Mazda CX-9 1st Generation 2007-2015 (TB) Review

Everything You Need To Know Before Buying A Used CX-9 1st Gen

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1st Generation Mazda CX-9: What Owners Say

  • The Mazda CX-9 1st Gen TB was built in Japan but aimed squarely at an American audience. That's why the 1st Gen CX-9 is so highly sought after and appreciated by the US market.
  • Owners appreciate the sporty performance and engaging drive.
  • The interior is classy and bolted together properly.
  • Owners say that the third row is large enough for adults.
  • Even though the design isn't for everyone, most people seem to like it.
  • Mazda gave the CX-9 a sporty suspension setup, which works beautifully in combination with the smaller 18-inch wheels. With 20-inch wheels, the ride is too firm.
  • Various owners complain about the SUV's long and heavy doors, which means you have to choose where you park carefully.

Mazda CX-9 1st Generation Facelift

The Mazda CX-9 first generation was built during the Japanese brand's marriage to Ford. As such, it shared many components with the US carmaker. Early models used a Ford-sourced 3.5-liter V6, but in 2008 the CX-9 started using the 3.7-liter Duratec V6.

Mazda kept the CX-9 on sale for a full eight years, and during that time it received two facelifts.

2010-2012 1st Gen CX-9 Facelift Front Changes CarBuzz
2010-2012 1st Gen CX-9 Facelift Front Changes

In 2010 Mazda made some minor tweaks to the front, injecting some of the newer design DNA into its older large SUV. You'll notice the restyled lower bumper and lower air dam with a chrome strip still running horizontally through the middle of it1. On either side of it, new leaf-shaped fog-light slots also sport chrome surrounds2. The upper grille's chrome "eyebrow" is better integrated into the Mazda logo and it gains a chrome surround as well3. Many styling cues are borrowed from the Mazda 6.

2013-2015 1st Gen CX-9 Facelift Front Changes CarBuzz
2013-2015 1st Gen CX-9 Facelift Front Changes

The 2013 facelift is far more substantial. Mazda drew inspiration from the design of the popular CX-5; The lights were tweaked to have a lower curve that dips down into the bumper more, as opposed to the straight-underlined previous items1. The upper grille is far larger and gets a new interpretation of the "smiling" lower chrome strip; this item now extends into the headlights on either side2. The lower grille is far smaller and is no longer surrounded by the body-color bumper but blended into the lower body kit3, while the fog-light slots are much simpler and now contain round fog lights4.

2010-2012 1st Gen CX-9 Facelift Rear Changes CarBuzz
2010-2012 1st Gen CX-9 Facelift Rear Changes

Mazda kept the rear almost the same for the 2010 facelift, and you have to look closely to spot the subtle design differences. The chrome garnish above the rear number plate is now significantly thinner1. The light clusters are all-new2, retaining their previous outline, but with the clear and red parts swapped around; the backup lights and indicators now sit in the top half of the cluster and no longer the bottom as on the previous car.

2013-2015 1st Gen CX-9 Facelift Rear Changes CarBuzz
2013-2015 1st Gen CX-9 Facelift Rear Changes

The 2013 facelift's rear lights are all-new1 and also echo those of the CX-5, with a round brake-light element and a far more modern appearance. The all-new lower bumper2 with its round dual tailpipes3 blessed the CX-9 with a far sportier rear end.

2010-2012/ 2013-2015 1st Gen CX-9 Facelifts Side Changes CarBuzz
2010-2012/ 2013-2015 1st Gen CX-9 Facelifts Side Changes

The side profile essentially remained the same for 2010, but you can clearly see the new front bumper and revised taillights and Mazda added new alloy wheel designs to keep it looking fresh. It's much the same for 2013 and although the new front and rear ends are once again noticeable, along with new wheels, nothing much else changes.

2010-2012/ 2013-20151st Gen CX-9 Facelifts Interior Changes CarBuzz
2010-2012/ 2013-20151st Gen CX-9 Facelifts Interior Changes

The CX-9's interior layout remained the same throughout its lifespan. At the top of the center console, it has a small digital display providing the time, climate control information, and basic trip computer information. Below that it has dual vents, then an infotainment screen, followed by the climate control buttons and dials. Other minor tweaks were made over the years.

