The 2023 Mazda CX-9 is a six-or-seven passenger utility vehicle that’s offered in five trims: Touring, Touring Plus, Carbon Edition, Grand Touring, and Signature. Each is given a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 227 hp and 310 lb.-ft. of torque, but premium fuel provides a boost to 250 hp and 320 lb.-ft. of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission and standard all-wheel drivetrain complete the mechanical big picture. All trims can tow up to 3,500 pounds, and the EPA-estimated fuel economy across the board is 20 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway.
The six-passenger Touring comes with several outstanding features. Its exterior amenities consist of LED headlights and fog lights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, heated side mirrors with turn-signal indicators, a moonroof, a power liftgate, and proximity entry (Mazda Advanced Keyless Entry). Inside, you’ll find push-button ignition, a wireless phone charger, heated and power-adjustable front seats, tri-zone automatic climate control, first- and second-row leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, second-row captain’s chairs, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink, a sunglasses holder in the overhead console, illuminated vanity mirrors, a 50/50-split fold-down third-row seat, and a cargo area with underfloor storage.
Infotainment is another one of the Touring’s strong points. Through the centrally located 10.25-inch touchscreen, you’ll operate the smartphone integration (Android Auto and Apple CarPlay), Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio streaming, HD radio, and six-speaker sound system. To top it off, Mazda installs an abundance of driver-assist technologies (forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, and lane-keep assist).
The Touring Plus is appropriately named since it builds off the equipment of the base-level Touring by adding roof rails, a frameless rearview mirror, ventilated front seats with driver’s position memory, manual second-row sunshades, and a 60/40-split second-row bench seat with a folding center armrest, which increases seating capacity to seven. If the captain’s chairs are more appealing to the buyer, they can be added back as an option.
The Carbon Edition will grab your attention with its unique Polymetal Gray exterior paint, black interior and exterior trim, and red leather upholstery. Aside from that, it comes with the second-row captain’s chairs, an adaptive front lighting system, a windshield wiper de-icer, power-folding side mirrors, LED interior lighting, steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, a 7-inch gauge cluster, heating for the steering wheel and second-row seats, and an upscale infotainment system with a top-notch 12-speaker Bose audio system and SiriusXM satellite radio. Safety is improved in the Carbon Edition as well, thanks to its front and rear parking sensors, reverse automatic braking, and driver attention alert.
The Grand Touring doesn’t have the aesthetic attributes of the Carbon Edition (the Polymetal Gray paint, black interior/exterior trim, and red leather seats). However, it is bolstered with a head-up display, a surround-view camera, SiriusXM with Traffic and Travel Link, and integrated navigation. While the Grand Touring is outfitted with the second-row bench seat, the captain’s chairs are available.
At the top of the trim range, the Signature is appointed with the most luxury. In addition to its standard captain’s chairs, this trim has LED grille accent lighting, a larger exhaust system, a hands-free liftgate, aluminum interior décor accents, elegant Santos Rosewood interior inlays, a stitched leather-wrapped steering wheel, and as the cherry on top, Nappa leather upholstery.