available Carbon Edition

Drivers who go with the Grand Touring trim level can now choose to add the Carbon Edition package. Although this is pretty much just an appearance package, it is bold and impressive enough that it is worth mentioning. On the outside, the package blacks-out many exterior features and gives the CX-9 unique 20-inch wheels. Inside, models with the Carbon Edition package get deluxe red leather upholstery with metallic trim. Models with this package equipped automatically come with Polymetal Gray Metallic paint.

Reasons You May Not Like the 2021 Mazda CX-9 – The Cons

1. Small Cargo Area

One of the definite disadvantages of choosing the CX-9 is you are losing out on cargo space. When folding down both back rows of seats, you get only 71 cubic feet. Considering that nearly all rivals offer more than 80 cubic feet, this is fairly significant. Not every driver will need that amount of cargo space, however, and may not be bothered by this.

2. Lack of Third-Row Space

Growing families will find the stylish Mazda CX-9 a great choice, as it comfortably seats up to seven passengers. Although two of those must be younger family members due its lack of ample third-row space in terms of head and leg room; making this model ideal for smaller groups or children.

3. Weak Maximum Towing Capacity

The turbocharged four-cylinder wows in a lot of ways. It does not, unfortunately, lead to impressive towing numbers. Properly equipped 2021 CX-9 models top out at 3,500 pounds. This is a number easily beat by many of its rivals.

How it Stacks Up to the Competition:

2021 Mazda CX-9 vs 2021 Toyota Highlander

If you're shopping for a family-friendly three-row SUV, the decision between the 2021 Mazda CX 9 and Toyota Highlander can be tough. The Highlander offers more cargo room to stow away your gear, but falls short in creature comforts like standard heated seating or lumbar adjustment that come as part of package with the CX9. Additionally, blind spot monitoring is available on all models of this beloved Mazda - an important safety feature not found in its competitor from Toyota.

2021 Mazda CX-9 vs 2021 Subaru Ascent

The Ascent is another attractive choice. It comes standard with all-wheel drive and is considerably roomier in the cargo area. Like the CX-9, the Ascent goes with a four-cylinder engine as well. The Ascent's manages to make significantly less torque, resulting in far less satisfying acceleration. Overall, it simply does not have the driving dynamics that you get from the 2021 CX-9.

Final Thoughts

For 2021, the Mazda CX-9 is an exceptional choice for motorists seeking a well-rounded vehicle. Its impeccable fuel economy and advanced safety features pair perfectly with its updated infotainment system to provide drivers with convenience not found elsewhere in this category of SUVs. With hopes that future redesigns can preserve its impressive driving dynamics while increasing third row capacity - the perfect car may be closer than anticipated.

Used 2021 Mazda CX-9:
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