In 2010, Mazda gave the CX-9 a new steering wheel1, straight from newer Mazda models, and added revised controls - now with a display - to the rear-seat ventilation vents. Better materials also mean these models have improved quality levels. The infotainment system was updated with every facelift2. Unfortunately, the CX-9 never received an update that unlocked Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Engine, Transmission, and Drivetrain

The Mazda CX-9 is powered by a Ford-sourced 3.5-liter V6 Cyclone engine for a single model year, as were other Mazdas at the time. It produces 263 hp and 249 lb-ft of torque and is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Mazda replaced this engine with a 3.7-liter V6 in 2008, which is the only other engine available in the 1st-generation Mazda CX-9. There are no turbocharged or hybrid models. Just one engine (in two different sizes) and three trim levels, which remained the same throughout the car's lifecycle. The 3.7-liter is essentially the same 3.5-liter V6, but bored-out to produce 273 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque. Mazda kept the six-speed automatic and standard FWD system. AWD was available as an optional extra across the range.

As far as AWD systems go, the CX-9's is fairly rudimentary. The car is FWD under normal conditions, and it only engages the rear wheels when the front wheels start slipping. There is no torque vectoring or any of the other modern electronic features, and the car is all the better for it. If you simply want some additional grip in poor weather conditions, it works a charm. The tow rating is on the low side. Even with the large engine and body, the Mazda is only rated at 3,500 lbs.

3.5-liter V6
263 hp | 249 lb-ft
263 hp
249 lb-ft
Six-speed automatic transmission

The 3.5-liter V6 was only available for a short period during 2007 when the car was first launched as a 2008 model. It produces 263 hp at 6,250 rpm and 249 lb-ft at 4,500 rpm.

There's nothing fundamentally wrong with the engine, however. At the time, Mazda sourced engines from Ford, which stopped producing the Duratec 3.5-liter V6 in the USA. The engine was bored-out to produce more power in upcoming Ford models, and production moved to Japan. It simply made sense to fit the newer engine when it became readily available in the same country the CX-9 was assembled. There are still a fair amount of 2007 3.5 V6 models available, and you can find them at bargain-bin prices. Just be sure to check out common and well-documented faults such as problems with water pumps and cam phasers.

3.7-liter V6
273 hp | 270 lb-ft
273 hp
270 lb-ft
Six-speed automatic transmission

As mentioned earlier, the 3.7-liter V6 is essentially the same engine as the 3.5-liter unit. To increase the power, Ford simply used the oldest trick in the book and made the engine bigger. The horsepower and torque gains aren't massive. The larger powertrain produces 273 hp at 6,250 rpm and peak torque of 270 lb-ft arrives 250 rpm earlier, not that you'd be able to notice. In short, Mazda benefited slightly from Ford making tweaks to its 3.5-liter Duratec engine, and the 3.7-liter unit powered the CX-9 for the rest of its lifespan. Despite improvements, the 3.7-liter engine is still of the Cyclone family and suffers from much the same ailments as the 3.5 as it ages, in addition to prematurely failing ignition coils.

1st Gen Mazda CX-9 Real MPG

The CX-9 comes from a time when the world cared little about fuel consumption and emissions. Its engine and gearbox combo date nearly two decades back, when people still used to point and laugh at the Toyota Prius. (We still do, but only because it's ugly). A 200-inch three-row crossover weighing roughly 4,300 pounds without passengers was never going to be frugal. As you can see in the table below, the CX-9 loves to sit back and enjoy a glass of the finest gasoline. One might even say it has a problem. Most of the models do better out in the real world, but not by much. The best you can hope for is 360 miles on a 20-gallon (20.1-gallon for the 3.7) tank.

