The Mazda CX-9 is a mid-sized crossover SUV that started its manufacture in April of 2006 and is in production to this day.
Despite being assembled and manufactured in Japan, the vehicle is not sold in Japan’s automobile market due to Japanese laws on vehicle size, which this lineup of cars breaks as the Mazda CX-9 is a very big car.
The lineup features two generations’ worth of models, many worthy of being driven but some not as much.
In this article, I will be going over the best and worst years for Mazda CX-9 and ranking them according to my research.
Best Years for Mazda CX-9:
Worst Years for Mazda CX-9:
Along with discussing why I have ranked them as such, I will also be going over the common issues the lineup faces and the common questions surrounding it.
List Of The Best Years For The Mazda CX-9: What Years To Buy
Stylish exteriors, powerful handling, and very easy to manage without problems, the Mazda CX-9 best years are ones you will enjoy.
#1 Best Year: 2019 Mazda CX-9
I am placing the 2019 Mazda CX-9 in the first place because this model has no major complaints that I could find. Instead, the year offers an amazing vehicle praised by owners and drivers alike.
The 2019 Mazda CX-9 offers amazing handling and a responsive drivetrain; along with a luxury-grade interior in select trims, which only amplify the comfort of the first and second rows.
This year brought four different trims into the market, all of them offering adaptive cruise control and an amazing heads-up display that provided useful information.
Compared to the competition, the Mazda CX-9 offered one of the best driving experiences in its class and deserved the spot as the top year on this list.
#2 Best Year: 2018 Mazda CX-9
Taking the spot at number two is the 2018 Mazda CX-9, which set the stage for the 2019 model. I am placing it in second place because it laid the foundation on which the 2019 Mazda CX 9 could flourish.
This model was available in 4 different trims and offered incredible handling, a powerful engine, and various new standard active safety features such as smart brake support and blind-spot warning.
#3 Best Year: 2020 Mazda CX-9
The 2020 Mazda CX-9 tries to ride the wave of the 2019 Mazda CX 9 but fails to reach those heights as aside from a new set of active safety features, which include adaptive cruise control and forward-collision warning, it does not bring anything new to the table that defines itself over the 2019 model.
What it does bring, however, is the same level of power and handling along with four different trims, all of which have great interiors and the same receptive drivetrain.
#4 Best Year: 2017 Mazda CX-9
The 2017 Mazda CX-9 offers solid value and a great driving experience that is better than most of its competition but lacks optional chairs, which is why I have placed it in 4th place.
The 2017 Mazda CX-9 is undoubtedly one of the best driving SUVs on the market and features an improved interior and features that would only get better in subsequent years.
IT has received a lot of praise from its owners, who think it to be a very reliable vehicle.
#5 Best Year: 2009 Mazda CX-9
Taking the number 5 spot on this list is the 2009 Mazda CX-9.
Despite being an older model, the 3rd model in the lineup, the 2009 model, offers swift responses, amazing interior quality, great visibility, and unparalleled stability, which is why I have placed it at 5th place.
This year had three different trims for the model and had various options such as FWD & AWD systems, optional backup cameras, and blind-spot warning systems to go along with the 273 hp of the V6 engine.
#6 Best Year: 2015 Mazda CX-9
The 2015 Mazda CX-9 is yet another prime example of a great seven-seater SUV with great cabin quality and seating comfort, along with a large amount of cargo storage and precise steering.
I am not placing this higher up on this list because of the clumsy navigation system and poor gas mileage. This year brought three different trims for the Mazda CX-9, and all of them were safe and comfortable to ride in.
#7 Best Year: 2007 Mazda CX-9
Taking the last place spot on this list was the 2007 Mazda CX-9, the first lineup model.
While it is usually best to skip the first model of any new lineup, and the same can be said for the 2007 Mazda CX-9 in some regards, this model was still in a much better shape than the ones found in the worst years.
Were it not for the smooth drivetrain and silky responsiveness; the car could have easily ended up in the worst year’s category, which I will go over in a bit.
List Of The Worst Years For The Mazda CX-9: What Years To Avoid
Filled to the brim with problems and inconveniences, the worst years of the Mazda CX-9 are ones which you should avoid at all costs.
