What Are The Best & Worst Years For The Mazda CX-9? [My Honest Review]

Learn the pros and cons of the Mazda CX-9 so you can know which years to purchase

Despite being a Japanese car, the Mazda CX-9 is an export-only car and is not sold in the Japanese market.

Instead, many people in North America have gotten the chance to drive and ride in this mid-sized SUV.

The Mazda CX-9 has been in production since 2006 and hit the market the following year. It has seen yearly releases since.

With so many models to choose from, it can be difficult to decide which one to buy and which to hold out on? This is why I will be talking about the best and worst years for Mazda CX-9.

Here are the models that I will be talking about:

Worst Years for Mazda CX-9:

  1. 2012
  2. 2010
  3. 2011
  4. 2008
  5. 2013

Best Years for Mazda CX-9:

  1. 2018
  2. 2021
  3. 2020
  4. 2019
  5. 2017

If you have been eyeing any of these models, then check out this article, as I will be talking about them in depth.

What Are The Worst Years For The Mazda CX-9? Which Years To Avoid

Here are the top 5 models of the Mazda CX-9 that you should avoid at all costs. These models are known for their major and sometimes life-threatening issues.

1. 2012 Mazda CX-9

Most car problems are an annoyance and, at worst, only prevent the car from starting, but in the case of the 2012 Mazda CX-9, one of the major problems can put your life at risk.

The greatest issue you could face with this model is the brake booster unit failing.

This would make it quite difficult for the car to engage the brakes. Along with this, the braking time of the car would also increase significantly.

You can see why this can put you and any passengers in the car at risk, which is why it takes the top spot on this list.

While many of the other models in this section of the article will display the same problems, they are much fewer in number than this model.

This 2012 model had it the worst, which is why it deserves to be at the top of the list of worst models of the Mazda CX-9.

2. 2010 Mazda CX-9

If you think the 2012 model was the only one to have the brake boost unit problem, then you are mistaken, as the 2010 Mazda CX-9 model also has this issue and a variety of other issues.

Even though the brakes are integral, you cannot apply them if your car does not start in the first place.

This model of the Mazda CX-9 had issues with the water pump, which caused it to fail.

In turn, that issue would lead to the engine failing as well. This issue would persist but was mostly associated with this model.

3. 2011 Mazda CX-9

If the models before and after had the issue, it would make sense that the 2011 Mazda CX-9 would also have the brake boost unit issue.

This is a huge oversight when it comes to Mazda as to how they could allow this major problem to persist for such a long time.

Aside from this major problem, the 2010 Mazda CX-9 also had many other engines and drive train issues.

These issues were few and far between, which is why this model only gets the 3rd spot on this list.

4. 2008 Mazda CX-9

One of the earlier models of the lineup, the 2008 Mazda CX-9, was not a good successor to the original Mazda CX-9, which is mainly why it gets 4th place on this list.

It had a wide range of engine issues and standard braking problems that people had to deal with.

The water pump failure dates back to this model, which, as I have discussed, would cause the engine to eventually fail.

The brakes had a stiff pedal, and premature brake wear was common. Along with that, the engine also had issues with the ignition coil.

5. 2013 Mazda CX-9

Another year the Mazda CX-9 featured the dreaded brake boost issue, which caused a lot of backlash from the community.

The 2013 Mazda CX-9 model was a clunker but made good on various improvements, which is why it only gets last place on this list.

Water pump and engine failure are common trends when talking about the Mazda CX-9.

This, along with the brake boost unit failing, makes it such that the entire list is ordered on which model had it the worst.

What Are The Best Years For The Mazda CX-9? Which Years To Buy

Now that I have discussed everything from failing engines to water pumps, it is time to discuss the best models of the Mazda CX-9 lineup.

These models are where the magic happens and are the ones that should be on your radar at all times.

1. 2018 Mazda CX-9

Starting off this section, I present the 2018 Mazda CX-9. This model takes first place on this list because it has virtually no complaints.

This particular model came with a very powerful engine for passing and presented itself with excellent handling. The model was available in 4 different trims.

