The Mazda CX-9 brilliantly combines a sophisticated look and luxurious features with a sporty driving experience. But how does it do when it comes to towing a load? Can you tow a camper with the CX-9? We've researched this topic at length, and here's what you need to know:
All Mazda CX-9s can tow a trailer when properly equipped. However, different model years and configurations have different maximum towing capacities. Here's a quick breakdown of the maximum towing weight for the CX-9:
- 2016 - 2021
- 3,500 pounds
- 2007 - 2015
- With the tow prep package: 3,500 pounds
- Without the tow prep package: 2,000 pounds
In this article, we'll take a deeper dive into towing with the CX-9. We'll see some of the best campers for the CX-9 at different towing capacities as well as take a look at the towing options the CX-9 features and lacks. Keep reading to get the full story.
What can a CX-9 tow?
Depending on the specific model year and configuration of the CX-9, it can tow a maximum of either 2,000 or 3,500 pounds. With the correct setup, this is plenty of towing capacity to tow several camper trailers as well as other great towable toys.
We'll look at some of the best options for your CX-9, whether it maxes out at 2,000 pounds or the full 3,500 pounds.
Best campers for the CX-9 under 2,000 pounds
If your CX-9 comes from a model year between 2007 and 2015 and doesn't have the towing prep package, you'll be limited to a 2,000-pound towing capacity. But that doesn't mean you can't tow a great camper! Let's look at some of the best options.
The Meerkat by Meerkat Trailers
The Meerkat is a mini RV that still offers plenty of space. With its clever design, including a pop-up roof, you'd never guess that this camper weighs only 900 pounds.
The pop-up roof doesn't just increase the headroom. It also allows more light and ventilation to enter the camper, so you can have a more pleasant experience relaxing inside.
You can see the Meerkat in the video below.
The HC1 by Happier Camper
The HC1 is the original trailer made by Happier Camper. Don't be deceived by its funky retro aesthetic. This camper is far from old fashioned with its modern modular design.
This design allows you to customize the HC1 to fit your specific needs. The fiberglass floors with a drain mean you can use the HC1 as a toy hauler, or you can outfit it with more comfortable flooring for a more luxurious camping experience.
The HC1 starts at 1,100 pounds, but be mindful of the increases in weight as you customize it.
You can see the HC1 in action in the video below.
The TAG by nüCamp RV
The TAG manages to get a lot of excellent features into just 1,269 pounds. It has one of the most impressive kitchens in its weight division.
The kitchen includes a two-burner stove, microwave, YETI cooler, an offset counter, and even an outlet with 12-volt and USB plugs. It manages to fit all of this in by situating the kitchen under a clamshell door at the back of the RV.
See the TAG for yourself in the video from the manufacturer below.
Best Campers for the CX-9 under 3,500 pounds
If your CX-9 has the towing prep package or comes from a model year since 2016, you'll have more camper options with your 3,500-pound towing capacity. We'll take a look at some of the best.
Of course, these campers are great choices for other vehicles too. You can learn more about other SUVs that can handle these campers in this article: What SUVs Can Tow 3,500 lbs?
The TAB CS-S
Another offering from nüCamp, the TAB CS-S is like an upgraded version of the TAG we saw before.
Even the kitchen has been improved with the inclusion of a plug-in refrigerator instead of the cooler. The wet bath with a cassette toilet will also help you enjoy more comfort on your outdoor adventures.
Of course, these upgrades increase the weight too, but at 2,075 pounds, you'll still be able to tow it easily with the right CX-9.
You can get a tour of the 2022 TAB CS-S in the video below.
The Cricket by TAXA Outdoor
The Cricket is a unique design from TAXA Outdoor that weighs in at just 1,800 pounds.
The pop-up roof improves lighting, ventilation, and space when the Cricket is set up. It has a two-burner stove and a sink, both of which have covers so you can use them as counter space when not in use.
The Cricket also has optional berths, increasing the sleeping capacity from two to four.
Check out the Cricket for yourself in the video below.
