2021 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD Test Drive

The 2021 Mazda CX-9 is their signature AWD. See how Mazda’s top model SUV continues to evolve.

2021 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD Overview

Mazda’s CX-9 made its global debut in 2006, categorizedt as a midsize 7-passenger, 3-row crossover SUV. It is Mazda’s top model of their versatile SUV lineup, and regardless of what category one chooses to place it in, it is recognized as one of the best SUV / Crossover / Minivan / Station Wagons in its class.

Mazda’s crossover category entries actually differ from the majority of their competitors — in that they display a level of styling that is not only distinctive, but purposeful as well. In terms of functionality and versatility, they’re not unlike many other crossover segment entries, with the real difference coming from their roots or DNA — beneath their appealing exterior skin, lies what the Mazda folks repeatedly refer to as the” soul of a sports car”. It is definitely appropriate to reference the CX-9 as a “Zoom-Zoom vehicle with More Room” inasmuch as it’s smaller stablemate, the CX-7 was tagged as featuring “Zoom-Zoom with Room”.

Under the Hood of the 2021 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD 

With the CX-9 having been engineered with Mazda’s “Soul of a Sports car” philosophy, it combines a sporty driving spirit with SUV versatility and functionality. For 2021, the CX-9 continues with its high level of performance delivered by a 2.5-liter DOHC, 16-valve SKYACTIV-G, four-cylinder engine with an intercooled pressure turbo and gasoline direct injection. coil- The horsepower rating is 227 at 5,000 rpm with 87 octane fuel, while the torque is rated at 310 pound feet at 2,000 rpm. Power is geared to the driving wheels via Mazda’s SKYACTIV six-speed Sport mode automatic transmission, which allows for either totally automatic or manual gear changes to be made by the driver. Towing capacity is rated at 3,500 pounds.


The design remains futuristic, with the image conveying a sense of dynamic movement, even when at a standstill. The profile exhibits an aggressively rising belt line, topped by a boldly curved roof structure. The tapered greenhouse of the CX-9 sports blacked-out “B” and “C” pillars that are outlined by a bright surround, offering the visual impression of a singular glass area. The front fenders are pronounced, and flank the sculpted hood, which holds court over the bold grille positioned just ahead of the highly sloped nose, with a chrome trim accenting the wide lower air inlet .The windshield is sharply raked as well, adding to the overall aerodynamic efficiency of the CX-9. The large, bright dual exhaust outlets hint suggestively at the vehicle’s performance capability.


The 2021 Mazda CX-9 stable consists of four trim levels: *Sport, Touring, Grand Touring and Signature. All models come standard in Front-Wheel drive, or with Mazda’s predictive i-ACTIV all-wheel drive available as an option with the exception of the Signature model, where AWD is standard. Stopping power is provided by four-wheel vented disc brakes with 4-sensor, 4-channel ABS, DSC, and EBD. The CX-9 comes standard with 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels or with optional 20-inch alloy wheels shod with performance tires. Starting price is $34, 835.

The cabin still serves up a sporty feel; Switchgear and controls are well thought out for optimum user friendliness, with gauges ideally placed and legible. Storage capacity is plentiful, with the center console able to stash a compact laptop. Seating is provided for seven in multi-configurable three rows. Second row captain’s chairs are available on upper trim levels as is a 9.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system.


Technology highlights include: MAZDA CONNECT infotainment system with a 10.3-inch color multi-function display with voice command, SMS text message audio delivery and replay, E911 automatic emergency notification and optional navigation system; Multi-function commander control; available windshield-projected Active Driving Display; Dynamic stability control and traction control system with standard trailer stability assist; and an Auto-dimming rearview mirror.