#1 Worst Year:2012 Mazda CX-9
I am placing the 2012 Mazda CX-9 in the first spot on this list because this model had the most amount of complaints and issues against it, both from the NHTSA and the owners of the vehicle.
The main issue regarding the 2012 Mazda CX-9 was the brake booster which hurt the reputation of the lineup.
Suffering from 4 different recalls, the most major of which was the Takata recall in which the airbags would explode and send metal pieces towards the car’s passengers, the year had a bad problem of having its brake booster failed.
This wouldn’t be so bad as it is quite easy and relatively cheap to fix, but it poses a severe safety issue.
#2 Worst Year: 2010 Mazda CX-9
Getting a massive amount of complaints from the NHTSA and owners, the 2010 Mazda CX-9 was the first model affected by the brake booster issue and would pass this issue onward to the models after it, which is why I decided to place this year at 2nd place.
The model was affected by six different recalls, and aside from the brake booster failure, it suffered from engine failure, which is far more costly to fix as it requires entire engines to be replaced.
#3 Worst Year: 2011 Mazda CX-9
Following in the footsteps of the 2010 model, the 2011 Mazda CX-9 was still suffering from the poor brake booster that was still posing a huge risk to the safety of those inside the car and the people outside it. The year reduced the number of recalls to 4.
However, among the recalls, the Takata recall issue was prominent along with a new issue where the front suspension ball joint would corrode. Besides all of this, there were slight issues related to the drivetrain, resulting in transfer failure.
#4 Worst Year: 2008 Mazda CX-9
The 2008 Mazda CX-9 was fairly tame for brake booster issues; however, the hissing sound, which was prominent in many models listed above, was present this year along with a stiff pedal.
Overall, the year had a lot of varied issues, which is why I decided to place this model in 4th place. Water pump failure was a common issue and would lead to engine failure. This was on top of the fact that the engine would die while driving.
The years brought six different recalls, the Takata recall, and ball joint corrosion being the most prominent.
#5 Worst Year: 2013 Mazda CX-9
After the disaster of the 2012 Mazda CX-9, the company became determined to cut down on the problems affecting the model, which is why the 2013 Mazda CX-9 came with half the overall amount of complaints but still had enough to warrant me placing it in 5th place.
The major issue that the company had to fix was still not fixed as the brake booster was still acting up and posing a risk to the safety of everyone on the road. On top of this, the ball joint was still corroding, and the airbags were still exploding.
#6 Worst Year: 2014 Mazda CX-9
Despite being an overall okay vehicle, the 2014 Mazda CX-9 still had a lot of complaints surrounding different areas of the vehicle, which is why I am placing it at 6th place. This model suffered from only three recalls, which affected many of the lineup’s models.
The ball joint corrosion issue and the Takata Recall. Apart from this, the only thing that troubled customers were the dead battery and the windows, which a few customers claim to have exploded.
#7 Worst Year: 2016 Mazda CX-9
Taking the last place spot on this list is the 2016 Mazda CX-9. Similar to the 2014 model, the 2016 CX-9 is an okay vehicle but has a few problems sprinkled here and there, which hurt the model’s reputation and forced me to place it at last place.
The model did not get affected by any recalls however had somewhat of a common problem of premature brake wear. Other than this, the infotainment system was generally frowned upon.
What Are The Most Common Problems With The Mazda CX-9?
Not every car can be perfect, and while the Mazda CX-9 tries to achieve this, it fails to get even close in various models.
Here are a few common problems surrounding the model and what you can expect when owning a Mazda CX-9.
1. Airbag Issues And Takata Recall
The Takata recall is one of the biggest recalls in automobile history, which affected millions of cars and encompassed multiple different companies, including Mazda, whose CX-9 lineup was also affected.
This issue brought in a very dangerous situation where the airbags would explode upon activation and fling metal fragments towards the driver and the passengers, resulting in lethal injuries.
2. Valve Stem Corrosion And TPMS Warning
The Tire pressure monitoring system was mandatory and was forced to be integrated into all vehicles from September 2007. This system was designed to monitor the tire pressure to reduce blowouts.