Bring more active safety features into the fray, and featuring seven seats, the car was available in AWD & FWD.

It came to the market and was universally loved by fans of the lineup and car enthusiasts. This is also why it boasts such high scores on various lists.

Aesthetically, the 2018 Mazda CX-9 can be hit or miss, but for many, the design choice is very nice and adds to most Japanese cars’ luxury.

While it is missing a few features, they are by no means crucial to the car, which is why it can still claim the top spot.

2. 2021 Mazda CX-9

While it added a lot more to the table, it also came with a few negatives, which is why the 2021 Mazda CX-9 model takes second place on this list.

The car features amazing handling similar to the 2018 model but with a much more responsive drive train.

The year added another trim into the mix, increasing the total number of trims to 5.

Depending on the trim, you could get your hands on a luxurious interior. This would only be available in the signature trim.

The turbo four-cylinder engine, 10.25-inch screen, AWD, and FWD were all available in all trims.

3. 2020 Mazda CX-9

While the 2021 model was impressive, to say the least, it was a derivative improved upon the 2020 Mazda CX-9.

This model featured the same improvements to the drive train and handling, which is now synonymous with the lineup. It also had adaptive cruise control, which worked flawlessly.

The model had one less trim than the 2021 Mazda CX-9 but featured its group of new active safety features, which were standard.

Among the various features added were heated front seats which were also standard. Despite all of this, the 2021 Mazda CX-9 is better, which is why this model is below it.

4. 2019 Mazda CX-9

Many people were expecting great things from the 2019 Mazda CX-9, especially since it was coming off the praise of the 2018 model.

While it could not live up to the hype surrounding it, the 2019 Mazda CX-9 was still able to wow the crowd with its stellar handling and drivetrain.

It made the turbo four-cylinder engine standard which many regarded as the best engine in the entire lineup.

Additionally, it also brought Android Auto and Apple CarPlay into the fray. It got in a 360-degree camera system as well.

5. 2017 Mazda CX-9

Before the success of the 2018 model, the community was talking about the 2017 Mazda CX-9.

While it was mostly just an improved version of the model before it, the previous model was also quite respectable.

Mazda applied the mentality of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” which worked.

People appreciated the improvements to the interior, especially when it came to the multimedia system.

While little changed elsewhere, the 2017 Mazda CX-9 model still provided a spectacular driving experience far better than its competition at the time.

It is a great model but pales compared to the rest, which is why it takes last place.

How Reliable Is A Mazda CX-9?

According to various consumer reports, you will find the Mazda CX-9 to be quite reliable.

Many of these reports have gone up to an 80% approval rating, while the recent models of the Mazda CX-9 have even gotten a perfect score.

This should be more than enough to give you an idea about how reliable the Mazda CX-9 is, but if you are not convinced, let me elaborate.

Along with boasting great scores, it also ranks well above its competition in mid-sized SUVs and has a lower repair cost in its body type range.

How Long Do Mazda CX-9 Last?

A typical Mazda CX-9 should last around 200,000 and 250,000 miles.

This is a very good amount for mid-sized sports utility vehicles as it allows you at least 13 to a little over 16 years of service, assuming you drive 15,000 miles a year.

You can bump this life considerably or decrease it by a lot; I will talk about this in the next section of the article.

What To Do To Lengthen The Life Of Your Mazda CX-9

Via regular maintenance and good driving etiquette, you can easily increase the life of any car significantly, and this is no different with the Mazda CX-9.

In this section of the article, I will go over everything you should incorporate into your daily routine and driving to maximize the life of your Mazda CX-9.

Here are a few below:

  • Proper storage of the Mazda CX-9.
  • Going to the mechanic if you feel there is a problem.
  • Driving carefully and smoothly.
  • Regular changing of the car’s fluids.
  • Frequent cleaning and maintenance.
  • Timely changing of fuel filters.

By carrying out these tasks, you will not only see a boost in the efficiency and drive of the Mazda CX-9 but will also significantly increase its lifespan.

