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The CX-9, launched only three years ago, is Mazda's large crossover. It works well as an SUV replacement, given that it has ample cabin room yet drives more like a car.
The front-end of the CX-9 exhibits some of what Mazda calls its Nagare design language, with organically flowing lines around the grille. Down the sides, the CX-9 looks like a jumbo wagon.
A 3.7-liter V-6 making 273 horsepower is the only engine available for the CX-9, but it provides adequate power to get the vehicle around.
With its third row seating, the CX-9 can accommodate seven people.
The suspension gives the CX-9 a comfortable ride, not too soft but not at all hard. Stabilizer bars in the front and rear help the car remain composed.
With the third row seats down, there is ample cargo area, but it gets much greater with the middle row down, too.
Access to the third row involves climbing over the middle row.
The materials and fit of the cabin are very good, with brightwork and glossy black surfaces adding a bit of luxury.
Despite its size, the CX-9 is a very maneuverable car. We found no problem navigating urban streets.
Steering wheel controls handle the stereo and the standard Bluetooth audio system.
The gauges are fairly basic, but more extensive trip information is displayed above the center stack.
The six-speed-automatic transmission shifts quickly in response to accelerator input, downshifting as needed.
Without any options, the CX-9 would have a standard radio display, but the addition of the sunroof/premium audio package also brings in this 4.3-inch LCD.
Bluetooth streaming is one of the stereo's audio sources, but the Bluetooth specification offers minimal control through the car's interface.
The premium Bose audio system uses a 277-watt amp and 10 speakers, producing decent sound.
We like the hands-free Bluetooth phone system, and the LCD shows entries from the phonebook as well as this dialer.