2017 Mazda CX-9

Attractive, affordable and fun to drive

“A big SUV that doesn’t feel like one when driven.”

“Finally, a three-row SUV with a turbocharged engine.”

“I adored the well-tuned suspension and great handling,” said Issam.

As you may recall, the Mazda CX-9 was launched back in 2006 and has remained fairly unchanged until now. Facelifts came out in 2010 and 2013 which brought only minor changes that included new front grilles, updated headlamps, and restyled bumpers. In 2008, Mazda abandoned the 3.5-liter V6 in favor of a 3.7-liter engine, which is the only survivor of the brand’s partnership with Ford. The all-new model arrived at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show and is now available in all dealerships around the Middle East.

We had the chance to grab the all-new 2017 Mazda CX-9 in Beirut for a weekend drive. I have been asked a lot about it, and here I am, giving you my honest and humble opinion.

Among the noteworthy modifications, the all-new flagship vehicle brings a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and significant weight reduction. I jumped into the cockpit and the first impression I got was the nicely flowing design of the cabin, where you can really notice the high quality materials. The outgoing CX-9 was filled with hard plastic; the all-new model is filled with soft-touch panels, quality leather, trim pieces and real metal accents. The other enhancement that I personally noticed was the cabin’s inaudibility. More isolation and plastic-coated side windows drop the external noise by 12 percent, which makes it quiet compared to its rivals, and without forgetting to mention the new 12-speaker Bose audio system with a decent studio performance. For the 2017 model, the CX-9 comes with a full-color head-up display and with the latest technologies including blind spot monitoring and Lane Keep Assist. Another well-intentioned thing to note is the cargo space: the rear seats’ space is decent and something I couldn’t deny.

How did it drive?

On our Lebanese roads it drove superbly well. I didn’t feel any bump on the road. It was as smooth as if I was driving on a cotton bed. The engine is driven through a six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive system. You can switch the car to Normal driving mode or Sport driving mode. Normal mode changes the transmission upshift early, while Sport stretches the shifts out to the point where it will pull upwards of 3,500 rpm before upshifting. Throughout the mountainous roads I also noticed that there was not a single sign of spin wheel.


Let’s face it; these days are all about the crossover segment in our region. I think the all-new CX-9 is rightly praiseworthy and should make it to your shortlist and even into your garage. I urge you to get your demo test drive at your nearest dealership and you will understand how enjoyable it is to drive it. Bravo Mazda!

Rivals: GMC Acadia, Honda Pilot, Hyundai Santa Fe, Ford Explorer, Nissan Pathfinder, Kia Sorento, Toyota Highlander
Pros: Attractive exterior design, superb engine, high quality interior, good price tag
Cons: Side mirrors don’t fold, driver’s legroom close-fitting due to the new console and door design
one word: The One

4.5 stars


2.5L turbocharged, inline-4 cylinder, 250 hp @ 5,000 rpm, 420 Nm @ 2,000 rpm

6-speed auto, AWD

0-100 km/h: 7.3 sec, top speed: 214 km/h, fuel consumption: 12.3 L/100 km

Weight: 1,967 kg

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