We’ve recently documented that Mazda is launching a new flagship SUV called the CX-90. The CX-90 will replace the CX-9 in the Mazda family lineup as the Japanese automaker heads toward a future that includes electrification.


For the 2023 model year, Mazda simplifies the CX-9 for its swan song, with the Sport trim now discontinued and the Touring trim functioning as the base trim. The Touring trim joins the Touring Plus, Carbon Edition, and Grand Touring as the trims available for the 2023 version.

Mazda’s media site on the CX-9 doesn’t seem to have abandoned the vehicle and still offers plenty of updates in information on this three-row SUV.

In fact, Mazda’s PR team raves on the CX-9 accordingly: “The CX-9 continues to feature standard i-Activ AWD, enhancing driving dynamics, handling, and vehicle control, allowing the driver to enjoy a more confident driving experience. Additionally, the CX-9 is one of the first vehicles in its class to earn a Good rating in IIHS's new, tougher side impact test. The design and safety features that contributed to these results have been carried over to the 2023 model year as standard features.”


The powertrain for the CX-9 is the tried and true 2.5-liter Skyactiv turbo engine with six-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive (AWD) is standard. This engine delivers 250 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque. Mazda says this maximized power and performance is achieved on 93 Octane fuel and the numbers drop a little if you skimp and use lower Octane fuel.

As the CX-9 gives way to the CX-90, Mazda introduces a new hybrid and plug-in hybrid platform for this SUV. It feels right to introduce a new powertrain for this SUV as the Skyactiv technology has taken this SUV as far as it can go.

It’s not underpowered, but it’s lost some of the personality and exhilaration that Mazda has been known for. Hopefully the CX-90 will bring some of that back.


A quick look at the specs of the CX-9 reveals a pretty typical SUV with a wheelbase of 115.3 inches and an overall length of 199.4 inches. It has 8.8 inches of ground clearance and stands at 67.6 inches tall.

Aesthetically the CX-9 has a longer hood which adds distinction to this SUV. The shorter back end makes it appear like it might have a smaller third row inside (and it does), but as far as looks goes, it still holds up as a timeless SUV.

The CX-90 will feature brand new looks including a new front end, which was needed to keep this SUV relevant, viable and interesting.

Inside the numbers from the spec sheet don’t lie. They paint a picture of a cabin that is built for 6 to 7 passengers. With the sliding second row captain-style seating the CX-9 is well suited for comfort as a six-passenger vehicle.


There is 39.4 inches of second-row legroom and 29.7 inches of third-row legroom. There’s 38.5 inches of headroom for all rear passengers, thanks to the longer styling and raked roofline. Headroom is therefore ample.

There is 14.4 cubic feet of cargo room behind the upright third row. However that area expands to 38.2 cubic feet with the third row folded down and then further expands to 71.2 cubic feet with all rear seats folded flat.

The base trim iteration of the CX-9 has a starting price of $38,750 while the top-tier trim has a starting MSRP of $48,460. Comparably the new CX-90 ranges in price from $39,595 to $59,650. There are three premium paint colors for the 2023 CX-9 including Soul Red, Machine Gray and Snowflake White. Each premium color adds a couple hundred more dollars to the bottom line.

The fuel economy for the CX-9 is 20 mpg/city and 26 mpg/highway. It averages around 22 mpg. The CX-90 will have much improved fuel economy as both a hybrid and a plug-in hybrid. This is the direction Mazda is heading and the somewhat outdated fuel economy ratings don’t fit in with that plan.

The 2023 Mazda CX-9 will ride off into the sunset giving way to its successor, but this final swan song for the CX-9 shows it will go out on a high note.