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July 21, 2021

2021.5 Mazda CX-9 Review

It’s all you need in a family vehicle…and more.

I recently had the opportunity to test drive a brand new 2021.5 Mazda CX-9 GT from Prima Mazda, courtesy of Zanchin Automotive Group. This is a seven-passenger large SUV that has won various awards including Best Large Utility Vehicle in Canada for 2020 (and 2019) from the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) and a 2021 Top Safety Pick award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). 

I was intrigued and excited to try it; I’ve been driving the same mid-size SUV for 10 years, and while it hasn’t given me any significant issues, it may be time to consider what our next family vehicle could be.

First Impressions:

This is a Mazda?! 

From beautiful lines to chrome details, the Mazda CX-9 GT is one luxurious vehicle. 

Mazda has always made a solid vehicle; we have experience with the brand – Donny drove a Mazda3 for many years -- and while they always looked nice, this CX-9 is definitely a step up. It’s sleek and sophisticated -- on the outside and in. 

The model we tested was a 6-seater, with a full row in the back and Captain Chairs in the centre. The bucket seats can be swapped for a bench to give you the seven-seater capability.

Time to get on the road!

First Drive: 

I was admittedly nervous on the first drive, but within minutes, definitely warmed up to the vehicle. It’s a smooth and nimble drive with quick response time and despite its size, doesn’t feel clunky at all. I absolutely love the leather-wrapped steering wheel; it felt good in my hands and wasn’t too big that I felt I was driving a bus. 

One of the first things that caught my eye, literally, is the digital speedometer projected onto the driver’s side windshield! I’ve never seen this before, and while it was distracting at first, I quickly discovered how to shift the angle so it wasn’t in your way. This digital reflection shows your speed, as well as icons, such as a stop sign. Pretty cool. 

I definitely appreciated the lane detection (it beeps), and the automatic cameras when reversing or parking are very helpful. Many vehicles offer a variation of these features, but my current vehicle does not, so it was a nice experience to have these features. 

The lane adjustment was not always accurate; the vehicle should vibrate if you cross a line, but that didn’t always happen. Not a deal-breaker IMO. 

Bells, Whistles and More:

I was immediately impressed by all of the controls and functions available in the GT model of the CX-9. This isn’t the top model of the line (there are 2 others above it), but still provides loads of controls, buttons and knobs for convenient and accessible features. 

I especially appreciated the centre console controls which makes adjusting the radio, as well as windows and navigation system super simple. Once you get the hang of it, you don’t even have to look at what you’re doing. 

And let’s talk about seat coolers, shall we!? Where have I been?!

My current vehicle has seat warmers, but seat coolers (especially on leather seats) is a dream come true in 30-degree heat. 

Where it Could Be Better

No vehicle is perfect, but here are some areas that I think could be improved on this vehicle:

While I loved the fact that there are fans and vents in the back of the vehicle so your passengers can control airflow, the fan is pretty loud. When the girls had the air on full blast, it’s loud for the driver. I was able to control from the front, but they could still override my controls. There may be a way to adjust this, but I didn’t discover it.

For a large SUV, there is not a lot of small storage. The centre console is wonderful for the control functions, but as a result, there isn’t a lot of room to stow away personal items, including a change compartment. The automatic phone charger is nice, but I’d prefer a larger centre storage area.  

We no longer carry a stroller around but if you have a stroller, it will fill the trunk (if back row is up). If you lower the rear row, the truck space is HUGE, but if you’re using both rows of seating, be aware the trunk space is smaller than you may assume. 

There’s no automatic truck release with your foot – with all the features this vehicle has, I thought it may have it. Again, I don’t have one with my current vehicle, so not a big deal for us. 


Overall, the pluses definitely outweigh the negatives of this vehicle. The Mazda CX-9 GT is a comfortable family vehicle that boasts innovative technologies combined with some of the best safety scores in the country. 

This model sells for around $51,000 and there are many different offers currently available through Prima Mazda. 

Contact them directly to book your test drive or to speak with a salesperson, and thanks to Prima Mazda and Zanchin Auto for letting our family test this great vehicle!

Are you interested in learning more about family vehicles? What vehicle would you like to see us try next? 

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. The opinions expressed on my blog are my own. 

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