Car Reviews And

2008 Mazda CX9  Grand Touring All Wheel Drive Bookmark

The Good :) Beautiful exterior shape.  Quiet Ride.  Powerful.  Smooth.  Beautiful interior styling.  Great interior lighting on instrument cluster.  Touch screen navigation.  Automatic xenon lights.  Bluetooth phone connection.  Flexible interior space.  High quality parts. 3 rows of seats.  Rear temperature controls.  Keyless go.  Bose speakers and 5.1 Movie Theatre Surround Sound makes you want to live in your car!

The Bad :(No exhaust note.  Lacks sporty character.  Needs footwell lighting and door locks need to be lit as well.  Passenger seat does not adjust in height.  

Engine 6Cyl 3.7 Liter

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Output 273 hp / 270 lb-ft
Top Speed 130 mph
0-60 mph 7.9 sec (est.)
Weight 6,025 lbs
Price As Tested $41,265


    For 2008 the CX9 has become better with Mazda increasing the displacement of the engine and adding more horsepower and torque.  Mazda sales are also increasing as they produce better cars.  In October sales went up 17.8 % compared to last October with year over year sales up 9.9%.  This is great considering Mazda is a small car company when put up against Toyota and Honda. 

    “Sometimes life forces us to make some difficult sacrifices. So while you may be forced to trade in that two-seat roadster for a family vehicle, the CX-9 is the perfect option for the driving enthusiast. It offers 273 horsepower, 270 lb-ft torque, 6-speed Sport AT automatic transmission with Sport Shift, front and rear stabilizer bars and ventilated front and rear disc brakes.  But also features three- row, seven-passenger seating, air bags coverage to first, second and third row with roll-over protection and available rear seat entertainment system with DVD player.  Everybody – driver and family – will enjoy the journey,” said Robert Davis, senior vice president, product development and quality, Mazda North American Operations.

    The CX9 is available in sport, touring and grand touring versions.  Each version can be had with two wheel drive or four wheel drive.  Prices start at $30,035 and end up at $35,490; not much of a difference considering you will be keeping this car for years. 

    The CX9 offers a sleek exterior appearance with a futuristic front end design that flows throughout the vehicle.  This helps it achieve a great 0.36 coefficient of drag, try to find that in another SUV.  The headlights are sleek and slant towards the outer edges of the front fenders.  Chrome treatments on the grille look particularly nice.  The fog lamps feature unique chrome bezels which further make the CX9 appear more high end.  Large 20-inch wheels with wide 245 tires give the CX9 a tall and sporty stance .  A black plastic lower panel all around the vehicle offers a dirt resistant material so you can get down and dirty.  On the side profile doors are large with windows which appear small from the outside moving towards the rear end with a edging of chrome.  Nicely styled chrome handles give a finishing touch to the side profile.  What is unique is the rounded front and rear end.  The tail lamps both blend into the side profile and flow quite nicely.  The fast rise to the roof and slight slant downward toward the rear end also looks great in person.  On the rear end the appearance is much more bold as compared to the front end.  A tall and nicely rounded design with impressive exhaust tips which mimic the overall shape of the CX9 looks great and shows how much attention to detail was put into the vehicle.  Chrome looking tail lamps offer a great amount of detail as well.  We would only have put the license plate on the lower bumper rather than in the lift gate. 

    The interior is styled elegantly and with a sleek but bold appearance.  Tall wood beams flank either side of the cabin and the central dash reminding you of a concept car.  Leather is used on the doors and seats as well as the steering wheel and shift knob.  Leather look materials on the dash and aluminum on the central console ads to the modern touch.  Use of piano black glossy trim on the steering wheel and shift knob area looks quite nice as well.  Seats are well bolstered up front with a particularly soft and large arm rest and ergonomic placement of window switches and door lock buttons.  A small storage are to the left of the steering wheel can hold a phone or a garage door opener.  And the central console also holds two large glasses and has hidden storage in the armrest. The drivers seat offers 3 position memory settings and both front seats are heated for more comfort in the winter. 

    The entry into the rear cabin is by way of wide opening doors.  Seats in the rear are angled for a more comfortable seating position.  The 60/40 split folding seats can easily slide forward for entry into the 3rd row of seats and can fold flat should you need more cargo room.  For more legroom for larger 3rd row passengers, you can slide the 2nd row as needed.  Even in the third row, seats are large and comfortable.  The second row can also recline quite a bit for you to watch movies on the amazing home theatre like stereo system and large DVD screen. 

