"Is the Mazda CX-9's gas mileage poor compared to other SUVs?"
The Mazda CX-9's EPA ratings have been midpack to slightly lower among three-row SUVs, as noted in our review of the restyled 2013 model, but it is sliding toward the bottom as rivals introduce redesigned versions of their competing models.
Since it was introduced for the 2007 model year, the CX-9 has received a couple of styling updates, several additional features and a 3.7-liter V-6 in place of the original 3.5-liter. However, the basic design is 7 years old, making it one of the older SUVs on the market.
Here is how it stacks up against the EPA estimated for the other 2013 three-row crossover SUVs with V-6 engines:
Mazda CX-9, 17/24 mpg city/highway, front-wheel drive; 16/22 mpg, rear-wheel drive
Chevrolet Traverse, 17/24 FWD; 16/23 AWD
Ford Explorer, 17/24 FWD; 17/23 AWD
Honda Pilot, 18/25 FWD; 17/24 AWD
Hyundai Santa Fe, 18/25 FWD; 18/24, AWD
Nissan Pathfinder, 20/26 FWD; 19/25 AWD
Toyota Highlander, 18/24 FWD; 17/22 AWD
Notice that the SUVs with the highest EPA estimates are the two newest, the Santa Fe and Pathfinder. Both were redesigned for the 2013 model year. You will see higher fuel-economy numbers as manufacturers redesign these vehicles, including the CX-9.
Mazda hasn't said when a redesigned CX-9 will arrive, though we suspect it will be soon because it is overdue. Mazda has been posting significant fuel-economy increases as it incorporates its SkyActiv technologies in redesigned models. Stay tuned for further developments.