I purchased my CX9 after trading in my Wrangler. I wanted something with more room and better mileage. Looking good and having some extras was a plus but it wasn't my main goal. I wanted a car that would last, that my kids could grow into and remain comfortable. The biggest plus for the CX9 is the space. Cargo space. Passenger space. Cargo AND passenger space. The seats are comfortable, fairly ergonomic, and are situated to allow plenty of leg room. After the space, the vehicle itself is designed in such a manner that it makes driving it a very simple thing. Driving in Dallas and Fort Worth traffic is a harrying experience, but the CX9 makes it easier with the controls on the wheel, the nav system (if you have one, I do not), the built in bluetooth, and especially its handling. The SUV handles like a dream. None of the topsy flip feeling I had in the Wrangler, or in the minivan my mom used to have. When it's time to get up and move, it responds very well. My only complaint is the mileage, it's a little thirstier for the gas than I anticipated, but it's still WAY better than what I had before, and for a car its size, I really shouldn't complain at all. Overall, smooth ride, excellent handling, tonnnns of space, and very comfortable.
When comparing against its competitors, the CX-9 is a relatively small sales volume car and is priced less. Plenty of power, plenty of amenities, and much more space in the rear than you would imagine. A great traveling car. I'm 6'5", and the front seat roof height is still OK, though close. The 2nd row rear seats have more room than my XJ-8 and the 3rd row seats are actually usable.
I love my Mazda CX-9! I needed something larger to transport kids and their friends, I dreaded getting a new car because I am really not a big car kind of person. I test drove Infiniti, Acura, Honda and nothing came close to the Mazda! For being as large as it is, it is actually quite zippy and not a bore to drive! The space inside is amazing and it is easy to maneuver the seats. It has a lot of creature comforts, and all in all is just a really nice vehicle. I could not be happier. This was my first Mazda, but will not be my last.