CX-9 vs Competitors

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Ft Worth
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2021 CX9 Signature
Congrats @Poppy D ! You’re gonna love it. I’m still in the honeymoon phase with mine and did my first early AM commute to work with it yesterday. It’s a great car!
 

sm1ke

Work In Progress..
Moderator
Contributor
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Canada
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'18 CX-9 Signature
Well, we pulled the trigger, just 30 minutes ago we picked up and drove home a white 2021 CX-9 Grand Touring. It is one sweet ride. It is so very quiet, it will be a great highway cruiser. The GT trim had the rear bench seat, heated steering wheel and a lot I didn't necessarily think I wanted, but glad I have them now like: adaptive headlights, HUD, auto folding side mirrors and the list goes on. Anyway, I'm reading the owner's manual now, there are a lot of settings. I want to thank the members for your candid and helpful input that helped me sift through all the noise involved in finding and buying the right vehicle.

Congrats on the purchase! Based on my own experience with my CX-9, I feel confident in saying that you'll enjoy it for many years to come.

I probably would have gone with a GT in the 2021 MY as well - I prefer the bench seat to the captain's chairs.

Like @Buster1, I'm still in the honeymoon phase with my CX-9, but mine is a 2018 and I bought it at the end of 2017, lol. I still do the "look back" when I walk away from the car and smile after every car wash. :)
 
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2021 CX-9 Sig
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2014 CX-5 GT
As my CX-9 was wrecked, I am looking for replacements. Right now, in the SE USA, the stock of CX-9 Signatures are really low. And I really want the heads up display (I got used to it) and so the Carbon edition is not what I am looking for. So, are there really any competitors? Used Audi? I spent lots of time in the MDX before buying my CX-9 and it was great - but the gas mileage was terrible. Pilot, Highlander and Ascent drive like crap (have tested them). The kia Telluride looks interesting but stock is similar to the CX-9. Looking through this thread, it seems the CX-9 is a pretty unique vehicle.
 

Poppy D

2021 CX9 GT
I'm so happy to hear that almost all members are happy with their CX9. I always have buyer's remorse, but not this time. So after 300 miles here are some of my observations, please keep in mind this is just my take and some members may have differing opinions:
Pros
1. Super quiet
2. Comfortable
3. Easy to use and fast infortainment
4. Paddle shifters (I'm a vintage Corvette owner as well, so I really like these)
5. Auto-Folding side-view mirrors
6. Great handling for such a big car
7. A lot more room than my Equinox
8. Doesn't feel like a minivan like some of the 3 row suvs I've tested
9. HUD, I didn't think I'd like it. It took me an hour to get used to it
10. Smooth shifting transmission
11. All controls are easy to reach
12. Wireless phone charging station
13. No start/stop

Zonks - I can live without the these - weren't must haves anyway
1. No struts to hold the hood open, has a prop rod (our Equinox and Audi have struts)
2. No 110 volt AC outlet - alot of SUVs still don't have these

Some folks on the CX9 YouTube reviews stated that they dismissed the CX9 because it wasn't offered with pano roof or it had an older 6 speed transmission ... hum, I think a 6sp transmission is fine and being around a long time is actually a good thing. Every 8 or 10 speed I've driven seems to suffer from "gear hunting." But maybe others have had a more positive experience.

20210105_122445.jpg



Here is my CX9 GT. I love the white with black leather interior. There is so much more to learn about this car, like its capability is deep Central New York snow, as you can see from the photo above we don't have much snow, bummer.
 
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Poppy D

2021 CX9 GT
As my CX-9 was wrecked, I am looking for replacements. Right now, in the SE USA, the stock of CX-9 Signatures are really low. And I really want the heads up display (I got used to it) and so the Carbon edition is not what I am looking for. So, are there really any competitors? Used Audi? I spent lots of time in the MDX before buying my CX-9 and it was great - but the gas mileage was terrible. Pilot, Highlander and Ascent drive like crap (have tested them). The kia Telluride looks interesting but stock is similar to the CX-9. Looking through this thread, it seems the CX-9 is a pretty unique vehicle.
dougal, like you, I've researched and driven most of the 3 row suvs. After careful review and some great input from this forum I decided to buy the CX9 GT AWD, which is one trim below the Signature. The GT has the HUD, paddle shifters, heated steering wheel and heated and ventilated seats, so it loaded. Some of these options may not be important to you living in the southeast. The Signature also has HUD, but only comes with captain's chairs in the second row and AWD. The captain's chairs were a deal breaker for us, otherwise I may have gone with the Signature.

