Mazda CX 9 Years To Avoid

Mazda CX 9 Years To Avoid – Which Model Years Are Good?

Are you looking to purchase a second-hand Mazda CX-9 and you are looking for the Mazda CX 9 years to avoid? Well, if that is the case, then you are at the right place because there will be quite a lot to cover on this topic.

Doing your own research before you decide to spend money on a car should be one of your top priorities. Especially nowadays when prices of cars are going through the roof. The days when cars were affordable and easy to obtain are long gone. Nowadays prices are high and frankly, the best cars often cost a lot.

So, you need to put up your sleeves and start learning more about the model that you plan to purchase before you buy. Currently, on the market, there are hundreds of models and each of these models has different generations.

So, the possibilities for possible problems are pretty much endless. So, before you buy, your task would be to find the models that are the least prone to issues. This way, you will have hundreds or even thousands in the long run. But you shouldn’t worry because we are going to help you out.

First, we will cover a bit about Mazda and learn about this Japanese carmaker. Then, we will cover the basics of the Mazda CX-9 and understand its core concepts. Later on, we will cover both generations of the CX-9. We will learn more about its specs, common problems, reliability, the best year, and also the Mazda CX 9 years to avoid. So, if you want to learn more, follow along.


Now before we cover the CX-9 model and the Mazda CX 9 years to avoid, let’s take a look at Mazda in general and learn more about this carmaker. This will be a good chance for people who are not familiar with the brand to familiarize themselves. So, let’s cover the history of Mazda.

If you didn’t know, Mazda is a Japanese carmaker. In fact, they are one of the oldest carmakers in Japan. The company was founded in 1920 by Jujiro Matsuda in Fuchu, Hiroshima, Japan.

The company first started as a cork-producing factory. It was in 1931 when Mazda moved on to produce wheeled products. The first of the wheeled products was the Mazda-Go. The Mazda-Go was a rickshaw. The rickshaw is something like a motorcycle in a way used mainly in Asia.

During WW2, they produced firearms and the first vehicle that was released from the production line was the Mazda R360 in 1960. Then followed the Mazda Carol in 1962 and after that, a lot of new models followed.

But what is interesting about Mazda is its rotary engine. This engine is known as the Wankel engine and was named after its inventor Felix Wankel. This rotary engine works in a different way than the standard piston gas-powered engine that we know today. And this engine was included in some quite legendary Mazda models like the Mazda RX-7 and RX-8 from the newer models.

And Mazda was really popular in the US. Especially after the 1973 oil crisis that forced a lot of people to downsize and get cars with smaller engines. But this success has faded away in recent years and most of the kids right now are not quite familiar with Mazda, unfortunately.

Mazda CX 9

We learned more about Mazda and its legendary status in the US market. Even though Mazda is not a big player anymore, they still sell quite a lot of cars. And one of these cars is the Mazda CX-9. So, let’s take a look at what is this model all about before we start investigating deeper and learn about the specs of the model and the Mazda CX 9 years to avoid.

If you didn’t know, the Mazda CX-9 is a mid-size SUV that was created from the successful partnership of Mazda and Ford and they released the first generation in 2006. Even though Mazda planned to produce this model for the Japanese market, the size of this vehicle made this impossible since it is so large and was mostly sold here in the US market. While the smaller CX-8 was sold in Japan.

Mazda CX 9 Years To Avoid

Ford and Mazda jointly created a platform for this engine that is known as the CD3 platform. This platform was shared among many Ford, Mercury, Lincoln, and Mazda models. Namely, the Ford Edge, Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan, Lincoln MKZ, Mazda6, and the Mazda CX-9.

This means that these vehicles are basically sharing the same DNA. Even though Mazda prefers to use its own engines and Ford is using their own designs.

So, later, on we are going to see which type of engines this model is using. The important thing for now that you need to understand is that this model has two separate generations.

The first was a product of the Ford-Mazda partnership, while the second generation is a genuine Mazda model. But more about that we are going to cover later on where we will elaborate on the Mazda CX 9 years to avoid.

Mazda CX-9 Years To Avoid

Here are some of the worst model years of the Mazda CX 9 to avoid…

2009 Mazda CX-9

Transitioning from the 2008 model, the 2009 Mazda CX-9 made significant improvements, especially with earlier complaints. However, some of the 2008 issues lingered. The most notable concern was still the water pump. Some drivers experienced it failing after the 90,000-mile mark, leading to potential engine complications.

