2020 Mazda CX-9

#8
in Midsize Suvs
2020 MODEL
$33,890 - $46,215
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8.2

Overall Rating

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2020 Mazda CX-9 Complete In-depth Review & Buying Guide

Updated on: July 18, 2020
Anuron Deka's image

Anuron Deka

Automotive Journalist

Mazda had a slow start in the US. This Japanese automotive manufacturer expanded from the JDM to the US market in 1971. However, the rotary engine that Mazda used in its cars from 1963 up until 2012 had various reliability issues. Thus, they shelved the Wankel and migrated to the more conventional engines. And ever since, Mazda has seen huge changes in their fortunes.

See detailed review »

Pros

More fuel-efficient than its rivals

Upscale and comfortable interiors

Engaging driving dynamics

Impressive safety features list

Cons

Dated infotainment UI

Cramped up third row

Less cargo space than rivals

What's New?

Bumped up power figures

Improved standard safety features

New infotainment screen for the higher trims

New Touring Premium package


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$33890

bodystyle

4dr SUV

passenger capacity

7

drivetrain

FWD

engine type

displacement

152 cu.in.

horsepower

227 hp @ 5000 rpm

torque

310 lbs.-ft. @ 2000 rpm

transmission

6-Speed Automatic

chassis

frame type

Unibody

suspension front

Independent front strut suspension

suspension rear

Independent rear multi-link suspension

brake rotors (f/r)

12.6/12.6

dimensions

wheelbase

115.3 in.

length

199.4 in.

width

77.5 in.

height

69 in.

curb weight

4225 lbs.

ground clearance

8.8 in.

capacity

passenger volume

135.1 cu ft.

cargo volume

71.2 cu ft.

towing capacity

3500 lbs.

payload capacity

1445 lbs.

performance

zero to 60 mph

7.1 sec.

standing ¼-mile

15.5 sec.

fuel economy

city/combined/highway

20/26/23 mpg

highway range

507 mi.

warranty

basic warranty

3 yr./ 36000 mi.

drivetrain warranty

5 yr./ 60000 mi.

corrosion warranty

5 yr. /unlimited

roadside assistance

3 yr. / 36000 mi.


Pictures & Videos

Exterior
Interior
Videos
2020 Mazda CX-9 Interior video
2020 Mazda CX-9 Review video

Styles

2020 Mazda CX-9 in Deep Crystal Blue Mica color 2020 Mazda CX-9 in Jet Black color 2020 Mazda CX-9 in Machine Gray Metallic color 2020 Mazda CX-9 in Snowflake White Pearl Mica color 2020 Mazda CX-9 in Sonic Silver Metallic color
Deep Crystal Blue Mica

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Features

8.0

Engine And Performance

8.9

Fuel Economy

8.5

Interior

8.0

Exterior

8.0

Safety

8.0

Competition

8.2

8.2

OVERALL RATING

Trims and Configurations

MSRP


2020 Mazda CX-9 Sport

Sport

power
227 hp @ 5000 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
23 combined

$33,890 - $35,790


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
Sport 4dr SUV (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 6A) Starting at $33,890 MSRP (20/23/26) 227 hp @ 5000 rpm, 2.5 L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
6-Speed Automatic front wheel drive 7
Sport 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 6A) Starting at $35,790 MSRP (20/23/26) 227 hp @ 5000 rpm, 2.5 L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
6-Speed Automatic all wheel drive 7

2020 Mazda CX-9 Touring

Touring

power
227 hp @ 5000 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
23 combined

$35,710 - $37,610


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
Touring 4dr SUV (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 6A) Starting at $35,710 MSRP (20/23/26) 227 hp @ 5000 rpm, 2.5 L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
6-Speed Automatic front wheel drive 7
Touring 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 6A) Starting at $37,610 MSRP (20/23/26) 227 hp @ 5000 rpm, 2.5 L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
6-Speed Automatic all wheel drive 7

2020 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring

Grand Touring

power
227 hp @ 5000 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
23 combined

$41,550 - $43,450


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
Grand Touring 4dr SUV (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 6A) Starting at $41,550 MSRP (20/23/26) 227 hp @ 5000 rpm, 2.5 L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
6-Speed Automatic front wheel drive 7
Grand Touring 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 6A) Starting at $43,450 MSRP (20/23/26) 227 hp @ 5000 rpm, 2.5 L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
6-Speed Automatic all wheel drive 7

2020 Mazda CX-9 Signature

Signature

power
227 hp @ 5000 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
23 combined

$46,215


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
Signature 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 6A) Starting at $46,215 MSRP (20/23/26) 227 hp @ 5000 rpm, 2.5 L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
6-Speed Automatic all wheel drive 6

Expert Review

8.2

Overall Rating


Tribute was Mazda’s first SUV in the US market that was introduced in 2001 and sold till 2011. The CX-9 was introduced in 2006 for the 2007 model year. The 2020 CX-9 belongs to the second generation of this full-size SUV that came in 2016. It remains unchanged as far as the exterior shell is concerned. However, the power figures have been bumped up along with changes in the standard features list.

