17 Best & Worst Mazda CX-9 Years (With Facts & Stats)

The Mazda CX-9 is a three-row, midsize SUV that was first introduced as a 2007 model.

It’s ideal for families and despite its size still has engaging road manners and a nicely-appointed cabin to boot.

In this article, we’ll identify the best and worst model years of the CX-9.

2023 Mazda CX-9

Here’s The Short Answer To What The Best And Worst Years For The Mazda CX-9 Are:

The best Mazda CX-9 model years are 2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2015, 2014, and 2009. The worst model years of the CX-9 are 2016, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2008, and 2007. This is based on auto industry reviews, NHTSA statistics, reported problems, and consumer feedback.

What Are The Best Years For The Mazda CX-9?

2023 Mazda CX-9

The 2023 CX-9 is the new kid on the block and has all the bells and whistles you could ask for as well as an upmarket interior that wouldn’t look out of place on a BMW.

For 2023 the base Sport trim was dropped which bumped up the base price to over $40,000.

The Touring trim became the base model which was upgraded to justify the price.

This included captain’s chairs for the second row, a power sunroof, fog lamps and a wireless charging pad fitted as standard.

  • Edmunds: 4.2 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.7 / 5.0
  • JD Power: NA

2023 CX-9, Edmunds review:

“Like the design, handling, comfort and smooth ride. Much better than [the] Pilot, Explorer and Highlander.”

2022 Mazda CX-9

Standard all-wheel drive across the range and more fuel efficient than many of its rivals, the 2022 CX-9 is another top pick.

For 2022 a new mid-level Touring Plus trim was introduced.

It came with all features of the original Touring model but integrated ventilated front seats, black 20-inch alloy wheels, black grille trim, power adjustments for the driver’s seat, aluminum roof rails, and a frameless rearview mirror. 

  • Edmunds: 4.2 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.7 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 81 / 100

2022 CX-9, Edmunds review:

“The CX9 is luxurious and fun to drive. We have the CX5 as well. The power from the 2.5 turbo is great. We live in the mountains and the torque is plentiful. Not as big as some of the competition, but makes up for it in nimble handling.”

2021 Mazda CX-9

The 2021 CX-9 is another great choice which boasts an upgraded 10.3-inch touchscreen display for the infotainment system.

The Touring, Grand Touring, and Signature trims received a smartphone charging pad and  Apple CarPlay/Android Auto was fitted as standard across the lineup.

Owners praised this model for its agile handling and comfortable ride quality.

  • Edmunds: 4.4 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.7 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 83 / 100

2021 CX-9, Edmunds review:

“I love to drive it on my daily commute. Whenever possible, I love to go out, especially on weekends and holidays. Driving is always a pleasure. Mine is a GT, the adaptive headlights are awesome on the night. The Bose sound is heaven on earth. It’s TRUE that cargo space is not huge, but for me, family of 4, has been more than enough.”

2020 Mazda CX-9

The 2020 CX-9 is one of the most highly-rated models on our list thanks to its excellent reliability, sporty handling and upscale interior.

For 2020 the CX-9 received a host of standard features including the i-Activsense suite of driver assists

This includes automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, blindspot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure warning, and lane-keeping assist.

  • Edmunds: 4.6 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.7 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 81 / 100

2020 CX-9, Edmunds review:

“The CX-9 is smaller than most vehicles in this segment but since I’m the only occupant 98% of the time it meets my needs. It’s arguably the best looking in terms of design and has the most luxurious interior of any other crossover in its class avoiding the excess of cheap plastic so common in other rides. The leather is superb, there’s real aluminum trim on the doors and dash, the knobs for the infotainment system are beautifully machined aluminum that you’d expect to see in German import costing thousands more. I was reluctant to move from a V6 to a turbo 4 cylinder but Mazda’s tuned this engine to perform and you’ll never notice the difference thanks to bountiful torque…”

2020 Mazda CX-9

2019 Mazda CX-9

Another high-scoring model is the 2019 CX-9 boasting top-tier reviews from auto critics and owners alike.

A number of standard features and optional add-ons were provided for the 2019 CX-9.

The most notable of which was the integration of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for the Touring, Grand Touring, and Signature trim levels. 

As for optional features, this list included a 360-degree camera system, ventilated front seats, a SiriusXM Travel Link (provides traffic and weather updates), a digital gauge display, power-folding exterior mirrors, and a frameless rearview mirror.

