Looking like a larger version of Mazda's CX-7, the CX-9 has a distinctive style, clearly showing it isn't an SUV.

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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.

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At our Grand Touring trim level, big 20 inch wheels come standard.

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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.

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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.

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Mazda's smart key is easily stored in a pocket, wallet, or purse. It makes getting into the car and starting it very convenient.

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The interior of the CX-9 combines too many materials, mixing aluminum, wood, and glossy piano black accents.

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The stereo interface is kind of weird, with the tuning knob on the left and the volume in the middle.

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You can hide an iPod in the center console, where it can hook up to an auxiliary input and a 12 volt outlet.

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An 11-speaker Bose audio system comes with the rear seat entertainment package.

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Visual feedback for the voice command Bluetooth cell phone system is shown in the center display.

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An AC outlet, along with audio/video inputs, is mounted in the third row seating area, as part of the rear seat entertainment package.

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We found the video display jaggy, with visible lines across it, when we played a movie.

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A remote and wireless headphones are included with the rear seat entertainment package.

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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.

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Handling was okay on the CX-9, although it's a big car and we didn't push it too hard.

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The CX-9's 3.5-liter V-6 engine puts out 263 horsepower, but it's fuel economy isn't spectacular.

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