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
Which CX-9 does Edmunds recommend?
Edmunds' Expert Review
Overall rating7.9 / 10
With three rows of seats and a loaded feature list to satisfy a growing family's needs, the 2018 Mazda CX-9 is one of the best, and best-looking, big crossovers out there. But it's more than just a pretty face; it's also a genuine pleasure to drive.
The CX-9 delivers what most SUV owners really want: a high level of comfort and refinement, a lot of room and modern connected technology. In its top Signature trim level, the CX-9 even flirts with a look and feel that you'd expect of an Audi or Volvo. It's the most luxurious example in its class. That the CX-9 actually drives really well — it's quick and alert when you stomp on the gas or bend it into a turn — is icing on the cake.
Taste being subjective, the CX-9 strikes one of the best poses among family SUVs. No safe, middle-of-the-road body design here. This is clean and windswept, with sharp edges and just-right proportions. It won't suit every buyer, but it's a standout look. Inside and around that striking shape, you'll find plenty of safety and connected tech and an interior highlighted by leather, aluminum and rosewood accents, depending on trim level.
The CX-9 makes some compromises, however. At about 72 cubic feet with second- and third-row seats folded, cargo capacity isn't as cavernous as others in the class, and its third row isn't especially accommodating either, at least not compared to the one in a competitor such as the Honda Pilot. These are the trade-offs for the impeccable style we lauded earlier. But overall, the CX-9 delivers an all-around package that makes it one of the best three-row SUVs on the market.
What's it like to live with?
To learn more about the Mazda CX-9 of this generation, read about our editors' experiences from a full year and 20,000 miles of driving a 2016 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring. We cover everything from seat comfort to real-world fuel economy. We found the CX-9 to be one of the most fun and best-looking SUVs around, but its cargo space might not be enough for some shoppers.
2018 Mazda CX-9 models
The 2018 Mazda CX-9 is a three-row crossover SUV that seats seven passengers. It's available in Sport, Touring, Grand Touring and Signature trim levels. All CX-9s are powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine (250 horsepower, 310 pound-feet of torque) paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is optional.
Standard features on the Sport include 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic LED headlights, tri-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a height-adjustable driver seat, 60/40-split folding second-row seats, 50/50 split-folding third-row seats, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, Mazda's Connect infotainment system with a 7-inch display, and a six-speaker sound system. Also included is blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and a low-speed automatic emergency braking system useful in urban and congested traffic.
The Touring trim adds to Sport features with automatic wipers, heated mirrors, a power liftgate, keyless ignition and entry, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated front seats, leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, an 8-inch infotainment display and two USB ports in the second-row center armrest.
The Touring also adds more safety features that include automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and intervention, and enhanced automatic emergency braking.
The Grand Touring trim further dresses things up with 20-inch wheels, adaptive headlights, LED foglights, roof rails, a sunroof, front and rear parking sensors, a head-up display with traffic sign recognition, driver-seat memory functions, retractable sunshades for the middle-row seats, heated second-row seats, a heated steering wheel, aluminum interior trim, additional interior lighting, a navigation system, a 12-speaker Bose premium audio system and satellite radio.
At the top of the range is the Signature trim, which adds exterior LED accent lighting, premium leather upholstery and rosewood interior trim. All-wheel drive is standard on the Signature.
Some of the features on higher trims are available on supporting models as options.
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of a 2016 Mazda CX-9 Signature (turbo 2.5L inline-4 | 6-speed automatic | AWD).
NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the CX-9 has received some minor revisions. Our findings remain applicable to this year's model, however.
|Overall||7.9 / 10|
Most helpful consumer reviews
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.