Buyers are busily crowding into crossovers as the segment becomes among the most popular in the United States, and in many other markets around the world. Folks like them because of their basic utility and consumer-friendly interiors.
Manufacturers have noticed and are spending substantial resources refining CUVs to make them even more attractive to consumers. The new models also have drawn in more competitors, such as Mazda, which has diversified from strong niches in passenger cars by moving into the wider crossover market.
Mazda’s crossovers have quietly gained a following, and the Mazda CX-9 has carved out space in a market against some very formidable competition in this family friendly segment such as the Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, Nissan Pathfinder and Chevrolet Traverse.
Even as Mazda begins to nudge the CX-9 towards retirement, the 2023 version, with its stylish exterior and neat, well-designed interior and efficient powertrain, still stands out.
The CX-9 also benefits from Mazda’s engineering skills as it comes to the showroom with first-rate driving dynamics and ride quality that is impressive even in face of some tough competition.
One of the strengths of the CX-9 is the quality of its exterior design, which is highlighted by an aggressive front fascia, a sloping roof disguising the boxy shape inherent in the CUV design, and neatly integrated rear lift gate and light fixtures.
The overall design, thanks to strong proportions and attention to detail, remains surprisingly fresh even though the CX-9 has been in the Mazda line through a number of model years now — a tribute to the strength of the original styling and skill of the stylists. The design of the 2023 CX-9 has been enhanced with the bold, blacked-out, 20-inch alloy wheels and aluminum roof rails.
The interior of the 2023 CX-9 benefits from the selection of materials throughout the cabin and Mazda’s intelligent placement of the rectangular, 10.25-inch touch screen, carrying the entrainment and navigation, which resides in the center stack.
The version of the CX-9 I drove was trimmed in red-leather, enhancing the visual appeal of the interior. It also had captain’s chairs for seating in the second row. Access to the third-row seats is tight, but when the third row is folded flat, there is a substantial amount of room for carrying luggage or cargo. The cabin is also quiet on the road, the sound system is first rate and visibility from the driver’s seat is excellent.
The 2023 Mazda CX-9 Carbon Edition AWD is equipped with a 2.5-liter, turbocharged 4-cylinder engine mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission and an active all-wheel-drive system. The powertrain is puts out 227 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports the CX-9 has a combined fuel economy rating of 23 mpg, including 20 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. The CX-9 also is equipped with different drive modes and paddle shifters so the driver can override the automatic transmission.
Safety and Technology
The safety features on the CX-9 include a full-complement of airbags for protection in front- and side-impact crashes. It also is equipped with driver assistance features such as blind-spot detection, lane-departure warning, and rear cross-traffic alert as well as cruise control.
It also equipped with Bluetooth, Sirius XM radio connection, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. In addition, automatic high-beam controls for the LED lights and rain-sensing windshield wipers. It also is equipped with wireless phone charging and four USB ports as well as a moonroof and rear-view camera and sunshades for rear-seat passengers.
The 2023 Mazda CX-9 comes with four-wheel disc brakes, independent front and rear suspension and vectoring control to help tame the g-forces that come with driving through fast turns and around curves. The result is a well-modulated ride over all sorts of surfaces.
For a larger midsized crossover, the CX-9 is surprisingly maneuverable, leaving the impression you are driving a smaller vehicle. In addition, the turbocharged engine delivers plenty of power, though the shifts into higher gear on the 6-speed automatic transmission seemed to come a beat slower than in what is the same SkyActiv powertrain used in smaller Mazda vehicles. Overall, though the CX-9 was pleasant vehicle to drive in everyday traffic.
2023 Mazda CX-9 Carbon Edition Specifications
|Dimensions||L: 199.6 inches/W: 77.2 inches/H: 69 inches/Wheelbase: 115 inches|
|Powertrain||2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine; 6-speed automatic, FWD|
|Fuel Economy||20 mpg city/26 mpg highway/23 mpg combined|
|Performance Specs||227 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque|
|Price||Base price: $38,750; As tested: $46,595, including $1,275 destination charge.|
|On-Sale Date||Available now|
Midsized crossover vehicles are specifically designed to carry passengers and cargo safely and efficiently, and the 2023 Mazda CX-9 is certainly capable of managing these basic tasks. It also offers a modicum of style and performance, lacking in some of its less flashy rivals.
The CX-9 also comes with a spacious interior and is pleasant vehicle to handle and maneuver. The one drawback is that the vehicle is being phased out in favor of the new CX-90, which could undercut its resale value down the road, but offsetting this concern is the fact that used vehicle values remain high as vehicles overall have become more expensive.
2023 Mazda CX-9 Carbon Edition – Frequently Asked Questions
What is new in Mazda CX-9 for 2023?
The 2023 CX-9 model includes standard LED front lighting, glass with high privacy technology, and an electric panoramic sunroof. When it comes to the rear, the car has an electric tailgate that can be opened and closed remotely. This Mazda also comes with 18-inch alloy wheels with a gray metal coating.
Will there be a 2024 Mazda CX-9?
No, as the 2024 Mazda CX-90 will replace the automaker’s CX-9 model when it goes on sale in mid-year 2023. Built in Japan, the new 2024 CX-90 is a midsize, three-row, eight-passenger SUV designed to convey a premium look and feel and engineered to have the driving satisfaction Mazda’s are known for.
Is Mazda CX-9 same as Ford Edge?
No, but they’re very similar vehicles. In terms of towing capacity, the Mazda CX-9 is clearly the choice over the Ford Edge for pulling heavy loads. While the Edge has a little more horsepower than the CX-9. With its lower torque engine, the Ford Edge does not do as good a job transmitting power to its wheels as the Mazda CX-9.