The 2022 Mazda CX-9 offers driving excellence, style and safety – Macomb Daily
With SUVs now the dominant vehicle in the automotive landscape, and bigger is better is the motto of many buyers, especially those with large families, it’s no surprise that 3-row SUVs that can comfortably accommodate a larger number of people remain in high demand.
In this crowded segment, each automaker has its own approach to reaching its customer base. For Mazda, a small but formidable brand competing in the segment with its CX-9 model, the emphasis is no different from the rest of their lineup – power and ride quality.
Much like Mazda’s smaller rides, the level of readiness in the power plant here is higher than you’ll find in most competitors. And that’s by design.
I recently spent some time in a 2022 Mazda CX-9, and I’m back with a full report on how it stacks up in a crowded SUV class loaded with very solid vehicle options.
FOR YOUR INFORMATION
Vehicle: Mazda CX-9 2022Price as tested: $48,830 (from $35,280)Best feature: Sleek and premium design; Mazda’s signature punchEvaluation: 4 stars out of fiveWho wants this vehicle?: Three-row SUV buyers who prioritize driving experience over vehicle size and cargo space
Even though the CX-9 hasn’t had a major redesign since 2016, it still looks very sharp, which is key when competing against popular rivals such as the Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, the Hyundai Palisade, the Kia Telluride, the Ford Explorer and the Chevrolet. To cross.
Whether you look at the exterior or the interior of the 2022 CX-9, the vehicle does not disappoint.
The exterior of my CX-9 tester featured a bold and attractive design, including the unique look of the hood overhang that is a Mazda signature. It also had a shiny “Snowflake White Pearl” paint job that got a lot of attention. Overall, it’s one of the best looking SUVs available and the rare SUV that really stands out from the competition.
Vehicle exterior highlights included: 20-inch alloy wheels, rain-sensing windshield wipers, heated power mirrors with turn signals, power folding mirrors, hands-free power tailgate, LED headlights and fog lights, power sunroof and aluminum rails of roof.
Moving inside the vehicle, the CX-9 is the closest to a luxury car you’ll get in terms of design without choosing a luxury brand. There’s a truly premium look and feel throughout the interior, including stylish wood accents incorporated into the design.
The third row is too comfortable for adults, but good enough for children. Second-row captain’s chairs are a very comfortable option. The seats of the CX-9 can be for 6 or 7 people, depending on the configuration.
Another downside of the CX-9 is that there’s less cargo space than some rivals. It offers 14.4 cubic feet of space with all seats up and 71.2 cubic feet with the second and third rows down. These figures are beaten by most competitors – for example, the Kia Telluride figures are 21 cubic feet and 87 cubic feet.
Nappa leather-trimmed seats are comfortable even on long drives, and you can opt for heated seats in the front and second-row captain’s seats, plus a heated leather steering wheel, 3-zone automatic climate control and second row window sunshade .
HOW IS THE ROAD?
The 2022 Mazda CX-9 features a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder that offers 227 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque (with 87-octane gasoline), or 250 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque with 93 octane gasoline. The engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, but paddle shifters are offered for those who want more control.
New for 2022 is that all versions of the CX-9 will come with all-wheel drive, which most rival SUVs can’t claim.
Sport mode is offered if you want to add some pep to the CX-9’s already enjoyable ride, which includes independent front and rear suspension, plus front and rear stabilizer bars.
There’s also the Mazda G-Vectoring Control Plus feature, which allows the vehicle to respond better to steering commands with subtle changes in engine torque and braking, producing a smoother ride and more impressive handling.
Put it all together and it’s clear that when it comes to ride quality and performance, no three-row SUV will match the capabilities of the Mazda CX-9. I found it to be a punchy ride that got me going quickly (about 7 seconds of 0-60 gear), handled very well, and responded to driver input. Sport mode really improved capability and quickly became my default setting when driving the CX-9.
Whether on the highways or the city streets, you’ll have fun behind the wheel of the CX-9, something rarely said about three-row SUVs. If you want a bigger SUV and you like to drive, this is the one for you. I would even go so far as to say that it drives as nimbly as some cars.
Towing is okay but not great, with a 3,500-pound capacity, a lower number than many rival SUVs.
The infotainment system at the center of the CX-9 is highlighted by a 10.25-inch color screen. The physical controls are easy to learn and are controlled via a dial in the center console. But I also think the commands on this system might need an upgrade, as sometimes extra steps are required to complete the commands. And there’s no direct access to controls via the touchscreen.
Luckily, you have an alternative that doesn’t require touch controls. Voice commands worked very effectively for using navigation, choosing music, making phone calls, and finding points of interest along your routes. The navigation system is accurate and takes you where you need to go, and my test vehicle was equipped with a 12-speaker Bose sound system with AM/FM/HD and satellite radio available.
The system was also compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, for phone mirroring, and featured Bluetooth for streaming music and phone calls.
The vehicle also features an active driving display that includes traffic sign recognition, telling the driver when a stop sign is approaching and reading speed limit signs before you approach them.
Safety is one area where the CX-9 delivers as well as any vehicle in the segment, starting with its five-star government safety rating.
You get a LATCH system for child seats, an anti-theft immobilizer, a tire pressure monitoring system, a blind spot monitoring system, a lane departure warning system , lane keeping assistant, rear cross traffic alert and front and rear parking sensors. The CX-9 also offers anti-lock brakes, brake assist, dynamic stability control, traction control, trailer stability control, airbags throughout the vehicle, intelligent front and rear braking. the rear has radar cruise control and a 360 degree view monitor which is very useful in parking situations.
Official fuel economy figures on the Mazda CX-9 are 20 city/26 highway/23 combined. In the real world, I averaged a tick over 17 mpg.
Those actual numbers are lower than you’ll encounter with some rival three-row SUVs, but the CX-9 also offers a better driving experience than those rivals, so it’s a trade-off many will be willing to accept. And the difference isn’t even huge, so the impact is negligible.
The 2022 Mazda CX-9 I tested cost just under $49,000 and came in the highest Signature trim level. The base Sport model will start around $35,000, and in the middle you can choose from trims like Touring, Touring Plus, Carbon Edition, and Grand Touring. It’s a price range I’d expect from a classy SUV of this size, and one that’s on par with competitors’ prices.
The Touring Plus trim level is new for the 2022 model.
You also get decent warranties, but not up to par with industry leaders.
They include a 60K/60 month powertrain warranty and a 36K/36 month bumper-to-bumper warranty.
With its near-luxury styling, strong safety features and focus on driving performance, the 2022 Mazda CX-9 is a three-row SUV that will appeal to buyers who focus less on interior space/the loading and more on performance and comfort.
Matt Myftiu can be contacted by email at [email protected] Its past reviews can all be viewed online at autotechreviews.com.