Mazda’s system implementation was badly done, which led to the cap of the stem getting corroded, which would damage the sensor. These stems would then cause tire failure if left unchecked.
3. Brake Booster Failure
Customers complained about the loss of power assist in brakes, hissing noises coming from the pedal area, and a sudden loss of braking ability while driving, which is extremely dangerous.
All signs pointed towards faulty brake boosters, which prompted a government investigation. The investigation showed that the diaphragms of the rake boosters would develop tears which would allow leakages and cause the issue, further degrading as time passed.
4. Engine Failure
While most cars would have various engine related issues that would eventually lead to engine failure, the Mazda CX-9 skips right to the end, saving us all the time but none of the money as the only viable fix for the problem would be to get a new engine which would cost a hefty amount.
This issue would occur after around a year of driving or around 99,000 miles and was very common.
5. Water Pump Failure
This issue was a devastating one as not only would it affect the pump itself, but the problem would worsen to the point that coolant would start leaking into the engine.
This would, in turn, cause massive damage to the engine and lead to engine failure. The issue itself would occur at around 102,000 miles which is quite early into the life of the Mazda CX-9.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. Are Mazda CX-9 Expensive To Maintain?
In the period of the first ten years of driving the Mazda CX-9, you can expect to drop $7,574 on repairs and maintenance alone, which is quite less considering that it beats the industry average of cars in its class by $1,306, which is a good save.
It does, however, have roughly a quarter chance that it will require a major repair during this time which could bump this number up significantly.
Q2. Does Mazda CX-9 Have A Timing Belt Or Chain?
The Mazda CX-9 uses a V6 engine which does not support timing belts. Instead, the Mazda CX-9 uses a timing chain that has the same function as a timing belt but differs in the material used to make it.
The timing belts are less durable as they are made of rubber, but the timing chain is made of solid metal, which provides more durability.
Q3. What Is The Lifespan Of A Mazda CX-9?
Overall, this one is a very reliable car with a strong life expectancy of around 200k to 250k miles which is when you drive it without any major servicing or repairs.
However, if you do carry out regular maintenance and drive the car with respect, in that case, you can bump this up to 300k miles which is very respectable and stays true to Mazda’s promise on reliability and durability.
Q4. Where Is The Mazda CX-9 Built?
The Mazda CX-9 is manufactured, assembled, and built in the Hiroshima assembly plant in Japan. It is here that the entire first generation of the Mazda CX-9 was manufactured.
This assembly plant would continue to produce units for the second generation but would get some assistance from another assembly plant in Vladivostok, Russia.
Both Plants have made the Mazda CX-9 with the same reliability and integrity it is known for.
Q5. What Type Of Transmission Does A Mazda CX-9 Have?
All engines of the Mazda CX-9 are equipped with quality and powerful V6 engines, which are paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission.
This combination allows you to get amazing performance and speed from your vehicle and results in smooth shifting.
While it is said that the lineup does not have many options regarding the transmissions, such as manual or anything else, it is still a good transmission that you should consider.
The Mazda CX-9 is a solid lineup of mid-sized Sports Utility Vehicles which drive and feel like normal cars but have a large amount of passenger space and cargo storage, making them perfect for larger families.
The lineup offers amazing handling and performance and packs a lot of power. However, many models are affected by a nasty issue of brake boosters failing, which is not ideal.
Now that you know the best and worst years for Mazda CX-9, you should avoid the brake booster issue, which was quite common in the 2012 model, and get the best model in the lineup, such as the 2019 model.
Hi there! I am Tahir Azam, and this is my blog. WVDOT Automotive is a website dedicated to creating high-quality content for car enthusiasts. I am also an avid car driver. I own and drive a Porsche for my daily tasks. It is the perfect vehicle for my family. I am a proud father of two boys. I spend my mornings and evenings catering to clients at my very own software hub. After getting home, I dedicate a few hours of my time to create an article every day. Well, this is a short introduction about me and I am also a publisher on Amazon. I hope you enjoy reading through my articles, and I also hope that I may have helped you choose an upgrade for your vehicle.