We drove the Highlander and the Telluride also. The Highlander, which was first on my list, was a big disappointed I posted my experiences in a previous post. The Telluride was nicely appointed, but didn't handle very well, it leaned and seamed top heavy. It was so open on the inside, very minivan-like. If we wanted a minivan we would have bought a minivan. And since it is so new, I'm not comfortable until there is 4-5 year track record. We don't see many on the road here in Central New York, but the 3 local dealers have about 16 of them on the lot. So the jury is out on them for many people.

Poppy D
 
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Ft Worth
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2021 CX9 Signature
As my CX-9 was wrecked, I am looking for replacements. Right now, in the SE USA, the stock of CX-9 Signatures are really low. And I really want the heads up display (I got used to it) and so the Carbon edition is not what I am looking for. So, are there really any competitors? Used Audi? I spent lots of time in the MDX before buying my CX-9 and it was great - but the gas mileage was terrible. Pilot, Highlander and Ascent drive like crap (have tested them). The kia Telluride looks interesting but stock is similar to the CX-9. Looking through this thread, it seems the CX-9 is a pretty unique vehicle.
I spent the past three months looking and researching cars, sedans, and crossovers. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING checked all the boxes for me like the CX-9. I looked at Audis, Lexi, the new Santa Fe’s, Telluride, Palisade, Highlander, Venza, RAV4, some Honda junk, Cadillac, a couple Acura’s... and maybe a few others. As I’ve said before, I just left a three year love affair (that ended poorly) with a Tesla Model S. I wanted something that could do everything the Tesla could, less the electric drivetrain. Nothing came close... except the CX-9.

In many ways the CX-9 is better than the ole Tesla. I love the HUD (Tesla doesn’t have that) the quiet (road noise in Tesla is terrible), and the beautiful interior of the Signature CX-9. It’s on par with Audi and leaps nicer than Tesla’s, which are good, but utilitarian.

Good luck in your hunt. Depending on what you like and need, the new Mazda’s are really sharp.
 

Poppy D

2021 CX9 GT
Hey Poppy-

For what it's worth, I'm down in Central New Jersey and just bought my new-to-me 2019 Signature (CPO) back in October. I've been researching a replacement car for close to 3 years, and the reason I bought a CX-9 was mostly because I wasn't able to find anything that met my specific needs better, and I wasn't able to find any significant faults with it after 3 years of scouring the internet, including enthusiast-owner groups. It definitely helps that this basic platform (minus a few of the newer bells 'n whistles) has been around since MY2016 and has proven to be pretty solid. I tend to keep my cars for at least 10+ years, so I need something reliable.

Also for what it's worth, I really like the members in this group, too, and really haven't run across any information in this thread with which I would disagree, and would add the following commentary from my owner's experience to date:

Points 4 & 5. My recent experience testing the AWD system was earlier this week where we **finally** got some white stuff...about 6". As mentioned before, **tires make all the difference**. The dealer I bought my CX-9 from had just shod it with a brand new set of Nankang All-Seasons (and if you haven't heard of this brand, there's a reason for that....they're low-budget, crap tires) which I insisted be replaced. I wanted to try something different than the Nitto's I've been buying the last 10+ years and went with the new Vredestein Quatrac Pro (*Note: These also one of the few tires that have the true "M+S" rating for winter use). At the time, they were Tirerack.com's #1 rated Grand Touring tire. I'm very "into" tires and cannot say enough good things about the Vredesteins...including their acceleration, cornering, stopping in the snow, but I love them in dry/wet conditions, too. I won't belabor all the details, but would be happy to share more info if you'd like.

As for the AWD system itself, my sense is it's a little more advanced than some have described it here...especially starting with MY2019 and up where they did introduce Mazda's version of torque-vectoring which is predominately used to improve handling and reduce understeer, as I understand it. I cannot imagine this system not being more than adequate...even in your neck of the woods. Yes, the latest AWD system found in the Pilot is a little more robust--and with driver-selectable modes, but truth be told...the damn vehicle handles like a truck. Same with the current-gen Highlander, from my research anyway.

