Driving 104 new cars (give or take) a year allows for a lot of surprise and discovery. It also allows for repeat visits every year or so from old favorites.
While some cars start to feel long in the tooth, the 2022 Mazda CX-9 isn't one of them. This is a vehicle I've always enjoyed, and it cemented our relationship five years ago during one of the epic camping trips my wife and I took in the before times (and hope to resume next summer).
Changes for the CX-9 have been largely incremental, and focused on an interior refresh and updates to the (still somewhat balky) infotainment system. Under the hood, it's the same 227 horsepower 2.5-liter turbo four mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. If there's one area where I would argue the CX-9 is outdated, it's the lack of more gears, which would help the vehicle's just-okay EPA fuel economy estimate of 20 miles per gallon in the city and 26 on the highway.
The CX-9 has benefitted from Mazda's move to a more premium feel for its vehicles. In terms of materials as well as fit and finish, the CX-9 feels more competitive with Audi and Mercedes than with Toyota and Nissan.
The base price of the 2022 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD, the model's top of the line, is $47,210. For that, you get an exhaustive list of standard equipment, including 20-inch alloy wheels, rain-sensing windshield wipers, Nappa leather-trimmed seats, heated and ventilated up front, heated in the second row, a three-zone automatic climate control, a power moonroof, navigation, a 12-speaker Bose audio system and a full suite of active safety features.
The only extra-cost option on our test vehicle was $395 for the Snowflake White Pearl paint, so with $1,225 delivery, processing and handling fee, the as-tested price of the 2022 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD is $48,830.
A three-row crossover with that kind of feature content and that kind of interior for under $50k is a serious bargain. The Mazda CX-9 is probably going to be replaced by a new generation (likely branded the CX-90) fairly soon. But this is a vehicle that was so good at introduction that time hasn't fully caught up with it yet. If one shows up in my driveway next year, I won't be disappointed.