The 2013 CX-9 spoils driver and passengers alike—no compromise necessary. With a 273-hp 3.7L V6 engine and plenty of refined features, it packs more excitement than should be allowed of 7-passenger vehicles.
Source: Mazda USA
We expect a lot from large SUVs nowadays. Besides the obligatory amount of passenger and cargo space, we also have become accustomed to a decent amount of luxury and features aplenty. What we don’t expect from these behemoths is decent cornering prowess, but that’s exactly what you’ll get with the 2013 Mazda CX-9.
Despite everything that physics tells us, the big CX-9 can indeed be enjoyable to drive around corners. Even better, the Mazda 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.
As highly as we regard the 2013 Mazda CX-9, it somehow gets overlooked for more popular alternatives.
The Mazda CX-9 has struggled to keep its head above water in a sea of large crossovers, and even though it’s the roomiest, this stylish and fun-to-drive SUV deserves a second look in its updated 2013 form.
The CX-9 again comes in three trim levels: Sport, Touring and Grand Touring. Front- and all-wheel drive are available across the board. Changes for 2013 are cosmetic and take the CX-9’s styling from pleasant to energetic: It borrows a version of the new compact CX-5’s large grille, angular headlights and curvy fog lights. Inside, new standard features include a 5.8-inch touch-screen, a USB port and an upgraded version of the Bluetooth phone and audio streaming system.
Fun to Drive
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.
The V-6 offers plenty of power, and the 273-horsepower, 3.7-liter engine feels 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. The CX-9’s gas mileage doesn’t stand out, however. Two-wheel-drive versions share an EPA rating of 17/24 mpg city/highway with the Explorer and Traverse. The Pilot squeaks out an additional 1 mpg in both city and highway driving.
The ride is on the firm side but not overly harsh, complementing its overall sporty nature. I went from a 2013 Chevrolet Traverse test vehicle to the CX-9, and found in the Mazda a nimbler, more composed vehicle — the ride was more compliant, the corners felt crisper and body lean was less noticeable.
At 200.2 inches long, it’s one of the larger vehicles in its class but drives smaller, thanks in part to having one of the tightest turning circles in the bunch. That really made a difference when maneuvering into city parking spaces and winding through parking structures.
Compiled By: Josh Martin
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