The Trillium Heritage 4500 by L'Air Camper Co.
L'Air has been making lightweight campers since the 1970s, and the Trillium Heritage 4500 honors their legacy with its fun, retro look.
This camper also has a more conventional design than some other lightweight campers. It has an indoor kitchen with a two-burner stove, sink, microwave, a fridge with a freezer, and decent cabinet and counter space. The dinette lets you enjoy meals in peace and converts into a sleeping area.
Far from being old fashioned, the Trillium recently received a makeover that got it a spot on RV Life's list of the best lightweight campers of 2022. They cite the improved kitchen as well as the dual-pane acrylic windows and the larger solar panel as some of the stand-out features.
You can see the Trillium 4500 for yourself in the video below.
Does the CX-9 have a tow package?
Mazda offered a towing prep package for the CX-9 from 2007 to 2015. This package was necessary to reach the maximum towing capacity of 3,500 pounds. It included several upgrades, such as a heavy-duty transmission cooler, a revised engine cooling fan, and a remapped ECU.
The reason this package was referred to as a "prep package" is that it did not include the trailer hitch receiver or the wiring harness. Mazda does produce both a Class II trailer hitch receiver and four-pin wiring harness, but those require separate purchase and installation.
The tow prep package was included with the all-wheel-drive CX-9 across trim levels and was available as an upgrade for the front-wheel-drive Grand Touring trim.
Since 2016, Mazda hasn't offered the towing prep package as an upgrade for the CX-9. While this might sound like bad news, it isn't. Instead, the features that were only available with the towing prep package have become standard across trim levels and drivetrains.
This means you'll have the maximum towing capacity of 3,500 pounds regardless of what drivetrain or trim level you choose for your CX-9.
Are there aftermarket trailer hitches for the CX-9?
While you can buy a Mazda-made trailer hitch for the CX-9, there are also aftermarket hitches from third-party manufacturers available.
Third-party hitches are often more affordable than their manufacturer-made counterparts, but they are also unlikely to be covered under the warranty. Look for well-established brands such as Draw-Tite and Curt, both of whom make hitches for the CX-9.
The Draw-Tite hitch below is confirmed to be compatible with model years from 2016 to 2021. It's rated for up to 3,500 pounds, so you'll get your full towing capacity with this hitch.
When installing a hitch, whether it's one from the manufacturer or a third party, it's always best to have it done by a dealership or reputable auto shop. Incorrect installation is dangerous for you and other drivers.
You can see how the Draw-Tite hitch above installs in the CX-9 in the video below.
What are the towing features in a CX-9?
The CX-9 comes with a few features that are standard to the vehicle and improve its towing performance.
We've already seen that, since 2016, the CX-9 comes standard with features that used to be available as an upgrade. These include the heavy-duty transmission cooler and revised engine cooling fan.
Mazda's G-vectoring control plus system also improves towing performance. This system is useful for standard driving as well, matching torque and brake inputs for safer and smoother driving. This system improves the towing experience as well.
Mazda's off-road traction assist is another standard feature that improves the driving experience both with and without a trailer. It will help you scale inclines and handle challenging off-road terrain on all your outdoor adventures.
That being said, the Mazda CX-9 doesn't have some of the towing features that some other vehicles offer. We've seen that you'll need to install towing hardware including a hitch receiver and wiring harness for the CX-9.
The CX-9 also lacks an option for a hitch assist system or hitch camera. These features aren't essential for towing a trailer, but they can be useful, especially for those new to towing. These rarely come standard but are available as upgrades on some vehicles.
One SUV that includes hitch assist systems in its towing package is the GMC Acadia. You can learn more about towing with the Acadia in this article: Can a GMC Acadia Tow a Camper?
With its urbane sophistication, the CX-9 may look at home in the city, but that doesn't mean it's not a potent towing vehicle when properly equipped.
We've seen how to get the most out of towing with your CX-9 as well as some of the best campers to get you on your own journeys. With this knowledge in hand, you'll be ready to hitch up and hit the road.
Safe driving and happy hauling!