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Looking like a larger version of Mazda's CX-7, the CX-9 has a distinctive style, clearly showing it isn't an SUV.
We like how the hood and headlight angle forward, into the grille. The fog lights get split by accent chrome that continues across the front of the car.
At our Grand Touring trim level, big 20 inch wheels come standard.
The CX-9 gets LED tail lights. We like how the rear design completes the front, although the rear and side rear windows are small, making rear visibility poor.
The front and middle row seats are plush, like an overstuffed arm chair. The middle row seats slide forward, allowing easy access to the rear.
Mazda's smart key is easily stored in a pocket, wallet, or purse. It makes getting into the car and starting it very convenient.
The interior of the CX-9 combines too many materials, mixing aluminum, wood, and glossy piano black accents.
The stereo interface is kind of weird, with the tuning knob on the left and the volume in the middle.
You can hide an iPod in the center console, where it can hook up to an auxiliary input and a 12 volt outlet.
An 11-speaker Bose audio system comes with the rear seat entertainment package.
Visual feedback for the voice command Bluetooth cell phone system is shown in the center display.
An AC outlet, along with audio/video inputs, is mounted in the third row seating area, as part of the rear seat entertainment package.
We found the video display jaggy, with visible lines across it, when we played a movie.
A remote and wireless headphones are included with the rear seat entertainment package.
With a six speed automatic, the tachometer stays around 2,500 RPM at freeway speeds. The automatic also has a manual gear selection mode, making the tachometer useful.
Handling was okay on the CX-9, although it's a big car and we didn't push it too hard.
The CX-9's 3.5-liter V-6 engine puts out 263 horsepower, but it's fuel economy isn't spectacular.