in 2011 Affordable Midsize SUVs

Avg. Price Paid: $18,381 - $23,181
Original MSRP: $29,135 - $34,535
MPG: 17 City / 24 Hwy
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2011 Mazda CX-9 Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

Reviewers say that the 2011 Mazda CX-9 offers performance that's as sporty as a large crossover can deliver. If you don’t want to give up fun behind the wheel, but need a family SUV, the Mazda CX-9 should be on your list.

  • "The CX-9 takes a curve better than any non-BMW SUV out there and has remarkably good steering." -- Car and Driver
  • "No vehicle this size can ever be called nimble, but among large crossovers, Mazda's flagship stands out as being the most enjoyable to drive." -- Edmunds
  • "A utility vehicle that's fun to drive? Yes, indeed, and you don't have to buy a premium brand such as the Porsche Cayenne or BMW X5 to get such an animal." -- Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Acceleration and Power

Test drivers say the 2011 Mazda CX-9 is quick and has great acceleration. Under the hood, the CX-9 boasts a 273-horsepower 3.7-liter DOHC V6 engine. The front-wheel drive CX-9 is rated for 17 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. That’s very good fuel economy for a seven passenger SUV. The engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission that reviewers are generally positive about.

  • "Despite the price differential among the three trim levels, the good news is that all models come with the same 3.7-liter V-6 engine, which cranks out an impressive 273 horsepower and 270 foot-pounds of torque.  That gives the CX-9 quite sporty performance, coupled with a six-speed automatic transmission." -- Fort Worth Star-Telegram
  • "CX-9's V6 engine provides sufficient power in any situation. The transmission is generally alert, but it's sometimes slow to downshift for more passing punch." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The V-6 engine did the job admirably, even for this speedy mama. What really disappointed me, though, was the low-end 15.3 combined mileage that I got during my test drive. ... I live in the hills and rarely get onto the highway, but I expect more from a crossover." -- Mother Proof
  • "Smooth is the defining word for this powertrain; the V6 revs freely and the automatic changes gears without a hint of harshness." -- Cars.com

Handling and Braking

The 2011 Mazda CX-9 is light on its feet despite its 4,284-pound curb weight. Reviewers also find the CX-9 fun to drive for a large SUV.

  • "Arguably the best in its class for structural rigidity, which in turn yields benefits in terms of ride and handling, two of several areas where the CX-9 gets high marks." -- Car and Driver,
  • "It's like the Jackie Gleason of crossover vehicles... Despite his girth, our favorite Honeymooner could skip the light fandango like nobody's business. And even with seven seats and a length of almost 200 inches, the CX-9 doesn't feel objectionably large or heavy on the road." -- Edmunds.
  • "Over a wide variety of road surfaces, the CX-9 was supple and quiet. And it cornered much flatter than an equivalent minivan might, with a nice build-up of forces at the steering wheel." -- Motor Trend

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