CPO Spotlight: 2021 Mazda CX-9 3-Row Midsize SUV

2021 Mazda CX-9There are a lot of 3-row midsize SUVs to choose from. But there’s nothing quite like the Mazda CX-9. It’s the athlete of the group — the 3-row family hauler with the most agile handling and more horsepower than most in its price range.

A certified pre-owned (CPO) model makes a smart decision. Here, we’ll discuss the virtues of the 2021 Mazda CX-9 for used car shoppers.

The CX-9 is priced much like a Toyota Highlander, a Chevrolet Traverse, or a host of similar 3-row SUVs big enough to serve as minivan alternatives. But its appeal is unique in that class because it combines seating for up to seven with that fun Mazda spirit.

On driving the 2021 CX-9, our expert test driver said, “Mazda cars and SUVs always have a special something, a way of engaging the driver while still keeping the passengers happy. Even in a vehicle as pragmatic as a midsize 3-row crossover, that special something is still evident.”

If you need the passenger and cargo space found in a 3-row SUV but don’t want to give up on enjoying the drive, the CX-9 might be the best choice for you.

Mazda Certified Pre-Owned

To earn the CPO badge, a Mazda CX-9 must be under six years old and have under 80,000 miles on the odometer. A certified technician conducts a 160-point quality inspection, and the vehicle must have a clean vehicle history report.

Extended Warranty

A CPO Mazda comes with at least 12 months or 12,000 miles of warranty coverage. But it may be covered for even longer. If the 3-year/36,000-mile warranty from when the vehicle was new is still applicable, the extended coverage doesn’t kick in until the original warranty expires.

Powertrain parts are covered for seven years or 100,000 miles from the vehicle’s original sale date. Emergency roadside assistance is included for the same period.

These warranties are all transferrable if you need to sell the car — something that can’t be said about every CPO program.

Best-in-Class Handling

It’s not hard to understand what makes a Mazda unique.

Our test driver says, “Compared with rivals like the Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, and Chevrolet Traverse, the 2021 Mazda CX-9 corners with precision and easy fluidity, yet rides gently over rough surfaces.”

The secret is Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control system, which independently adjusts power delivery at each wheel. It helps point the CX-9 into corners while keeping it flat and stable. Put simply, it’s a big SUV that handles like a smaller car.

2023 Mazda CX-9 profile

Sharp Looks

Most 3-row midsize SUVs look chunky. Manufacturers try to give them some aesthetic appeal by leaning into the rugged look. On a few, it works. On most, it looks awkward.

Mazda designers, though, took a completely different approach to the CX-9. It’s curvy and elegant. It wouldn’t look out of place in the valet lot the way some rivals would.

Available Carbon Edition

If you want to make a visual impression, look for the Carbon Edition. Its black 20-inch alloy wheels, black exterior trim, and blackened grille look upscale to those outside. Inside, red leather seating surfaces, metallic black interior accents, and paddle shifters lend it a real air of sporty sophistication.

Available All-Wheel Drive

The 2021 CX-9 is available with all-wheel drive (AWD) at every trim level. It drops fuel economy slightly, but the added foul-weather grip and ability to take it lightly off-road (think field parking at a music festival with confidence even if it’s muddy, not rock-crawling with the Jeeps) is probably worth it in many states.

2021 Mazda CX-9


In 2021, not every midsize SUV came standard with Apple Carplay and Android Auto connectivity. But every 2021 CX-9 has it. These systems mirror smartphone apps on the car’s central touchscreen, letting you access streaming music and navigation easily without taking your eyes far from the road.

All but the base Sport model even came with a wireless charging pad.

Excellent Safety Scores

The 2021 Mazda CX-9 won the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) Top Safety Pick+ award. It earned the institute’s highest crash test score — Good — in all but one test.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave it a 5-Star rating — the government’s highest score.

More Mazda CX-9

Our full review of the 2021 Mazda CX-9 will help determine if a Certified Pre-Owned version is right for you. If it’s checking the right boxes, find CPO Mazda CX-9 models for sale near you.

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