Point 6: Funny thing, I never knew mine even had factory remote start until I was carrying in a load of firewood last week, and must've inadvertently pushed on the "lock" button a few times (the key was in my pocket)...only to go back outside for another load, and find my CX-9 idling away. Who knew? Anyway, I'm personally not a huge fan of using remote start because every auto manufacturer I've run across recommends not letting your car idle at startup for a long time because the excess fuel tends to damage the catalytic converter, among other things (however, I do recognize others live in significantly colder conditions than NJ is these days, where using this feature might be worthwhile)

Point 7: It took me a little while to get used to tech for the audio/navigation (everything else couldn't be easier) but I attributed that mostly because I'm new to Android Auto. Once you've got that figured out, it's a pretty slick system, IMO.

Point 8: I've been driving an old Infiniti with a RWD-biased AWD system for the last decade, so I'm extra-sensitive to torque steer from FWD. In my experience, unless you're standing on the gas from a dead stop, the torque steer in these cars is pretty minimal (and even if you do, it's not like the wheel will be torn from of your hands). In 95% of FWD vehicles, it's just the nature of the beast and if you're alright with all the other handling "attributes" of FWD, I think Mazda does a pretty good job of keeping it well-controlled.

Point 13: I wonder if the "Zoom-zoom" factor wasn't mentioned because--among Mazda owners anyway--its just something that's implied - lol. This is my first Mazda, and I can tell you these cars are great fun to drive, and very engaging...not unlike how BMW used to be back in the ol' days. Mazda does a great job of not insulating you from the driving experience, but making you part of it. The acceleration is great...especially for a 4-banger, the steering makes the CX-9 feel/handle like a much smaller, lighter car and the brakes do a great job of adding to that sporty feel. Although I don't think this wasn't mentioned, I will say the gas mileage figures are also pretty close to their ratings in my experience. Use a steady foot and and keep it below 80 on the highway, you'll see 25-26 MPG. Around town with some highway (and with the damn "winter" aka oxygenated fuel), I'm getting 22'ish.

Anyway, sorry for the long reply...but as someone who was literally just in your shoes a few months ago (and after agonizing over the decision for a long time), I'm hoping some of my nonsensical ramblings might be of some help to you.

Best luck in your decision, Poppy D......!

Best,
Tim G. in Central NJ
'19 CX-9 Sig
Hi Tim,

I just picked my '21 GT yesterday so I'll have to try the remote start by pressing the lock button a few times. thanks for the tip.

Poppy D
 
Cool ride. My 2018 CX9 GT AWD is a simlar spec.

We just drove it from NY to CA (and back) over the last two weeks. Great car for family of 5.

I am jealous of your 2021's infotainment -- it's the only thing I am not that happy about (and i've paid for the CarPlay upgrade).
 
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2021 CX-9 Sig
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2014 CX-5 GT
dougal, like you, I've researched and driven most of the 3 row suvs. After careful review and some great input from this forum I decided to buy the CX9 GT AWD, which is one trim below the Signature. The GT has the HUD, paddle shifters, heated steering wheel and heated and ventilated seats, so it loaded. Some of these options may not be important to you living in the southeast. The Signature also has HUD, but only comes with captain's chairs in the second row and AWD. The captain's chairs were a deal breaker for us, otherwise I may have gone with the Signature.

We drove the Highlander and the Telluride also. The Highlander, which was first on my list, was a big disappointed I posted my experiences in a previous post. The Telluride was nicely appointed, but didn't handle very well, it leaned and seamed top heavy. It was so open on the inside, very minivan-like. If we wanted a minivan we would have bought a minivan. And since it is so new, I'm not comfortable until there is 4-5 year track record. We don't see many on the road here in Central New York, but the 3 local dealers have about 16 of them on the lot. So the jury is out on them for many people.

