Review - 2021 Mazda CX-9

By Alexi Falson on 06 Aug 2021
image for Review - 2021 Mazda CX-9 The Mazda CX-9 is the biggest, boldest and most expensive car in the Mazda lineup, targeted toward families and their ever-growing list of demands from a practical and comfortable family car. Now in its second generation, the Mazda CX-9 is packing more gear than ever before, which means it could be the perfect time to step inside Mazda’s flagship SUV. 

The CX-9 competes against the likes of the Hyundai Sante Fe and Palisade, Kia Sorento, Nissan Pathfinder and Toyota Kluger, meaning the competition is extremely tough. Each of those manufacturers is trying to out-do the other with attractive features lists, bold styling, safety equipment and ownership programs, so how does the Mazda CX-9 stack up against its competitors, and how well suited is it to serve your family and its needs? Let’s find out.

Starting Price: $45,990

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Mazda CX-9 - GT SP (AWD) Specifications

Model Date 2021
Model CX-9
Series CX9L
Variant GT SP (AWD)
Transmission 6 SP AUTOMATIC
Drive AWD
Engine TDFI
Engine capacity 2488
Engine configuration DUAL OVERHEAD CAM / 16 valves
Engine RPM 5000 / 2000
Cylinders T4
Torque 420
KW 170
Fuel tank size 74.0
Fuel usage specs 8.8 / 0.0
CO2 206
ANCAP security rating 5

For more details and other variants, check Mazda CX-9 car page.

How Much Does It Cost?

The Mazda CX-9 lineup kicks off with the front-wheel drive CX-9 Sport, which is priced from $45,990, while the all-wheel drive variant will cost you $49,990. The CX-9 Touring in front-wheel drive format is priced from $53,490, while the all-wheel drive variant will set you back $57,490. From here, the range moves to the CX-9 GT variant, which in front-wheel drive configuration costs $62,990, AWD is priced from $66,990, while the CX-9 GT SP front-wheel drive costs $63,490 and the AWD version will set you back $67,490. 

The range then moves to the CX-9 Azami which is priced from $66,190 for the front-wheel drive version, and $70,625 for the all-wheel drive variant. Finally, the Mazda CX-9 flagship vehicles come in the form of the CX-9 100th Anniversary Special Edition and the Azami LE all-wheel drive, which are priced from $72,575 and $73,875 respectively. 

How Much Can OnlineAuto Save You? 

Using OnlineAuto’s car buying service in Australia, you could save by sourcing one of our car specialists to help you find the best value model for you. 

What Features Does the Mazda CX-9 Have?

Mazda’s entry-level CX-9 Sport comes with a set of 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic LED headlights, automatic wipers, adaptive cruise control, reversing camera with parking sensors on the rear, push-button start, 7.0-inch infotainment system with DAB+ radio, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and satellite navigation, six-speaker sound system, three-zone climate control, head-up display for the driver and off-road traction system for all-wheel drive variants. 

Stepping up to the CX-9 Touring means you’ll get a larger 9.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, keyless entry, heated front seats, parking sensors on the front, leather interior upholstery, LED fog lights, wheel-mounted paddle shifters, power-adjustable driver and passenger seats and a centre armrest in the rear of the cabin with built-in USB ports. 

The CX-9 GT variant comes riding on a set of larger 20-inch alloy wheels, as well as being packaged with a 10.25-inch infotainment system, wireless smartphone charging, powered boot lift, 12-speaker Bose sound system and a heated row of seats in the rear of the cabin. The CX-9 GT SP comes riding on a set of black 20-inch alloys, and receives a deep red leather upholstery finish, red interior highlights, a black finish for the mirrors, and a dark finish for the front grille. 

The flagship CX-9 Azami adds adaptive LED headlights, nappa leather upholstery, wood interior trim, surround-view camera, heated steering wheel, 7.0-inch driver’s display, ventilated front seats, ambient lighting package and a heated windscreen. The Azami LE adds a set of powered, heated and ventilated seats in the rear of the cabin, as well as some storage in the centre console. 

Range Features: 

  • 18-inch alloys 

  • Automatic LED headlights 

  • Rear view camera with rear parking sensors 

  • Adaptive cruise control 

  • 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with DAB+, Apple CarPlay & Android Auto 

  • Three-zone climate control 

  • LED fog lights (Touring & above) 

  • Leather upholstery (Touring & above) 

  • 10.25-inch infotainment system (GT & above) 

  • 12-speaker Bose sound system (GT & above) 

  • Powered boot lift (GT & above) 

  • Adaptive LED headlights (Azami)

  • Surround-view camera (Azami)

Mazda CX-9 Colours

Machine Grey Metallic Soul Red Crystal Metallic
Sonic Silver Metallic Deep Crystal Blue Mica
Polymetal Grey Metallic Snowflake White Pearl Mica
Titanium Flash Mica Jet Black Mica

Is it Comfortable to Drive? 

