2021 Mazda CX-9 Review: First Impressions

by Gabrielle DeSantis

Zoom zoom are the only words on my mind as I want to spend more time driving the Mazda CX-9. This 2021 Mazda CX-9 review contains my first initial thoughts after spending about six hours in this three-row crossover so far, and there’s more to come. 

2021 Mazda CX-9 review: my first thoughts 

2021 Mazda CX-9 | Mazda

I have the pleasure of spending the week with a 2021 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD. The MSRP for this model is about $46,605, but with a few extra packages, the total rose to about $48,300. The unique shade of Soul Red Crystal Metallic paint cost extra, but it sure is pretty. 

When I first saw the Mazda CX-9, I thought, wow, this is a larger Mazda. It was bigger than expected because I’m used to seeing the CX-5 around town, then I realized that Mazda is unique with this series. The CX-3, CX-5, and CX-9 all look similar, just in different sizes. But the Ford Escape, Explorer, and Expedition all have different looks. 

How is driving the Mazda CX-9? 

A red 2021 Mazda CX-9 parked in a drive way near an excited dog named Bruce
2021 Mazda CX-9 Review | Allison Barfield

RELATED: The 2021 Mazda CX-9 Has 1 Potential Dealbreaker for Families

I’ll have an updated 2021 Mazda CX-9 review later in the week. So far, I’ve only spent a few hours getting to know this red hot model, and it’s a lot of fun. The turbocharged 2.5-liter I-4 engine pumps out 277 hp and 410 lb of torque. It’s pretty darn fast with a peppy acceleration.

According to Edmunds, it can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 7.6 seconds, but it felt faster than that to me. There was plenty of power for merging onto I-26 and whipping around traffic if needed. 

The power-assisted steering is very responsive, and the paddle shifters on the steering wheel provide an engaging experience. It was very tempting to zoom zoom all the way from Charlotte, NC, to the Blue Ridge mountains. 

So, I engaged the adaptive cruise control to prevent getting pulled. The system adjusts your speed incredibly smoothly without jerky motions. Also, the CX-9 has some of the smoothest brakes I’ve experienced in a while. 

It has little body roll for excitement around curves and a smooth ride. Usually, vehicles with 20-inch wheels are a little bumpier. The cabin is quiet aside from an occasional engine roar upon quick accelerations. 

How is the Mazda CX-9’s interior? 

The interior of the 2021 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD edition from the passenger side
2021 Mazda CX-9 interior | Mazda

The 2021 Mazda CX-9 has an awe-inspiring upscale interior with quilted leather stitching around the bucket seats. It’s very comfortable and eye-catching. The heated and ventilated seats keep you satisfied on longer rides. 

Everyone who got to see or sit in this model so far has commented on the great-looking and comfortable interior. It also includes pops of wood paneling and soft-touch materials for a premium feel. 

I’m still getting used to the tech. The infotainment screen isn’t a touch screen, so you have to use knobs to select the options you want. I’ll have to dive in deeper to figure it out, but Apple CarPlay simplified setting up my navigation and podcasts. Also, the wireless phone charger works well. 

The head-up display is my favorite feature for now. It isn’t blurry or too high up to be distracting. It shows you when a vehicle is in your blind spot, displays your speed, and has traffic sign recognition. 

I’m planning on taking the Mazda CX-9 up on the Blue Ridge Parkway to find an area to test the all-wheel-drive capabilities. I’ll be climbing all through it to report on space as well. Stay tuned as my 2021 Mazda CX-9 review continues in a few days. 

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