Trucks & SUVs

Families Should Avoid This Used Mazda CX-9 Model Year at All Costs

Large families often juggle numerous bills, and they won’t want to add a hefty car payment to the fold. However, they’ll still need a vehicle large enough to transport their little ones and all their belongings. So, it’s no wonder why used large SUVs like the 2013 Mazda CX-9 are popular options on the resale market.

However, some family-sized SUVs aren’t the perfect match, and the CX-9 could fall into that category for you. Why should you avoid this particular Mazda? Let’s take an in-depth look at this three-row SUV’s drawbacks so you can make a more informed decision.

Experts question the 2013 Mazda CX-9’s dependability

A grey 2013 Mazda CX-9 driving down the road
The 2013 Mazda CX-9 is the brand’s largest model | Mazda

Families have things to do and places to be. The last thing they’ll want to deal with is unexpected problems. That’s one significant area where the 2013 Mazda CX-9 disappoints.

Consumer Reports gave the 2013 CX-9 a reliability rating of just 20/100. The trusted publication calculated this score based on feedback from subscribers who own the vehicle. When analyzing 17 potential trouble spots, it found that engine, electrical system, transmission, and power equipment are among the CX-9’s most common problems.

One 2013 Mazda CX-9 Touring owner detailed their significant mechanical issue to Consumer Reports. They wrote, “I pulled up to a stop sign, 1000 miles from home, when it sounded like someone threw a toolbox of tools into the transmission. And it immediately stopped.” Another 2013 CX-9 driver reported a similar transmission problem and warned against driving the SUV over long distances.

The 2013 Mazda CX-9 is older than you’d expect

A close-up look at the 3.7-liter V6 engine and other mechanical components of the 2013 Mazda CX-9
The 2013 Mazda CX-9’s V6 engine | Mazda

RELATED: Skip the 2021 Mazda CX-9 and Get a Subaru Ascent If You Need Space

Automotive manufacturers only revamp their cars every few years. However, some vehicles can go quite a while before receiving significant upgrades. The 2013 CX-9 is one of those models, as Mazda built it upon a platform that debuted in 2007.

Mazda didn’t completely ignore the CX-9, as it gave the SUV a new engine in 2008 and more modern styling tweaks in 2013. However, the vehicle still remained dated, falling behind its rivals.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that a bulky, aging SUV is quite the gas-guzzler. Its 3.7-liter V6 engine manages just 17 MPG in the city and 24 MPG on the highway. Meanwhile, AWD-equipped models get one MPG fewer in the city and two MPG fewer on the highway.

Mazda’s biggest SUV comes up short in another vital category

RELATED: The 2021 Mazda CX-9’s Biggest Flaw Could Be a Huge Safety Hazard

It’s likely you’re only considering the 2013 Mazda CX-9 because you need the space. However, the CX-9 is tight on space compared to other entries in its segment. 

This characteristic may come as a surprise to shoppers who have seen this SUV in person. After all, its frame is gigantic. But Mazda constructed the 2013 CX-9 with peculiar proportions. The SUV provides a wealth of cargo space, allowing owners to pack it to the gills with all their gear. However, this comes at the cost of passenger volume.

Space isn’t too limited in the first and second row. But you can expect your little ones to squabble over who has to sit in the back. The CX-9’s third row is relatively small, and it’s mostly only suitable for children. Even then, we wouldn’t recommend seating your kids back there during a road trip.

This criticism isn’t exclusive to the 2013 CX-9, as many seven-passenger SUVs face similar issues. However, you can find more comfortable alternatives at a similar price point. For example, the U.S. News & World Report named the Buick Enclave the best affordable three-row SUV of 2013. The publication bestowed this honor upon the Enclave due in part to its roomy third row, which can accommodate adults.