Furthermore, there were isolated complaints about the SUV’s electronic systems. Some reported minor glitches with the infotainment system, causing minor inconveniences during drives.

2013 Mazda CX-9

After the repeated brake issues of the 2012 model, Mazda aimed for improvements in the 2013 version. However, the brake concerns persisted. By now, this has become a notorious trend for the CX-9 models. The hard braking issue, where drivers had to exert excessive force, was still prevalent. This not only increased the risk of accidents but also heightened maintenance costs.

There was also an increase in complaints regarding the SUV’s electrical system. Reports ranged from malfunctioning lights to infotainment glitches.

2014 Mazda CX-9

The 2014 model showcased Mazda’s attempt to rectify past mistakes. Initial impressions were positive, with fewer reports of brake malfunctions. However, as the vehicle aged, problems started to emerge. Transmission became a new area of concern. Some owners reported a lag in gear shifts, leading to erratic driving experiences.

Moreover, issues with the power steering became evident. Owners shared instances of steering becoming stiff, causing concerns during high-speed maneuvers.

2015 Mazda CX-9

Hoping to end the first generation on a high, the 2015 CX-9 had big shoes to fill. It successfully addressed most of the brake and transmission issues of its predecessors. However, it wasn’t without its quirks. Some drivers reported problems with the air conditioning system, with it not cooling as effectively after a few years.

Additionally, there were isolated complaints about the vehicle’s fuel system. Some drivers mentioned reduced fuel efficiency over prolonged use, resulting in increased fuel costs.

2017 Mazda CX-9

After the problematic 2016 model, the 2017 Mazda CX-9 aimed to restore faith. While it managed to reduce many of the prior issues, it wasn’t free from complaints. The key problem revolved around the vehicle’s suspension system. Some drivers felt the ride was less smooth compared to previous models, especially on uneven terrains.

To add, there were minor issues reported related to the vehicle’s interior. Some of the trims and fittings seemed less durable, leading to early wear and tear.

The Mazda CX-9, while a popular SUV, had its fair share of problematic years. From brake malfunctions to transmission issues, potential buyers should be aware of these concerns. By staying informed, you can make a better decision when considering a used Mazda CX-9. It’s always a good practice to review vehicle history and get a trusted mechanic’s opinion before finalizing a purchase.

Mazda CX 9 Generations

Now since we learned what the CX-9 models are and covered the basic information for you to understand the core concepts about this vehicle. We think that now it is time to cover some of the specs of the CX-9 before we cover the Mazda CX 9 years to avoid.

In the following chapters, we are going to cover the first and second generation, with a prime focus on the specs, fuel economy, common problems, reliability, best years, and the Mazda CX 9 years to avoid. So, if you want to learn more, follow along.

First Generation Mazda CX 9 (2007 – 2015)

The first generation of the Mazda CX-9 was introduced in 2006 and 2007 was the first production year of this model. This model was produced up until 2015 when it was replaced with the present generation. The model was produced at the Hiroshima plant in Japan.

This generation of the CX-9 was a result of the partnership between Ford and Mazda. This model is based on the Ford CD3 platform that was shared with the Ford Edge, Ford Fusion, Lincoln MKZ, Mercury Milan, and the Mazda6.

This allowed Mazda and Ford to borrow between them different components and help reduce costs. So, the Cyclone or Duratec engines were named MZI for Mazda models.

Nevertheless, what is interesting about this model is that it has a wheelbase of 113.2 inches and an overall length of 199.8 inches. This places this model in the mid-size category. And we all know what this means, it means three-row seats and the ability to accommodate up to 7 passengers. But what about the Mazda CX 9 years to avoid? More on that in a bit.

Engines & Transmissions

In terms of engines, this model included two. The first engine was only for the 2007 model, it was a 3.5L MZI V6 that produced 263hp and 249lb-ft of torque.

The second engine that was introduced in 2008 and was used during the whole production stint was a 3.7L MZI V6 engine that produced 273hp and 270lb-ft of torque.

The transmission used in this model was an Aisin 6-speed automatic. But what about the Mazda CX 9 years to avoid? More on that we are going to cover in a bit.

