2015 Mazda CX-9

What's new for 2015? The Mazda CX-9 continues virtually unchanged for 2015.

Mazda takes its "zoom-zoom" ad slogan seriously, infusing the soul of a sports car into every vehicle it makes, including its large crossover SUV, the CX-9. Despite its generous size, the 2015 Mazda CX-9 is fun to drive, with responsive steering and surprisingly agile moves. But that's not why buyers choose seven-passenger vehicles. They need them to haul the family and their stuff. Don't worry. The CX-9 delivers on those counts, too. There's plenty of room for the family, with three rows of comfortable seating and a large cargo hold. It also offers suitable amount of amenities to keep your brood comfortable and entertained.

The 2015 Mazda CX-9's V6 offers strong acceleration for both around-town driving and highway passing. The automatic transmission is also pleasing, with quick and timely shifts.

We also like that the CX-9 is an accomplished highway cruiser, keeping road and wind noise to acceptable levels for backseat movie viewing and pleasant conversation. The precise, communicative steering lets you carve a consistent path, whether you're powering down the interstate or making time on a rural two-lane road, and the steep rake of the windshield adds to the sporty vibe. If you're used to a more nimble car, the CX-9 will make the transition to a large family vehicle much easier.

Exterior Highlights
Large seven-passenger cross SUV available in Sport, Touring and Grand Touring trim levels

The 2015 Mazda CX-9 is a large seven-passenger crossover SUV offered in Sport, Touring and Grand Touring trims. Note that all-wheel-drive models come standard with a towing prep package, but among front-wheel-drive models, only the Grand Touring can be so equipped.

Standard features on the Sport model include 18-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, three-zone automatic climate control, a tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel, a height-adjustable driver seat, cloth upholstery, a 5.8-inch touchscreen central display, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, HD radio, Pandora radio capability, a USB/iPod interface and an auxiliary audio jack.

Packaged as an option are heated mirrors, heated front seats and an eight-way power-adjustable driver seat with power lumbar.

The Touring model gets that optional package as standard and adds automatic headlights, a blind-spot monitoring system, rear parking sensors, a rear cross-traffic alert system, a rearview camera, leather upholstery and a four-way power-adjustable front passenger seat.

The Grand Touring ramps up the luxury with 20-inch wheels, xenon headlights, LED running lights, foglights, automatic wipers, a power liftgate, upgraded exterior and interior trim, keyless ignition and entry, driver memory functions and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

Most options are bundled into packages. The Touring trim is eligible for the Touring Technology package, which includes foglights, a sunroof, a power liftgate, keyless ignition and entry, a navigation system, satellite radio, a 10-speaker Bose surround-sound system and the Recreational Accessory package (available separately, includes roof rails, cross bars, a cargo net and a stainless steel rear bumper guard). The Grand Touring gets its own Technology package, which is just the Touring's version minus what's already standard.

Exclusive to the Grand Touring is an optional rear-seat entertainment package that comes with a DVD player, a 9-inch screen, an 11-speaker Bose surround system, satellite radio (available separately), the navigation system and a 115-volt power outlet. However, this package cannot be combined with the Technology package (translation: you'll have to choose between the entertainment screen or the sunroof).

Graceful waterfall design on dashboard, split lid on center console bin, plenty of space, ample room for tall passengers, excellent cargo capacity

The 2015 Mazda CX-9's dashboard features a graceful waterfall design that flows into the door panels with uncommon flair. One nice premium touch is the center console bin, which has a nifty split lid that pops open like a set of clamshell doors.

The good news is that the CX-9 has plenty of space. In the first two seating rows, there's ample room even for taller passengers, but headroom is tighter for those seated in the third row. Happily, the second-row seat reclines and slides fore and aft to accommodate various passenger scenarios. Access to the third row is a cinch relative to some other crossover SUVs, but the large rear door openings that make this possible can be cumbersome in tight parking spaces. With its second and third rows folded flat, the CX-9 offers up a formidable 101 cubic feet of cargo capacity: an excellent figure for this class.

The 2015 CX-9 comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. Touring and Grand Touring models add a suite of electronic driving aids that include a blind-spot monitoring system, rear parking sensors, a rear cross-traffic alert system and a rearview camera.

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