The all-new 2016 Mazda CX-9 is the newest addition to the manufacturers repertoire and we’re impressed by the styling and standard features in this three-row SUV.

We were excited to get a chance to check out their new flagship SUV. While it has been on the market for only a little while, there has been little bad press. And we now understand why.

Starting with the Kodo design styling of the front bumpers and sleek, aggressive-looking front headlights filled with powerful LEDs. It’s much more stylish than the outgoing CX-7, more aerodynamically styled.

The rear end has also been redesigned with sleeker styling in mind and has LED taillights as standard.

The CX-9 we drove was the Snowflake White Pearl Mica knight in shining accents to chase away a boring drive. Driving around, the modern looks of the Mazda CX-9 fit in well with the Infiniti, Acura, and BMW driving denizens of the Eastside.

It comes standard with 18-inch wheels, but we had the Grand Touring with 20-inch, multi-spoke alloy wheels the same metal hue as the accents around the windows.

Not only are the aesthetics snazzy, so is what’s under the hood.

The Skyactiv 2.5L turbocharged engine puts out 227 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. It has my favorite ‘Sport’ mode, but it isn’t needed in the CX-9.

Mazda has continually ensured their vehicles are fun to drive. Their Jinba Ittai – “Horse and Rider as One” – mentality means that the vehicles feel like an extension of your body. Tell it to do something with effortless ease and that’s exactly what it does; a symbiosis of sporty souls.

The 6-speed SkyActiv-Drive automatic transmission is no slouch, either. Shifting quickly enough for spirited driving. For all its 199-inches in length, the Mazda CX-9 does not move like a three-row SUV.

This model also came with Mazda’s i-Active all-wheel drive system which intelligently monitors driving inputs to offer the best handling for the conditions.

And, as you may have already guessed, we like all of that.

Though the other 6-passengers may not appreciate a drivers’ spirited cornering. This model also came with Mazda’s i-Active all-wheel drive system which intelligently monitors driving inputs to offer the best handling and torque for the conditions.

Captain’s chairs allow easy access to the rather spacious third-row seats while front seats have moderate bolstering and heated functionality. The leather trimmings and slender, aluminum accents gave the interior a grown-up feel.

We had business on Eastside and the CX-9 came with navigation in the Mazda Connect infotainment system. It gave directions as we cruised to some Bluetooth-connected Pandora music. The 8-inch color display had Mazda’s user-friendly interface.

The 2016 CX-9 Grand Touring also came with intelligent cruise control, which worked well in full-traffic around Bellevue and across the 520 bridge. It also has Smart City Brake Support and warning sensors all around for backing up, blind spots and lane departures.

So, it’s stylish, sporty, capable, comfortable and safe. The perfect package, perhaps?

We enjoyed our time with this sleek SUV. While we didn’t go anywhere outlandish with the 2016 Mazda CX-9, we took it to places it will hopefully find its way into. Places dominated by European badges and luxury-branded Japanese competitors.

And, for an MSRP of $43,170 (as driven), it is in the price range of those competitors, too.

To learn more about the all-new 2016 Mazda CX-9, please visit