2017 Mazda CX-9

The 2017 Mazda CX-9 is the second model year of this midsize crossover's second-generation, and the nameplate has now been with us for just over a decade as the first-generation was launched back in 2006. Although the Mazda CX-9 is classified as a midsize, it's still a spacious 3 row SUV capable of seating up to seven people. So, if you're in the market for an affordable family SUV, here's what you can expect from the 2017 Mazda CX-9.

Styling

They say you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, but that's not a problem here for the 2017 Mazda CX-9 as this is a sensationally attractive and incredibly contemporary design. It's unashamedly tall and flat, but there's a slight forward cant that gives the Mazda a sporty air. At the back of the Mazda CX-9 the roof pillars arc upwards in an unfussy way, and the vehicle's long hood gives it something of a rear-drive wagon look despite it actually being high-roof, front-wheel drive crossover. If there's a more attractive crossover of this size out there, and it's not guaranteed there is, it would surely be wearing a prestige badge and carrying a luxury price ticket to go with it.

Interior

The cabin of the Mazda CX-9 delivers crossover levels of space and practicality with the feel of a sedan. The front seats have plenty of adjustment and the standard tilting and telescoping steering wheel creates plenty of room for taller drivers. The second row offers more legroom than a number of the Mazda's major rivals, and they also recline for extra comfort. The split-fold bench can also be slid backwards and forwards on a track, which can be used to reveal additional cargo room when required. The interior appointments really are of the highest quality, especially at this price point. The materials used throughout the Mazda CX-9 are probably a lot better than you might expect in a non-luxury model, especially Mazda CX-9 Signature's soft nappa leather and upscale rosewood that could easily be out of a crossover costing many thousands of dollars more.

Power and performance

It could come as a surprise that there's just one engine available in the 2017 Mazda CX-9, especially when it's a four-cylinder and not a V-6. However, this is a SKYACTIV®-G 2.5T DOHC Dynamic Pressure Turbo, which means it delivers plenty of power to handle even a full complement of passengers and cargo in the Mazda CX-9. This 2.5-liter turbo-four develops an impressive 250 horsepower and 227 lb.-ft. of torque, which is then sent to the front or all four wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift and Sport modes. It's a smooth, quick powerplant that offers the kind of low-end torque you get from a larger displacement V-6, but with greater efficiency.

Fuel economy

Despite its small displacement engine the Mazda CX-9 won't get you gas frugality to rival a compact, but it's still one of the the least thirsty crossovers of its size in the market. Its ratings have dropped a little this year due to changes in the way the EPA administers its fuel economy test, but they're still might impressive at 22 mpg in the city, 28 mpg on the highway and 24 mpg combined.* Add the extra capability of all-wheel drive and it has only a slight effect on the ratings as they then come in at 20 mpg in the city, 26 mpg on the highway and 23 mpg combined.

*All vehicle mileage based on 2017 EPA mileage estimates. Use for comparison purposes only. Do not compare to models before 2008. Your actual mileage will vary, depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle.