2022 Mazda CX-9 Signature

Mazda has prioritized the connection between the driver and the vehicle across their entire lineup.
Mazda has prioritized the connection between the driver and the vehicle across their entire lineup.

by Arthur Chiang | February 14, 2022


Now in its sixth year of production, the second generation Mazda CX-9 continues its award winning midsize crossover formula with this 2022 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD perched at the top of the range. Mazda’s Kodo “Soul of Motion” design language is on full display with the second gen CX-9’s long sleek silhouette giving it an elegant dynamic appearance.

Our tester is presented in Machine Grey Metallic Paint which looks great paired with the chrome exterior accents exuding an air of sophistication. Chrome can be tricky sometimes but on the CX-9 it really works. The Signature model’s exterior upgrades include a unique Titanium Metallic finish for the front grille insert, LED illuminated grill accent, larger unique dual chrome exhaust outlets and a special light grey, high-lustre finish for the 20-inch wheels sporting 255-series tires. Unlocking the car with the keyless entry remote activates auto folding mirrors adding a bit of theater to the proceedings.

Mazda has gone to great lengths to move their entire lineup upscale in the interior department and the CX-9 Signature, as the flagship for the brand, does not disappoint. The heated and ventilated dark chestnut Nappa leather is as much a feast for the eyes as a comfortable place to sit, with the seats’ cross stitched quilt pattern accompanied by white piping accents. Trim is presented in a beautiful Santos Rosewood on the center console and switch panels. The steering wheel feels good in hand with its soft supple leather, and the seating position feels sportier than you might expect from a three-row SUV.

The instrument cluster consists of a configurable color display sporting a digital representation of an analog speedometer, flanked by actual analog dials for the tachometer and fuel and temperature gauges. Also standard is a color HUD including the traffic sign recognition system. We know the system really works as it displays the stop signs in an underground parking garage.

Passengers in the second row are also given the first class treatment with equally decadent captain’s chairs and plenty of legroom. A split center armrest storage console is identical to the front row complete with dual chrome lipped cup holders, heated seat controls, and USB ports making this a nice place to be. The third row also has ports and a pair of cup holders but lacks headroom and legroom compared to other third-rows in the segment. Cargo room is decent with the row seats folded down. A hands-free programmable height lift gate is a nice convenience for those with reduced height parking.

Although equipped with a 10.25-inch screen, the lack of a touchscreen interface really dates the infotainment system. Operated through a rotary dial, tasks such as entering an address for navigation are a real chore. Apple Car Play and Android Auto support alleviate this to an extent, though the smartphone should really not be relied on as an input device for obvious safety reasons. On the plus side this means the infotainment and three-zone climate controls are all physical buttons, a welcomed sight after spending some time in some more touchscreen dependent vehicles.

The Bose premium sound system includes 12 speakers, road noise compensation technology, and signal processing that delivers the power and clarity you expect in a flagship level mid-size SUV. The CX-9 is equipped with cameras all around creating a top down 360-degree view to aid navigation through tight parking situations, though we did find a reverse camera bug where it would appear on screen when moving the shifter to Drive that would not clear until we pressed one of the Home, Entertainment or Navigation shortcut buttons.

For 2022 Mazda delivers a wide array of active safety features to the CX-9 line up. Active Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Radar Cruise Control and Smart City Brake Support (automatic braking when radar sensors predict an imminent collision at parking speeds) are now standard across the range. The Signature trim adds Smart City Brake Support when reversing as well as Driver Attention Alert, a system that learns your driving when traveling above 65km/h and suggests a rest stop through a chime and a display on the instrument cluster if it detects abnormalities in driving patterns.

Where the CX-9 really excels is in the driving experience. Mazda has prioritized the connection between the driver and the vehicle across their entire lineup and it shows with surprisingly nimble handling dynamics for a three-row crossover. Steering input feels direct and the suspension tuning allows the chassis to change direction quickly. Mazda’s i-ACTIV all-wheel-drive system constantly monitors driving conditions and shuffles power around accordingly delivering the best traction available at all times.

Thanks to the “G-Vectoring Control Plus” feature that shifts the vehicle’s weight to the front wheels when detecting steering inputs, drivers can really feel Mazda’s sports car DNA shine through when comparing the CX-9’s handling to its cohorts.  The SKYACTIV-G 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder delivers 250 hp and 320 lb-ft. of torque when using premium fuel, and feels strongest in the low to mid-range. At highway speeds a small dip of the throttle is all that is necessary to get satisfying turbo backed push for passing maneuvers.

With the surging cost of gas buyers may find some respite in the CX-9’s ability to run on 87-octane fuel, albeit with a reduced 227 hp on tap. Mazda engineers have worked hard to maximize fuel efficiency through engineering – be it from the 10.5:1 compression ratio (one of the highest for a turbocharged four-cylinder) or by minimizing drivetrain loss and reducing weight with the AWD system. This shows in the favorable fuel economy ratings of 11.0L/100km city and 9.0L/100km highway. We observed a respectable 11.4 L/100 km with an even mix of winter conditions.

The GS base model starts at $43,031 with the same powertrain and i-Activ AWD system as the upper trim levels. The GS-L adds a little more luxury for $46,781, while the fully loaded GT trim is $52,031.  Those looking for a CX-9 that will really stand out can opt for the Kuro or Signature trim levels priced at $53,531 and $54,931 respectively. The crossover segment is fiercely competitive but with its sophisticated appearance, comfortable interior and its fun driving dynamics the 2022 Mazda CX-9 Signature ADW still deserves strong consideration from buyers.

See Also:

2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

2021 Honda Pilot Black Edition

First Drive: 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Vehicle Specs
Three-Row Crossover
Engine Size
2.5L turbocharged inline-four
Horsepower (at RPM)
250 at 5,000
Torque (lb-ft.)
320 at 2,500
Fuel Efficiency (L/100km, City/Highway/Combined)
Observed Fuel Efficiency (L/100km)
Cargo Capacity (in L)
Base Price (CAD)
As-Tested Price (CAD)
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About Arthur Chiang

Staff Writer

Arthur is a walking encyclopedia of cars and is a known go-to source for obscure JDM parts in Ontario. He’s an avid track junkie and has amassed a collection of rare Subarus and Hondas.

Current Toys: ’00 WRX STI S201, '03 Impreza TS Wagon, ’98 WRX STI Type R, ’05 S2000, ’72 H2 750, ’08 Ruckus