Crossover & Midsize

The 2020 Mazda CX-9 Stands Out From ‘Humdrum-Handling Rivals’

In 2020, you have your fair share of midsize SUVs to choose from, and the 2020 Mazda CX-9 is one of the best SUVs to get it. Critics have said that the CX-9 is an excellent choice because it drives like a luxury SUV. Reviewers at U.S. News were incredibly impressed with the CX-9’s overall package but did note a few flaws.

The 2020 Mazda CX-9 is a dynamic performer 

a gray 2020 Mazda CX-9 SUV driving on a gravel road in the countryside
2020 Mazda CX-9 | Mazda

The Mazda CX-9 presents itself as one of the best SUVs because of its reliability, upscale interior, and satisfying performance. Because of this, U.S. News ranks the CX-9 as its #3 midsize SUV, right behind the Hyundai Santa Fe and the extremely popular Kia Telluride. U.S. News favors the CX-9 for its driving dynamics, which help it stand out in a crowd ‘of humdrum-handling rivals.’

The CX-9 gets its power from a 227-horsepower, 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. This turbo-four accelerates quickly, and it’s pretty fuel-efficient too. Models with front-wheel-drive have a fuel economy rating of 24 mpg overall, opting for all-wheel-drive sacrifices one mpg. 

U.S. News also appreciates the CX-9 because of its light steering. The CX-9’s light steering makes it easier to turn sharp corners and access tight spaces “where other three-row SUVs dare not go.” In addition to its fun-to-drive nature, the CX-9 also earns praise for having a firm suspension that doesn’t compromise its smooth ride quality. 

The inside of the CX-9 is classy and comfortable 

2020 Mazda CX-9 interior rear
2020 Mazda CX-9 interior rear | Mazda

RELATED: Mazda’s SUV Lineup Is Starting to Get the Respect It Deserves

The CX-9 drives like a luxury model, and it has the interior of one too. If you stick with SUV’s standard arrangement, it seats up to seven people. The alternative captain’s chairs configuration brings it down to six. Overall, the CX-9’s seats are comfortable, and its cabin materials are high-quality. However, U.S. News notes that its seats are a little snug. 

Reviewers also found the SUV’s cargo space behind the third-row to be disappointing. Most other midsize SUVs have more than 25 cubic feet of space with all seats up; the CX-9 has 14.4 cubic feet of space behind the third-row. Because of this, U.S. News says it may be more challenging to haul cargo for a road trip. The CX-9 also has below-average cargo capacity with both rear rows folded down. 

In-car electronics are a bright spot 

interior Mazda CX-9 cabin is plush and luxurious among the three-row crossover segment
2020 Mazda CX-9 Interior | Mazda

RELATED: The 2021 Mazda CX-9 Is About to Look Even Cooler

For the most part, the CX-9 delivers on standard tech. It comes with many active safety functions. These include a traffic sign recognition system and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection. There are also a few more safety features available such as a surround-view parking camera. 

There is a slight drawback with CX-9’s infotainment system. On the plus side, this Mazda comes with a 7-inch touchscreen display, Bluetooth, and a voice recognition feature. A few apps are also standard, including Pandora and Aha. Unfortunately, you have to upgrade for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity. Some reviewers found it challenging to use simple functions while driving. But these drawbacks don’t have to be dealbreakers.