Road & Travel Magazine

Auto Advice & Tips
Auto Buyer's Guides
Car Care Maintenance
Climate Change News
Auto Awards Archive
Insurance & Accidents
Legends & Leaders
New Car Reviews
Planet Driven
Road Humor
Road Trips
RV & Camping
Safety & Security
Teens & Tots Tips
Tire Buying Tips
Used Car Buying
Vehicle Model Guide

Travel Channel
Adventure Travel
Advice & Tips
Airline Rules
Bed & Breakfasts
Cruises & Tours
Destination Reviews
Earth Tones
Family Travel Tips
Health Trip
Hotels & Resorts
Luxury Travel
Pet Travel
RV & Camping
Safety & Security
Spa Reviews
Train Vacations
World Travel Directory

Bookmark and Share

ROAD & TRAVEL New Car Review: 2007 Mazda CX-9
2007 Mazda CX-9 Review: Crossover Fits with Families

by Jessica Howell

For the 2007 model year, Mazda set out to create North America’s ultimate crossover SUV. To find out exactly what consumers desired in such a be-all, do-all vehicle, Mazda examined those places seeped in the attitude of today’s urban car buyers – the parking lots of California's Disneyland and Home Depot, of course.

ROAD & TRAVEL New Car Review: 2007 Mazda CX-9 Exterior

It was here, and in many other similar hubs for young families, that Mazda initially began formulating their plan. What modern families and trendy couples needed in a vehicle, they found, was a perfect blend of function and emotion in crossover form. Three rows. No, make that three usable rows. Smooth styling. High-tech features. Standard safety equipment. Adequate power.

So, to follow in the footsteps of Mazda’s successful, five-passen-ger CX-7, the company ushers forth its second venture into the booming crossover segment – the seven-passenger CX-9.

Competing against Honda’s Pilot and the Toyota Highlander, the Mazda CX-9 needed to differ itself from the crowd in order to create necessary stand-out power. Mazda did just that by veering away from the boxy physique of similar capacity competition and instead emphasizing a clean fluidity that’s striking upon first glance.

From Mazda’s simplistic streak-of-chrome grille bar to its wrapped LED taillights and trapezoid dual chrome exhaust tips, the vehicle is smooth and sleek from start to finish. Chrome accents come aplenty too – framing side windows, decorating door grips, and splashing across the rear in a bold, horizontal streak.

Eighteen or 20-inch wheels (standard on top-of-the-line model) are pushed to the outer corners of an athletic frame that sits low and stretches wide.

What Mazda wanted, says Hideki Suzuki, chief designer of Mazda Motor Corporation in Hiroshima, Japan, was “a vehicle that could be a member of the family.” And as any parent knows, not just any vehicle can make the cut from dealership to driveway and be loved by mom, dad and kids alike. To secure familial ties, Mazda created an interior that’s easy-to-use, comfortable and practical.

Because of CX-9’s lengthy wheelbase, there’s sufficient room in all three rows of seating, even for an adult that occasionally has to squeeze in back. The second row is split 60-40 with the capability to carry three, and the 50-50 split third row carries two, offering class-leading cargo space of 17.2 cubic feet behind the seats. Both second and third rows fold flat for extra storage space, unlatching and releasing easily.

While the CX-9 nails convenient seating and space, it also boasts the added perks of high-tech features, luxe cabin atmosphere and smart interior touches.

Chris Hill, Mazda’s Vehicle Line Manager, describes the crossover as “indulgent with a conscious.”

Mazda’s CX-9 offers a choice of either sand or black cloth or two-tone leather, both of which are pleasant to the touch with a slightly sporty appearance. Detailed with piano black lacquer (plastic) or wood trim appointments and brushed silver paneling, the cabin is a fresh departure from monochrome grays.

ROAD & TRAVEL New Car Review: 2007 Mazda CX-9 Interior

Slip behind the steering wheel and you’ll find a blacked-out instrument panel featuring electroluminescent gauges edged in cool blue lighting. (The indirect glow can also be seen embedded in the front and rear door trim and ceiling.) The tiltable, telescopic steering wheel houses hands-free audio, cruise control and Bluetooth connection controls.

Within arms’ reach you’ll find access to the six speaker sound system, complete with AM/FM radio, CD and auxiliary audio input for an iPod or mp3. Sirius satellite radio is also available. Choose to upgrade with the Rear Seat Entertainment System package and CX-9 will be outfitted with a popcorn-worthy nine-inch DVD with truly enthralling surround sound, 11-speaker Bose Audio system, six CD changer and 115 volt outlet.

For comfort’s sake, three-zone climate control is standard.

Powering the seven-seater is an all new 263-horsepower 3.5L V6 that’s linked to a standard six-speed Sport automatic transmission with manual-mode. Quick pick-up and smooth handling make driving CX-9 a breeze; and tackling the rolling hills of Michigan’s back-country, where we tested the crossover, was a task proved easy with ample power. Push the throttle to the floor and CX-9 quickens, passing easily in a pinch.

Front-wheel drive comes standard, with Mazda’s Active Torque Split All-Wheel Drive available as an option, working to adjust traction by continually monitoring wheel slippage, steering angle, acceleration and more to deliver up to 50 percent of available torque to the rear wheels during aggressive driving.

Advanced safety features on the CX-9 include Roll Stability Control (RSC) system, Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS), Traction Control System (TCS), and Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), which minimizes under- or over-steering in emergencies. And in the case of an unavoidable collision, the vehicle’s unibody uses Mazda’s Advanced Impact-Energy Distribution and Absorption System to protect the cabin and keep the passenger compartment intact. Also standard are six air bags.

Available in three trim levels: Sport, Touring and Grand Touring, all CX-9s come equipped with standard air conditioning, power windows and door locks, remote entry, and cruise control.

ROAD & TRAVEL New Car Review: 2007 Mazda CX-9 Interior

One step up with CX-9 Touring and standard equipment is upgraded to include leather seats, power front seat adjusters and indirect interior lighting. The top-of-the-line Grand Touring edition boasts 20-inch bright aluminum wheels, bright door handles, rain-sensing wipers, anti-theft alarm system, turn indicators on side mirrors, and keyless entry and start system.

So is this what modern American families want in a mid-size SUV today? My guess is yes, I think so. I guess I’ll find out the next time I’m in a Home Depot parking lot.

2007 MAZDA CX-9
7-seat crossover utility vehicle
Model options:

Grand Touring

Engine size:

3.5L V6


6-speed automatic with manual-mode


113.2 inches

Overall Length:

199.8 inches

Rear/Front Drive:

FWD, AWD optional


4-wheel ABS

Air bags:

2 (dual-stage front)
2 (seat mounted side air bags)
2 side curtain air bags with rollover detection

Fuel Economy:

FWD: 18/24 mpg
AWD: 16/22 mpg


Sport Base Price: $29,630