See what Car & Driver has to say about the 2018 Mazda CX9:
“Three-row crossovers are great for hauling kids and cargo, but they aren’t always pleasing to drive. The Mazda CX-9 is a rare example of a crossover that still blends a great deal of driving fun in with all the utility thanks to a well-sorted chassis and communicative steering. Also, its beautifully designed exterior looks the part, with a long hood, steeply raked windshield, and fastback rear end. Inside is an equally lovely cabin, dressed in nearly class-above materials and features. We’d be lying if we told you all this goodness came without compromises: Cargo capacity and third-row passenger space are among the lowest in the segment. But those compromises are small, and they weren’t enough to sway us from naming it to our 10Best Trucks and SUVs list for 2017.”
See what Motor Trend has to say about the 2018 Mazda CX9
New for 2018
The 2018 Mazda CX-9 gets automatic emergency braking and G-Vectoring Control as standard on all trims. When entering a turn, G-Vectoring Control reduces torque slightly to shift the car’s weight to the front tires to improve steering response and increase cornering force. Once the steering wheel unwinds, full power comes on, transferring weight to the rear tires and adding stability. Heated second row seats are now available on upper trim levels and the full suite of active safety tech is now available as an optional package in lower trims. Soul Red Crystal, an exterior color that debuted on the second-generation CX-5, replaces Soul Red Metallic in the 2018 CX-9.
Slotting above the compact CX-5, the 2018 Mazda CX-9 is Mazda’s large three-row crossover that seats up to seven passengers. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is optional on all but the range-topping Signature trim, which has standard all-wheel drive.
The only engine available is a 2.5-liter turbo-four with 310 lb-ft of torque and 250 hp on premium fuel or 227 hp on regular gas. The engine is paired exclusively to a six-speed automatic transmission. EPA fuel economy ratings are 22/28 mpg city/highway for front-drive models and 20/26 mpg with all-wheel drive. Despite its size, the CX-9 isn’t the roomiest three-row crossover with 14.4 cubic feet behind the third row, 38.2 cubic feet behind the second row, and 71.2 cubic feet behind the front seats.
The base Sport trim comes with LED headlights, 18-inch alloy wheels, tri-zone climate control, keyless start, cloth upholstery, a 7.0-inch touchscreen, the MazdaConnect infotainment system, Bluetooth connectivity and tw0 USB ports. Move up to the Touring trim and you’ll get a power driver’s seat, a power liftgate, an 8.0-inch touchscreen, heated front seats, keyless entry, a power front passenger seat, and leather upholstery. The Touring Premium package adds LED fog lights, navigation, a 12-speaker Bose premium audio system, parking sensors, and a sunroof.
Grand Touring models feature the same equipment as the Touring trim with the Touring Premium package and adds 20-inch alloy wheels, aluminum interior trim, a head-up display, adaptive headlights, heated second-row seats, a heated steering wheel, and roof rails. The range-topping Signature trim adds all-wheel drive, Auburn Nappa leather upholstery, rosewood interior trim by Japanese guitar maker Fujigen, LED interior lights, and LED grille lighting.
The NHTSA hasn’t crash-tested the 2018 Mazda CX-9. Although the IIHS hasn’t evaluated the 2018 CX-9, the 2017 model received a Good score on all crash worthiness tests and an Average rating on the headlights test (Good is the highest possible score). In the front crash prevention test, the CX-9 received a Superior rating after it avoided a 12-mph and a 25-mph collision (Superior is the highest possible score on the front crash prevention test). As a result, the Mazda CX-9 received the 2017 Top Safety Pick+ award from the IIHS.
All 2018 Mazda CX-9s get a standard low-speed automatic emergency braking system that works up to 19 mph. Optional on lower trims and standard on the upper grades is an automatic emergency braking system that works at highway speeds. Other available active safety features include forward collision warning, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, Distance Recognition Support and blind-spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert.
What We Think
In a 2016 comparison test that also included the Toyota Highlander and GMC Acadia, the Mazda CX-9 won thanks to its engaging driving dynamics and premium-feeling interior. However, the crossover did have its quirks including steering that can get too heavy for a family-oriented vehicle, a stiff suspension that gets upset on poor road surfaces, and an overly aggressive automatic emergency braking system. The CX-9 Signature’s interior is a highlight because it feels expensive and can nearly rival interiors found in luxury cars, as we noted in a 2016 First Test. Third row access is easy thanks to a single latch that moves the second row seats out of the way, and there’s respectable amounts of room for adults back there for short trips.
The CX-9 is currently the only vehicle in Mazda’s lineup that uses the brand’s turbocharged 2.5-liter I-4.