With a new year comes new changes. For example, the 2023 Mazda CX-9 will no longer have the Sport trim, which was previously the base option. But don’t worry––drivers looking to get behind the wheel of Mazda’s luxurious and fun-to-drive three-row crossover will still have plenty of options to choose from. The Touring is now the starting trim, and it has some new features for the 2023 model year. The Touring Plus trim, which was first introduced for the 2022 CX-9, is still offered, as are the stylish Carbon Edition, the decked-out Grand Touring, and the top-of-the-line Signature. Let’s break down the 2023 CX-9 offerings trim by trim so that you can see what you get at each level.
Second-row captain’s chairs now come standard on the Touring, providing comfortable seating for up to six passengers, with a natural center pass that makes it easy for people to reach the third row. The second row also has slide and tilt functions for even more ways to access the back, so there are plenty of ways to seat passengers or store cargo. You can now choose between black or sand-colored leather seating as standard on the Touring as well, giving you the freedom to pick an interior shade that matches your style.
Newly standard LED fog lights cut through adverse weather with extra power, giving you visibility when you need it most. When the sun breaks through and you want to let more natural light into the cabin, you can use the standard power moonroof to enjoy the warm glow. Finally, a newly standard wireless phone charger makes it easy to keep all of your devices at full power without having to get tangled up in a bunch of fragile cables.
The CX-9’s Skyactiv-G 2.5 Turbo I-4 engine provides 250 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque, so you’ll have plenty of power, even if you need to quickly pass on the highway while carrying a full load of cargo. Mazda’s i-Activ AWD system puts this power to good use, actively monitoring weight distribution and boosting power to the right wheels for top-notch performance, quickly responding to changes in driving conditions. All CX-9 models come with Off-Road Traction Assist and G-Vectoring Control Plus, so you’ll be ready to tackle just about any situation that comes your way.
Standard safety features include a comprehensive suite of driver assistance tech that can help you drive with confidence. Smart Brake Support can mitigate or avoid forward collisions, Blind Spot Monitoring keeps you aware of your surroundings while changing lanes on the freeway, and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert warns you about approaching cars while you’re backing out of a parking space. Mazda Radar Cruise Control with Stop and Go lets you keep cruise control on even as traffic around you slows down and speeds back up since it allows you to keep a set distance between you and the vehicle in front of you rather than only keeping a set speed.
Other standard features are designed to provide the driver and passengers with comfort and convenience. These include heated front seats, an eight-way power driver’s seat with lumbar support, push-button start, a power liftgate, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, an onboard Wi-Fi hotspot, front and second-row dual USB ports, and three-zone automatic climate control. The rearview mirror also features auto-dimming, HomeLink connectivity, and a rearview camera feature, allowing you to switch between the regular mirror and a wide-view rear camera.
The Touring Plus
Instead of standard captain’s chairs in the second row, the Touring Plus comes standard with second-row bench seating, allowing it to seat up to seven. Though if you prefer captain’s chairs, that is an available option. In addition to all of the features included on the Touring, the Touring Plus also comes with comfort features like ventilated front seats that can supplement the AC when you want to cool down during hot weather and a power driver’s seat with memory. This means that you can program your preferred settings into the CX-9 and have the car remember them later, which can come in handy if you share your vehicle with others and don’t want to have to re-adjust your seat manually every time you switch drivers.
There are also a number of styling upgrades. The Touring Plus features black metallic 20-inch aluminum alloy wheels that match the gloss black front grille. Aluminum roof rails provide a shiny contrast while also serving and practical function. Inside, the Touring Plus features a sleek frameless rearview mirror.
The Carbon Edition
The Carbon Edition comes standard with heated captain’s chairs that have armrests, offering extra comfort to second-row passengers. On top of the standard features, the Carbon Edition also has a windshield wiper de-icer, a heated steering wheel, and paddle shifters, which allow driving enthusiasts to get an extra level of control by manually changing gears. A seven-inch LCD multi-information gauge display sits behind the steering wheel, putting important information directly within the driver’s natural line of sight. Rear Smart City Brake Support provides sensors and automatic braking when the vehicle is in reverse, and an Adaptive Front-Lighting System pivots the headlights as you turn, helping you see around curves in the road while driving at night.
There are also plenty of unique style features. As the name implies, the Carbon Edition is only available in an exclusive Polymetal Gray exterior paint color, and it’s accented by gloss black power-folding side-view mirrors and several chrome accents around the bottom of the body. On the interior, the seats are red leather, and there are aluminum and black metallic accents throughout the cabin.
The Grand Touring
For the Grand Touring, you have the choice between second-row bench seating or captain’s chairs with armrests; either way, the seats will be heated. A 360° View Monitor lets you get a visual on the area surrounding your vehicle, so you can navigate tight parking spots. The Active Driving Display projects important information like warnings, navigation, and vehicle speed directly onto the windshield so you can check them without taking your eyes off the road. Traffic Sign Recognition can read certain road signs and display them on the Active Driving Display. The Grand Touring also comes with services like Mazda Navigation and a three-year SiriusXM Traffic & Travel Link subscription, which provides information about traffic, weather, fuel prices, and parking. Style-wise, it features body-color power-folding side-view mirrors and silver metallic 20-inch aluminum alloy wheels.
The highest trim level, the Signature, comes with second-row captain’s chairs with a center console between them that features an armrest, a storage compartment, cupholders, and controls for the seats’ heating. The first and second rows feature Nappa leather trim in one of two available colors, Deep Chestnut and Parchment, as well as exclusive quilting and piping. The interior also features Santos Rosewood accents and patterned aluminum on the dash, plus unique stitching on the steering wheel, coming together to create a cohesive aesthetic throughout the cabin.
On the exterior, the Signature features 20-inch aluminum alloy wheels that have a bright silver finish. These pair with a titanium gray metallic finished front grille with LED lighting accent. In the back, there are larger dual exhaust pipes. The Signature also comes standard with a hands-free power liftgate that makes loading cargo more convenient.
Find a Trim Tailored to Your Needs
With the Sport trim discontinued, the CX-9 now comes standard with many features that are usually reserved for upper-level trims or confined to optional packages. These include luxury features like a moonroof as well as more practical offerings like Radar Cruise Control with Stop and Go. While there are still several desirable features that are exclusive to higher trim levels, the base 2023 CX-9 is a well-rounded offering that’s sure to please plenty of drivers.