Our Stormy Blue Mica tester is a Grand Touring model that boasts standard features like leather seating surfaces, along with hide-covered steering wheel and shift knob, eight-way power driver’s seat and Bluetooth hands-free connectivity. Options include Mazda’s Moonroof and Bose audio package ($2,255), navigation package ($1,665) and power liftgate ($400). With all options present and accounted for, our tester rang in at $39,990, including a $795 destination fee. From the outside, there haven’t been any changes to the CX-9 since its subtle refresh for 2010.

Yet while the form of the big Mazda crossover hasn’t been altered, it’s still a modern-looking and attractive outer shell. The CX-9 features many of the same distinctive styling elements of the smaller CX-7, but the larger utility vehicle appears less edgy and a bit more mature. We’re also fans of its nicely fitted 20-inch wheels, mated here to P245/50R20 all-season tires. The 20s are