Midsize SUV; Built in Japan
  • 4-door wagon
  • transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $7,400 – $31,800*


2008 Mazda CX-9


2008 Mazda CX-9


2008 Mazda CX-9

Pros:
  • Acceleration
  • Cargo room
  • Quietness
  • Ride (Grand Touring)
  • Seat comfort
Cons:
  • Fuel economy

Mazda’s CX-9 is a stylish, refined entry that adeptly balances solid driving dynamics with generous passenger and cargo space. On the downside, the ride is a bit stiff and the available navigation system isn’t the easiest to use. Lack of highway passing punch is another demerit. Still, this vehicle does many things well and is a good choice in an increasingly crowded field of seven-seat midsize SUVs.

Overview

Mazda’s first seven-passenger sport-utility vehicle bowed for 2007. Like Mazda’s five-seat CX-7 SUV, the CX-9 was a car-type midsize “crossover” wagon. But this one was larger and borrowed its engine and some underskin from the also-new Edge produced by Ford, Mazda’s corporate parent. Offered in Sport, Touring, and top-line Grand Touring models, the CX-7 held a 263-horsepower V6 and six-speed automatic transmission. All models were available with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, which lacked low-range gearing.

Antilock braking and traction/antiskid control with rollover sensors were standard. So were front side airbags and curtain side airbags that covered all three seating rows, and included rollover deployment. Seating included folding benches; the second row split 60/40, the third row 50/50. The second-row seat reclined and slid fore and aft to favor passenger or cargo space. Tri-zone climate control and a tilt and telescopic steering wheel were standard. Touring models added leather upholstery and heated power front seats. Grand Tourings included xenon headlamps and 20-inch wheels, versus the usual 18s. A sunroof and DVD entertainment were optional, but could not be ordered together. A power liftgate and a navigation system with rearview camera were available on Touring and Grand Touring models. Competitors included the GMC Acadia, Honda Pilot, Saturn Outlook, and Toyota Highlander.

Yearly Updates

2008 CX-9
A larger (3.7-liter) V6 engine for 2008 gave the CX-9 an extra 10 horsepower and an even greater increase in torque output. A new Blind Spot Monitoring system was optional for Grand Touring models.
2009 CX-9
The 2009 Mazda CX-9 was largely unchanged.
2010 CX-9
The 2010 Mazda CX-9 received slightly freshened exterior and interior styling.
2011 CX-9
The 2011 Mazda CX-9 was largely unchanged.
2012 CX-9
There were no changes of note to the 2012 Madza CX-9.
2013 CX-9
For 2013, CX-9 received its most significant freshening yet. Reworked exterior styling helped bring this crossover in-line with the brand’s other vehicles, including the Mazda CX-5 crossover and redesigned 2014 Mazda 6 midsize sedan. The interior saw a number of changes, too, including a revised dashboard and infotainment system. CX-9’s chassis and drivetrain carried on unchanged, however.
2014 CX-9
Rear cross-traffic alert was a newly available option for the 2014 CX-9.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive

In 2007, the CX-9 held a 3.5-liter V6 engine that develops 263 horsepower, driving a six-speed automatic transmission. A 273-horsepower, 3.7-liter V6 went into 2008 models. Either front- or all-wheel drive may be installed.

dohc V61
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.5/213
Engine HP 263
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 249
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed automatic

16/22

dohc V61
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.7/227
Engine HP 273
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 270
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed automatic

15/21

1. EPA Note: Figures for 3.7-liter engine are for 2008 models. The Environmental Protection Agency changed its procedure for 2008 to yield more realistic estimates. Therefore, estimated mileage is lower than for prior years.

Road Test

Adequate from a stop, the original 3.5-liter engine lacks sufficient reserves for highway passing, especially with more than two passengers aboard. The 3.7-liter V6 of 2008 provides only a nominal performance boost. The transmission is generally alert and responsive, negating the need for its manual shift gate-but it’s sometimes slow to downshift for more passing punch. Overall, these large crossovers have sufficient power, and no difference is noticeable between 2WD and AWD models. Maximum towing capacity is 3500 pounds.

Fuel economy could be better. An extended-use 2007 AWD model with the 3.5-liter V6 averaged 17.0 mpg. Later 3.7-liter models averaged 17.3 to 18.1 mpg with slightly more highway driving than city use. Each CX-9 uses regular-grade gasoline.

Mazda’s seven-seater rides more firmly than others in its class. Firm suspension tuning and the Grand Touring model’s standard 20-inch tires don’t smother large bumps as well as the Ford Edge. An extended-use Touring model with 18-inch tires could react harshly to small bumps. On the other hand, Grands actually cope with similar bumps with greater composure and stability.