Fuel Economy

The fuel economy of the model was average, it got 16 mpg in the city, 22 mpg on the highway, and 19 mpg combined.


The safety of the Mazda CX-9 was not the greatest. On the IIHS tests, it performed averagely low on the 2014 testing. Especially on the small overlap test. So, if you want something safer, this model isn’t quite the one that you are looking for.

On the NHTSA tests, the model got an overall 4-star out of 5 stars.

Mazda CX 9 Problems

In this generation of the CX-9, the biggest problems are concerning the engine. The engine was very prone to head gasket failures as well as water pump failures.

The engine is very prone to blowing head gaskets and allowing the engine oil to mix with the coolant making a big milky sludge inside of the engine block. Not an ideal thing.

Both the water pump and head gasket can cause catastrophic engine failure. And there are more than a dozen instances of situations that ended up with replacing the whole engine reported on And these problems are consistent over the whole life of the model. So, beware of the models produced between 2007 and 2015 for these issues.

Another very big problem that is concerned with the overall safety of the car is the problem with the brakes. The brakes on these models tend to wear out prematurely, causing a ton of noise, the brake booster failure, and many other brake malfunctions reported on

And all these problems similar to the previous problems are reported throughout the whole production stint of the model. But what are the Mazda CX 9 years to avoid? More on that we are going to cover in a bit.

Mazda CX 9 Reliability

When it comes to the reliability of this model, we can say that it is quite an average performer. Not good and not terrible.

The water pump and the head gasket are its weakest point. And it is a pity that the engineers didn’t figure this problem out considering that the model was in production from 2007 to 2015 and the same problems troubled a lot of people. But what about the Mazda CX 9 years to avoid? More on that we are going to cover in a bit.

Mazda CX 9 Best Years

When it comes to the best years of this model, it is really hard to name one. According to the website. The 2009 model has the least complaints of all. Also, 2013, 2014, and 2015 are not bad years when it comes to people complaining about the model. But what are the Mazda CX 9 years to avoid? More on that we are going to cover next.

Mazda CX 9 Years To Avoid

When it comes to the Mazda CX 9 years to avoid, we would definitely recommend you to avoid the 2010, 2011, and 2012 model years. These have the most complaints indicating engine failures because of a bad water pump (you can learn more in our guide on what is the water pump in a car and what does the water pump do in a car) as well as a problem with the brakes when the brake booster failed and had to be replaced. Now let’s move on to the second generation.

Second Generation Mazda CX 9 (2016 – Present)

The second generation of the Mazda CX-9 was first shown at the LA Auto Show in 2015 and 2016 was the first production year of this model. This new model is not a collaboration with Ford. Which is good and later on we are going to see why. The important thing is that this model was assembled in Hiroshima, Japan.

This new generation is based on a new Mazda platform that is shared between the Mazda Atenza, Mazda6, and the CX-9. This allowed Mazda to implement its own technologies. Namely, the Skyactiv technologies that allow the car to be one of the most fuel-efficient in its class.

This model has a wheelbase of 115.4 inches and an overall length of 199.8 inches. And this puts the Mazda CX-9 in the mid-size category. Since it is a mid-size SUV, this means that this is a 3-row SUV and you can easily accommodate up to 7 people in this car.

And even though this model has a longer wheelbase, it is actually almost 200 lbs lighter when it comes to the FWD model and more than 290 lbs when it comes to the AWD model compared to its predecessor. But what about the Mazda CX 9 years to avoid? More on that we are going to cover in a bit. Now let’s take a look at what type of engines and transmissions this model is using.

Engines & Transmissions

This new model implements a completely new engine that is a genuine Mazda engine. Not like in the previous generation where we saw the use of rebranded Ford engines.

In this generation, the CX-9 is using the 2.5L inline-4 turbocharged engine that implements Mazda’s Skyactiv technologies. This engine is producing 227hp and 310lb-ft of torque.

In terms of transmissions, there is only one available. And that is a 6-speed automatic transmission. But what about the Mazda CX 9 years to avoid? More on that we are going to cover in a bit.

Fuel Economy

When it comes to fuel economy, this model performs rather well. It gets 21 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. The combined fuel economy is 23 mpg. One of the best in its class.


When it comes to safety, we can say that this model is rather good. Much better than the previous generation which was lacking in some basic areas.

