The FREE Complete Bay Area Auto Enthusiast Guide

Ten years after its debut, the Mazda flagship crossover SUV has been redesigned. Though the length is 1.9 inches shorter than its predecessor, wheelbase is up by 2.2 inches. Curb weight takes a 287-pound dip in the all-wheel-drive version and 198 down for front-wheel drive. And under the hood you get a new 2.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine pumping out 227 horsepower @ 5000 rpm and 310 pounds-feet of torque @ 2000 rpm. The powertrain also is equipped with the direct-injection Skyactiv, which uses a torque boost via a high compression ratio to increase fuel economy. Once again, power is routed through the traditional but seamless 6-speed automatic transmission.
Suspension is handled via an independent MacPherson strut in the front and a multilink rear with stabilizer bars at both ends. The electric-power assist steering is direct and precise. And the one-off CX-9 is available as Sport, Touring, Grand Touring and our test-drive – the freshly inducted Signature trim – to meet the needs of the diverse buyer.
The familiar five-point grille with double bars is surrounded by new LED headlights while the rear also gets LED tail lamps and dual exhaust tips. Nappa leather, and splashes of rosewood and aluminum trim, lend elegance to the roomy cabin. The 60/40-split second-row seat, which can slide fore and aft, as well as the 50/50-split third-row seat, will be useful if traveling with children. Also standard are a tri-zone auto a/c, 8-way heated power driver and 4-way passenger seats, 8-inch instrument display with command control, power lift gate, head-up display, tilt/telescopic steering column, second-row window sun shades, push-button start and a 12-speaker Bose sound system.
Dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag for all rows, four-wheel antilock brakes with Electronic Brake Distribution, Dynamic Stability Control and traction control, antiskid system with rollover sensor, front seat active-head restraints, three-point front seatbelts with pretensioners, blind spot alert, rear backup sensors, lane keep assist and departure warning, smart brake support, rear cross traffic alert, front and rear crumple zones and tire pressure monitoring system are standard in the Signature edition.
The CX-9 is anything but your run-of-the-mill crossover SUV. It offers ample power, quick acceleration, incredible people and cargo-hauling capabilities, and in the looks department, it scores a point or two for bold styling.

Tires: P255/50R20
Wheelbase: 115.3 inches
Length: 199.4 inches
Weight: 4,301 pounds
Fuel capacity: 19.5 gallons
City: 21 mpg
Highway: 27 mpg
Price: $44,015
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