Best & Worst Mazda CX-9 Years

We've ranked all Mazda CX-9 models for every generation so you can avoid picking the worst Mazda CX-9 years and pick the absolute best Mazda CX-9 year!

In this guide, I’ll analyze all Mazda CX-9 generations, revealing the best CX-9 years to buy and the worst Mazda CX-9 years to avoid.

Using reliable sources like NHTSA, Consumer Reports, and VehicleHistory, I’ve combined user reviews, official recalls, and performance data to provide a holistic view of the vehicle’s history.

In anticipation, I’ll unveil why specific years of the Mazda CX-9 are the best years for potential buyers and which model years to avoid, providing insights into common problems, owner complaints, and recalls.

Let’s dive right in!

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Table of ContentsShow

Mazda CX-9 Generations

The Mazda CX-9 emerged in 2007 as a family-friendly crossover emphasizing driving pleasure, a signature of Mazda vehicles.

Its first generation introduced a spacious three-row seating arrangement, a powerful V6 engine, and available all-wheel drive, setting a high bar for a blend of practicality and performance in its class.

Below is a table outlining all Mazda CX-9 generations from 2007 to 2023.

1st generation (TB)2007-2015
2nd generation (TC)2016-2023

These generational divisions are crucial for potential buyers to consider, as each offers distinct advancements and improvements that could significantly influence a purchasing decision.

Mazda CX-9 Best, Neutral, and Worst Years

When we assess the Mazda CX-9’s best and worst model years, our rankings and categorizations consider a comprehensive array of factors:

  • Owner-reported reliability (surveys)
  • Annual maintenance costs
  • Safety ratings
  • Consumer Reports reliability scores
  • Consumer Reports owner satisfaction scores
  • NHTSA recalls, investigations, and complaints
  • Edmunds owner ratings
  • JD Power owner ratings
  • Kelley’s Blue Book (KBB) owner ratings
  • VehicleHistory owner ratings
  • owner ratings

Discover the collective ratings of Mazda CX-9 model years summarized in our upcoming graph.

Mazda CX 9 Car Smite Score Combined Overall Score

Next, we present a table categorizing all model years of the Mazda CX-9 as the best, neutral, and worst years.

GenerationBest YearsNeutral YearsWorst Years
1st generation (TB)2007
2nd generation (TC)2018

Neutral Years typically don’t possess the same consistent high marks as the best years but don’t suffer from the pronounced issues that characterize the worst years.

Certain factors, like NHTSA recalls, can significantly detract from a vehicle’s reliability rating. The more complaints and recalls a car has, its dependability is questioned.

Let’s dive into the best, neutral, and worst Mazda CX-9 years.

Best & Worst Years for Mazda CX-9 1st Generation (2007-2015)

Mazda CX 9 1st generation 2007 model
The 2007 Mazda CX-9

The 1st Generation Mazda CX-9 premiered with aspirations of merging sports car liveliness with SUV practicality. Introduced in 2007, it assured a family-friendly ride with a hint of Mazda’s renowned ‘Zoom-Zoom’ driving exhilaration.

2007, 2008, and 2013-2015 are Mazda CX-9’s best years regarding overall reliability and price, while 2009-2012 are the worst Mazda CX-9 years to avoid.

The Best Years: 2007, 2008, 2013, 2014, 2015

A well-received combination of performance, comfort, and reliability marked the first-generation Mazda CX-9’s best years – 2007, 2008, 2013, 2014, and 2015.

The 2007 and 2008 Mazda CX-9 models began the lineup with a strong foundation, offering a 3.5L MZI V6 engine, succeeded by a 3.7L MZI V6 from 2008 onwards, paired with a six-speed automatic transmission that delivered smooth and responsive power.

In terms of trim, the Grand Touring variant stood out with luxurious touches and advanced technology, including safety features like roll stability control and blind-spot monitoring introduced during these years.

The facelifted 2013-2015 Mazda CX-9 models benefited from Mazda’s continuous improvements, boasting more refined interiors and updated infotainment options.

These model years avoided the significant mechanical issues that plagued their predecessors, making them a safer bet for used car buyers.

The Worst Years: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012

Considering various reliability concerns, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 are the Mazda CX-9 years to avoid without any doubt.

Recurrent brake issues, especially with the 2009 Mazda CX-9 model, led to a tarnished reputation in this period.

The 2010-2012 Mazda CX-9 models suffered from a faulty power transfer unit design that caused the gear lubricant to sludge and the widely reported brake failures that Mazda struggled to rectify.

Additionally, water pump failures were a serious concern, as they could lead to engine stalling and significant internal damage.

Recalls were issued for the chronic problem of front suspension ball joint corrosion.

See NHTSA 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 Mazda CX-9 recalls and complaints.

Best & Worst Years for Mazda CX-9 2nd Generation (2016-2023)

Mazda CX 9 2nd generation 2016 model
The 2016 Mazda CX-9

Introduced in 2016, the second-generation Mazda CX-9 marked a significant evolution in design, performance, and technology for the family-sized SUV.

2016 and 2017 are the worst Mazda CX years you should avoid at all costs in this generation, while 2018-2022 are CX-9’s best years.

The Best Years: 2018, 2019, 2020, 2022

The 2018 to 2020 and 2022 Mazda CX-9 models are considered some of the best years for the second generation, benefitting from Mazda’s continual refinement of design and engineering.

These models are powered by a 2.5L  Skyactiv-G PY-VPTS turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which delivers an engaging driving experience with up to 250 hp when using premium fuel, paired with a six-speed Skyactiv-Drive automatic transmission.

The 2022 Mazda CX-9 model maintained the performance standard while offering an improved fuel economy of around 20 city/26 highway mpg for the 4WD version.

These years featured increased standard safety technology, such as automated emergency braking and blind-spot monitoring.

However, some 2018 and 2019 Mazda CX-9 owners reported coolant leaks.

The Neutral Years: 2021, 2023

The 2021 and 2023 Mazda CX-9 models represent the impartial years for the second generation, providing a balance between the early teething problems of the first releases and the fully matured models of the best years.

These iterations persisted with the improved 2.5L turbocharged engine and introduced gradual updates to safety and convenience features, including improvements to the driver assistance suite and infotainment system upgrades.

Although these models did not introduce groundbreaking changes or significant improvements over the best years, they also did not suffer from major reliability issues, making them a solid choice for consumers seeking recent-year models without wanting to pay the premium for the latest versions.

The Worst Years: 2016, 2017

For the second generation, the 2016 and 2017 models of the Mazda CX-9 faced some challenges that landed them in the worst years category, which you should avoid buying.

Early in the second generation, these models exhibited issues with the engine, such as cracked cylinder heads that led to coolant leaks, potentially causing overheating and subsequent engine damage.

See NHTSA 2016, 2017 Mazda CX-9 recalls and complaints.

Mazda CX-9 Resale Values

Explore this graph showcasing the average resale values of the Mazda CX-9 over the years.

Mazda CX 9 Average List Price


Having navigated the peaks and valleys of the Mazda CX-9’s history, it’s now clear that the best Mazda CX-9 years are 2018-2020 and 2022, while it’s wise to avoid the 2016 and 2017 editions.

What year did you choose for your Mazda CX-9, and what influenced your decision?

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Jonathan Eckert

Jonathan is an ASE-certified mechanic with over 22 years of hands-on experience in the automotive industry. His expertise spans a wide range of vehicles, but he specializes in diagnosing and repairing Japanese cars. His previous workplace highly commended his meticulous attention to detail, and that's exaclty what he uses at Car Smite to craft the best guides for each purpose.