- Plenty of room for seven passengers
- sporty on-road ride
- impressive array of safety systems
The CX-9 Sport, Touring and Grand Touring all share a 3.7L V6 engine that makes 273 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque and is mated to a 6-speed sport automatic transmission with manual shift mode. Each trim can be had with either front-wheel drive or Mazda's Active Torque-Split all-wheel drivetrain.
The CX-9 comes a long list of standard safety equipment that includes anti-lock brakes, brake assist, tire pressure monitoring, stability control, traction control and roll stability control. The front air bag system has sensors for seat belt use, passenger weight and seat position to allow the right amount of deployment. The steering wheel column collapses in the event of a crash, and the brake pedal assembly breaks away to minimize the chance of injury.
A number of luxury and convenience features are also standard for 2012, and include power mirrors, a roof spoiler, 18-inch alloy wheels, 3-zone climate control, cargo area under-floor storage, fold-down second and third rows of seating and leather trim. A Sirius satellite radio-compatible 6-speaker system is standard and includes an input jack, Bluetooth and steering wheel-mounted controls. The base Sport offers heated front seats with a power-adjustable driver seat and heated outside mirrors.
The Touring model adds automatic headlamps, power-adjustable heated mirrors, leather seats and heated, power-adjustable front seats. A Moonroof & Bose package is optional and includes a power-sliding moonroof and a Bose 5.1 surround audio system as well as SIRIUS satellite radio.
The Grand Touring includes 20-inch wheels, HID headlamps, fog lamps, rain-sensing wipers, advanced keyless entry and a blind-spot warning system. If that weren't enough, a rear-seat entertainment system with Bose audio is optional, as are a navigation system and a power liftgate.
The CX-9 got a thorough going-over last year, so very little has changed for 2012. All three trim levels from carry over to 2012, and each is available in both front-wheel or all-wheel drive.
Despite having room for seven and a slew of seating configurations, this large SUV has a sporty driving feel and a distinctive design. The standard safety features and available technology offer a compromise between minivan and sleek SUV.