The 2011 Mazda CX-9 is a sporty large crossover SUV with much to offer, including its athletic and fun-to-drive road manners, attractive and spacious cabin, long list of standard features, easy access to the third row and solid construction quality.
Most impressive, however, is its excellent handling despite its large size. So, in addition to its good looks, it's become a popular choice for larger families who need space, but who also have drivers who appreciate the finer driving capabilities normally associated with smaller vehicles.
Nor does its sporty demeanor come at the sacrifice of comfort or versatility. The Mazda CX-9's seating can actually accommodate adults in all three rows and its 101 cubic feet of storage space certainly comes in handy.
For those shopping this segment, it's always a good idea to check out worthy rivals as well to help make an informed final buying decision. The Ford Flex also offers a roomy and high-quality cabin along with some innovative high-tech features. Another strong rival would be the Chevy Traverse (also its GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave relatives) which has a softer suspension and a still larger storage capacity. But for those who value a more engaging driving experience, the CX-9 is at the top of its class.
Trims, Standard Features And Options:
The 2011 Mazda CX-9 is a 7-passenger crossover SUV offered in three trims: Sport, Touring and Grand Touring.
Standard features on the already well-equipped base CX-9 Sport include power windows, power doorlocks, power mirrors, 18-inch alloy wheels, remote keyless entry, tri-zone automatic climate control, a trip computer, a tilt/telescoping and leather-wrapped steering wheel, steering-wheel audio controls, Bluetooth and a 6-speaker audio system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack.
Moving up to the CX-9 Touring adds leather upholstery for the first two rows, heated power front seats, heated mirrors and automatic headlights, while the Grand Touring adds 20-inch wheels, keyless entry/ignition, driver memory functions, xenon headlights, foglights, a blind-spot warning system, automatic wipers, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, wood and metal interior trim accents and a second-row armrest.
Optional features available depend on the model and include navigation with a rearview camera, a stand-alone rearview camera (with a rearview mirror display), a sunroof, remote ignition, a power tailgate, roof rails, a rear entertainment system and an upgraded Bose surround-sound stereo system with satellite radio, a 6-disc CD changer and an in-dash audio display.
Engines, Powertrain And Gas Mileage:
Powering all 2011 Mazda CX-9's is a competent 3.7-liter V6 engine that pumps out 273 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque, and is paired with a 6-speed automatic transmissiom with manual shift control. All models are offered with either front- or all-wheel drive. The CX-9 has a tow capacity of 3,500 pounds when properly equipped.
The EPA-estimated gas mileage for the 2011 CX-9 is 17 mpg city and 24 mpg on the highway for a front-wheel-drive model, while the all-wheel drive is rated at 16 mpg city and 22 mpg highway.
Standard safety features across all 2011 Mazda CX-9s include stability control with a rollover sensor, antilock disc brakes (ABS) with brake assist, active head restraints, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. In addition, a blind-spot warning system comes standard with the Grand Touring, while a rearview camera is an available option on the Touring and Grand Touring models.
Government crash tests for the 2011 CX-9 had not yet been completed at the time of this writing. However, the 2010 model excelled with perfect five-star-ratings in all frontal-impact and side-impact occupant protection categories.
The Mazda CX-9's cabin is stylishly designed, roomy and well-constructed with higher-grade materials. Overall, it has a sporty look and feel and is certainly closer to a car's interior than most large SUVs. And the surroundings can be upgraded further with two-tone leather, wood and chrome trim and red-and-blue instrument lighting.
The seating is comfortable and supportive, both front and rear. Even taller occupants are well-accommodated in the first two rows, however, there's less headroom in the third row. That said, access to the third row is facilitated by the large openings for the rear doors and the second-row seats that both recline and slide. Cargo capacity, while not class-leading, is still generous at 101 cubic feet.
With its precise and responsive steering along with its lively V6 engine, the 2011 CX-9 is a surprisingly capable performer for a large SUV. In fact, its road manners are much closer to those of a smaller and more agile vehicle. But even with its sporty demeanor, the well-tuned suspension is still able to absorb road bumps and imperfections to provide a smooth and comfortable driving experience both around town and on the highway. However, those opting for the Grand Touring model with its 20-inch wheels will find the ride gets harsher on rough surfaces.
How To Get The Lowest Price:
Best Negotiating Tactic: Well, there's definitely a 'best way' when it comes to new car buying. If you want to get the best bottomline, out-the-door price you need to know exactly who to talk to at the dealership, how to make the contact and how to make this person eager to quickly drop prices as low as possible to get your sale.
Those of you in the market for a used car may want to check out this article about how to buy a used car at the lowest price. It details a super effective buying method, one that often beats down prices to wholesale levels.
And somewhat related to this, here's another excellent method that identifies Price-Distressed Cars Right On Dealer Lots. These are vehicles they are so desperate to unload they would welcome your wholesale offer.
In addition, you can also try a Wholesale Auction in your own geographic area. While there can be a lot of junk vehicles at these auctions, there are often absolute gems sprinkled in as well. This article reviews what to expect at open-to-the-public car auctions and how to locate them in your own area.
2011 Mazda CX-9:
Sport, FWD: list price: $29,135 invoice price: $26,983
Sport, AWD: list price: $30,525, invoice price: $28,271
Touring, FWD: list price: $31,055, invoice price: $28,762
Touring, AWD: list price: $32,445, invoice price: $30,048
Grand Touring, FWD: list price: $33,145, invoice price: $30,695
Grand Touring, AWD: list price: $34,535, invoice price: $31,981