Mazda is an excellent SUV in the current day and age. However, with just one engine option, can it deliver and satisfy the thirst for power of the American folks? Most of its rivals such as Honda Pilot and Chevrolet Traverse are powered by a V6 motor. Can this Japanese SUV prove its worth in the segment? Let’s find out.

2020 Mazda CX-9 SUV Front View
2020 Mazda CX-9 SUV Rear View

8.0/10
Features

 

8.9/10
Engine and Performance

 

8.5/10
Fuel Economy

 

8.0/10
Interior

 

8.0/10
Exterior

 

8.0/10
Safety

 

8.2/10
Competition

 
 

2020 Mazda CX-9 Features

8.0/10

The trim ladder for the 2020 Mazda CX-9 remains unchanged from its previous iteration. However, there have been quite a few changes in the standard features list. Heated front seats along with a leather wrapped-steering and shifter are now standard across all trims. Various safety features have also been made standard from the 2020 model year.

Trim

Sport

Touring

Grand Touring

Signature

MSRP (FWD)

$33,790

$35,710

$41,550

-

MSRP (AWD)

$35,790

$37,610

$43,450

$46,215

Key Features

MAZDA CONNECT infotainment system with 7-inch full-color touch-screen display

Adds/Upgrades to Sport plus:

Adds/Upgrades to Touring plus:

Adds/Upgrades to Grand Touring plus:

 

18-inch alloy wheels with P255/60 R18 tires

8-inch full-color touch-screen display

20-inch alloy wheels

Standard i-ACTIV AWD

 

SKYACTIV-VEHICLE DYNAMICS with G-Vectoring Control

Rear Power Liftgate

Power sliding-glass moonroof with sunshade

LED signature grille accent lighting

 

Three-zone automatic climate control

Auto-on/off headlights

Automatic power-folding side mirrors

Genuine Santos Rosewood interior trim

 

Remote keyless entry

Heated side mirrors

Heated steering wheel

LED shifter accent lighting

 

Cloth-trimmed seats

Leather-trimmed seats

Aluminum interior trim

Auburn Nappa leather-trimmed seats

 

Cruise control

Apple CarPlay integration and Android Auto integration

SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link Services

 

 

Leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter

MAZDA CONNECT Infotainment System

 

 

There is only one choice for the engine though. A turbocharged 2.5L Inline-4 motor powers all the trims mated to a 6-Speed Automatic gearbox. All trims except the top of the line Signature, which has AWD as standard, offers the option for either FWD or AWD drivetrain.

Which trim do we recommend?

We recommend you go for the Touring trim as it comes packed with all the essential features and more. The higher trims might look very tempting, but you can always upgrade with any of the available packages when the need arises.

2020 Mazda CX-9 Engine and Performance

8.9/10

In a segment dominated by V6 powered vehicles, it was a bold decision from Mazda to go ahead with an Inline-4 unit. It was done in order to squeeze out more mileage and undercut its rivals. Well, the decision seems to have paid off as the CX-9 is the most fuel-efficient car in the chosen pack.

Talking about the engine, the turbocharged 2.5L four-banger is capable of churning out 250 horses and 320 lb-ft of pulling force. Mated to a SKYACTIV-G 6-Speed Automatic gearbox, the power is transferred either to the front or all four wheels. However, with the top of the line Signature trim, AWD drivetrain is standard. The gearbox does its job well and there is no noticeable lag, but due to the larger gear ratios, acceleration does suffer a bit.

Models

Mazda CX-9

Honda Pilot

Chevrolet Traverse

GMC Acadia

Ford Explorer

MSRP

$33,790

$31,550

$29,800

$29,800

$32,765

Engine

2.5L Turbocharged Inline-4 (SKYACTIV-G)

3.5L Naturally Aspirated V6

3.6L Naturally Aspirated V6

2.5L Turbocharged Inline-4

2.3L Turbocharged Inline-4

Drivetrain FWD RWD FWD FWD FWD

Transmission

6-speed Automatic

6-Speed Automatic

9-Speed Automatic

9-Speed Automatic

10-Speed Automatic

Power (hp @ rpm)

250@5,000

280@6,000

310@6,800

193@6,300

300@5,500

Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)

320@2,000

262@4,700

266@2,800

188@4,400

310@3,500

This motor is excellent for daily driving. The peak torque of 320 lb-ft is available at just 2000 RPM. Thus, you will always have power at your disposal. The excellent fuel economy only adds to its daily drivability. On the highway too this motor is very potent. You’ll be able to cruise at triple-digit speeds all day long and this car will not break a sweat.