    Mazda designers have thought about a lot in the CX9 and for that they are winning awards everywhere.  The climate control system is a 3 zone system with separate controls for the rear cabin and the 2 front seat zones.  It is quiet and works well in the automatic setting.  In cold days we did not get hit with hot air in our faces and thus the system was intelligent about how it was working.  Windows are large everywhere for a good view of the outside world.  We also liked the tall and spacious cabin which makes everyone feel like they are in a spacious vehicle, from first row to the third row.

    In the CX9 we learned that more technology and more things do matter when buying a SUV.  The CX9 packs a large punch with some of the best items available put into the vehicle (and in our test car by the way).  There is keyless engine starting where a small credit card can be put into your wallet and you just turn the ignition to go.  Rain sensing windshield wipers makes sure there is one less thing to worry about.  Headlights are automatic.  A backup camera is a must have if you live near children.  Available is a new blind spot detection system which alerts you if a car is on either side of your vehicle in your blind spot by way of a light in the rear view mirror and a beep.  These things really do make a difference in your daily life and we suggest that you buy a car in 2008 with as many features as you can afford packed into your vehicle. 

    The Bose stereo system is excellent and a great addition to this CX9.  The stereo system features the usual set of high quality features such as many many preset locations as well as satellite radio and a 6 disc CD changer behind the navigation LCD screen.  In the second row of seats the overhead DVD player is large and thin.  It is one of a few that does not interfere with the driver’s view of the rear road when looking at the rearview mirror.  Great thinking by Mazda Designers.  The Bose system offers 5.1 surround sound when a DVD which features this sound is inserted into the system.  The quality of the system is simply amazing and something which much be tried out at your local dealer.  Sound comes from all around you and voices are centered at the screen with 2 center speakers mounted at the screen and above the front navigation display in the dash.  Amazing bass is produced from all speakers.  You can hear sound from the front left to the rear right precisely as in a home theatre system.  More people will be watching movies in their car now we suppose.  The Mazda CX9 will be the car that offers comfort and serenity to you when you want to get away and watch a movie.  In the third row lies a RCA input jack with a regular electrical plug for any device you may have like a playstation console.  It was a good idea to put it back there as well so that it would not take up space in the second row floor.  We must say again, this DVD system is something that you need to get.

    The navigation system is easy to use because it is a touch screen design.  Just click on the map and with one button you can route to that location.  Inputting a street address is also easy though you cannot do it by phone number only.  The screen also functions as a rear view camera which is particularly nice to have at night.  There is also a voice control button on the steering wheel for you to speak commands to the navigation unit.  We would like overall improvement in its speech recognition capabilities however.  A Bluetooth system for hands free phone connection is also built into the CX9 with a easy to pair voice system and button on the steering wheel. 

    In the CX9 storage spaces abound with a under floor tray built into the rear cargo area, a great idea for items like milk gallons and things that you do not want flying around while driving.  A good amount of door storage is also available with room for tall bottles in each door.  We just wish that more wood trim was used instead of aluminum on the doors.  This would have made this vehicle appear more high end than it already is. 

    At night the instrument cluster is also beautiful with a blue glow and a look that in person looks very 3 dimensional.  The steering wheel is also lit up at night.  Doors offer a cool blue lighting in their storage areas.  We would have liked the locks and handles to be lit as well though.  The use of red lighting throughout the interior helps your eye from having to adjust to darkness.  With the standard xenon lights the road is light nicely.  The lights offer a leveling control that you can use to lower and raise the beams just a bit.  The high beams are not xenon however and that would have been a great touch on this car.  Add night vision and automatic distance control and you have almost everything available today. 

    The CX9 features a 3.7 liter 24 valve V6 engine.  It makes 273 horsepower and 270 lb.-ft. of torque.  A six speed transmission with sport shifting capability is added to this engine.  If full torque was available at a low 1500 rpm this engine would be a rocket however Mazda says that full torque is available only at 4500 rpm.  The 60-degree short-stroke V6 is state-of-the-art throughout.  Advanced features include a die-cast aluminum block with cast-in iron cylinder liners and aluminum cylinder heads for minimal weight.  The valvetrain includes chain-driven dual overhead camshafts for minimal maintenance, four valves-per-cylinder with direct acting bucket-type actuators, and variable intake valve timing.  A high 10.3:1 compression ratio maximizes efficiency and power output while the throttle is electronically controlled for instantaneous response.  Two close-coupled catalytic converters cleanse the exhaust without inhibiting power.  Yet the fuel economy is still rated at 15 mpg city and 21 mpg on the highway.  Without a trip computer there is no way to know what you are getting in your daily drive.  We think that with hydrogen injection the engine could get much better fuel economy with 80% reduction in fuel emissions.  Check out a company we found at

