With three rows of seats and a list of features loaded to meet family needs, the 2018 Mazda CX-9 is one of the best crossovers on the market. But more than that, it’s also a real pleasure to drive.
The 2018 Mazda CX-9 offers what most SUV buyers want, comfort, plenty of space and modern technology. Even the top trim Signature, the CX-9 flirts with the look and feel you expect from Audi. This is the most luxurious example in its class. The CX-9 really drive very well, fast and alert when you step on a gas or bend it into a turn.
Trim and Features
The 2018 Mazda CX-9 is a three-row seven passenger crossover SUV. It’s available in Sport, Touring, Grand Touring and Signature trim levels.
Standard equipment for the Sport include 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic LED headlights, tri-zone automatic climate control, a height-adjustable driver seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, 60/40-split folding second-row seats, cloth upholstery, 50/50 split-folding third-row seats, a rearview camera, Mazda Connect infotainment system with a 7-inch display, Bluetooth and a six-speaker sound system. Also standard is a low-speed automatic emergency braking system, rear cross-traffic alert and blind-spot monitoring.
The 2018 Mazda CX-9 Touring trim adds keyless ignition and entry, automatic wipers, a power liftgate, heated mirrors, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, power-adjustable front seats, leather upholstery, heated front seats, an 8-inch infotainment display and two USB ports in the second-row center armrest. Other safety features that include adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, enhanced automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and intervention.
The 2018 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring adds 20-inch wheels, LED foglights, adaptive headlights, a sunroof, roof rails, front and rear parking sensors, a heated steering wheel, driver-seat memory functions, a head-up display with traffic sign recognition, heated second-row seats, retractable sunshades for the middle-row seats, additional interior lighting, aluminum interior trim, a navigation system, satellite radio and a 12-speaker Bose premium audio system.
The 2018 Mazda CX-9 Signature trim adds exterior LED accent lighting, rosewood interior trim and premium leather upholstery. All-wheel drive is standard on the Signature.
Some of the features on higher trims are available on lower models as options.
The 2018 Mazda CX-9 is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 250 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque on standard gasoline. A six-speed automatic is the only transmission offered and sends power to the front wheels. All-wheel drive is available as an option. The Signature trim is only sold as AWD. Also standard on all models is Mazda G-Vectoring Control, a new electronic system that the company says improves steering and stability in turns.
In performance testing, the 2018 Mazda CX-9 AWD accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 7.1 seconds, about average for this class.
EPA estimated for fuel economy at 24 mpg combined (22 city/28 highway) for the front-wheel-drive model and 23 mpg combined (20/26) for the AWD. This is better than average among other three-row SUV. Properly equipped, the 2018 Mazda CX-9 can tow up to 3,500 pounds.
Going inside, the 2018 Mazda CX-9 interior exceeds that expected for the class. The overall design is visually pleasing without exaggeration, and all the controls are carefully placed. Mazda’s Connect infotainment system is very intuitive and the screen is perfectly placed in the driver’s sight line. The Signature trim cabin further enhances the sense of luxury thanks to aluminum and wood trim and red leather upholstery.
The 2018 Mazda CX-9 front seats provide plenty of support and comfort for long-distance travel, although leather fabrics can be sultry in warm weather. The second row seats are also comfortable and offer a generous range of recline and sliding adjustments. Like most SUVs in this class, the third line is intended for occasional use or smaller passengers. The kids will be fine there, but the low seat cushions and the lack of headroom mean that adults will find it suitable only for short trips.
The 2018 Mazda CX-9 offers 14.4 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row along with a shallow underfloor bin. With the third row folded, the cargo capacity expands to 38.2 cubic feet, and with both rows folded, there is 71.2 cubic feet. It’s smaller than the average for a three-row SUV, but the CX-9 flat load floor make loading bigger items easier.
Release Date and Price
The Sport trim manufacturer suggested retail price of $33,070 (includes $940 destination charge). The Touring trim is the best value for most consumers and starts at $35,900. The Grand Touring trim begins at $41,410, while the Signature trim starts at $45,255.