The 2017 model of the CX-9 was tested by the IIHS and got Good scores on most of the tests. And the most important one where it scored well in comparison to the previous generation was the driver-side small overlap test.

This 2017 model also got the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award by the IIHS and honestly, it deserved it. But what about the Mazda CX 9 years to avoid? More on that we are going to cover in a bit. Now let’s take a look at the problems that this model has.

Mazda CX 9 Problems

One problem that was detected in this generation was a cylinder head crack that allowed coolant to leak. This was reportedly a casting problem. Namely, factory defects. There is only one report on about this issue on the 2016 model.

There is also a technical service bulletin issued by Mazda on this issue which notes that there are affected CX-9 models from 2016 to 2020 with VIN lower than JM3TC******422801. More information you can read more about it through this link.

When it comes to other problems, there is an issue with the infotainment system that was reported on the 2016 model. There were some owners who reported that the infotainment did not work properly and this caused using other systems like the rear backup camera not possible. But there was also an action by Mazda about fixing this issue as well according to an owner on

Other minor problems reportedly were with the trim falling off in some places. But this is not a big deal overall. But what are the Mazda CX 9 years to avoid? More on that we are going to cover in a bit.

Mazda CX 9 Reliability

When it comes to the overall reliability, we can say that the second generation of the CX-9 is a fairly reliable model. The engine except for some engines that are affected by badly casted cylinder heads is quite good. The transmission is also very good, the safety is very much improved.

Mazda CX 9 Years To Avoid

So, considering these facts, we can say that the CX-9 of the second generation is a pretty good vehicle overall and is definitely worth your attention. The only thing you should be wary of is the VIN numbers that affect the problem with the cylinder heads and you will be good. But what are the Mazda CX 9 years to avoid? More on that we are going to cover next.

Mazda CX 9 Best Years

When it comes to the best years for the Mazda CX-9 model, we would recommend getting a 2021 or later model year. Namely, because these models are not affected by the cylinder head problem.

If you still want to get an older model, just beware of this problem and make sure that the VIN number is not affected by this issue and you will be good. Now let’s take a look a the Mazda CX 9 years to avoid.

Mazda CX 9 Years To Avoid

When it comes to the Mazda CX 9 years to avoid, we would say to avoid the 2016 model. As with every other first year of a production model. The 2016 model is prone to problems.

These problems are mostly associated with the infotainment system. The system in these first production-year models is rather problematic and can cause malfunctions of the rearview camera, as well as with other systems in the car. So, this is a problem that is worth your attention.

Overall, the other production years are really good and do not carry issues. Except as we mentioned some engines are affected by the problem with the coolant leaks. This is an issue caused by a poor casting process.

In Conclusion…

In this article, we covered the Mazda CX-9 model. First, we learned what the CX-9 is and its core concepts.

Then we moved on and covered the CX-9 generations. We learned something about their specs, common problems, reliability, best years, and also the Mazda CX 9 years to avoid. And we gave our verdict on which models are good performers and which of them are not.

Mazda CX 9 Years To Avoid

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Now let’s answer some frequently asked questions.

Where Are Mazdas Made

Mazda models are made in Japan primarily. There are two factories. One in Aki, Hiroshima, and the second factory in Hofu, Yamaguchi. Currently, there is no factory in the US. But in a few years hopefully, one will be opened in Huntsville, Alabama.

Is Mazda Luxury

Well, their models are more upscale, that’s for sure. But overall, they are not like Mercedes Benz or BMW. A comparison with Acura or Infiniti is much closer if you are asking me.

How Long Do Mazdas Last

Mazda models last for quite some time. These models easily last for 200,000 miles with no problem. Still, it really depends on the model itself. Those that were built with Ford, not so much. But their most recent models are really good when it comes to their lifespan.

Are Mazdas Reliable

Yes, especially newer models that were not built along with Ford are really reliable and do not have many problems. Especially models that use the Skyactiv technologies. These will give you the best fuel economy as well as a good driving experience.

What Is The Biggest Mazda SUV

The biggest SUV produced by Mazda is the CX-9. This SUV is a mid-size SUV that has three-row seating as well as it can accommodate up to 7 people with no problem whatsoever.

How Much Can A Mazda CX 9 Tow

The Mazda CX-9 is not intended for towing and can tow as any other vehicle in its class. Which is 3,500lbs. If you want something more capable, you should look for a pickup truck.

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