The Mazda CX-9 is a compelling alternative to mainstream three-row midsized SUVs, providing agile handling and a quiet interior for the active-family crowd.

Long, sleek, and rakish, the all-new CX-9 does more with less. It dropped 250 pounds compared with the previous model, and Mazda offers just a turbocharged four-­cylinder rather than a larger V6. Nonetheless, this smaller engine puts out more torque than its peers do, making the CX-9 feel fleet-footed and responsive in everyday driving. At 22 mpg overall, the CX-9 betters the competition by 1 to 2 mpg. But it lacks the polish of a V6.

This family hauler not only feels light on its feet in the ­corners but also shrugs off bumps with aplomb, particularly on the standard 18-inch tires.

Inside, you’ll encounter a plush feel, even in our test vehicle’s midlevel Touring trim. But the hushed cabin has limited front-seat adjustments and the narrow cockpit compromises comfort. The roomy second row can slide fore and aft to give space to the kids in the cramped third row. Features such as a panoramic sunroof, ventilated front seats, and a heated steering wheel aren’t even available.

The Mazda Connect info­tainment system falls short, with a cumbersome console-mounted controller and tedious logic. In addition, it lacks Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

Read the complete Mazda CX-9 road test.

2016 Mazda CX-9 Review

HIGHS Ride, agility, quietness, fuel economy, high-end versions feel upscale
LOWS Cumbersome infotainment system, rear visibility, tight driving position, limited front-seat adjustments
POWERTRAIN 227-hp, 2.5-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged engine; 6-speed automatic transmission; all-wheel drive
FUEL 22 mpg
PRICE AS TESTED $40,470


Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the November 2016 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.