Mazda has a reputation for building vehicles that look good and are fun to drive. Building a three-row SUV that lives up to that reputation is a challenge, but that is exactly what Mazda did with the all-new 2016 CX-9.

There are four different trim levels starting with the base Sport at $31,520 and moving up to the luxurious Signature that starts at $44,015.  That is not a typo…almost $45k for a CX-9.  It is the highest level trim and since that is what I tested I do have to say it was pretty comfy.

The all new CX-9 has a six-speed automatic transmission that is well-timed to give you the power you want at exactly the right moment. The ride is smooth with responsive steering that makes driving effortless. Three-row SUVs can be cumbersome, but this one drives like a smaller, more nimble vehicle. The cabin is plush, comfortable and quiet making it easy to hold conversations without having to yell back to that third row.

Seating up front is supportive with good adjustability, so even shorter drivers can find a good driving position. The bolstering is stronger than what is found in most other SUVs, which may prove too snug for larger drivers.

The beauty of a three-row SUV is that it can carry lots of people or lots of cargo. The seats in the CX-9 are quick and easy to fold and aren’t too heavy so even the kids can flip them back up. The rear opening is wide for larger objects and the load floor isn’t too high. There’s 14.4 cubic feet behind the third row, 38.2 behind the second row, and 71.2 behind the third row. This makes it smaller than the Honda Pilot with 16/46/82.1 respectively and the Nissan Pathfinder with 16/47.8/79.8 of cargo capacity.

The Mazda Connect infotainment system is fully featured with and 8-inch color touchscreen, AM/FM/HD Radio, Bluetooth, navigation, and an available Bose surround sound audio system with 12 speakers. There are USB audio jacks front and rear as well as an auxiliary audio jack and steering-wheel-mounted audio, phone, and cruise controls.

The all-new 2016 Mazda CX-9 upholds Mazda’s reputation as a brand that is stylish and fun to drive. It looks good and has plenty of amenities along with the flexibility to hold cargo or passengers. Other than the Signature model it’s also affordably priced, which makes it more attractive than its competitors.

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