If you need a 7 Seat SUV that can cater to your family, there are plenty of options. However, if you also want good looks, an engaging driving experience, and tasteful interior for a reasonable price, checkout the 2018 Mazda CX-9 with a sticker price of $32,130.
Front-drive is standard on all models, and all-wheel drive is available at every step of the way for an additional $1,800. Further, the CX-9 offers impressive fuel economy for such a large vehicle ; 24 MPG Combined.
The 2018 Mazda CX-9 has four trims equipped with same engine. It gets a powerful 2.5 L Turbocharged Inline-4 engine under its hood and the engine is tuned to produce 250 hp and 310-lb-ft of torque. The engine comes mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.
8.5/10 Fuel Economy
2018 Mazda CX-9 Features
This year CX-9 is offered in a total three variants namely, Sport, Touring, Grand Touring, and Signature. All variants are available with FWD or AWD configuration. A Standard 2.5L Turbo-4 paired with Six-speed automatic transmission is the only available powertrain configuration.
Standard features on the Sport include 18-inch alloy wheels
The Touring trim adds to Sports features with automatic wipers
The Grand Touring trim further dresses things up with 20-inch wheels
Which adds exterior LED accent lighting
automatic LED headlights, tri-zone automatic climate control
Premium leather upholstery
a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a height-adjustable driver seat
LED fog lights, roof rails
Rosewood interior trim.
60/40-split folding second-row seats
Keyless ignition and entry
Sunroof, front and rear parking sensors
All-wheel drive is standard on the Signature
50/50 split-folding third-row seats, a rearview camera
Auto-dimming rearview mirror
Head-up display with traffic sign recognition
Bluetooth, Mazda's Connect infotainment system with a 7-inch display
Heated front seats
Driver-seat memory functions
six-speaker sound system.
Retractable sunshades for the middle-row seats
Power-adjustable front seats
Heated second-row seats
An 8-inch infotainment display and two USB ports in the second-row center armrest.
Heated steering wheel
Aluminum interior trim
Additional interior lighting
a 12-speaker Bose premium audio system and satellite radio.
Sport trim includes most of the essential features. There are certain packages depending on preferred trims. The touring and Grand touring can be ordered for sophisticated interior composing of premium materials that add over the standard feature.
The Touring variant makes more sense according to us. It is expensive than Sport variant, but the extra amount buys you comfort and safety features like automatic wipers, Heated mirrors, cruise control, Lane departure warning and automatic emergency braking.
2018 Mazda CX-9 Engine
“In a segment where V-6 power is basic, Mazda took a risk by offering a turbocharged four-cylinder engine as the CX-9’s sole powertrain in the hope of gaining a fuel-economy advantage. The turbocharged inline-four sounds gutsy and managed an impressive result in our acceleration testing, where the competition featured V-6 power.” – Car and Driver
Engine and Transmission
All the trims are equipped with powerful 2.5L turbocharged 4-Cylinder churns out 250 Horsepower at 310 lb-ft torque. This turbo engine is coupled with Six-speed Automatic transmission system. The alternative AWD variant adds some more torque to the figures at the cost of fuel economy.
2.5L SKYACTIV-G 4-Cylinder Turbo
3.6L V6 SIDI VVT
2.7L 4-Cylinder(DOHC) 16-Valve
Among the cars compared here, the Chevy Traverse leads the pack with 310 hp V6. The CX-9 compares well with the 280 hp Honda Pilot. However, the Highlander lags behind all the cars with a measly 185 hp 2.7L I4.
Mazda CX-9 accelerates briskly for its size and does 0-60 mph in 7.2 seconds. Even though it might not take the first place with respect to acceleration in the competitive set, the turbo engine coupled with Six-speed automatic transmission provides excellent responsiveness.
Emission (Tons/yr. of CO2 Emissions @ 15K mi/year)
However, some of the competitors are significantly faster. The Honda Pilot can do 0-60 in mere 6.1 seconds. Also, the Chevrolet Traverse is similarly quick doing 0-60 in 6.5 seconds thanks to its generously powered V6.
Braking and Handling
Braking is one of the fields where the Mazda excels. Also, SUV’s like CX-9 are large and large vehicles do not tend to fare well when shown corners. However, the CX-9 suspension and steering are delicately calibrated to provide responsiveness and supple ride.
60-0 MPH (ft.)
The braking system on the CX-9 consists of 12.6” brake pads in the front 12.8” brake pads in the rear. The car is able to do 60-0 mph in under 123 feet as a result of a relatively low curb weight. Stopping distance is shorter than any other competitor in the segment.
CX-9’s maximum towing capacity is 3500lbs - least in its class. Chevrolet Traverse secures first place with a maximum towing capacity of 5200lbs and Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander secures the next places with a maximum towing capacity of 5000lbs. This makes a huge difference of 1700lbs between Honda Pilot and Mazda CX-9.
2018 Mazda CX-9 Fuel Economy
Although the Turbo I4 is not as powerful as the V6 in the competitors, it does pay dividends with impeccable fuel efficiency. Opting for the CX-9 AWD trims drops down the mileage by 2mpg in both City and Highways.
