The largest vehicle in the lineup, the 2014 CX-9 is an intermediate SUV that seemingly towers over its Mazda brethren in size and maturity, yet behind the wheel feels just as sprightly and acts just as youthful as the rest of the Zoom-Zoom lot. This is not a bad thing. Product upgrades for the 2014 model year for the seven-passenger, three-row mid-size sport utility vehicle include new color options, a new 20-inch wheel design and the availability of Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA).
Unmistakably Mazda, the 2014 CX-9 has evolved into a dramatic yet refined design. Available in two trim levels – GS and GT – the CX-9 is not one to discriminate and offers all consumers an intermediate SUV that delivers on dynamics and content as well as provides all occupants a front-row seat to sophistication and comfort.
The KODO design language exudes aggression and grace, energy and poise, strength and elegance. Mazda’s most expressive design theme yet, KODO captures the fluidity of movement – while standing still. The unfiltered refinement of the 2014 CX-9 further vocalizes this with the precisely etched features in its new front-end and rear-facing appeal. From the aggressive five-point front grille with a chrome outline that points deftly and defined into eagle-eyed headlamps to the commanding calm of the rear taillights overseeing a masculine landscape that develops into the redesigned robust plateau of the rear bumper; no one said utilitarian had to be plain. The fog lights sync with the KODO-esque attributes of the front fascia as do the dual rear exhaust pipes. The overall stature of the CX-9 GS continues to be one of prominence and luxury with strong 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels wrapped in P245/60R18 all-season tires fitting perfectly under brawny fender arches. Newly designed 20-inch aluminum alloy wheels dusted in a satin chrome finish paired with Bridgestone Dueler H/L 400 P245/50R20 all-season tires are standard equipment for the GT model.
The steeply raked windshield further accentuates the vehicle’s agile ability and continues the course into an expansive roofline that is punctuated with a standard body-coloured rear spoiler. The large-view side and rear windows form an open and modern greenhouse as well as provide outward visibility from all seating positions.
The 2014 CX-9 is available in six exterior colour choices including Crystal White Pearl, Aluminum Metallic Mica, Meteor Grey Mica, Zeal Red Mica, and two new shades in Blue Reflex Mica and Jet Black Mica.
Highly Versatile, Well Crafted Interior
Under the CX-9’s sleek exterior is an interior with the mettle to impress consumers who expect nothing less than spaciousness, functionality and premium content from every SUV on their shopping lists. Sitting on a 2,875 mm wheelbase, the CX-9 has a lot of length for design minds to play with and with an overall width of 1,936 mm, a roomy interior for seven adults to reap the rewards. Its organized and efficient interior layout also is replete with rich touch points.
For versatility points, the 60/40-split second row easily accommodates three passengers and offers approximately 120 mm of fore-and-aft travel in addition to a reclining backrest. In the 50/50-split third row, seating position and legroom are among the leaders in the intermediate SUV segment, both in numbers and real-world comfort. Access into the third row also is effortless with nearly 660 mm of ingress space between a folded second-row seat and the C-pillar.
Extra thought was invested in all the finer functionality details, such as how the seat releases are configured. For example, releasing the second row seat in order to enter the third row requires only one simple hand motion to unlatch the seat and move it forward. Likewise, a clever strap attached behind the third row seat’s backrest serves as both a release for folding the seat down and as a means to pulling it back up.
With all seats occupied, the CX-9 provides 487 litres of cargo space, which eclipses many large sedans. Both second and third row seats fold flat to provide up to 2,851 litres of storage space from the rear hatch and up towards the seat backs of the front row.
GS models exhibit piano black trim accents while GT models feature a high-quality Bordeaux Satin trim throughout the vehicle. Fitted along the door panels and hugging alongside an updated center console, this detail is not overly brash but elegantly subtle. A redesigned leather-wrapped shift knob is standard and provides the palm-perfect fit from park to drive.
A leather-wrapped steering wheel, which offers tilt and telescopic functions as well as audio and cruise controls, is standard. Also standard are anti-pinch power windows with a one-touch automatic up/down feature for front row windows.
With the “hard” surfaces of the CX-9’s interior leaning toward easy-to-use functionality, the “soft” areas lean toward spoiled comfort. Standard on GS models is a sporting black cloth interior while moving up the line with the GS Luxury Package or GT trim invites leather-trimmed upholstery in either black or sand hues. The black leather trim is highlighted with black suede inserts and features red contrast stitching. All leather seats offer two heat settings. Plush and welcoming in any seat, the front row offers added seat bolstering.
A 5.8-inch multi-information display (MID) screen is standard on all trim levels. All-new infotainment features include HD Radio Technology, which is a subscription-free digital AM and FM broadcast radio service in the U.S. that provides crystal-clear sound, on-screen information and additional programming choices via HD2 and HD3 channels. When music from a personal device is preferred, MP3 players and smartphones can be connected via the Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio system. This allows all information and folders to display and be controlled via the MID. A USB connection port offers an alternative for users, such as infrequent passengers, who do not want to connect their devices via Bluetooth. All the aforementioned systems, including an auxiliary jack, are standard.