3.5 FWD16/22/18 mpg18.2 mpg
3.5 AWD15/21/17 mpg15.8 mpg
3.7 FWD (2008-2010)16/22/18 mpg18.3-19.3 mpg
3.7 AWD (2008-2010)15/21/17 mpg16.2-17.2 mpg
3.7 FWD (2011-2015)17/24/19 mpg17.4-19.2 mpg
3.7 AWD (2011-2015)16/22/19 mpg15.1-17.1 mpg

* Real-world mpg and MPGe figures are provided by the EPA. Once a car has been on sale for a significant period of time, the EPA gets real-world figures directly from the customer base. These figures are then provided on the EPA website. Real-world figures are not available for certain models due to a lack of sales, or not enough people partaking in this after-sales survey.


The CX-9 predates the modern driver-assistance systems that we regard as commonplace today. The original 2007 CX-9 is fitted with ABS brakes, stability control (incorporating roll stability control), six airbags, and tire-pressure monitoring. For 2008, blind-spot alert became standard on the flagship Grand Touring. The 2009 Grand Touring additionally has an auto-dimming interior rear-view mirror and a garage-door opener. The 2010 CX-9 has real-time traffic added to its navigation system and a multi-information display added to its rear-view camera, but only if these options are fitted.

The 2011 CX-9 has speed-sensing auto-locking doors. For 2013, Mazda added blind-spot monitoring, automatic headlights, rear parking sensors, and a rearview camera as standard to the Touring and Grand Touring trims and the 2014 models of these same trims also have rear cross-traffic alert.

US NHTSA Crash Test Result

There are both pre-and post-2011 ratings from the NHTSA. The 2008 model crushed the safety test, scoring five stars overall, and five stars in every category but the rollover. Post-2011, the scores were less admirable. Why? The NHTSA changed the parameters of the test to keep up with the times. As we know, safety is not a static thing, with huge improvements being made on an almost annual basis. The Mazda was tested again in 2013, and its scores dropped dramatically.


Overall Rating::
Frontal Barrier Crash Rating::
Side Crash Rating::
Rollover Rating::


Overall Rating:
Frontal Barrier Crash Rating:
Side Crash Rating:
Rollover Rating:

2007-2015 Mazda CX-9 Trims

The CX-9 has one of the easiest trim structures out there. Mazda started and ended the 1st gen CX-9's lifecycle with the same three trims. You have the entry-level Sport, the mid-spec Touring, and the top-spec Grand Touring. Mazda's largest SUV retailed for roughly $30,000 when it was new, so you can expect a decent number of niceties from the base specification. Keep in mind that even though the CX-9 had a touchscreen from the start, the systems were extremely clunky. Mazda was quite proud of the 2013 facelifted model's 5.8-inch touchscreen, but compared to a modern smartphone it's still very rudimentary.

Besides the features outlined below for the individual trims, the range as a whole also received some year-by-year updates. For 2009 a trip computer is standard on all trims and the trailer-preparation package is also standard on AWD models. All 2010 models benefit from improved materials in the interior and rear AC controls with a readout. All 2011 models all have speed-sensing automatic door locks.

3.5-/3.7-liter V6
Six-speed automatic transmission
FWD and optional AWD

All models come standard in seven-seat configuration, so there's no need to shop higher if you simply want the maximum number of seats. The Sport also boasts several niceties, including 18-inch alloys, front and rear air-conditioning, remote keyless entry, a leather-trimmed, manually tilting/telescoping steering wheel, cruise control, power windows and door locks, and a fairly basic infotainment system with a radio, CD player, and - from 2008 - an auxiliary audio jack. A six-disc CD changer was considered a fancy optional extra when the car first hit the road. For 2009, the entry-level Sport has an infotainment system capable of making a Bluetooth connection. Keep that in mind when shopping around. If you do buy a pre-2009 Sport, you'll have to dust off that CD collection. All 2010+ models also come with tri-zone climate control.