How fast is it?

2020 Mazda CX-9 is decently quick, considering the fact that it is powered by a four-banger. Off the line, this Japanese SUV takes 7.1 seconds to hit the 60 mph mark. The quarter-mile run clocks in at 15.5 seconds. These figures are for the FWD drivetrain. Equipped with the AWD drivetrain, the CX-9 becomes a tad bit quicker.

2020 Mazda CX-9 SUV 0-60 MPH in just 7.1 sec

Models

Mazda CX-9

Honda Pilot

Chevrolet Traverse

GMC Acadia

Ford Explorer

0-60 MPH (sec)

7.1

5.9

7.1

6.2

9.2

Quarter Mile (sec)

15.5

14.4

15.5

15.0

16.9

Top Speed (MPH) 130 N/A 130 115 143

Engine

2.5L Turbocharged Inline-4 (SKYACTIV-G)

3.5L Naturally Aspirated V6

3.6L Naturally Aspirated V6

2.5L Turbocharged Inline-4

2.3L Turbocharged Inline-4

Emission

(Tons/yr. of CO2 Emissions @ 15K mi/year)

N/A

N/A

8.4

8.4

7.3

Talking about the competition, Honda Pilot is the quickest of the lot. Thanks to the VTEC, this Honda sprints to 60 in just 5.9 seconds and completes a quarter-mile drag race in 14.4 seconds.

How well does it stop?

Mazda CX-9 tips the scales at 4317 lbs. and under the emergency braking test, it performed well. The CX-9 came to a standstill from 60 mph within a distance of 123 feet. When we compare the CX-9, we find that Mazda needs some improvement here. Ford Explorer, when equipped with stickier tires, pulls off the same feat within 108 feet. Honda Pilot does it within 117 feet.

Model

Mazda CX-9

Honda Pilot

Chevrolet Traverse

GMC Acadia

Ford Explorer

Brake Rotors Front (in)

12.6

12.6

N/A

12.6

12.8

Brake Rotors Rear (in)

12.8

13.0

N/A

12.4

12.8

Curb Weight (lbs)

4317

4036

4362

3923

4345

60-0 MPH (ft)

123

117

N/A

N/A

108 (with optional tires)

Talking about the beaking setup, 2020 CX-9 comes standard with ventilated disc brakes assisted by ABS on all four wheels. The front wheels get 12.6-inch rotors while the rear ones get 12.8 inchers. The pedal has a fair amount of travel and the application is also smooth. The bite also kicks in almost immediately.

How does it handle?

Mazda is known to manufacture fun to drive cars, and the CX-9 is no exception. The fact that this SUV comes standard with sporty tires should give you a hint how it handles. Compared to rivals like the Honda Pilot and Chevrolet Traverse, the CX-9 rides and corners like it’s glued to the road, with precise steering requiring minimal effort to affect course change. The retuned suspension retains its impressive cornering ability, but now returns a gentler ride over rough pavement.

2020 Mazda CX-9 SUV Rear View

The gearbox somewhat restricts the performance of this car. With only 6-Speeds and larger gear ratios, this SUV suffers from a slower acceleration. An extra cog or two could have made a lot of difference. Still, it is a fun car to drive, especially on the highway.

2020 Mazda CX-9 Fuel Economy

8.5/10

Fuel economy is the forte of this Japanese SUV. Mazda opted for an Inline-4 over a V6 so that it could squeeze out an extra mile or two from a gallon of gas. The CX-9 is the most guel-efficient car of the lot, if not in the segment. With the FWD drivetrain, this SUV runs 22 miles on a gallon of gas in the city and 28 miles on the highway.

Model

Mazda CX-9

Honda Pilot

Chevrolet Traverse

GMC Acadia

Ford Explorer

MPG (City)

22

19

18

21

21

MPG (Highway)

28

27

27

29

28

MPG (Combined)

24

22

21

23

24

Fuel Capacity (Gallons)

19.0

19.5

19.4

19.0

19.2

Range (City/Hwy/Combined) (mi)

418/532/456

371/527/429

349/524/407

399/551/437

403/538/460

However, the efficiency goes down with the AWD drivetrain. In the city, you will get an economy of 20 mpg while on the highway the economy figure stands at 26 mpg that makes up for a combined figure of 23 mpg. Chevrolet Traverse is the least fuel-efficient car of the lot followed by the Honda Pilot. This should be surprise as both of these cars have a V6 engine.