Available is a TomTom technology-based in-dash navigation system featuring premium North American maps, advanced lane guidance, intuitive voice recognition and real-time traffic. The navigation module communicates with the Sanyo display head unit in the CX-9 via a USB interface and utilizes an SD card for storing map data. The SD card feature allows consumers to input customized maps as well as regularly update TomTom mapping content and software via their home computer.
All of these auditory features pump their sound waves through a standard high-quality six-speaker sound system matched with an AM/FM/CD head unit. A premium 10-speaker Bose Centerpoint Surround Sound System with AudioPilot is standard on GT models, while a higher-end 5.1 channel rear entertainment system with 11 speakers is available on GT models only. Sirius Satellite Radio with a complimentary six-month subscription is also standard on GT models.
The Power of Engineering
A more than potent MZR 3.7-liter V-6 engine powers the 2014 CX-9, making even the most harried drives seem like a stroll along the beach. Its peak power of 273 horsepower at 6,250 rpm offers explosive acceleration and passing performance. The torque curve keeps 250 lb-ft at 3,000 to 6,000 rpm and peaks at 270 lb-ft at 4,250 rpm.
The 2014 CX-9 utilizes an Aisin-supplied six-speed Sport AT automatic transmission with a manual mode as standard equipment. Broad ratios maximize flexibility by providing enthusiastic launching with quiet cruising speeds. The top two gears are both overdrive ratios which enhances both acceleration and fuel economy. A manual transmission is not available on CX-9.
Front-wheel drive (FWD) is standard on the GS trim level with Mazda’s Active Torque All-Wheel-Drive (AWD) available as an option and standard on GT trim. This AWD system rapidly adjusts to changing traction needs by monitoring wheel slippage, steering angle, yaw rate, lateral acceleration and available driveline torque. In normal driving situations, 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 slipping, a controlled percentage of the available torque is directed to the rear axle.
Fuel economy for the FWD models is rated by Transport Canada at 12.7 litres per 100 kilometres in the city, and 8.4 on the highway. GS and GT models with the AWD system achieve 12.8 L/100 km in the city, and 9.0 L/100 km on the highway.
The 2014 CX-9 is offered in GS and GT trims, and both models offer three-zone automatic climate control with air conditioning, cruise control, anti-pinch power windows with one-touch up/down operation for front windows, power door locks, a trip computer, a tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, steering wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a Bluetooth hands-free audio and phone system, and a 5.8-inch multi-information display (MID) in-dash. USB and auxiliary jack connection ports also are standard.
The GS model sits on 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels wrapped in P245/60R18 all-season tires. An eight-way power-adjustable driver seat with manual lumbar support, heated front cloth seats, auto on/off headlights, remote keyless entry with a retractable key, a rearview camera, and heated outside mirrors are all standard equipment on the CX-9 GS. Choosing the optional Luxury Package adds a power liftgate, fog lights, smart keyless entry (proximity and ignition), Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, rear back-up sensors, leather and suede-trimmed upholstery, power driver lumbar support, and four-way power-adjustable front passenger seat. A power moonroof with one-touch open/close feature is available as a standalone option.
Coming in on 20-inch satin chrome alloy wheels is the GT model. Tires are Bridgestone Dueler H/L 400 low-profile all-season radials. This top-of-the-line trim includes all features from the GS with Luxury Package and adds standard amenities such as Xenon (HID) headlights with LED Daytime Running Lights, navigation system with touchscreen, exterior mirrors with turn indicators, driver seat position memory including exterior mirrors, automatic exterior mirror tilt-in-reverse feature, premium Bose sound system with 10 speakers, and premium Bordeaux Satin interior accents.
A Towing Prep Package, rated for 1,588 kg (3,500 lb), is standard on all models. Included in this package are a heavy-duty transmission cooler and radiator fan as well as a revised engine control module. To complete the towing package, a towing receiver hitch accessory must be purchased separately.
All models of the 2014 CX-9 include among the best in advanced vehicle safety features to include six airbags (advanced dual front, front-seat mounted and full-length side curtain), an Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) with Brake Assist, Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) with a Traction Control System (TCS), a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS), Roll Stability Control (RSC), “Triple H” body construction, front and rear side crumple zones, three-point safety belts for all seating positions, front seatbelt pretensioners with force limiters as well as Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH).
The 2014 CX-9 is also equipped with Mazda’s Brake Override system. This system always prioritizes the brake pedal over the accelerator pedal, should both be engaged simultaneously, allowing the vehicle to be brought to a safe stop every time. Activation of this system is recorded in the electronic Powertrain Control Module (PCM).
Among the numerous standard features on the 2014 CX-9 is a 3-year roadside assistance program. Customers can feel secure knowing that wherever they travel throughout North America they can obtain towing, winching, battery boosting, emergency fuel delivery, and tire changing services if needed. They will even get help if locked out of the vehicle. Travel planning services and emergency travel expense reimbursement are included in the roadside assistance program.
The 2014 CX-9 is covered by a 3-year or 80,000 km vehicle warranty that covers every part of the vehicle except those subject to normal wear. Additional warranties cover powertrain and safety restraint components for a period of 5 years or 100,000 km, body sheet metal perforation for 8 years/unlimited kilometres and selected emission control components for 8 years or 128,000km.