    The driving style behind the wheel is that of a smooth and fast flowing vehicle.  There is plenty of power and it comes on quite fast.  Gear shifts are barely noticeable.  There is little engine noise and nor is there much exhaust note, which makes you feel more like you are driving a minivan rather than a sports car.  We would like more sporty character put into these components.  Body sway is a tad high and you do notice lean when taking turns which should also be eliminated.  We think that this is a great vehicle for everyday driving however, and on the highway it is also very quiet inside which is a great benefit. 

    Our CX9 had the all wheel drive system which is optional.  A small ‘4wd’ light in the dash signifies that the system is working.  The ride is so smooth and quiet that you cannot feel any four wheel drive-train underneath the CX9.  The vehicle just moves forward easily and a single push. 

    Mazda’s Active Torque Split All-Wheel was originally developed for the high-performance MAZDASPEED6, this system rapidly adjusts to changing traction needs by monitoring wheel slippage, steering angle, yaw rate, lateral acceleration and available driveline torque.  In normal driving, 100- percent of the driving torque is delivered to the front wheels.  During aggressive acceleration or when one front wheel is on the verge of slip, a controlled percentage of the available torque is directed to the rear axle.  A power take-off device integrated with the CX-9’s transaxle spins a drive shaft attached to an active coupling built into the rear differential.  Commanded by a control module, the servo-controlled multi-plate coupling can route up to 50 percent of the available torque to the rear wheels. This all-wheel drive system has been especially well received in MAZDASPEED6 and CX-7 applications.

    A smart transmission allows you to save on gas by automatically lowering rpm’s when you are not stepping on the gas.  If you are driving fast and want engine braking, the CX9 figures that out correctly most of the time and keeps revs up near 2200 rpm.  You can also shift yourself by way of the manual side of the gear shift lever. 

    The Mazda CX-9 has received the U.S. government’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) highest possible ratings in frontal and side impact crashes – five stars.  In addition, both the FWD and AWD versions of the CX-9 received four-star rollover resistance ratings.  Advanced roll stability control applies brakes and reduces engine torque when danger is detected.  Brake assist is also there to stop the vehicle as quickly as possible.  Traction control is also here with stability control for slippery conditions.  Side curtain air bags extend all the way to the third row. 

    A three year 36,000 mile warranty covers everything on the CX9.  Roadside assistance is also offered.  A five year 60,000 mile powertrain warranty along with unlimited mileage corrosion warranty is offered as well.  We think Mazda should extend its basic warranty to five years as well. 

    Our test car starts off at a base price of $34,655 for the Grand Touring All Wheel Drive version of the CX9.  Optional is the Sirius satellite radio for $430.  The excellent rear seat entertainment system with Bose speakers and surround sound ads $2560.  A towing package costs $525. 

    The CX9 offers a premium blend of performance, utility and value with the feeling of a sporty vehicle.  For those seeking a vehicle that can hold 7 passengers, the CX9 does it with style and comfort.  


Car Reviews And





Base Pricing






RSES w/Bose Audio Package
Includes 9" monitor, DVD player with 5.1 audio surround sound, Bose audio featuring Centerpoint, 11 speakers, A/V input, 6-disc in-dash CD changer with MP3 capability and 115-volt outlet.



Grand Touring Assistance Package
Includes DVD navigation system, rearview camera and power open and close rear hatch. REQUIRES 1EP or 1MC.



Moonroof and Bose Audio Package
Includes one-touch power moonroof, Bose audio featuring Centerpoint, 10 speakers and 6-disc in-dash CD changer with MP3 capability. NOT AVAILABLE with 1EP.



Back Up Camera w/Auto-Dimming Mirror Display
Includes auto-dimming rearview mirror with a back up camera display. NOT AVAILABLE with 2PA, MHR.



Blind Spot Monitoring System
Includes blind spot monitoring sensors which monitors both sides of the vehicle to the rear in certain situations such as changing lanes on roads and freeways. (This becomes standard on Grand Touring styles in the Fall 2007.)