Speed-sensing auto door locks are standard on 2011 CX-9s and for 2013, all models were blessed with a 5.8-inch touchscreen interface that has Bluetooth connectivity, HD Radio, Pandora radio, and a USB input. Another thing worth keeping in mind is that the various trims were never priced that far apart. There was roughly a $3,000 price difference between the base Sport and the top-spec Grand Touring, and that gap may have closed over time. Spending a few hundred dollars more can land you a lot more features.

3.5-/3.7-liter V6
Six-speed automatic transmission
FWD and optional AWD

The Touring ramps the luxury up a little by adding electrically adjustable front seats, leather upholstery for the first two rows of seats, heated side mirrors, and an infotainment system with Bluetooth connectivity. The Touring is also better suited to cold-weather states, thanks to heated front seats. The Touring model did not benefit as much from the 2010 facelift, but 2013+ models come as standard with auto headlights, a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, and blind-spot monitoring.

Grand Touring
3.5-/3.7-liter V6
Six-speed automatic transmission
FWD and optional AWD

As the top-spec trim, Mazda threw everything it had at the Grand Touring. It comes standard with 20-inch alloys, keyless start, real wood interior trim, xenon headlights, rain-sensing wipers, mirror-mounted turn signals, and a memory function for the driver's seat. The interior is also illuminated in a model-specific blue. Think of it as the precursor to LED interior lighting. Post-2013 models come with bi-xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights, and a power liftgate.

First Generation Mazda CX-9 SUV Features

N/ASportTouringGrand Touring
Back-Up CameraN/ASS
Bluetooth ConnectionS (only post-2010)SS
Leather SeatsaN/AS (first two rows)S (first two rows)
Keyless EntrySSS
Keyless StartN/AN/AS
HD RadioS (only post-2010)SS
Alloy WheelsSSS

Interior, Trim, And Practicality

Mazda CX-9 1st Gen Interior Overview Mazda
Mazda CX-9 1st Gen Interior Overview

The CX-9 is practical and well put together. While the infotainment systems across the various model years are all outdated by modern standards, proper build quality never goes out of style.

Even early models feel properly bolted together, and owners praise ride comfort over long journeys. The ergonomics are also spot on despite its age. All of the most-used features are exactly where you'd expect them to be. We also dig the red gauge backlighting, which makes the instrument cluster and digital display easy to see no matter what the exterior conditions.

As for the trim, Mazda uses some inferior plastics, but mostly it's high-quality stuff that still looks good. Cloth is standard on the Sport, but the Touring and Grand Touring come standard with leather upholstery for the first two rows. The top-spec Grand Touring comes as standard with wood trim, which looks a bit last century to our younger eyes, but at least it makes the interior feel like a luxury space.

The practicality is where the Mazda really shines. The CX-9 has large rear doors, which makes it easy to access the third row. The CX-9's third row has ample legroom for adults, but headroom is on the tight side. Still, many owners maintain that adults are perfectly fine back there. The first and second rows offer more space than anyone could reasonably expect, though in-cabin storage is limited. With all three rows in place, the Mazda has 17.2 cubic feet of cargo capacity, which is a useful figure for daily and even weekly errands. With the third row folded flat, the cargo capacity grows to 38.2 cubes, which is enough for a family of five to have a week-long holiday. Fold the second and third row flat, and you have just over 100 cubes to work with.

TRIMSportTouringGrand Touring
Black/Beige Premium ClothSN/AN/A
Black/Beige LeatherN/ASS

1st Generation Mazda CX-9 Maintenance and Cost

Mazda has roughly 700 dealers to service both the USA and Mexico. The good news is that the 1st generation CX-9 was built using many Ford parts, so you won't struggle to find a dealer that can help you out. As a result, the Mazda CX-9 isn't that expensive to service, though you want to keep an eye on the mileage. A basic oil and oil filter change costs roughly $100 and needs to happen every 7,500 miles. A cabin air filter replacement should take place every 25,000 miles, and the cost of that is roughly $500. It's mostly done as part of a larger service, where the technician will also inspect various parts closely. At 100,000 miles you can expect another big bill, as various parts need to be lubricated, and the spark plugs have to be changed. For this service, you're looking at roughly $1,000. The most expensive service should take place at 150,000 miles. That's when Mazda lubricates everything with a hinge, and replaces all of the serpentine and drive belts. Budget around $1,600 for this service.

