2018 Mazda CX-9 Review
Pros & Cons
- With sharp, modern style inside and out, the CX-9 feels richer than its cost
- Sporty handling makes it fun to drive
- Comfortable interior remains quiet on the highway
- Top-level Signature trim is on par with some luxury-brand competitors
- Cargo capacity isn't as generous as in competitors
- Third-row seats aren't especially accommodating
List Price Range
$24,788 - $37,475
Used CX-9 for SaleSee all for sale
Which CX-9 does Edmunds recommend?
With 20-inch wheels and upgraded interior trim, the Grand Touring model looks great and comes with several driver safety aids such as frontal collision warning and mitigation and lane departure intervention. We liked it so much that we bought one. But we chose the Grand Touring only to report on its variety of features. We actually think a CX-9 Touring model with the optional Touring Premium package will satisfy most buyers. This configuration adds several of the Grand Touring's features — navigation, premium Bose audio, sunroof — and still costs less.
Edmunds' Expert Review
The Mazda CX-9 is one of those vehicles that earns the "it drives like a smaller car" description. It feels more athletic than competitors on a winding road and is more maneuverable in trickier confines. The turbocharged engine has enough power to satisfy most drivers.
Whether you're just commuting or taking a long road trip, the CX-9 delivers an impressive degree of comfort thanks to a smooth ride, quiet cabin and well-sculpted seats. Our test car's air conditioning was mediocre, but we're not yet certain if this early test sample is representative.
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.
The CX-9 doesn't hold as much cargo as competing SUVs. But thoughtful design makes it easy to live with, and growing families should find adequate space for their stuff. Few people tow with SUVs in this class, so the fact that the CX-9 doesn't lead in this area might not be of concern.
Mazda took a page from the German luxury playbook by incorporating a dial-based infotainment interface, and it's one of the better systems at any price. Likewise, the active-safety driver aids it offers seem to be well-tuned to prevent false alarms.
|Overall||7.9 / 10|
Most helpful consumer reviews
Grand Touring 4dr SUV (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
I was looking for a replacement for my 2016 Honda Pilot Touring since it did not have blind spot monitoring, the adaptive cruise control was abrupt, lane departure intervention too aggressive, and I hated the AutoStop feature. I looked into and test drove the Acadia Denali, Toyota Highlander Platinum, Nissan Pathfinder Platinum, Volvo XC60, Lexus RX350, and the 2018 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring. The CX-9 was the clear winner with better pricing, great standard features, comfortable wrap around seats, great power, smooth and quiet ride, and most importantly, the most fun to drive. The CX-9 heads up display is better than the Lexus or Volvo because the CX-9 displays the blind spot monitoring info on the screen as well as the speed, adaptive cruise speed, and navigation directions. And, the heads up display is STANDARD on the Grand Touring trim and up. I love the heated steering wheel and heated seats, and my passengers love the heated seats too. The sound system is great, and the infotainment system is the most ergonomic and easy to use system out there. I never though too much about the zoom zoom commercials till I drove the Mazda CX-9, but now that I have one, I totally understand.
Grand Touring 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
Just last week, we picked the Soul Crystal Red CX9 GT with black interior. I didn't have guts to go with a red. I have to thank my wife, as she persuaded me to go with the red. Now, I realize it is a gorgeous color and gives a great modern look. It emits different shades of red, depending upon the lighting condition. The chrome piece in the front and the one in the back are a masterpiece. There are chrome accents in the sides and this is one of the best looking vehicles on the road. Even the closing of the door gives a premium feeling. The black interior is phenomenal. No plastic, plush interior with piano black and aluminum like materials in the console. Another suv, that I test drove had hard plastics all around. Then you start the car and amazed by the driver-centric features like the heads-up display, control knob, radar cruise control, etc. Heads-up display alone is enough to justify a CX 9 over other mainstream three row suvs. Speed, blind sport monitoring info, speed limits, lane info, navigation info all come in the heads up display. Naturally I only drive looking at the HUD and my neck doesn't hurt, as I don't have to look down or to the sides that often. The Bose center-point surround system is good. I only stream from my phone. It sounds great with a good base. Tried aha radio and the quality is good too. Navigation system is OK but not that user friendly. Hope Mazda will bring android auto soon, so that I can just use the google maps instead. And now the driving. It accelerates very fast from traffic lights. Usually the car in the next lane will far behind, when you have reached the posted speed. Funtastic. If you are thinking of buying a 3 row, do not wait. Just go and buy one. Bet, you will be delighted like me.
Touring 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
Love the car. Much better than my 2010 Mazda6. I have only one issue so far - driver's seating position. I am 6,4 about 210 pounds. I am still to find a comfortable position. I think that comfort can be easily improved if the telescopic steering wheel could be pulled a bit more towards driver. Other than that, the car drives and looks great! We are making 24-26 mpg, combined - 70% highway, 30% city. We test drove Toyota Highlander, and although Toyota put more thought into practicality and space designed particularly for families, I simply didn't like the driving feel. Reminded me of the van we had. Mazda's storage, compared to Highlander, isn't great, but in my opinion is still plenty for a family of four. The car's style and drive feel won. update: 40,000 miles. Runs great. No issues to report. Just regular maintenance. Wonderful car.
Touring 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
My wife and I recently got our CX-9 Touring AWD w/premium package, and I’ve gotta say I’m thoroughly impressed. I was sort of iffy about it at first, since we have always hated automatics, but after the first test drive, we were sold. This is by far the best feeling automatic transmission ever. No jerking, awkward and inconvenient downshifts (thanks mostly to that crazy amount of low RPM torque, I know), or that weird floaty feeling that’s very hard to describe that would always make me car sick in other automatics. The engine is fantastic too. I test drove the Highlander and Pilot before getting the CX-9, and those two felt sluggish during acceleration even though they had 6-cylinder engines. They were turds compared to the Skyactiv 4-cyl. I’ve played around with all the settings and features in it, the MZD Connect, moonroof, traction/stability, the butt toaster, climate control, etc, every button and switch in there, and I have 0 complaints. No need for Android Auto/Apple Car Play, the current HMI system is very user friendly and pretty much perfect. I also tried sitting in every seat and row. At 5’7”, average build, and setting every seat at a position I would set it at, I fit very comfortably in every seat in all 3 rows. So, as long as every person in your family isn’t like 6’5”, they should fit. The Pilot had great space as well, but the interior itself was bland as hell and not very user friendly. The Highlander, on the other hand, I busted my shin and shoulder trying to get into the 3rd row (and getting out of the 2nd row with the seat adjusted to accommodate a 3rd row passenger my size, might I add), and my head was also bumping the ceiling while sitting back there. Lastly, the CX-9 is the first “tank” we’ve ever gotten, and it definitely doesn’t drive like one, unlike the other two mentioned. It’s like a Mazda3, only higher off the ground, which you don’t even notice that until a sedan rolls up next to you lol. Anyways, it’s definitely worth every penny, and you should most definitely give it a go if you’re looking to get a SUV. Heck, even if you aren’t, give Mazda a try as a brand. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed no matter which model you try out. ;)
Features & Specs
Our experts like the CX-9 models:
- Smart City Brake Support
- Automatically applies emergency braking if a low-speed collision seems imminent. Designed for urban commutes, works at speeds below 20 mph.
- Smart Brake Support
- Automatically applies emergency braking if a collision seems imminent. Similar to Smart City Brake Support but activates at higher speeds.
- Lane Keep Assist
- Helps prevent unintentional drifting from the lane (due to driver inattention, etc.) by automatically steering car back to center of lane.