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Don’t make any more sacrifices than is absolutely necessary. There are millions of people who need more space than a smart fortwo provides. Not everybody can spend Range Roveresque money on an SUV, either. Anticipating Porsche Boxster Spyder-style handling in anything other than a Porsche probably isn’t realistic. And wishing for Jeep Wrangler-like off-road ability is probably pushing it.

But what if you could lay out an interior so intelligently that there was space for seven inside without a gigantic footprint outside? There’s nothing wrong with a luxurious ambience. Surely a generous helping of horsepower and handling prowess will make up for the domestic appearance. Off-roading may be off your checklist, but a commanding ride height is helpful.
In the CX-9, Mazda has provided the optimal vehicle. Few, if any, mainstream CUVs are as sporty as the Mazda CX-9. Rarely does a vehicle come along with an interior layout so purposefully (yet stylishly) laid out. Mazda designed a wagon on stilts, and it shows in both handling and height. To be completely honest, the Mazda CX-9 is chock full of compromises. However, Mazda pinpointed the exact location at which these compromises would be most appropriate. In so doing, Mazda nailed each and every one. The Mazda CX-9 is the CUV for the car buyer who wants or even needs everything but needs to settle for a jack of all trades. The CX-9 happens to be one of the best jack of all trades consumers can find.
Engines: 273 horsepower; 270 lb-ft of torque from a 3.7L V6

Base USD Price: $29,385
Cargo Capacity: 100.7 cubic feet behind front row
Maximum Towing Capability: 2,000-3,500 pounds
City Mileage: 15-16 miles per gallon
Lug Loads: Three-row SUVs and crossovers are often criticized for being poorly constructed when it comes to cargo carrying competence. Either carry the peeps or the possessions; not both. The Mazda CX-9 can haul a greater volume of goods behind its third row than the Good 12-winning Mazda 6 can fit in its trunk. 17.2 trumps 16.6 cubic feet.