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2023 Mazda CX-9: Choosing the Right Trim

Mazda’s take on the 3-row midsize SUV takes a noticeably different course than most. The 2023 Mazda CX-9 touts a sumptuous interior and agile handling, creating a crossover with unique appeal. The CX-9’s turbocharged 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine provides plenty of power, and its standard AWD layout assures tenacious traction year-round.

Mazda offers the CX-9 in five trims, each endowed with a few more features than the last, but all substantial in their commitment to safety and basic creature comforts.

The current CX-9 design has been around since 2016, so it may not be as fresh as rivals like the Kia Telluride or Volkswagen Atlas. Still, the CX-9 can hold its own against most foes, including the only other midsize SUV with standard AWD, the Subaru Ascent.

Mazda doesn’t offer a hybrid model, so if you’re looking for a greener alternative, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid, Ford Explorer Hybrid, or Kia Sorento Hybrid might be a better choice.

A note to buyers: A recent supply chain shortage means the Carbon Edition and higher trims may ship without the standard roof rack and a hands-free power liftgate. When this happens, buyers will receive a credit.

2023 Mazda CX-9 Touring: $38,750

Considering the Touring’s entry-level status, it comes surprisingly well-equipped. This fact, along with its standard AWD, explains why the Touring’s price is substantially higher than most entry-level rivals, many starting as 2-wheel-drive models.

The Touring trim accommodates six passengers, so if you need room for seven, you’ll have to move up to the Touring Plus trim.

The Touring trim includes Mazda’s i-Active AWD with Off-Road Traction Assist and G-Vectoring Control Plus. Both systems improve traction and stability over varying road conditions and work seamlessly.

A 2.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder is the only engine choice, delivering 250 horsepower when running on premium fuel or 227 horsepower on regular. Accompanying the turbo is a 6-speed automatic with manual shift mode.

Beyond the mandated airbags, traction control, rearview camera, and anti-lock brakes, the Touring includes a host of driver assists. The highlights include forward collision warning with emergency braking, a blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure warning, and lane-keeping assist.

Mazda includes adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beam headlights, and trailer sway control in the price of admission.

The Touring rides on handsome 18-inch alloy wheels and features LED lighting for the headlights, taillights, DRLs, and fog lights. It has heated power side mirrors, rain-sensing variable wipers, rear privacy glass, a power moonroof, and a power liftgate.

Mazda’s Advanced Key keyless entry detects when the key fob is near, enabling door handle sensors to unlock the car when touched.

The Touring’s cabin is equally advanced, with such luxuries as tri-zone automatic climate control with rear seat controls, heated front seats, an 8-way power driver’s seat with power lumbar support, and a 6-way power passenger seat.

Leather upholstery adorns the first two rows, which include second-row captain’s chair seating with a center walk-through. A convincing faux leather covers the 50/50 split-folding third-row seat.

Additional interior features include a leather-wrapped tilt/telescoping steering wheel, a wireless charge pad, one-touch auto up/down power windows, push-button start, an overhead console, and front door pocket illumination.

There are two USB inputs in the front console, two in the second row, and two 12-volt outlets, one in the front console and one in the cargo bay.

The Touring’s infotainment system features a 10.25-inch color display and six speakers. The system hosts Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and HD Radio, but not SiriusXM. Mazda Connect apps grant access to features like a Wi-Fi hotspot, emergency services, remote start, vehicle locator, and navigation.

Unlike most multimedia displays, Mazda does not use touchscreen technology, preferring a console-mounted rotary controller and buttons. It takes a bit of time to get used to the system, but Mazda says it’s safer because it allows drivers to keep their eyes on the road while intuitively operating the controller. We suggest you spend time playing with it to see what you think.

There are no factory options but quite a few dealer-installed upgrades, including rear parking sensors, all-weather floormats, and an SD card that instantly adds navigation to the factory infotainment system.

With the $1,275 delivery fee, the 2023 Mazda CX-9 Touring costs $40,025. On a 60-month loan at 3% financing and zero down, the monthly payment comes to about $719. See 2023 Mazda CX-9 models for sale near you

2023 Mazda CX-9 Touring includes:

  • Rain-sensing wipers – These automatically activate when detecting rain, moisture, or snow hitting the windshield.
  • Power liftgate – The Touring’s power liftgate can be activated by either the remote key fob or by physical touch, making it easier to access the cargo bay with arms full.
  • Tri-zone climate control – Allows front and second-row passengers more leeway in selecting a comfortable temperature.

2023 Mazda CX-9 Touring Plus: $41,350

The Touring Plus is the model for people who need 7-passenger seating as it adds a second-row bench seat. Buyers who like the Plus’ added features but still want individual second-row seating can replace the bench with captain’s chairs at no extra cost.

Building off the Touring trim, the Touring Plus adds 20-inch black metallic alloy wheels, a gloss-black grille finish, ventilated front seats, and an auto-dimming frameless rearview mirror with HomeLink.

With the $1,275 delivery fee, the 2023 Mazda CX-9 Touring Plus costs $42,625. On a 60-month loan at 3% financing and zero down, the monthly payment comes to about $766. See 2023 Mazda CX-9 models for sale near you

2023 Mazda CX-9 Carbon Edition: $44,830

2023 Mazda CX-9 Carbon Edition

The Carbon Edition gets its unique look with exclusive Polymetal Gray paint and red leather upholstery.