Poppy D

Yeah, I am looking at the GT at the moment and it might fit the bill nicely. Still hard to find. Your white version looks great - might just have to copy it! Congratulations on your purchase and have fun!
 

sm1ke

Work In Progress..
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Contributor
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Canada
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'18 CX-9 Signature
I am jealous of your 2021's infotainment -- it's the only thing I am not that happy about (and i've paid for the CarPlay upgrade).

I seem to be one of the few who isn't bothered by the infotainment system, though it's likely because I may not be using it the same way others are (such as podcast/streaming services, nav, AA/ACP). Just curious - what don't you like about the infotainment system?
 

Poppy D

2021 CX9 GT
I seem to be one of the few who isn't bothered by the infotainment system, though it's likely because I may not be using it the same way others are (such as podcast/streaming services, nav, AA/ACP). Just curious - what don't you like about the infotainment system?
I heard that the Infotainment system was disappointing for some Mazda owners. I've only used the one in the 2021 which, as far as I'm concerned works fine. Boots right up and is pretty fast. My screen is 10.25" which is the right size for the CX9. It's height doesn't obscure the driver's view of the road. The screen in the new Explorers is so big it is hideous. Again, just my opinion.
 

Poppy D

2021 CX9 GT
Yeah, I am looking at the GT at the moment and it might fit the bill nicely. Still hard to find. Your white version looks great - might just have to copy it! Congratulations on your purchase and have fun!
dougal, the dealer had to find mine at a dealer 170 miles from away. They traded a white GT with captains for a white GT with a bench. So, you are correct the GT and Signature trims are hard to find. I think the Covid must have disrupted the global supply chain making parts for cars hard to source. Probably why I didn't get a great deal.
 
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Ottawa, Ontario
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17 Mazda 6 GT
Some folks on the CX9 YouTube reviews stated that they dismissed the CX9 because it wasn't offered with pano roof or it had an older 6 speed transmission ... hum, I think a 6sp transmission is fine and being around a long time is actually a good thing. Every 8 or 10 speed I've driven seems to suffer from "gear hunting." But maybe others have had a more positive experience.
Different strokes for different folks I guess.
Mazda's solid 6 speed automatic transmission and lack of pano roof would be a selling point for me.
Like you said, these 8, 9 and 10 speed trannies are ridiculous, and only slightly better than a CVT.
It's one of the things that sold me on the 6.
 
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2021 CX-9 GT
Agree with the transmission comments. Mazda’s 6 speed is a solid unit. Reliable. Performs well and is always in the “right gear”. It’s programmed to keep the torque converter locked up most of the time (unlike other transmission) which makes it more efficient and it shifts quickly. I haven’t seen any reviews where the reviewer completely dismissed the transmission but all the CX-9 vids I’ve watched praised how quickly it responds/shifts. Some said it’s almost DSG quick.
 
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SF Bay Area
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'17 CX-9 Signature
Agree with the transmission comments. Mazda’s 6 speed is a solid unit. Reliable. Performs well and is always in the “right gear”. It’s programmed to keep the torque converter locked up most of the time (unlike other transmission) which makes it more efficient and it shifts quickly. I haven’t seen any reviews where the reviewer completely dismissed the transmission but all the CX-9 vids I’ve watched praised how quickly it responds/shifts. Some said it’s almost DSG quick.
Almost DSG quick? :LOL: Only a person who has never driven a true DSG can say that. Sorry.

The CX-9 transmission is fine. It works well for what it is - a conventional 6-speed AT. There is nothing magical or special or super fast about it. It gets the job done well, as it should. Time will show if it's really reliable. Mazda claiming that it's a "sealed" unit with lifetime fluid is a red flag.

It is better than a CVT for sure but is not any better than the auto transmission we have in our old 2008 Sienna Minivan with 200k miles on it. The "sport" mode in the Mazda is a joke, no paddle shifters, manual up/downshifts are slow-ish ... just like with every traditional AT.

A really good, modern, fast, efficient, great shift quality transmission is the ZF 8HP (8-speed) auto transmission. There is a reason why it is used and praised in many many modern luxury and premium SUVs and Sedans with great success. I really wish Mazda offered it in the CX-9 ... but i am also aware it would make the car cost a lot more $$. ...and the bigger issue is - the ZF 8HP transmission comes only in longitudinal form for rear- or all-wheel-drive vehicles.