2007-2015 Mazda CX-9 Basic Service

Engine Oil Change Including Filter

Gas engines: 5.2L (5.5 quarts) for 3.5 and 3.7-liter V6s

Recommended oil viscosity: 5W-20 synthetic

How often to change: 7,500 miles

Average Price: Around $68


3.5 and 3.7 V6

Part code: ZZJ1-18-110

Average price: $65 for six


All models

Part number: 40A3D2F-185234359-PS

Replacement: Every 3 to 5 years

Average Price: $140

Mazda CX-9 1st Gen Tires

Sport and Touring
Tire Size:
$700-$960 per set
Grand Touring
Tire Size:
$786-$1,017 per set

Check Before You Buy

Technical Service Bulletins according to the NHTSA. Check service book for:

The 2007-2015 Mazda CX-9 recalls were few and far between. The 1st generation CX-9 was one of many vehicles recalled for the Takata airbag problems. Following the initial recall, another airbag recall was issued two years later. Other notable 2007 Mazda CX-9 recalls include the corrosion of a front suspension ball joint, and a model-specific Grand Touring recall for a malfunctioning seat memory function. Mostly, the airbag recall and the front suspension ball joint were the most notable recalls in an otherwise well-built vehicle. The 2010 model was recalled for a seat heater control system that could possibly burn the seats in extremely cold temperatures. Later in its life, the CX-9 was recalled for steering issues. There was a possibility that the steering knuckle could separate from the strut assembly, resulting in steering loss. This problem affected only 578 models across Mazda's entire range.

There are a few recurring problems with the Ford Cyclone V6 engine used in the CX-9 and although it is a durable and reliable engine, there are issues with water pumps failing that have the potential to ruin the engine. The AWD system can also play up if the fluid levels are allowed to run low or leaks are ignored. The engine has a timing chain that needs no periodic replacement, as long as the engine oil is replaced frequently and not allowed to drop too low.

These are the model year error codes you'll most likely encounter when shopping for a 1st generation Mazda CX-9:

  • 2007 Mazda CX-9 Code P0171 is a warning that the car is running lean according to an oxygen sensor in the exhaust system.
  • 2007 Mazda CX-9 P0016 is a warning that the crankshaft and camshaft are not aligned correctly.
  • 2008 Mazda CX-9 P0352 indicates a problem with the ignition system.
  • 2008 Mazda CX-9 P0456 is a notification for a small leak in the EVAP system.
  • 2008 Mazda CX-9 P0302 indicates that a misfire has been detected.
  • 2008 Mazda CX-9 P0202 indicates that there's a fault with the injector circuit.
  • 2008 Code P171 and P172 are indications that the engine is either running too lean or too rich.
  • 2010 Mazda CX-9 P0451 is for a malfunctioning fuel tank pressure sensor.
  • 2010 Mazda CX-9 code P0455 is for a large leak in the EVAP system.
  • 2010 Mazda CX-9 P115E is an indication that the throttle bodies are acting up.
  • 2010 Mazda CX-9 code P1887 indicates a fault with the AWD solenoid failure.
  • 2012 code P0306 for the Mazda CX-9 is also a misfire code, indicating that cylinder six is acting up.

1st Gen CX-9 Common Problems

Transmission and Transfer Case

Some 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 Mazda CX-9s had transmission and transfer-case problems. Owners reported leaks and excessive noise from the transfer case, as well as rear differential failure. It's worth noting that there aren't many of these reports, which is likely why a recall was never issued. The problem is also limited to cars with relatively high mileage and usually follow oil leaks that have been ignored. The Aisin AWF21 transmission is reliable but requires fresh oil periodically and we would replace it every 60,000 miles to be safe. Many problems with harsh shifts, transmission slippage, and worn valve-body solenoids stem from deferred maintenance and dirty oil.

Mileage: Between 80,000 to 100,000 miles; as early as 40,000 miles in case of a serious oil leak.

