2023 Mazda CX-9 Signature – Curtain Call, Re- Driven Review

2023 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD: The enthusiast's family SUV, in its attractive teardrop form, makes a final bow in lustrous Snowflake White Pearl, just eclipsing $50K MSRP

THREE ROWS CROSSED WITH SOUL:  Utility is supposed to compromise on narrow focus in favor of convenience. Apparently nobody explained this to the folks at Japanese carmaker Mazda. Ever since their current flagship CX-9 mid size family crossover launched in 2016 it perennially allowed plenty of  MX-5 roadster spirit to shine through. First tested by Roadblazing.com in 2020, little has changed since, proving that it was well conceived and executed. Even as the curtains are drawing for a transition to longitudinal layout flagship, the 2023 Mazda CX-9 Signature remains parents go to family crossover SUV for carving the corners with Jinba Ittai, only after dropping the 4 kiddies off.


2023 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD Driving Hits:

  • 227 to 256 horsepower = +6 hp improvement (vs. 2020 CX-9 Signature) with 91 AKI octane unleaded gasoline
  • 320 pound-feet torque
  • 6-speed automatic torque converter planetary transaxle, while low on gear ring count to the competition, betters most on quick down-shifts for throttle braking capability
2023 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD: smooth linear torque delivery rather than abrupt punch from the SkyaActiv 2.5L turbo & 6-speed automatic = 23 MPG
  • Pulls smartly off the line, with impressive swiftness above 3500 r.p.m.
  • 22 combined miles per gallon, 507 miles highway range
  • ABS torque vectoring and G-Vectoring standard
  • Taut fully independent suspension features revised bushings and damping rates, reducing harshness
  • Assembly with tight tolerances and premium materials knocks on door of entry luxury crossover SUVs

2023 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD Driving Misses:

  • Engine torque peak arrives early
  • Two transaxle gears shy of the competition (and replacement CX-90)
  • Brake pedal feel initially soft
  • Steering wheel rotation emits slight squeak at low speeds
  • G-Vectoring does cut back on power in fast corners
  • -15% Combined fuel economy vs. replacement CX-90 turbo I-6
  • Sewing machine engine idle to mildly diesel-like on cam throttle sound

What It Has Got:

  • Pricing: from $40,025 (incl. destination) for a 6-speed automatic 2023 Mazda CX-9 Touring AWD
    • As tested 2023 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD trim = $50,130
2023 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD: gentle Kammback + artful details
  • Streamlined “KODO” mid-size, three row crossover SUV featuring long-hooded, swept back windshield high beltline, slim greenhouse, coke-bottle fuselage, sporty Kammback with winged themed housings and chrome on black accents + revised slatted horizontal grille bars.
  • Large wheel arches accommodates up to 18″ to 20″ inch wheels
  • Accommodates 4 adults + 2 middle school kids fine & 34.1 (expandable to 65.4) cubic feet of belongings
2023 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD: full flat folding split 3rd Row and 2nd Row captain’s chair seating expands cargo capacity
    • 2nd Row Captain’s chairs and fixed center console w/ storage + connectivity
    • Tilt & slide 2nd Row seat access to 3rd Row
2023 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD: 2nd Row heated captain’s chairs w/ clamshell center console bin for connectivity
    • Versatile 50/50% split folding 2nd & 3nd Row seatbacks
  • Exquisite build, materials and control details levels
  • Comprehensive standard feature set
    • Keyless entry, push button ignition; 2-zone automatic climate control;
    • LED headlights & taillights, delay windshield wipers
    • 7.0″ TFT variable triple dial gauge cluster;
    • (INTRO IN ’21) 10.25″ MazdaConnect 2nd generation LCD media display w/ remote dial Command controller & latest infotainment menu
2023 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD: exquisite genuine rosewood solids and turned aluminum accents
    • Android Auto, AppleCar Play and MirrorLink phone projection
  • Excellent safety features & ratings
    • IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus**First in segment to earn the rating with revised side impact test**
  • Driver assist tech (standard)
    • Rear camera with predictive grid, Pedestrian & vehicle collision avoidance braking, blind spot & rear cross traffic warning, lane keep assist, fully adaptive cruise control; automatic high beam headlamps
    • Additional autonomous driver assistance (exclusive on Signature trim)
      • Traffic jam assist enhanced lane control steering assist, rear traffic collision avoidance braking; rear side traffic braking; 360° surround view cameras; Road sign recognition
2023 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD: full ADAS suite adds 360 deg. surround camera
  • 3 year / 36,000 miles bumper to bumper, 4 year / 50,000 miles powertrain warranties

