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Almost forgotten by car buyers, the Mazda CX-9 provides a pleasant three-row SUV alternative. Agile handling that masks its size is a nice surprise, as a run down a twisty back road will attest. The ride is firm and steady, proving comfortable on a variety of roads and the quiet cabin contributes to a calm cruise.
Alerts
There are 3 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Road Test Results

Performance
Acceleration Acceleration Acceleration tests are conducted on a smooth, flat pavement straightaway at the track. Time, speed, and distance measurements are taken with a precise GPS-based device that’s hooked to a data-logging computer.
0 to 60 mph (sec.) 0 to 60 mph (sec.) The time in seconds that a vehicle takes to reach 60 mph from a standstill with the engine idling.
Transmission Transmission Transmission performance is determined by shifting smoothness, response, shifter action, and clutch actuation for manual transmissions.
Fuel Economy Fuel Economy We perform our own fuel-economy tests, independent of the government's often-quoted EPA figures and the manufacturers' claims. Using a precise fuel-flow measuring device spliced into the fuel line, we run two separate circuits to represent city and highway consumption.
CR's Overall Mileage CR's Overall Mileage CR's overall mileage is a composite of measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course and highway cruising; and CR's 150-mile test trip of mixed driving, if tested. In recent road tests, we've discontinued the 150-mile trip test.
CR's City Mileage CR's City Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course.
CR's Highway Mileage CR's Highway Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed highway cruising.
Annual Fuel Cost Annual Fuel Cost The cost and amount of fuel used in 12,000 miles and is calculated from CR's overall mileage.
Braking Braking The braking rating is a composite of wet and dry stopping distances and pedal feel. Braking distance is from 60 mph, with no wheels locked.
Emergency Handling Emergency Handling Several factors go into the rating, including the avoidance maneuver speed and confidence, as well as how the vehicle behaves when pushed to its limit,
Comfort / Convenience
Ride Ride Our expert judgment of how well the suspension isolates and absorbs road imperfections and how steady it keeps the body on various road surfaces.
Noise Noise Our expert judgment of the vehicle's interior noise level in everyday driving.
Front Seat Comfort Front Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the front seat is for drivers of various heights.
Rear Seat Comfort Rear Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the rear seat is for two passengers to sit across.
Interior Fit and Finish Interior Fit and Finish An expert evaluation of the interior quality and craftsmanship.
Trunk/Cargo Area Trunk/Cargo Area Our rating is based on the amount of luggage or cargo space that a vehicle has in the trunk or cargo area.

Owner Reports

Worse Better
Reliability History Reliability History The reliability charts are based on responses on hundreds of thousands of vehicles from our latest Annual Auto Survey. Consumer Reports subscribers reported on any serious problems they had with their vehicles during the past 12 months that they considered serious because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime, in any of the trouble spots included in the table below. The results are presented relative to the average model that year. Extra weight is given to the more serious areas such as major engine or transmission problems. Based on this data and further analysis, we predict reliability for the latest year. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
NA
2008
2009
NA
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
Owner Satisfaction Owner Satisfaction To learn about satisfaction, CR has collected survey data from our annual survey on more than half a million vehicles. Our subscribers provide great insights into their satisfaction by answering one simple question: If they had it to do all over again, would they definitely buy or lease the same model? In addition, respondents also rate their cars in six categories: driving experience, comfort, value, styling, audio, and climate systems. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
NA
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
Driving Experience Driving Experience Includes acceleration and handling
Comfort Comfort Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride
Value Value Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?
Styling Styling How it looks inside and out
Safety Equipment
ABS and ESC standard. Side and head protection air bags standard. Forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking available from 2016.
Road Test

Almost forgotten by car buyers, the Mazda CX-9 provides a pleasant three-row SUV alternative. Agile handling that masks its size is a nice surprise, as a run down a twisty back road will attest. The ride is firm and steady, proving comfortable on a variety of roads and the quiet cabin contributes to a calm cruise. The well-finished and functional interior accommodates seven, and even the third-row seat is hospitable compared to most other crossovers. Reliability is above average for this long-running design.

Having been introduced back in 2007, with only minor updates since, the CX-9 is showing its age. There's ample power from the smooth and refined 3.7-liter V6, but its thirsty 16 mpg overall only matches much-larger modern-day leviathans like the Chevrolet Suburban. Most midsized rivals get three to five mpg better. Newer designs also trump the CX-9 in the IIHS small-overlap crash test; the CX-9's Poor performance makes it ineligible for our formal recommendation.