Key features of the CX-9 offered are: LED headlamps with auto off and auto height control; LED taillights; variable intermittent windshield wipers; three-zone automatic climate control air conditioning; second-row 60/40 seat with seat recline, center armrest with cup holders and optional USB inputs; third-row 50/50 split seats; heated driver/passenger door mirrors; a Power liftgate with adjustable height; available Nappa leather seats, rosewood and genuine aluminum interior materials; LED grille lighting accent (Signature); Heated front seats with three settings; Mazda Advanced Keyless Entry and Start System; and available BOSE® premium audio with 12 speakers.

Safety assets include: Roll Stability Control; Blind Spot Monitoring System and Rear Cross Traffic Alert; optional Distance Recognition Support System; High Beam Control; Lane Keep Assist; Mazda Radar Cruise Control; Rear Backup Sensor, Smart City Brake Support; and Smart Brake Support.

Essentially, even though the CX-7 and CX-9 look very much alike, the CX-9 obviously delivers more — it is longer, taller and costs more.

2021 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD As Tested

My test 2021 MazdaCX-9 was a Signature model in an All-Wheel Drive configuration, with the exterior finished in Snowflake White Pearl metallic, and the interior done in Deep Chestnutt Nappa leather, with Charcoal accents and Rosewood wood trim accents. The base price was set at $46,605, with the price as tested totaling $47,705. after factoring in the metallic exterior paint, cargo mat and Delivery, processing and Handling fee.


Despite its visual similarities, the Mazda CX-9 is not simply an extended, three row version of the CX-7 – it is based upon the modified underpinnings of Ford’s Edge, with some componentry borrowed from the Mazda6 as well. Handling attributes deliver a pleasingly agile feel, reflective of its “Zoom, Zoom” sports car heritage. Even the ride quality provides a firm enough damping quality to be ranked with many sports cars. In terms of overall, blistering “off-the-line” smoke ’em if ya got ’em tires — the CX-9 has a higher mission statement — it is intended for use as a stylish, roomy and comfortable transportation pod for a family and gear to support their life’s activities.


Given its attractiveness, value and equipment content, price point, power output and serviceability for both passengers and cargo, the 2021 Mazda CX-9 in Signature trim remains as one of the top contenders in the midsize Crossover SUV arena, with several grades and equipment and feature choices offered to suit individual budgets, tastes and requirements. It represents the latest expression of KODO-Soul of Motion styling and design to date.

The CX-9 offersrs a unique fun-to-drive quality with luxurious cabin appointments, along with top-quality fit-and-finish. On the minus side, there’s limited cargo space when the third row seat is in use resulting in less than spacious quarters for third-row occupants. Despite that fact, the CX-9

SPECIFICATIONS: 2021 Mazda CX9 Signature AWD

Base Price: $46,605.
Price as Tested: $47,705.

Engine Type and Size: 2.5-liter SKYACTIV-G DOHC, 16-valve inline four-cylinder with intercooled turbo and gasoline direct injection.

Horsepower (bhp): 227 @ 5,000 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 310 @ 2,000 rpm

Transmission: Six-speed SKYACTIV Drive automatic with Sport mode.

Drive Train: Transversely mounted front engine / i-ACTIV All Wheel Drive.

Suspension: Front – Independent MacPherson strut type / coil spring with gas-pressurized shocks and stabilizer bar.
Rear – Multi-link with stabilizer bar.

Brakes: Power assisted, diagonal hydraulic four wheel discs (vented front) with ABS, EBD, DSC, Roll Stability Control and Traction Control.

Tires: Bridgestone Turanza 255/60 HR18 104V mounted on 5wide, grooved spokes with mid narrow grooved spoke Silver alloy wheels

Wheelbase: 115.3 inches
Length Overall: 199.4 inches – w/o License Plate Holder. Width: 77.5 inches – with wheel arch molding. Height: 69.0 inches – with shark fin antenna.
Curb Weight: 4,054 lbs.
Turning Circle: 19.4 ft.
Fuel Capacity: 19.5 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 22 mpg city/26-mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: 0.35
0 – 60 mph: Not tested – 130 mph Top Speed

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