2020 Mazda CX-9 Interior

8.0/10

The interiors of the 2020 CX-9 is upscale with close attention to details. However, it is short on space when compared to some of its rivals. However, it makes up for it in the quality department. CX-9 probably has the best interiors in the segment. There are soft touch materials throughout the cabin. The dashboard is also sculpted out of high quality materials.

2020 Mazda CX-9 SUV Seats

The seats are comfortable with ample support and adequate bolstering. The base trim comes with cloth upholstery, but all other trims have leather upholstery. Heated front seats are also standard across all trims and only higher trims get heated rear seats.

Model

Mazda CX-9

Honda Pilot

Chevrolet Traverse

GMC Acadia

Ford Explorer

Seating Capacity

7

8

7

7

8

First Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in)

39.3/57.9/41.0

40.1/62.0/40.9

41.3/62.1/41.0

40.0/59.4/41.0

40.7/61.8/43.0

Second Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in)

38.5/ 58.1/39.4

40.2/68.0/38.4

40.0/62.2/38.4

39.6/58.7/39.7

40.5/61.9/39.0

Third Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in)

35.4/53.1/29.7

38.9/44.6/31.9

38.2/48.5/33.5

37.2/42.9/29.7

38.9/40.9/32.2

Talking about the space on offer, the front and second row provide ample of it. However, the third row can only house children. Even teenagers will have problems fitting in the last row. The doors are big and open wide so that ingress and egress are easy. The second row also slides at the push of a button felicitating easy accessibility to the third-row.

What’s there to keep you entertained?

The infotainment system of the 2020 Mazda CX-9 gets a few minor upgrades. The base trim come with a 7” touch screen while all other trims have a 9’ touch screen. The higher trims also get Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capabilities. MAZDA CONNECT 5 Infotainment System also ads Multifunction Commander control, voice command, Radio Broadcast Data System program information, Aha internet radio integration, Pandora internet radio integration, Stitcher internet radio integration, SMS text message audio delivery and reply and 911 automatic emergency notification.

2020 Mazda CX-9 SUV Has a 7” inch Touch Screen

How much cargo can it store?

The CX-9 does not have the biggest of cargo spaces. At 14.4 cubic feet, it falls way behind most of its rivals such as the Traverse, Explorer and Pilot who have cargo hauling capacities of 23, 18.2 ,and 16.5 cubic feet respectively.

2020 Mazda CX-9 SUV Cargo volume is 14.4 cu ft.

Model

Mazda CX-9

Honda Pilot

Chevrolet Traverse

GMC Acadia

Ford Explorer

Cargo Capacity (ft3)

14.4

16.5

23.0

12.8

18.2

The third row seats are 50/50 split-folding and the second-row seats are 60/40 split-folding. Thus, in case you or emergencies or weekend getaways, the CX-9 can pack in your entire world.

What are the creature comforts on offer?

CX-9 is very rich in convenience and interior features. Some of the highlights are

  • Three-zone automatic climate control with pollen filter
  • Power windows with one-touch down/up feature
  • Power door locks with speed-sensing auto locking
  • Front door courtesy lights
  • Cruise Control
  • Remote keyless illuminated entry system with "answer back" feature
  • Push Button Start
  • Dual visor vanity mirrors with extension
  • Front door pocket illumination
  • Tilt & telescopic steering column
  • 12-volt power outlets (1 front/1 cargo area)
  • Remote fuel-door release
  • Rear window defogger with timer
2020 Mazda CX-9 SUV Interior
2020 Mazda CX-9 SUV Interior
2020 Mazda CX-9 SUV Interior
2020 Mazda CX-9 SUV Interior
2020 Mazda CX-9 SUV Interior
2020 Mazda CX-9 SUV Interior
2020 Mazda CX-9 SUV Interior
2020 Mazda CX-9 SUV Interior
2020 Mazda CX-9 SUV Interior
2020 Mazda CX-9 SUV Interior

2020 Mazda CX-9 Exterior

8.0/10

CX-9 is one of the best looking SUVs thats sold in the US right now. It has been finely curated and sculpted and screams class and sophistication from every angle. Instead of using bold body lies, Mazda relies on mild curves and bends to look classy. The fascia consists of only the grille and the headlamps, no fake air intakes or excessive chrome accents.

