Editor’s note: You may also want to read Autotrader’s 2017 Mazda CX-9 review.
With the recently updated CX-9, Mazda’s transformation seems to be complete. It started with the excellent CX-5 compact crossover and continued with the unusually elegant Mazda6 sedan and handsome new MX-5 — but the latest CX-9 especially deserves a spot on your shopping list. Dubbed "the best 3-row under $50,000" by our executive editor Brian, the 2017 Mazda CX-9 offers excellent utility and a gorgeous design, with our editor Ben calling it "beautiful both inside and out." The luxurious interior is a huge benefit — Tara, our managing editor, notes that it shows car shoppers "You don’t need to buy from a luxury brand to get a luxurious experience" — as is the CX-9’s 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, a surprisingly potent powertrain that delivers 227 hp and up to 28 miles per gallon on the highway. It’s reasonably priced, too, with a base price of just $32,500 with shipping. Tara summed it up best: "If you need three rows, don’t purchase an SUV without at least driving this one." That’s why the 2017 Mazda CX-9 was an obvious choice for this year’s list of Must Test Drive vehicles.