“With a light right foot, the 2018 Mazda CX-9 manages combined mileage in the low-20s.” - Carconnection
CX-9 remains one of the best fuel efficient cars in its class. Competitors like Honda Pilot, Chevrolet transverse, and Toyota Highlander are thirstier by 3mpg, 3mpg, and 2mpg respectively.
2018 Mazda CX-9 Interior
“Pretty much everything about the CX-9's interior feels right and thoughtfully designed. This is a new benchmark for non-luxury SUVs, and other manufacturers should take notes on how Mazda makes the most of available space and how quality components all contribute to a favorable impression.” - Edmunds
Seating and Comfort
The CX-9 offers spacious first and second row and the seats are supportive. The driver has a commanding view of the road ahead thanks to high ride height and large glasshouse. Impressively, even the third row is comfortable for adults as long as it’s used for short commutes.
Passenger Volume (ft. cube)
Front (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.)
Second (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.)
Third (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.)
The CX-9 features am 8-inch infotainment system with intuitive interface and well-organized menu structure. More importantly, the rotary controller offers an effortless means to roam through the options even while driving. Bose premium audio system caters to the audiophiles.
CX-9 has plenty of room for 7 passengers and more. With 50/50 split third row and 60/40 split second row, CX-9 offers room for plenty of cargo and passengers. By folding both the rows flat, you get an impressive 71.2 cubic feet of cargo space.
Behind 3nd row (ft. Cube)
Behind 2nd row (ft. Cube)
Behind 1st row (ft. Cube)
Competitors, however, offer more space. The Chevy traverse, for example, provides a cavernous 23 cubic feet of cargo space with all seats up and a whopping 98 cubic feet of cargo space with second and third row folded.
2018 Mazda CX-9 Exterior
“If you’re looking for a bit of elegance in your next family hauler, the CX-9 has it in spades. Dressed in Mazda's "Soul of Motion" design philosophy, the CX-9's sheet metal emphasizes sweeping forms, organic shapes and the idea of movement even at rest. We think it's beautiful.” – Kelley Blue Book
Design and Styling
Mazda’s Soul of design philosophy was implemented in the CX-9. Its elegant and dynamic design with exquisite proportions makes it the most admirable SUV. With the use of Lightweight materials, the Curb weight of CX-9 falls at 4166 lbs. which is almost the least in its class.
Track width(in) F/R
The 2018 Mazda CX-9 is 199.4 inches in length and 77.5 inches in width. The CX-9 has a height of 69-inch which is the lowest amongst its rivals after Toyota Highlander. The car has the best ground clearance of 8.8 inches, so you won’t scrape the bottom of your car on bumps. CX-9 has a wheelbase of 115.3 inches which provides better stability to the car.
Other Exterior features:
LED headlights with auto on and auto height control
Intermittent rear wiper/washer
Rear Privacy glass
Dual exhaust outlets
Body Color rear roof spoiler
LED Combination tail lights
2018 Mazda CX-9 Safety
The CX-9 Touring gets advanced driver assistance systems like blind-spot monitor, automated emergency braking, and rear cross-traffic alert. More high-end radar-based systems are available in the CX-9 Grand Touring and CX-9 Signature.
Some of the standard Safety features are as follows:
Hydraulic Brake Assist
Passenger Sensing system
Full-suite of Air Bags
Stabili Trak Electronic Stability Control System
Tire Pressure monitoring system
Intelligent Crash Response System
2018 Mazda CX-9 Competition
Honda Pilot Vs CX-9
The Honda Pilot is a better car to buy for most of the customer. We say this because the Pilot offers more power, more spacious interiors, more cargo capacity, more towing capacity, and is similar to the CX-9 in terms of the feature list.
The CX-9 does offer more fuel efficiency though thanks to its Turbo I4 engine. Also, the CX-9 will be a better buy if good looks, upscale interiors, and a sporty driving characteristics rank higher on your list.
Chevrolet Traverse Vs CX-9
Both the Cars are 3-row SUV’s that offer front or All-wheel drive options. CX-9 seats 7 passengers and Traverse can accommodate up to 8 passengers. 3.6L V6 Engine of Traverse significantly more powerful than CX-9 and offers better acceleration despite weighing more.
Toyota Highlander Vs CX-9
The Toyota Highlander offers a more spacious cabin, a larger cargo capacity and the reliability if Toyota. However, the CX-9 offers significantly more power, is more efficient, has sportier driving dynamics, and looks considerably more expensive. We think the CX-9 is a better buy.
2018 Mazda CX-9 Final Verdict
The CX-9 flawlessly merges practicality with fun. It looks far more appealing than any three-row SUV at similar price range and the interiors can put far more expensive cars on notice. The fuel efficiency is impeccable and all these come with the decent reliability of the Mazda brand. So, if you want a three-row SUV but do not wish to put up with all the boredom associated with it, the CX-9 is a decent choice.