2020 Mazda CX-9 SUV Three Quarter View

The side profile is sleek and fluidic, unlike other boxy SUVs in the segment. There is no distinctive feature apart from the chrome bordering around the windows. The rear end adheres with the overall design language, no unecessary lines or beefed up curves. Just the sleek tail lamps, some chrome accents and the dual exhausts.

Model

Mazda CX-9

Honda Pilot

Chevrolet Traverse

GMC Acadia

Ford Explorer

Curb Weight (lbs)

4317

4036

4362

3923

4345

Length (in)

199.4

196.5

204.3

193.6

198.8

Width (in)

77.5

78.6

78.6

75.4

78.9

Height (in)

69.0

70.6

70.7

66.0

69.9

Ground Clearance (in)

8.8

7.3

7.2

7.2

7.9

Wheelbase (in)

115.3

111.0

120.9

112.5

119.1

It is not the biggest car in the segment. With a bumper to bumper length of 199.4 inches, it is not the longest car in the segment and it shows in the cramped up third row and cargo space. However, this Japanese SUV has the highest ground clearance at 8.8 inches.

What are the highlights of the exterior shell?

The minimal and elegant exterior shell of the 2020 Mazda CX-9 sports quite a few highlights. Some of them are

  • LED Headlights with auto on/off and auto height control
  • LED Daytime Running Lights
  • LED Combination taillights
  • High beam control
  • Rain-sensing variable-intermittent windshield wipers
  • Intermittent rear wiper/washer
  • Black front, side and rear lower body molding
  • Body-colored power side mirrors with integrated LED turn signals
  • Heated side mirrors
  • Rear privacy glass
  • Dual exhaust outlets
  • Body-colored rear roof spoiler
2020 Mazda CX-9 SUV Exterior
2020 Mazda CX-9 SUV Exterior
2020 Mazda CX-9 SUV Exterior
2020 Mazda CX-9 SUV Exterior
2020 Mazda CX-9 SUV Exterior
2020 Mazda CX-9 SUV Exterior
2020 Mazda CX-9 SUV Exterior
2020 Mazda CX-9 SUV Exterior
2020 Mazda CX-9 SUV Exterior
2020 Mazda CX-9 SUV Exterior

2020 Mazda CX-9 Safety

8.0/10

Mazda has always curated all of their cars to be as safe as they can be. CX-9 is no exception and adheres to the company principles. The 2019 Mazda CX-9 scored well in the safety tests conducted by NHTSA and IIHS. CX-9 scored an overall 5-star rating from NHTSA while it receives a Good score on most of the categories by IIHS.

Some of the standard safety features of the 2020 CX-9 are

  • Advanced front air bags with seat belt-use, passenger-weight sensors
  • Front side-impact air bags and side-impact air curtains with rollover protection
  • 3-point seat belts for all seating positions
  • Front seat belt pretensioners with force limiters
  • Anti-lock Brake System with Electronic Brake force Distribution & Brake Assist
  • Dynamic Stability Control with Traction Control System and Trailer Stability Assist
  • Rearview Camera
  • Roll Stability Control
  • Hill Launch Assist
  • Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Traffic Alert
  • Smart City Brake Support with collision warning
  • Advanced Smart City Brake Support with pedestrian detection
  • Lane-keep Assist
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Mazda Radar Cruise Control with Stop & Go
  • Side-impact door beams
  • Engine-immobilizer antitheft system
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
  • LATCH 2nd-row seat child safety seat anchors & upper tether anchors
  • Child safety rear door locks

2020 Mazda CX-9 Competition

8.2/10

Mazda CX-9 vs Honda Pilot

2020 Honda Pilot SUV

CX-9 and Pilot cater to very different folks. If you want raw power, the Pilot is the car for you. Powered by a naturally aspirated V6, the Pilot has the power of 300 horses. However, for every other aspect, we recommend the CX-9. It is undoubtedly the better looking and better handling car with a upscale and spacious cabin. The fuel economy of the Mazda also earns it some extra points over the Honda.

Mazda CX-9 vs GMC Acadia

2020 GMC Acadia SUV

The less said the better. Not only is the GMC below par on specs, as a package too it lags miles behind. The CX-9 isn’t just more powerful and practical, it is a better car in every aspect, and much easier to own and live with.

2020 Mazda CX-9 Final Verdict

It’s very easy to recommend the Mazda CX-9. It is breathetakingly beautiful and extremely practical. The interiors are also one of the best in the class with soft touch material througout the cabin. The seats are also very comfortable. The list of features is cabale of putting every rival of its to shame. Add to that one of the best in class fuel economy and you see why we would recommend the 2020 Mazda CX-9 to anyone who is looking to buy a 3 row SUV or crossover.