I’ve mentioned before that a Mazda vehicle was high on our list when we first started test driving three-row SUVs. There are many things about the latest Mazda vehicles that feel like they almost belong in a luxury class… but they come without a luxury price tag. Mazda recently let us test a 2018 Mazda CX-9 for a little while, and asked our honest opinions.
4 Reasons we Loved the Mazda CX-9
We recently had the chance to drive a 2018 Mazda CX-9 on a trip to Walt Disney World for Marathon Weekend. In addition to our three kiddos, my husband and I brought my mom along to hang out with them while we ran some of the same events. The CX-9 was the perfect vehicle for us, and solidified itself as a contender once again, the next time we’re in the market for an SUV.
Plenty of Space for Everyone
When we first picked up the CX-9, I wondered if it we’d have to have someone hold some of the luggage since we needed to utilize all three rows. To my kids’ relief, there was plenty of space for all of our carryon suitcases in the back – even with all of the seats up.
In many three row vehicles, the back row should hardly count as a “row” – especially for adults. In the CX-9, though, adults took turns riding in the back with the kids (ok… Nana rode in the back a lot, since grandparents can’t often say no to their grandkids). There was a difference in legroom between the center row and the back row, but it was not substantial; difference in headroom was even less noteworthy. This makes the CX-9 a true 7 passenger vehicle.
I will note that when we test drove the vehicle and again on this trip, we were reminded that it isn’t the roomiest of the three-row vehicles on the market. If you are looking to use the third row all of the time – especially with taller children or adults – it may not be your first choice. If you are using it like we do though, the third row is absolutely sufficient for times when you’re bringing extra passengers or want everyone to spread out for a modest-length road trip. And when the third row is down, not many vehicles could compete with the amount of cargo space in the CX-9!
Comfortable – as a Driver and a Passenger
The Mazda CX-9 is an absolute delight to drive – and I’ve not hesitated to share opinions on the contrary with other vehicles. It has enough power to make me happy, while remaining a smooth, quiet ride. It’s super responsive, and feels very safe (without feeling like you’re driving a tank).
Inside, the seats are comfortable – and heated. To our disappointment, we got plenty of use out of the heated seats while we froze during an unseasonably cold visit to Florida. It was so cold that while we didn’t get any snow, some Floridians did…. to the south of Orlando!
The vehicle is such a height that it’s really easy for everyone to get in and out of – older adults and younger children included. Once they’re in, it’s got plenty of handles and storage space for everyone, too.
I’ve already mentioned the heated seats, which I’ll admit has become a must for me when vehicle shopping. The Mazda CX-9 we drove had plenty of other nice little surprises, too. Sure, I’m not sure I’d base my decision on such a big purchase on whether or not the visor had a spot for your parking garage ticket, but it sure would get plenty of use.
Many of the design choices and materials reminded me of the Infiniti QX line to which the CX-9 is related. Again – those luxury plusses without the additional cost.
In addition to standard safety features such as top-notch breaking systems, airbags, etc, the Mazda CX-9 we drove offered plenty of other helpful tools. Blind Spot Monitoring and Lane Keep Assist were great for the highway drive to and from the airport, while the multitude of parking sensors made it a breeze for anyone to park in unfamiliar, tight spaces.
2018 Mazda CX-9 Highlights
Estimated Highway MPG: 28
Towing Capacity: 3500 pounds
Comfort and Convenience
- three-zone automatic climate control with pollen filter
- remote keyless entry with “answer back” system
- push button start
- tilt & telescopic steering column
- two 12-volt power outlets
- two USB power inputs
- front and rear bottle holders with storage bins
- driver and front passenger seat back pockets
- cargo area with storage boxes and additional under-floor storage
Seating and Trim
- 6-way adjustable driver’s seat
- 4-way adjustable passenger seat
- 60/40 folding and reclining 2nd row seats
- easy third row access
Audio & Infotainment
- 7″ full-color touch display system
- bluetooth hands-free phone and audio streaming capability
- MAZDA CONNECT Infotainment system (including Pandora, Stitcher, SMS delivery and reply, emergency information, and more)
- steering wheel mounted audio, phone, and cruise controls
- advance front airbags with seatbelt-use, passenger-weight sensors
- front side-impact airbags and side-impact air curtains with rollover protection
- 3-point seat belts for all seven seating positions
- rearview camera
- Advanced Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Traffic Alert
- Smart City brake support
- LATCH child safety seat anchors and upper tethers
- Lane Keep Assist
- Lane Departure Warning
- Mazda Radar Cruise Control (with Stop & Go)
Our Final Thoughts
Starting at just over $33,000 (and with many of the bells and whistles we’d want coming standard), I am still blown away by the value the Mazda CX-9 offers for the price.
And it doesn’t hurt that “ours” was the most stunningly beautiful, eye-catching red any of us had ever seen. I kid you not, we’ve decided there must have been a very recent technological advancement on automotive paint, because words can’t describe how unique this car looked. I’m not sure I’ll settle for anything less glimmery (totally a word now) going forward. 🙂
Get more details on MazdaUSA.com, or follow along on your favorite social platform.