Building off the Touring Plus features, the Carbon Edition adds automatic power-folding side mirrors, a hands-free power liftgate, adaptive LED headlights, and windshield wiper de-icers.

The Carbon Edition stands out with second-row heated captain’s chair seating, black metallic interior accents, a 7-inch driver information display, a heated steering wheel, LED overhead interior lights, additional ambient interior illumination, second-row retractable sunshades, and a 12-speaker Bose Centerpoint premium sound system.

The Carbon Edition is the first trim that includes SiriusXM satellite radio and two third-row USB ports.

Additional driver assists include low-speed rear automatic emergency braking and a driver attention monitor.

With the $1,275 delivery fee, the 2023 Mazda CX-9 Carbon Edition costs $46,105. On a 60-month loan at 3% financing and zero down, the monthly payment comes to approximately $828. See 2023 Mazda CX-9 Carbon Edition models for sale near you

2023 Mazda CX-9 Carbon Edition includes:

  • Hands-free power liftgate – With the hands-free liftgate, you don’t have to pull the keyfob from your pocket. Just approach the vehicle, kick one foot under the bumper, and the liftgate automatically opens.
  • Heated steering wheel – The Carbon Edition’s heated steering wheel is the perfect antidote to driving in chilly weather without winter gloves.
  • Bose audio – With 12 high-performance speakers and Centerpoint technology, the Bose sound system delivers exceptional music reproduction.

2023 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring: $45,690

The Grand Touring moves the CX-9 into near-luxury territory, adding features from the Carbon Edition and a few of its own.

Building off the Touring Plus, the Grand Touring retains the second-row bench seat, but now it’s heated. Also part of the GT package is adaptive LED headlights, a hands-free power liftgate, automatic power-folding side mirrors, and wiper de-icers.

The Grand Touring’s cabin gains the 12-speaker Bose audio system, a 7-inch driver information display, a head-up display with traffic sign recognition, a heated steering wheel, overhead LED lighting, Mazda Navigation, and SiriusXM Traffic & Travel Link. Second-row retractable sunshades help rear passengers block out the mid-day sun.

The Grand Touring trades its rear camera for a 360-degree system and gains front and rear parking sensors, low-speed rear automatic emergency braking, and a driver attention monitor.

With the $1,275 delivery fee, the 2023 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring costs $46,965. On a 60-month loan at 3% financing and zero down, the monthly payment comes to about $844. See 2023 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring models for sale near you

2023 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring includes:

  • Head-up display – The Grand Touring’s color head-up display places pertinent information directly in front of the driver on the back of the windshield.
  • 360-degree camera – With camera lenses at the front, back, and sides, the Grand Touring can create a bird’s-eye image showing objects that might otherwise be out of the driver’s view.
  • Wiper de-icers – Heating elements at the base of the windshield help keep ice and snow from building up on the resting wiper blades.

2023 Mazda CX-9 Signature: $48,460

The Mazda CX-9 Signature is for those who like an interior that feels a cut above the rest.

In addition to the Grand Touring features, the Signature includes 20-inch bright silver finish alloy wheels, LED grille accent lighting, and larger dual exhaust pipes.

The Signature reverts to a 6-passenger setup with second-row captain’s chair seating.

Supple Nappa leather with a quilted pattern covers the first and second rows, offered in a choice of Deep Chestnut or Parchment. Rich Rosewood trim and patterned aluminum accents give the Signature the look and feel of a premium luxury SUV.

Front and rear footwell ambient light further the Signature’s upscale feel, as does the leather-wrapped steering wheel with unique stitching. A second-row center console includes an armrest and additional storage.

With the $1,275 delivery fee, the 2023 Mazda CX-9 Signature costs $49,735. On a 60-month loan at 3% financing and zero down, the monthly payment comes to about $894. See 2023 Mazda CX-9 Signature models for sale near you

2023 Mazda CX-9 Signature includes:

  • Nappa leather – The Signature’s ultra-soft Nappa leather seat upholstery is enhanced by attractive quilt-pattern stitching and unique color choices.
  • LED grill accent lighting – Unique to the Signature, this LED light strip around the grille adds another layer of distinction.
  • Ambient lighting – This subtle lighting in the door handles and foot wells is soft enough not to be glaring but bright enough to let you see.


What is the best 2023 Mazda CX-9 trim?

The Grand Touring is our favorite Mazda CX-9 trim. It offers all the necessary features expected of a three-row SUV with a good amount of luxury and technology upgrades.

The Touring Plus is the runner-up. It forgoes a premium audio system and a few bells and whistles but adds 7-passenger seating.

How many miles per gallon does the 2023 Mazda CX-9 get?

The 2023 Mazda CX-9 is rated by the EPA at 20 mpg city/26 mpg highway/23 mpg combined.

Which 2023 Mazda CX-9 trim offers the most safety?

The CX-9 performs exceptionally well in all crash tests, earning five out of five stars overall from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and a Top Safety Pick + accolade from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).


Joe Tralongo
Joe Tralongo
Joe Tralongo is a longtime contributor who started in the industry writing competitive comparison books for a number of manufacturers, before moving on in 2002 to become a freelance automotive journalist. He’s well regarded for his keen eye for detail, as well as his ability to translate complex mechanical terminology into user-friendly explanations. Joe has worked for a number of outlets as... Read More about Joe Tralongo

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