Seating
2 front, 3 rear, 2 third
Drive Wheels
AWD , Front
Warranty

In most cases, automotive warranties are based on the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the warranty will be valid regardless of ownership. The dealership can tell you exactly how much warranty is left.

Read more about extended warranties
Body Styles
4-door SUV
Transmissions Available
  • 6-speed Automatic
Engines Available
  • 3.7-liter V6 (273 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2012 Mazda CX-9 owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Differential

“a broken connection to a solenoid in the driveshaft coupling in front of the differential”

Thomas R., BC (2012 Mazda CX-9 Sport 3.7-L V6)

“Leaking fluid, fixed free of charge under TSB”

Timothy S., WI (2012 Mazda CX-9 Touring 3.7-L V6)

“leaking Seals”

Drew E., NJ (2012 Mazda CX-9 Touring 3.7-L V6)
Traction control

“shuts down after kicking in and can only be reset by turning vehicle off”

Richard C., MI (2012 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring 3.7-L V6)
Transfer case

“Transfer case started leaking and was replaced by dealer under warranty”

Anonymous, MD (2012 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring 3.7-L V6)

“Leaking Oil out of power transfer unit. Covered under Mazda's extended warranty for this failure”

Gregory A., OR (2012 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring 3.7-L V6)

“Factory recall”

Anonymous, MI (2012 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring 3.7-L V6)

“Transfer case failed and was replaced under warranty”

Anonymous, MD (2012 Mazda CX-9 Sport 3.7-L V6)

“Began leaking fluid after 50000 miles”

Anonymous, TX (2012 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring 3.7-L V6)

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

What Owners Say

Master cylinder

“Local mechanic informed me that Mazda had a warranty extension program, since I was out of warranty. Took it to dealer and they replaced it under the warranty extension”

Austin F., PA (2012 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring 3.7-L V6)

“The repair shop called it a failure of a "brake booster", which meant poor, erratic brake performance. Sometimes it was almost impossible to stop the car ( on the way to the shop)”

Walter G., AZ (2012 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring 3.7-L V6)

“Master cylinder failure”

Anonymous, NC (2012 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring 3.7-L V6)
Premature brake wear

“Continually have premature break wear. I do a lot of driving but the break wear has not been consistent. Have replaced at least some portion of the braking system 3 times already”

Charles F., NJ (2012 Mazda CX-9 Touring 3.7-L V6)

“Mostly highway miles required brake work much earlier than would appear normal”

Anonymous, MI (2012 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring 3.7-L V6)

“Passenger side rear brake was dragging was noisy but not a safety issue the brake still functioned. Was at dealer for 1 week before they could fix the problem. Also when the brakes get wet form rain or what ever and you park the vehicle overnight t”

Anonymous, MI (2012 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring 3.7-L V6)
Regular brake failure

“car would accelerate suddenly and brakes would not apply regularly”

Anonymous, TX (2012 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring 3.7-L V6)

“Lost pressure, ended up replacing the "brake power booster and switch" under warrranty and as part of a recall. Car unUSble for 8 days while part obtained from Mazda. Other dealerships would not sell our dealer the part due to it being a highly so”

Anonymous, CO (2012 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring 3.7-L V6)

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

“There was a rattle inside the rear lift gate...it took a long time to figure out what it was. Also, there was a rattle that came from the "air flow flap" ?? on top of the lift gate”

Anonymous, FL (2012 Mazda CX-9 Unsure 3.7-L V6)

“Annoying”

Anonymous, FL (2012 Mazda CX-9 Sport 3.7-L V6)

“Driver's door, window channel leaks air”

Mark S., FL (2012 Mazda CX-9 Touring 3.7-L V6)

“Window molding on both front windows have curled inward towards glass creating an opening that results in wind noise. Also rubber trim/seal between door and door jam keeps coming loose”

Anonymous, CA (2012 Mazda CX-9 Sport 3.7-L V6)

“Both driver and front passenger weather stripping had to be replaced, 2x each. Fixed now”

Anonymous, CA (2012 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring 3.7-L V6)
Seals and/or weather-stripping

“Weather stripping on LF door/window”

Anonymous, NH (2012 Mazda CX-9 Sport 3.7-L V6)