  • Edmunds: 4.6 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.7 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 81 / 100

2019 CX-9, Edmunds review:

“I love my new 2019 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring trim SUV. The interior is on par with luxury brand SUVs. I looked at the Acura RDX and MDX and couldn’t justify paying the extra money for a vehicle with comparable equipment for 10K more. The ride is very quiet with very little if any road noise. My 2016 RDX had much more road noise. The handling is impressive but the ride is a little stiffer than my Acura. I think that is due to the fact Mazda concentrates on handling first then comfort…”

2018 Mazda CX-9

If you’re looking for something a bit older but still fairly modern, then the 2018 CX-9 is another top pick.

For 2018 a number of safety features were fitted as standard such as blindspot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and emergency braking.

In addition, Mazda’s patented G-Vectoring Control was also made standard across the lineup which is designed to help improve stability when cornering.

  • Edmunds: 4.5 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.7 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 81 / 100

2018 CX-9, Edmunds review:

“Love the car. Much better than my 2010 Mazda6. I have only one issue so far – driver’s seating position. I am 6,4 about 210 pounds. I am still to find a comfortable position. I think that comfort can be easily improved if the telescopic steering wheel could be pulled a bit more towards driver. Other than that, the car drives and looks great! We are making 24-26 mpg, combined – 70% highway, 30% city. We test drove Toyota Highlander, and although Toyota put more thought into practicality and space designed particularly for families, I simply didn’t like the driving feel…”

2017 Mazda CX-9

The 2017 CX-9 was a carry-over from the 2016 model year, but what was impressive about this vehicle was the fact that it was largely free from the myriad issues that plagued its predecessor.

The model was also praised for snappy driving dynamics, upscale design, and impressive fuel economy for its size. 

  • Edmunds: 4.4 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.7 / 5.0
  • JD Power: NA

2017 CX-9, Edmunds review:

2017 Mazda CX-9

2015 Mazda CX-9

The 2015 Mazda CX-9 was the final installment of the first generation – it was also the most refined and the most reliable according to NHTSA stats.

If you’re looking for the best first-gen model, the 2015 CX-9 should be at the top of your list.

This model comes with a 3.7-liter V6 engine and is available with either front or all-wheel drive.

  • Edmunds: 4.1 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.7 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 83 / 100

2015 CX-9, Edmunds review:

“Before purchasing I tried a few other SUV’s, none matched the handling characteristics of the Mazda. The vehicle feels planted on the highway during the worst weather conditions. At first the firm ride was a concern but it isn’t meant to be a Town car. A firm ride is the trade off enabling the vehicle to perform more like a passenger car. No doubt you’re aware of its size when behind the wheel but it drives like a smaller vehicle.”

2014 Mazda CX-9

The 2014 CX-9 is another very reliable albeit slightly older pick. This model was praised for its strong V6 engine and responsive steering.

The only noteworthy change for the 2014 CX-9 was applied to the Touring and Grand Touring trim levels, namely the addition of a rear cross-traffic alert system.

This informs the driver of any approaching vehicle from either side of his rear. 

  • Edmunds: 4.1 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.7 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 75 / 100

2014 CX-9, Edmunds review:

“After owning several unreliable Jeep products, I decided it was time to try something new. Enter 2014 Mazda CX-9. This is quite possibly the nicest car I have ever owned. It is lovely to look at. Fun to drive. Has loads of cargo space. The most crucial consideration for me was the AWD feature. I outfitted the CX-9 with Blizzaks for the winter. I have already taken this car on treacherous journeys. The CX-9 is a tank. Combine the outfitted CX-9 with a little common sense and you will go anywhere.”

2014 Mazda CX-9

2009 Mazda CX-9

The 2009 CX-9 is the oldest model on our best list, despite its age it’s still enjoyable to drive and received hardly any complaints.

For 2009 a trip computer was added for all trim levels and Bluetooth capability was added for the base model (as it was the only one without such a feature).

This model comes with a six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control and a towing capacity of up to 3,500 pounds.

  • Edmunds: 4.5 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.7 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 79 / 100

2009 CX-9, Edmunds review:

“You have to drive this vehicle to really appreciate how well it handles. With the AWD version, it feels like the car is driving on two rails it holds the road so well. The interior is luxury-car quiet. Very little road noise. The front driver seats seem a little narrow with the huge center console. It’s about 10 inches longer than a Pilot or Highlander, but it doesn’t look that way due to the excellent exterior design. Very sporty…”

