Mazda CX-9
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Overall

The largest vehicle in the Mazda fleet caught the Kodo design bug for 2013 and is now looking better than ever; it’s a tall wagon that will actually seat seven adult passengers without complaint.

Drivetrain

The 3.7-liter V6 and six-speed automatic transmission carry over from the days when Ford collaborated with Mazda; all-wheel-drive is optional.

The CX-9 is one of those vehicles that successfully combines practical space with sporty driving dynamics. The same can’t be said for all similarly sized seven-passenger offerings from other manufacturers. The big wagon also received the new design “language” (most noticeable in the nose and headlights) that is/has spread through much of the lineup, in particular the Mazda CX-5 wagon and the new 2014 Mazda3 sedan and hatchback and the Mazda6 sedan. Left unchanged for 2014 is the CX-9′s 273-horspower 3.7-liter V6 that was designed by Ford and also shows up in a number of its models, including the Mustang, Ford F-150 and Lincoln MKZ. For fuel consumption, the 3.7 is rated at 17 mpg city and 24 highway, or 16/22 for all-wheel-drive versions. The wagon’s interior came in for some modest revision for 2013 when much of the effort was concentrated on the dashboard to accommodate new audio and navigation systems. Along with numerous comfort-focused options, the CX-9 can be ordered with some impressive safety items, including lane-departure warning that signals when the driver strays off the intended path, and active cruise control that maintains a safe distance from the vehicle in front. Some, but not all of these items are offered as options for the base Sport, mid-level Touring and top-level Grand Touring trim levels, all with three-row, seven-passenger seating and a 3,500-pound max towing capacity.

Base price (incl. destination): $30,600 (FWD)
Type: Four-door sport-utility wagon
Engine (hp): 3.7-liter DOHC V6 (273)
Layout: Front-engine, front- /all-wheel-drive
Transmissions: Six-speed automatic
MPG (city/hwy): 17/24 (FWD)
Safety: Front airbags; side-impact/side-curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes; stability control; traction control
Weight (lb.): 4,320