Steering feels slightly numb on-center, but is nicely weighted while cornering. Some body lean is evident in fast turns. A tidy turning radius makes the CX-9 easy to maneuver in tight spots-something of a surprise for a vehicle this large. Solid braking control is evident, though one test Grand Touring had slightly mushy pedal feel.

Quietness is a CX-9 virtue. The 3.5-liter engine is barely noticed while cruising and at idle, and sounds refined while accelerating. The newer engine is just as refined and smooth. Wind noise is generally low, but rises markedly with the sunroof open. Coarse-surface tire thrum intrudes, too, especially in the Grand Touring model.

Gauges are easy to read most of the time. Like other Mazdas, the CX-9 has two backlight settings for the instrument panel and major controls. In low light and foggy conditions, “day” mode makes the display too bright. “Night” mode is too dim. Most controls fall easily to hand on models without a navigation system. The navigation unit is separate from climate controls, but integrates many audio functions, complicating some simple adjustments. It also places some buttons and knobs beyond easy reach. Further, its voice control understands only commands that are precisely worded and loudly spoken. Interiors combine padded surfaces and textured plastics to good overall effect.

Front legroom is ample, but tall occupants may wish for more headroom, even if a sunroof isn’t installed. Chair-height seating provides a commanding view forward and to the side. The optional Bose-brand audio system mounts speakers on rear roof pillars, compromising aft visibility.

Rear-seat riders get adult-size headroom and legroom, even with front seats set far back. The sliding and reclining second-row seat is a comfort plus. Despite a somewhat narrow door opening, access to the third row is easy. Adults will be comfortable for short trips in the third row, as long as the second-row seat is not all the way back.

Cargo space is decent with the third-row seat up, ample with that seat down, and cavernous with the second row folded. The third row folds flat, but the second row is slightly raised above the cargo floor, which can impede loading of large items. All doors have convenient map pockets. Small-item interior storage is otherwise average. The center console looks large, but lacks useful volume.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2008 CX-9 AWD Touring

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 6
60%
Fuel Economy - 4
40%
Ride Quality - 5
50%
Steering/Handling - 5
50%
Quietness - 7
70%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 5
50%
Room/Comfort Front - 7
70%
Room/Comfort Rear - 7
70%
Cargo Room - 10
100%

Other

Value - 9
90%

Total: 65

Specifications

4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
113.2 199.8 76.2 68.0
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
100.7 20.1 7
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.6 39.0 40.9 39.8
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2008 Mazda CX-9 4-door wagon

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Front Passenger Injury - 5
100%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Rear Passenger Injury - 5
100%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Brake noise
Description: The front brakes may be noisy in cold, damp weather due to a breakdown of the grease between the pads and anti-squeal shims. (2007-09)
Brake noise
Description: The rear brakes may make a groaning noise and replacing the pads with improved parts eliminates the noise. (2007-09)
Keyless entry
Description: The retractable style remote keyless entry (RKE) does not work and the LED does not glow due to poor contact in the battery compartment. (2007-09)
Mirrors
Description: The navigation system may display the wrong information if the vehicle was originally purchased in one area, but resold in another. (2007-08)
Oil leak
Description: On all-wheel drive CX-9s, the power transfer unit may be damaged or start leaking oil during certain driving conditions because of poor lubrication. (2009-13)
Seat
Description: The driver’s seat lift (up and down) may quit working because internal parts break. (2007-08)
Interior trim
Description: The switch in the overhead console for the front map may fall out and a replacement console with a redesigned switch is available. (2007-08)

Recall History

2007-09 vehicles equipped w/power adjustable seat with memory function
Description: The seat harness routed underneath the cushion may interfere with the front cover bracket and damage the seat harness. If the core wire of the harness touches the bracket, the system could short circuit. Dealers will inspect the seat harness and fasten the seat frame with a cable tie.
2007-2014 CX-9
Description: Certain 2007 through 2014 model Mazda CX-9 vehicles made between October 24, 2006 and December 28, 2013 may have front suspension ball joints that can corrode and fail due to water leaks.
2010 models w/heated seats
Description: There is a possibility, under extremely cold conditions, for the seat heater control circuit to overheat and fail due to insufficient electrical grounding. This may cause burn damage of the seat cushion surface, or a risk of smoke/fire. Dealers will install an additional ground harness on the seat heater control system. The seat heater control circuit will be replaced if necessary and/or the seat will be repaired free of charge.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.