In a car market where everything appears to be getting more expensive, it’s nice to hear some news about a brand new model that will actually be cheaper in the next model year. For 2022, Mazda’s CX-9 three-row crossover will have a lower MSRP and standard AWD.
The updated and turbocharged CX-9 has been out since 2016 and since then has gotten a bit lost in the crowd of family haulers. When we reviewed it many years ago, we found it to be way more fun than most drivers would expect given its size. As a professional car shopper, I was getting a ton of requests for them years ago, but I have seen the demand shift a bit towards the usual suspects from Japan and hot sellers from Korea. According to CarSalesBase, Mazda moved around 20,000 units of the CX-9 compared to about 76,000 Pilots and a whopping 144,000 Highlanders. While Mazda is a smaller carmaker and doesn’t have the same production capacity as the bigger players, given the popularity of three-row SUVs the CX-9 should perform better.
The automaker is looking to change that for 2022 by making its i-Activ AWD standard across all models, and while other brands are increasing MSRPs and destination fees, Mazda will reduce the starting price of the CX-9 Sport to $36,505 including destination. This will make it cheaper than an AWD-equipped sport 2021 Sport that stickers at $37,285. The Sport also comes standard with the advanced safety tech that most parents would want in their family hauler including adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane-keep assist.
New to the 2022 CX-9 trim lineup is the Touring Plus Trim, which builds on the already well-equipped Touring trim by adding, ventilated front seats, power driver’s seat with memory, black metallic 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, gloss black front grille, aluminum roof rails, and a frameless rearview mirror. Pricing for the Touring Plus comes in at $42,885. Keep in mind that most other brands will push closer to $50,000 if you select 20-inch wheels and vented seats.
The CX-9 will retain its 2.5-liter engine that makes 250 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque providing that you fill it up with 93 octane. Regular fuel will bring the power down to 227 and 310 torque with Mazda claiming the AWD CX-9 will get 26 MPG on the highway, which is not bad for the class. However, customers have reported back to me that “real world” efficiency is quite a bit lower, but perhaps they are enjoying the turbo-boost a bit too much. Also, the CX-9 is on the smaller end of the spectrum when it comes to mid-size three-row crossovers.
If you are in the market for a family crossover and you prefer something sportier and upscale over big and bulky, the 2022 CX-9 should be one of the better values on the market.
(Tom McParland is a contributing writer for Jalopnik and runs AutomatchConsulting.com. He takes the hassle out of buying or leasing a car.)