Cost: Around $1,300-$2,700 to replace the transfer case

How to spot: If you pick up any strange grinding noises during the test drive, walk away.

Mazda MZI/Ford Cyclone V6 Engine Problems

Thanks to the partnership between Ford and Mazda at the time, the CX-9 uses the 3.5-liter and 3.7-liter Ford V6 gas engines from the Cyclone family (dubbed the Mazda MZI V6 for use in Mazda vehicles). These are used in a multitude of other Ford products such as the F-150 and Transit van. In the CX-9, the engine is fitted transversely in the engine compartment and for such installations, Ford has relocated the water pump from outside the engine to inside the V of the V6 and behind the timing cover due to space constraints. It is driven by the timing chain and difficult to get to. Several owners have complained about a failing water pump, which is one of the most common Mazda CX-9 engine problems.

When the water pump fails, it usually starts to leak coolant to the outside through the pump's weep hole. However, in more serious cases and at higher mileages, its internal seals and bearings break down and it leaks coolant into the engine oil. If not caught early, this can result in terminal engine damage due to the loss of coolant and resultant overheating, as well as the loss of the oil's lubrication ability due to it being contaminated with coolant. This problem is usually related to high-mileage cars and it's difficult to diagnose due to the hidden location of the water pump. The more rudimentary intake-cam-only iVCT variable-valve-timing system in the 3.5 and 3.7 V6s used during the CX-9's life is quite reliable - more so than Ford's Ti-VCT system on both cams used in some Fords like the Mustang and F-150. Ironically, these Ti-VCT-equipped engines have more reliable water pumps. You can't have it both ways, it seems…

What you are probably going to have to deal with sooner or later is carbon buildup on the backs of the intake valves, because the Cyclone was a direct-injection engine during the time it was used in the CX-9. Direct-injection engines lack manifold injectors to keep the intake valves clean, so oil droplets sucked in from the crankcase via the positive-crankcase-ventilation (PCV) system get deposited on the backs of the intake valves, hardening and building up over time until the buildup causes poor running, bad fuel consumption, and misfiring. Cleaning the valves is an invasive job requiring the cylinder head(s) to be stripped.

Lastly, the 3.7's ignition coils can start failing earlier than the typical 150,000 miles one might expect from such parts, but this is neither serious nor expensive to fix.

Mileage: Water pumps fail between 80,000 and 120,000 miles. Ignition coils start failing from 70,000 to 100,000 miles. Carbon buildup on the backs of the intake valves can start to affect the engine's operation from around 70,000 to 100,000 miles.

Cost: Replacing the water pump before any damage occurs costs between $800 and $1,800. Replacing the entire engine with a used one will cost as much as $4,000 and a new one, over $5,200. Ignition coils cost at most $40 apiece and you can replace them easily yourself. Having all of them replaced at a dealer might cost you up to $700. Walnut blasting the intake valves can cost up to $600 in labor (no parts needed).

How to spot: You can't really spot the water-pump problem unless you spot a visible leak early, but it's worth checking the service record to see whether it has been done. If not, it's worth doing as soon as possible. Spending $1,200 is much better than spending $4,000 on a used engine. Open the oil cap and if the oil appears milky, coolant has already found its way into the oil. Oily and mud-like residue in the cooling system means the same thing. There is likely to be visible leaking to the outside, overheating, and even clunking or rattling noises from an already-damaged engine. Failing ignition coils will cause rough running, misfires, and stuttering - and will trigger the Check Engine light. Worn ignition coils will also cause poor running, rough idling, a loss of power, and misfires, while the symptoms for excessive carbon buildup on the intake valves are quite similar, so have the vehicle inspected to see what the problem is before you spend money.

Door Latches and Locks

Mazda recalled 35,674 CX-9 models for door-lock problems. The inside door-latch mechanism may not latch securely in high temperatures, causing the doors to open while the vehicle is in motion. While door-lock problems aren't too serious, there were enough complaints on forums to register it as a common flaw. The 2010 and 2011 CX-9's door-lock problem can be caused by various parts malfunctioning. It could be a simple blown fuse, a broken door lock switch, or a flaw in the actuator, which is a series of gears that lock and unlock the vehicle. Over time, these parts simply wear down. A blown fuse and a switch are easy to fix, but replacing the actuator will be a costly exercise.

