Auto review by Veeno Dewan

Sleek, expensive looking with a sporty edge to it, the five-door three-row mid-size 2022 Mazda CX-9 seats six or seven people, depending on whether you get a model with a second-row bench seat or captain’s chairs. The CX-9 is a bit of an enigma; build quality, interior fit and finish are way above its class – nudging into Lexus and Audi territory. You will find real wood inlays, rich quilted leather- piped seats, weighted switch gear, and real aluminum accents for defining touches. Not much is new of this model year, however  All-wheel drive becomes standard across the range. There are no significant changes for the  2022 Model year.

Power for all trims comes from the Skyactiv-G 2.5 Turbo engine making 227 horsepower and 310 lb.-ft. of torque. The engine’s mated to Mazda’s 6-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel-drive. The entry-level GS model ($40,950) comes standard with Mazda’s i-Activsense safety features, heated front seats, Apple CarPlay and Android compatibility, 18-inch dark grey metallic finish aluminum alloy wheels and other creature comforts. An upscale GS-L version is also available with leather seating, The CX-9 GT, with a host of extra comfort and safety features costs $49,950. The Kuro Edition adds mostly cosmetic visual upgrades  and is priced at  $51,450.

The luxury Signature model ($52,850) as tested adds yet more content, with: 20 inch alloy wheels, upgraded dual chrome exhausts,  LED headlights with signature lighting, signature grille illumination, power rear liftgate with programmable height adjust and with hands-free access, Our tester came fully equipped with  the SKYACTIV-G 2.5 Turbo, SKYACTIV-Drive 6-speed automatic transmission with manual-shift mode and Drive Selection switch, paddle shifters, G-Vectoring Control Plus, i-ACTIV AWD, Off-Road Traction system.

Interior features included: heated front and second-row seats, ventilated front seats, Android Auto, and wireless Apple CarPlay, and charging as well as 12-speaker Bose audio, three-zone climate control and heated steering wheel.  Also available is Deep Chestnut  or pure white  Nappa leather upholstery, quilting and piping on seats, premium cross stitching on steering wheel, Santos Rosewood trim on centre console panel and door switch panel, LED interior lighting. The rear compartment featured:  second row Captain’s chairs with premium centre console armrest and storage compartment, plus 2 additional USB ports in the 3rd row.

Top marks for the high-quality cabin materials and intuitive infotainment controls. Its just the right amount of class and cool and really lifts the cabin with a dramatic effect.  Enter and you are greeted by a roomy, elegantly neat interior.  CX-9. Front passengers have plenty of legroom and headroom, while second-row passengers get slightly less, but still generous room. The third room seats is perfect for kids, and still manages to seat two for short drives. Egress is made a little easier if you have the second-row captain chairs. Otherwise, the available sliding and reclining second-row seats makes it easier to access the third row as well. The first and second rows seats are roomier, there are cupholders and storage bins on either side, too, as well as two of the six USB ports. The rear seats do fold providing 1,082 litres of cargo space. With both rear seats down, there is 2,017 L of cargo room.

On the road, the CX-9; s 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine’s horsepower and torque vary depending on which octane fuel you use. With regular gas, the turbo-four makes 227 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. Premium 93-95 gasoline ups those figures to 250 and 320, respectively.

This turbocharged engine has good pickup and acceleration and offers a decent amount of power when needed. The CX-9’s six-speed transmission is glitch free and operates well with the turbo four – cylinder. In terms of ride and handling – no surprises here. Stable, composed cornering is a given, with the precise pin-sharp steering and G-Vectoring control. The ride is generally comfortable too, although the CX-9 begs to be driven more sportily.

The CX-9 towing capacity has a max towing capacity of 3,500 pounds, a way down than others in its class. However, fuel economy is impressive, rated at city/highway: 11.6/9.0L/100 km. To sum up, very little negatives for the CX-9. The third row is tight on space as is overall cargo space, but that’s about it. Note, the CX-9 also rates highly for crash safety in US Safety tests arrives with plenty of standard active safety features. The 2022 Mazda CX-9 lands near the top of the midsize SUV class thanks in part to its dynamic performance and handling, along with its opulent, luxurious cabin and excellent gas mileage. A winner all the way and comes highly recommended.

2022 Mazda CX-9 priced from:  $40,950 – $51,450. Signature model as tested-  $55100  – Including options, freight and PDE