Things That Shorten The Lifespan Of Your Mazda CX-9

Since you can do things to boost the lifespan of the Mazda CX-9, there are obviously ways you can reduce it.

This part of the article goes over all the ways you can hurt the life of your Mazda CX-9 and what you should avoid.

Here are the main things to take care of:

  • Rash driving with hard brakes.
  • Leaving the Mazda CX-9 out in the cold.
  • Not driving the Mazda CX-9 for a significant time.
  • Using faulty or off-brand components.
  • Frequent off-road driving.
  • Lack of regular cleaning and maintenance.

By doing any of these activities, you are actively hurting the life of your Mazda CX-9, which is why you should avoid them at all costs.

3 Most Mazda CX-9 Common Problems You Should Know

A lack of maintenance can lead to a lot of excruciating problems. That being said, the Mazda CX-9 is also known for a host of other problems which are quite common for the lineup.

Here are the three most common issues you can face if you own a Mazda CX-9:

1. Water Pump Failure

During the middle of the lifespan of the Mazda CX-9, there is always the chance that the water pump might fail.

This causes coolant to leak into the engine oil things start to get worse. The engine starts to overheat, and the leaking coolant can also cause the engine to fail.

2. Engine Failure

A side effect of the first major issue and also a problem in itself, engine failure is a very common issue in general and is not cheap to repair.

This was most common in the 2010 Mazda CX-9 and would happen around the middle of the car’s lifespan.

3. Brake Power Boost Unit Failure

Many drivers experienced this issue after four years of service with the Mazda CX-9.

This issue would cause the brakes to become difficult to activate and could easily lead to an accident.

Furthermore, the only way to get the issue resolved was to entirely replace the faulty unit.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: Is Mazda CX-9 A Good Car?

When you boil it down to it, the Mazda CX-9 is a very good car. Not only does it have an impressive lifespan, but it is cheaper to fix than other mid-sized SUVs.

This, combined with its spectacular driving and responsive steering, makes it a must-buy if you are looking for SUVs.

Q2: Do Mazda CX-9 Hold Their Value?

There are a lot of mixed answers when it comes to whether the Mazda CX-9 can hold its value or not.

You are looking at anything between 40 to 60% in depreciating value which can be either decent at best to really bad.

In any case, it’s easier to say that it does not hold its value quite as well.

Q3: How Many Mazda CX-9 Have Been Sold?

Since its release in 2007, the Mazda CX-9 brand has sold a lot of vehicles over the years.

While Mazda has not put out any official numbers, estimates say that the brand has sold over 380,000 units.

This is a lot of united sold considering the fact that the Mazda CX-9 is a mid-sized SUV.

Q4: Which Mazda CX-9 Engine Is The Most Reliable?

Out of all the types of engines the Mazda CX-9 has been available in, you can bet that the turbocharged 2.5 L 4 cylinder engine is the best of them all.

What probably pulled the rug from the other engines was the fact that they would fail due to the water pump issue.

Q5: Is Mazda CX-9 Expensive To Maintain?

The Mazda CX-9 is by no means expensive to maintain. When you compare the car to its competitors, you will see that it has a much lower average repair cost. It will cost you around $540 per year.

The only time it will become expensive to repair is if the car suffers a major repair. Other than that, it is very cheap to maintain for a mid-sized SUV.

Conclusion

Finally, roomy and great to drive, the Mazda CX-9 is definitely one of the better mid-sized sports utility vehicles on the market.

With the help of this article, you should now have full knowledge about the best and worst years for Mazda CX-9.

This will enable you to avoid the problem-infested models and settle for one that is universally loved by fans of the lineup. No doubt, you will be able to get the best model for the best price now!

Happy buying!

Written by Yusuke Kohara

Hi there! My name is Yusuke. I write about automotive topics for Car Proper. I love cars and have a passion for writing helpful articles on tools, car accessories, and how-to to help my readers solve their problems. In my spare time, I'm either working out, reading the book, or spending time with my family. I also work for a digital consulting agency.

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