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.



Tomasz Paluch is the New Jersey based Technical Director for Roadblazing.com. An avid programmer and technical writer, he is currently enrolled in University. Electronics tinkering, chess, and European history are among Tomasz's passions. He is also a member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association and Phoenix Automotive Press Association. Tomasz' ride: an enthusiast's 6-speed manual Mazda3.

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