Mazda’s CX-9 proves the fact that large people-movers don’t necessarily need to be boring, and the same applies when you take it out for a drive. Instead, the CX-9 feels like a reliable and effortless addition to your daily drive, offering an extremely comfortable ride quality and easy acceleration thanks to Mazda’s powerful yet economical engine lineup. The steering is extremely light, which makes it easy to maneuver at low speeds, while offering more feedback as you pick up speed. The range receives a powerful 2.5-litre turbo petrol engine that pushes out 170kW and 420Nm of torque, which translated to english, means you’ve got more than enough power - and push thanks to that torque figure - to get you up to speed effortlessly. 

The transmission offers silky-smooth shifts between gears, and the driving quality is supremely comfortable, which will keep your kids happy on long holiday road trips, and makes the trip as easy as possible for the driver. In base form, the CX-9 feels and drives well beyond its price tag, and the more expensive variants feel right on par thanks to the sophisticated and high-quality ride on offer. When you’re up and moving, the CX-9 feels surprisingly planted, and while it’s no doubt a heavy car, it does a great job at holding on through the corners for something of this size, and is a testament to Mazda’s exceptionally high level of design and execution.  

It will take some time getting used to the sheer size of the CX-9 - it’s just over 5-meters long - when you’re in car parks and tight traffic situations, but the car redeems itself with just how relaxing and easy it is to pilot in all other driving conditions. 

Is it Practical and Spacious?

It should come as no surprise that a car designed as a seven-seat family-mobile is an absolute weapon when it comes to space and practicality. When presented with seven people and their belongings, the CX-9 doesn’t break a sweat thanks to its size and clever interior packaging. Up front, the driver and front passenger are treated to an extremely high-quality interior design, with leather upholstery and creature comforts like heated and ventilated seats available in mid-tier models. The entry-level CX-9 Sport still gains an impressive cockpit design, thanks to Mazda’s modern approach to clean and practical interiors that not only look good, they’ll swallow up a huge amount of loose items and water bottles. 

In the second-row of the cabin, there’s a huge amount of leg and headroom for even the tallest of adults, while the third row is more suited to children and early teenagers - at most. Both the second and third row receive bottle holders, with some variants gaining USB ports in both rows for changing on long holiday road trips. Overall, you won’t hear any complaints from the rear of the cabin, so long as you’re not squeezing adults into the third-row for too long. In terms of cargo storage, there is 230L worth of boot space available with all the seats upright, which limits your cargo storage to something equivalent to a medium supermarket run. This, however, extends to more than 810L with the third-row folded down, meaning you can house five people and a huge amount of gear in the CX-9’s boot, making it a particularly practical family car. 

Is it Safe? 

The Mazda CX-9 lineup has been awarded ANCAP’s maximum five star safety rating, receiving a score of 35 out of 37. As standard, entry-level models come packaged with front and rear autonomous braking with pedestrian detection that works even at night, lane departure warning and lane-keep assist, rear cross-traffic alerts, blind spot monitoring, a rear view camera with parking sensors.

Is it Fuel Efficient?

Economy is not the strongest aspect of the Mazda CX-9, but it’s not embarrassed by any of its competitors, especially when you take its size into account. Mazda’s official economy figures stand at 8.4L per 100km on a combined cycle for the front-wheel drive variant, while the all-wheel drive version returns figures of 9.0L per 100km. 

Our Verdict: Is the Mazda CX-9 Worth it?

If you’re looking for a sleek addition to your garage that won’t have a problem moving a tonne of people and their belongings, the CX-9 is undoubtedly one of the best offerings on the market. As a complete package, the CX-9 ticks all the important boxes, offering buyers an extremely relaxing and comfortable ride quality, feature packed equipment list and a high quality interior that looks far more expensive than the list price would suggest. 

In terms of which CX-9 is the best, we think that considering how well equipped the entry-level models come, packing comfort, entertainment and safety features, as well as the same engines as more expensive models, you can save yourself some serious cash by looking lower down in the model lineup. On that note, if you’re in the market for a new car, you can get a free quote and see how much OnlineAuto can save you on your next car, or call us on 1300 719 925 

Five Specs You Need to Know

  1. Five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty

  2. Seven seat configuration 

  3. 230L boot; extends to 810L with rear-seats folded down 

  4. 8.4L per 100km economy; 9L per 100km for AWD variants 

  5. One turbo-petrol engine across lineup


  • Extremely comfortable suspension

  • Nice, torque-filled engines paired with smooth transmissions

  • Interior quality and practicality 


  • Smaller & older infotainment systems for base model 

  • Front parking sensors reserved for mid-range variants 

  • Underwhelming economy 

OnlineAuto Rating: 8/10

Mazda CX-9 Competition

Mazda CX-9

Toyota Kluger
Mazda CX-5
Hyundai Santa Fe
Honda CR-V
Kia Sorento


Alexi Falson

Alexi is an automotive journalist and road tester hailing from Byron Bay. He has an affection for both cars and motorbikes, a great admiration for the simplicity of old-school engineering, and a fascination of new technology making its way to modern cars. When he's not road testing, you'll find him surfing, hiking or helping people find their dream cars.

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