Consumer Scores For Best Mazda CX-9 Years

Model YearEdmunds
Consumer Rating
Kelley Blue Book
Consumer Rating
JD Power
Consumer Rating
2023 Mazda CX-94.2 / 5.04.7 / 5.0NA
2022 Mazda CX-94.2 / 5.04.7 / 5.081 / 100
2021 Mazda CX-94.4 / 5.04.7 / 5.083 / 100
2020 Mazda CX-94.6 / 5.04.7 / 5.081 / 100
2019 Mazda CX-94.6 / 5.04.7 / 5.081 / 100
2018 Mazda CX-94.5 / 5.04.7 / 5.081 / 100
2017 Mazda CX-94.4 / 5.04.7 / 5.0NA
2015 Mazda CX-94.1 / 5.04.7 / 5.083 / 100
2014 Mazda CX-94.1 / 5.04.7 / 5.075 / 100
2009 Mazda CX-94.5 / 5.04.7 / 5.079 / 100

Related: How Long Do Mazda CX-9 Last? (11 Important Facts)

What Are The Worst Years For The Mazda CX-9?

2016 Mazda CX-9

The 2016 CX-9 was the first iteration of the 2nd generation and it got off to a bit of a bumpy start, although it’s not a clunker by any means.

Coolant leakage was the most widely reported issue with the 2016 CX-9 due to a cracked cylinder head.

Here’s one owners account:

“Cylinder head cracked, leaking coolant and causing engine to overheat, potential fire hazard. Coolant also leaked and mixed in with oil cycling through engine, causing permanent damage to the engine, resulting engine to be fully replaced.”

Another widely reported complaint was that the infotainment screen cracks when the vehicle is exposed to extreme heat or extreme cold.

The 2016 CX-9 had a total of 22 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 79 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Premature brake wear
  • Leaking coolant from crack on cylinder head
  • Infotainment system not working properly

2013 Mazda CX-9

Beware of the Clunker, according to CarComplaints.com.

Brakes were very stiff and difficult to use for several owners of the 2013 CX-9 due to brake booster failure.

This poses a safety risk to owners as a failed brake booster means increased stopping distances, and accidents were reported.

Water pump failure was also reported by owners which often resulted in antifreeze mixing with the motor oil.

The 2013 CX-9 had a total of 27 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 72 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Water pump failure
  • Brake booster failure
  • Engine failure
  • Head gasket failed 

2012 Mazda CX-9

Beware of the Clunker, according to CarComplaints.com.

The 2012 CX-9 was the most problematic and complained-about vehicle out of all model years ever created. 

Brake power booster failure was the most significant and widespread issue experienced by owners of the 2012 CX-9. 

Also known as the brake servo or vacuum booster, the brake booster is a component that assists the driver in slowing down the vehicle when the brakes are activated. 

The 2012 CX-9 had a total of 57 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 252 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Brake power boost unit failed
  • Brake too hard
  • Takata recall
  • Water pump fluids leaked into engine
2012 Mazda CX-9

2011 Mazda CX-9

Beware of the Clunker, according to CarComplaints.com.

Much like the 2013 CX-9, the 2011 model year had a lot of problems revolving around the brakes due to a failed brake booster.

Owners reported that, despite continuous efforts to activate the brakes, the vehicle continued to roll down the road.

This model was also affected by the Takata airbag recall – the airbags were known to deploy without warning or impact to the vehicle.

The 2011 CX-9 had a total of 43 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 196 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Engine failure
  • Brake booster failure
  • Brakes stopped working
  • Takata recall

2010 Mazda CX-9

Beware of the Clunker, according to CarComplaints.com.

Brakes were the biggest source of headaches for owners of the 2010 CX-9. 

Owners reported brake failure, stiff brake pedal, and a malfunctioning brake booster. 

Water pump failure was also reported by a number of owners, here’s what one owner had to say:

“Our 2010 Mazda cx-9 stopped on the highway and had to be towed away. The dealer determined it was an engine failure due to a faulty water pump. It had leaked into the engine, causing permanent damage.”

The 2010 CX-9 had a total of 43 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 216 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Engine failure
  • Stiff, difficult braking
  • Water pump failure led to engine failure

2008 Mazda CX-9

Owners of the 2008 CX-9 suffered suspension-related problems, most commonly a broken axle.

Other reports also noted additional problems, such as knocking and shifting in park, a burning oil smell when in reverse, and unintended fluid flushing through the valves and gaskets. 

Brake booster failure was also common, as described by one owner below:

“Vehicle suddenly did not brake as expected. Brake pedal was hard to press and unresponsive. Brakes made noise while depressed.”

The 2008 CX-9 had a total of 39 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 228 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Water pump failure
  • Takata recall
  • Coolant leaked into oil
  • Master cylinder brake booster stopped working
  • Wheels look stained, dirty
2008 Mazda CX-9

2007 Mazda CX-9

The 2007 CX-9 had two leading problems – faulty airbags and broken suspension.