Radio Equipment, Amplifier & Subwoofer (PIO) i, GT Limited



Radio Equipment, Sirius / XM



Restraint System, Rear Side Impact Air Bag Sedans, Wagons



Sun Shades, Manual Rear Side • Wagons




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Grand Touring 4dr SUV AWD (3.7L 6cyl 6A)
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MSRP $34,655 $29,255 $39,320 $30,995 $36,195
Invoice $32,041 $27,353 $36,202 $29,056 $33,034
Basic 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 4 yr. / 50000 mi. 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 3 yr. / 36000 mi.
Drivetrain 5 yr. / 60000 mi. 5 yr. / 100000 mi. 5 yr. / 60000 mi. 5 yr. / 60000 mi. Unlimited yr. / Unlimited mi.
Roadside 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 5 yr. / 100000 mi. 4 yr. / 50000 mi. 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 3 yr. / 36000 mi.
Rust 5 yr. / Unlimited mi. 6 yr. / 100000 mi. 12 yr. / Unlimited mi. 5 yr. / Unlimited mi. 5 yr. / 100000 mi.
Base Engine Type & Cylinders V6 V6 V6 flat 6 V6
Base Engine Displacement 3.7 liters 3.6 liters 3.6 liters 3.6 liters 4.0 liters
Horsepower 273 hp @ 6250 rpm 275 hp @ 6600 rpm 280 hp @ 6200 rpm 256 hp @ 6000 rpm 253 hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque 270 ft-lbs. @ 4250 rpm 251 ft-lbs. @ 3200 rpm 265 ft-lbs. @ 2500 rpm 247 ft-lbs. @ 4400 rpm 262 ft-lbs. @ 4100 rpm
Locking Differential - Center Not Available Not Available Standard Not Available Not Applicable
Descent Control Not Available Not Available Standard Not Available Not Applicable
Tires P245/50R20 V
all season
all season
255/60R17 H
all season
255/55R18 H
all season
P235/55R19 H
all season
Total Seating Capacity 7 8 5 7 6
Upholstery Type leather cloth leatherette cloth premium leather
Passenger Seat Power Adjustable 4 2 - Optional 12 - Optional 4 4
Front Air Conditioning automatic climate control air conditioning automatic climate control automatic climate control automatic climate control
Xenon Headlights Standard Not Available Optional Not Available Optional
Turning Circle 37.4 ft. 40.4 ft. 38.1 ft. 35.4 ft. 39.8 ft.
Max. Cargo Capacity 101 cu. ft. 117 cu. ft. 71 cu. ft. 74 cu. ft. 80 cu. ft.
Max. Towing Capacity 3500 lbs. 4500 lbs. 7716 lbs. 3500 lbs. 2600 lbs.
City 15 mpg. 16 mpg. 14 mpg. 16 mpg. 14 mpg.
Highway 21 mpg. 24 mpg. 19 mpg. 21 mpg. 22 mpg.
Fuel Tank Capacity 20.1 gal. 22 gal. 26.4 gal. 16.9 gal. 23 gal.
Length 199.6 in. 200.7 in. 187.2 in. 191.5 in. 198.5 in.
Width 76.2 in. 78.2 in. 75.9 in. 73.9 in. 79.3 in.
Height 68 in. 72.8 in. Being Researched 66.4 in. 68.3 in.
Weight 4528 lbs. 4722 lbs. 5086 lbs. 4182 lbs. 4720 lbs.
Wheel Base 113.2 in. 118.9 in. 112.4 in. 108.2 in. 116.3 in.
Ground Clearance 8.1 in. 7.4 in. 8.3 in. 8.4 in. 5.9 in.
Front Headroom 39.6 in. 40.4 in. 38.7 in. 38.9 in. 39.2 in.
Rear Headroom 39 in. 39.3 in. 38.3 in. 38.2 in. 39.5 in.
Front Shoulder Room 59.4 in. 61.9 in. 57.7 in. 58.1 in. 60.8 in.
Rear Shoulder Room 58.7 in. 61.1 in. 57.4 in. 57.5 in. 60.5 in.
Front Hip Room 56.5 in. 57.8 in. Not Published 54 in. 55.2 in.
Rear Hip Room 56 in. 57.9 in. Not Published 54.6 in. 56.3 in.
Front Leg Room 40.9 in. 41.3 in. 41.3 in. 42.3 in. 40.9 in.
Rear Leg Room 39.8 in. 36.9 in. 35.6 in. 34.3 in. 39.9 in.
Maximum Luggage Capacity 17.2 cu.ft. 19.7 cu.ft. 31 cu.ft. 8.3 cu.ft. 13 cu.ft.
Maximum Seating 7 8 5 7 6


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