The 2020 Mazda CX-9 embraces some contradictions for a three-row crossover SUV. Mazda’s largest vehicle leads the competition by a long nose when it comes to length, yet its shorter height results in less cargo room than the Honda Pilot, Kia Telluride, and the Subaru Ascent. Its sporty design enables the CX-9 to handle more nimbly than the competition yet it has the weakest engine output. Stellar safety scores highlight its family charm, yet the cramped third row diminishes its utility.

Lastly, but certainly not least, the top Signature trim edges Mazda deeper into premium territory belonging to Buick, Lexus, Infiniti, Acura, and perhaps even Cadillac. It comes with a premium price of just less than $50,000. 

What all those contradictions amount to is a 6.5 TCC Rating for the 2020 Mazda CX-9. That score would be higher with the fully loaded Signature trim I tested in…

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