Trucks & SUVs

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

There are some vehicles on the market that seem to check off all the boxes. The 2021 Mazda CX-9 might be one of those models. Sporty performance? Check. Comfortable interior? Check. Smart safety systems? Check.

This three-row SUV is an industry darling, and it’s easy to see why. The CX-9 resembles a luxury vehicle, and it inherited Mazda’s iconic driving dynamics. However, shoppers and critics alike might be overlooking a troubling flaw.

Many consider Mazda to be one of the safest car brands. But the manufacturer’s largest SUV has a serious question mark in the safety department. Should one major drawback dissuade drivers from purchasing the CX-9? Let’s take a deeper dive into the 2021 Mazda CX-9’s most significant issue to see if it’s still a safe option for your family.

This three-row SUV is quick, but not where it counts

A silver 2021 Mazda CX-9 parked next to trees
The 2021 Mazda CX-9 on display | Photo via Mazda

No one expects larger vehicles to handle like sports cars, but drivers still don’t want their three-row SUV to be sluggish. Thankfully, the 2021 Mazda CX-9 is one of the more exciting entries in the class.

However, its energetic performance may come at a cost. According to Consumer Reports testing, the 2021 CX-9 delivers one of the worst braking distances in the midsize SUV class. It took this model 139 feet to come from a complete stop from 60-0 MPH. Only the 2021 Jeep Wrangler performed worse, accomplishing the feat in a dreadful 144 feet.

It can’t be easy for a vehicle that delivers 250 hp and weighs more than 4,000 pounds to come to a complete stop. Regardless, this lack of stopping power may give some shoppers pause when selecting their next family vehicle. After all, when split-second dangers happen on the road, every foot counts.

Does the 2021 Mazda CX-9 overcome its flaw?

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Thankfully, the CX-9 delivers the responsive steering for which Mazdas are known. While this doesn’t eliminate any worries caused by its poor brake performance, it should ease shoppers’ concerns a bit.

Consumer Reports’ review praised the agility of the 2021 Mazda CX-9, stating, “It steers into corners in a resolute manner, conveying a sense of control and precision to the driver.”

Though, this statement comes with a caveat. The publication tested the CX-9’s upper trims, which come with 20-inch wheels. Consumer Reports noted the 18-inch wheels on the Sport and Touring models don’t lend themselves to as quick of handling.

Thankfully, the 2021 Mazda CX-9 performed decently in Consumer Reports’ emergency handling tests. It earned a score of 3/5, and the publication’s review said the CX-9 “instilled decent confidence despite an initial onset of oversteer.”

How safe is the 2021 Mazda CX-9?

Sure, stopping power is a concern. But how does the rest of the vehicle hold up? The CX-9 has a history of being safe, and the 2021 model year is no different. 

The 2021 CX-9 comes standard with a suite of driver-assistance technologies that sense and react to danger. These systems include automatic emergency braking, forward-collision warning, pedestrian detection, and more. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) named the 2021 CX-9 a Top Safety Pick +, which is the organization’s highest honor.

The SUV fared well in all of the IIHS’ crashworthiness categories. Plus, the CX-9’s front-crash prevention safety features earned a perfect score in vehicle-to-vehicle tests.

Is this SUV a safe option for your family?

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No car is perfect, especially when it comes to safety. That’s why it’s crucial that drivers maintain awareness of their surroundings and quickly act when danger strikes.

The 2021 Mazda CX-9’s long stopping distances don’t necessarily make it an unsafe SUV. However, CX-9 drivers should keep this flaw in mind when operating the vehicle and consider braking a bit earlier than usual.

Mazda wisely equipped this model with standard front-crash prevention systems that can also aid drivers who don’t react quickly enough. For instance, features like automatic emergency braking can take over to avoid a crash or mitigate damage.