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

What Owners Say

Loose exterior trim or moldings

“roof molding came off”

James M., ID (2012 Mazda CX-9 Touring 3.7-L V6)

“Loose trim molding at wheel wells”

Anonymous, PA (2012 Mazda CX-9 Touring 3.7-L V6)

“went through a car wash and fender trim came off”

Anonymous, NC (2012 Mazda CX-9 Touring 3.7-L V6)
Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling)

“Paint just seems very dull even after waxing”

Anonymous, PA (2012 Mazda CX-9 Touring 3.7-L V6)

“Paint tends to chip more than expected”

Anonymous, LA (2012 Mazda CX-9 Touring 3.7-L V6)

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

What Owners Say

Gear selector or linkage

“When hot and full tank of gas, car hesitates and clinks when outting into drive”

Anonymous, MA (2012 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring 3.7-L V6)

“neither dealer nor transmission repair shop could ID cause”

Anonymous, MN (2012 Mazda CX-9 Touring 3.7-L V6)
Transmission computer

“Recently I experienced unexplained sudden acceleration. The vehicle started to pull very hard against the brakes and the engine raced. The engine was shut off. I started it again and it continued to race. When started again the car than ran normally”

Anonymous, MN (2012 Mazda CX-9 Touring 3.7-L V6)

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

What Owners Say

“water able to get into joint and cause corrosion. Mazda repaired as part of recall”

Anonymous, MN (2012 Mazda CX-9 Touring 3.7-L V6)
Bushings

“factory recall appears to have created other problems which were not covered under recall”

Richard C., MI (2012 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring 3.7-L V6)
Tie rods

“Recall replacement”

Anonymous, TX (2012 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring 3.7-L V6)

Transmission Major

Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.

What Owners Say

Torque converter

“Recalled by Mazda. They replaced it”

James M., ID (2012 Mazda CX-9 Touring 3.7-L V6)

“Began leaking resulting is $2000 in repair as it had to be replaced”

Anonymous, MN (2012 Mazda CX-9 Touring 3.7-L V6)

“no problems but replaced by dealer under warranty for leaking”

Anonymous, MN (2012 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring 3.7-L V6)

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

What Owners Say

Seat controls - movement

“Middle row seat lever broke”

Anonymous, NH (2012 Mazda CX-9 Sport 3.7-L V6)

“manual seat control/lever keeps breaking leaving seat unmovable up/down”

Anonymous, CA (2012 Mazda CX-9 Sport 3.7-L V6)

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

What Owners Say

Backup or other camera/sensors

“See previous 2-part comment”

Paul L., IL (2012 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring 3.7-L V6)
Display screen difficult to see

“1. Screen is set to the highest intensity, but still too dim and not in vivid color but washed out, nearly black & white. 2. Back up camera viewing is nearly worthless. Is that the camera, the system or the screen...I'm not sure, probably a combination of all 3”

Paul L., IL (2012 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring 3.7-L V6)

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

What Owners Say

Fuel cap

“Engine check light: dealer said fuel cap which was replaced.. .But..if CKENG light comes back on it is an evaporative leak...come back for a smoke test.. it did come on again but...(cannot afford 135 an hour fishing trip)”

John G., VA (2012 Mazda CX-9 Touring 3.7-L V6)
Fuel pump

“When pumping gas in to the car, the pump would not always stop automatically, causing gas to spill out onto the car”

Anonymous, IL (2012 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring 3.7-L V6)

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

What Owners Say

Catalytic converter

“Catalytic converter made noise and was replaced under warranty”

Anonymous, CA (2012 Mazda CX-9 Touring 3.7-L V6)
Loose/rattling heat shield

“Caused loud rattling noise during deceleration”

Anonymous, TX (2012 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring 3.7-L V6)

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

What Owners Say

A/C compressor

“Compressor failed and needed to be replaced”

Anonymous, WA (2012 Mazda CX-9 Touring 3.7-L V6)

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

Body control module

“Couldn't lock doors with remote . Had to reseat connectors on control module”

Anonymous, OH (2012 Mazda CX-9 Touring 3.7-L V6)

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

What Owners Say

Head gasket

“Front cover seal is leaking oil. Replaced head cover gasket, manifold gasket, head cover spark plug seal. Also left hand rear shock leaking oil”

Sharon S., CA (2012 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring 3.7-L V6)

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

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