What It Has Not (or Not Preferred):

  • Unchanged styling since 2016 launch
  • Front seat cushions short & narrow
  • Row 2 & 3 seat folding is all done manually
  • Row 3 is nicely appointed but lacking in legit head & legroom
  • Post Row 3 cargo space isn’t much
  • 2nd Row seat heat controls & USB power ports = inside center armrest
  • Wired phone app projection
  • Infotainment display loses touch control capability
  • Pod add-on steering wheel spoke switches
  • Traffic Jam Assist autonomous steering only operates to 40 mph
  • Volume brand warranty duration, scheduled maintenance not included

Standout Feature(s) on 2023 MAZDA CX-9 SIGNATURE AWD :

  • Upscale matte metallic lateral slat grille
  • Unique Signature accent LED lighting
  • Polished chrome air dam, lower body accents, rear lower bumper
  • 20″ inch polished wheels
  • Heads Up Display w/ traffic sign recognition
  • Native infotainment navigation map w/ TravelLink subscription
  • Auto dimming rear view mirror, Reverse power tilting side mirrors
  • Power folding side mirrors
  • Quilted Nappa leather seating, tan contrast stitching, heated & ventilated power front, w/ driver’s 2 position memory, heated steering wheel, heated rear seats
  • Aluminum trim & bezels, Rosewood solid accents, 10.25″ TFT variable gauge cluster, unique 3-zone automatic climate control panel
  • 2nd Row digital console climate control
2023 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD: 2nd Row digital climate control & mousefur lined glovebox and clamshell center console bin are luxurious
  • Rain sensing windshield wipers; Adaptive steer LED headlamps; Power Moonroof; Reverse power tilting side mirrors
  • Comfort access & push button ignition
  • Approach power liftgate activation

Roadblazing.com Says: Enthusiast’s family crossover SUV of choice takes final bespoke bow prior to up-sizing.



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: 2020 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD 3– Row full size family crossover sports activity vehicle.

Power: transverse variable nozzle turbocharged 2.5L DOHC 16V DI gas I-4 = 250 hp/ 320 lb-ft @ 2000 rpm (latter +10 lb-ft vs. 2018 CX-9).

Drivetrain: 6-spd. torque converter planetary automatic transaxle + PTU to multi-plate wet clutch differential torque vectoring variable all-wheel drive.

NOTE: shorting the engine with 87 RON octane unleaded gasoline drops net horsepower to 227, while rated torque is unchanged.


  • +10 lb-ft engine torque
  • off-road traction ABS assist (AWD only)
  • suspension damping revision for improved compliance
  • available 2nd Row captain’s chairs (std. on Signature)
  • standard i-ActiveSense driver assistance
  • 3rd row dual USB-A power ports
  • approach activated power liftgate (std. Signature)

WHAT (A) STYLING DIFFERENCE: the modular Skyactiv platform for 2nd Gen. Mazda CX-9 (TC) is shared with the Mazda 6 executive sedan and is the next size up in crossover vehicle hierarchy from  the (KF) CX-5 mid-size 2-row SAV.

The 2020 Mazda CX-9 is the good looking spitting image of its 2016 self. It stands curvaceously in contrast to the trend of overwrought boxy crossover SUV’s. An elegant Coke-bottle fuselage is sharply raked above the tall beltline. On the assertive side there is an overhanging shark nose hood. Grand wheel arches. Corner vertical pseudo brake ducts. A dark lattice pentagonal grille makes a winged extendsion outward meeting the top of the wrap-around HID +LED DRL light assemblies.

2020 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD:

The Kammback rear liftgate is supported by muscularly flared rear quarter panels. Two-tone roof spoiler buttresses run up to liftgate side channels. A prominent chrome bar spans the entire mid liftgate. Tweezed rear wrap-around light housings envelope an amber center flasher housing. The lower liftgate hosts pentagonal creasing. A deep body color matched bumper cover is interrupted only by lower rear fascia cladding. Split dual chrome exhaust tips are included. Owner’s of 2016-2018 CX-9’s might notice the new Signature emblem on the rump.

2020 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD:

WHY: Three Row crossover SUV standard for sensuous, elegant, with a dynamic driving experience, rivaling the premiums.



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