Problems with the airbag system were caused by none other than the notorious Takata manufacturer. The airbags were known to explode and fire shrapnel into the cabin.

Customers also widely reported problems with the suspension, most commonly that the axle would brake and in some instances, the front suspension detached from the vehicle.

Here’s one owners report:

“I was pulling into a driveway and my Mazda cx 9 came to a sudden stop. When I got out of the car I realized that the suspension broke and the front drivers side wheel was no longer attached to the bearing. The car was not drivable and had to be towed.”

The 2007 CX-9 had a total of 12 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 115 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Rear differential failure
  • Premature bearing wear and tear
  • Transfer case leak
  • Excessive noise

What Years Have The Most Complaints?

Model YearComplaints
(CarComplaints.com)
Problems
(CarProblemZoo.com)
2023 Mazda CX-9NANA
2022 Mazda CX-9NANA
2021 Mazda CX-9216
2020 Mazda CX-926
2019 Mazda CX-9217
2018 Mazda CX-9051
2017 Mazda CX-9324
2016 Mazda CX-92279
2015 Mazda CX-91534
2014 Mazda CX-92559
2013 Mazda CX-92772
2012 Mazda CX-957252
2011 Mazda CX-943196
2010 Mazda CX-943216
2009 Mazda CX-9466
2008 Mazda CX-939228
2007 Mazda CX-912115

What Problems Do Mazda CX-9 Have?

  • Water pump failed
  • Coolant leaked into oil
  • Engine failure
  • Brake power boost unit failure
  • Brakes are too stiff, difficult, hard
  • Brakes stopped working
  • Wheels look stained, dirty
  • Head gasket failed

What Are The Best Alternatives To The Mazda CX-9?

Make & ModelScoreMSRPFuel Economy (MPG)
Kia Telluride8.7$35,690 – $52,785City: 18 – 20 /Highway: 24 – 26
Hyundai Palisade8.6$34,950 – $50,800City: NA /Highway: NA
Chevrolet Traverse8.3$34,520 – $54,200City: 17 – 18 /Highway: 25 – 27
Honda Passport8.3$41,100 – $46,560City: 19 / Highway: 24
Honda Pilot8.3$38,080 – $51,870City: 19 – 20 /Highway: 26 – 27
Hyundai Santa Fe8.3$28,200 – $43,750City: 21 – 25 /Highway: 25 – 28
Jeep Grand Cherokee8.3$39,000 – $61,675City: 14 – 19 /Highway: 22 – 26
Jeep Grand Cherokee L8.3$43,035 – $65,710City: 14 – 19 /Highway: 22 – 26
Mazda CX-98.3$38,750 – $48,460City: 20 /Highway: 26
Buick Enclave8.1$43,300 – $57,600City: 17 – 18 /Highway: 25 – 26
Kia Sorento8.1$29,990 – $43,590City: 22 – 24 /Highway: 25 – 29
Subaru Ascent8.0$32,795 – $45,945City: 20 – 21 /Highway: 26 – 27
Ford Edge7.9$37,945 – $46,485City: 19 – 21 /Highway: 25 – 28
Nissan Pathfinder7.9$35,000 – $49,870City: 20 – 21 /Highway: 23 – 27
Toyota Highlander7.9$36,420 – $51,025City: 21 – 22 /Highway: 28 – 29
Volkswagen Atlas7.9$33,910 – $51,790City: 17 – 21 /Highway: 23 – 25
Dodge Durango7.7$38,495 – $91,185City: 13 – 19 /Highway: 19 – 26
Ford Explorer7.7$36,760 – $56,075City: 16 – 27 /Highway: 22 – 28
Chevrolet Blazer7.6$35,100 – $45,700City: 19 – 22 /Highway: 26 – 29
GMC Acadia7.5$35,300 – $49,100City: 19 – 22 /
Highway: 26 – 29
Nissan Murano7.5$33,660 – $46,910City: 20 /Highway: 28
Toyota 4Runner7.0$38,805 – $53,270 City: 16 /Highway: 19

Source: cars.usnews.com, edmunds.com

References

https://www.caranddriver.com/mazda/cx-9

https://cars.usnews.com/cars-trucks/mazda/cx-9

https://www.carcomplaints.com/Mazda/CX-9/

https://www.carproblemzoo.com/mazda/cx9/

https://www.edmunds.com/mazda/cx-9/

https://www.kbb.com/mazda/cx-9/

https://www.jdpower.com/cars/2021/mazda/cx-9