Mileage: N/A

Cost: A single actuator costs $115.

How to spot: The door-latch issue was part of a recall, so check the service history to see that it has been done. As far as we can tell, the door lock is not an intermittent problem. If the system fails, it fails completely. So if you do come across a car with faulty locks, walk away.


While researching the CX-9, we came across several owners with air-conditioning - or AC - problems. The most common cause of AC failure is a dirty cabin filter, which can easily be fixed at home for $40. Be wary, however. The problem can be more serious than that. If it's a broken compressor, you'll end up forking over $150 excluding labor.

Mileage: N/A

Cost: Depends on the problem.

How to spot: Check if the AC is blowing ice cold. If it isn't, tell the dealer about the problem. If the dealer tells you it needs a regas, have them do it. It's not that expensive, and it will prove that it's not a much bigger problem.

TPMS Problems

The CX-9's tire-pressure monitoring system (TPMS) can be problematic. Mostly affecting 2008-2010 models, the CX-9's first-generation direct-acting (dTPMS) tire-pressure sensors situated in the valve stems can become corroded and damaged quite easily and can fail suddenly, causing a blowout. They're not cheap and you can't just ignore them because of the potential for a dangerous failure. To add insult to injury, the use of a tire sealant to repair a puncture can void the sensor's warranty.


Cost: Around $120 per wheel for the TPMS assembly.

How to spot: Corrosion may be visible

Brake Booster Failure

Brake boosters on 2010-2012 CX-9s can fail because of a tear in the booster diaphragm's outer seal, leading to a loss of brake pressure. This is more commonplace in hot conditions, with high temperatures accelerating the rate of deterioration on the seal. A government investigation followed the discovery of this problem and Mazda fixed the affected vehicles and extended their warranty cover to seven years or 90,000 miles.

Mileage: From around 68,000 miles.

Cost: Covered under the extended warranty. If a vehicle is not covered, a new brake booster costs at least $120 before fitment and around $600-$770 for the job at a dealership, including labor.

How to spot: Loss of braking power, hard pedal, spongy pedal, hissing sound from braking system upon brake application, increased pedal travel.

Less Common Problems

The CX-9 is generally a reliable car, but there are a few anomalies. A tiny proportion of owners complained about electrical problems, more specifically starting problems. The car wouldn't always start after pushing the start button when the car was new, but the problem eventually went away by itself. There were also some isolated problems with power windows not wanting to stay up and alloy wheels that stain easily.

Which One To Avoid

There isn't really a bad apple, but you can skip the first year when the CX-9 was only available with the 3.5 V6 engine. Not that there's anything wrong with the engine. You just get more power and a better response from the 3.7 V6. In terms of problems, the worst years were 2008 and 2010 to 2012.

Which One To Buy

A few years stand out as the most problem-free and by far the best was 2009. However, if you prefer the facelift, 2013-2015 cars are relatively problem-free, with 2015 being the best. As for the trim, we'd get the Touring, unless you can get a Sport with lower miles for the same price. There isn't a huge difference between the various trim levels, as Mazda pretty much included almost everything in the base model. In summary, Touring with low mileage is the way to go. Shop around carefully and you might even find a model with some interesting optional extras, which included a rear entertainment system. Why not the Grand Touring? Well, the 20-inch alloys may look good, but they spoil the ride somewhat. The Touring rides on 18s, which makes a big difference.

1st Gen Mazda CX-9 Verdict

The 2007-2015 Mazda CX-9 is a great used buy. It's a relatively trouble-free crossover that can easily reach 200,000 miles plus. In addition to that, the CX-9 is a genuinely fun car to drive, and the interior is quality. If you need a three-row car on a budget, you can do a lot worse than the first-generation CX-9.

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