BEHIND THE WHEEL: Tough competition compact crossover, but 2018 Mazda CX-9 stands out
The 2018 Mazda CX-9 has a few new features to tout this year including automatic emergency braking and G-Vectoring Control. For the backseat passengers expect heated seats in the upper trims and safety has been factored in for better efficiency as a key option on the lower trims.
It is also worth a mention that the 2018 Mazda CX-9 has a third row that won’t have you bending like a pretzel to maneuver into as well.
The competition sits squarely with a few of the big names like Toyota Highlander, Nissan Pathfinder, Chevrolet Traverse, Kia Sorento and the Honda Pilot. All these options scream, “best in show” in their own way, however, let’s keep in mind the 2018 Mazda CX-9’s compact crossover status with three rows fits easily into the falling in love status.
Trim level options
There are four trim levels to choose from on the 2018 Mazda CX-9 and the most basic option still comes with a plethora of goodies. There is the 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, keyless start, cloth upholstery and the 7.0-inch touchscreen. For tech junkie this Mazda is equipped with MazdaConnect infotainment, Bluetooth connectivity and two USB ports.
On the Touring trim you can add to that a power driver and front passenger’s seat and liftgate, a one-inch larger touchscreen, heated front seats, keyless start and entry and leather upholstery.
On the Touring Premium optional package, there is the added LED fog lights, an upgraded sound system with 12 speakers, a sunroof and parking sensors.
On the Grand Touring trim you get all the above in the Touring and Premium Package as well as 20-inch alloy wheels, aluminum interior trim, a head-up display, heated seats in the second-row as well as a heated steering wheel and roof rails.
The top of the line trim is the Signature and with this you get all-wheel drive, Auburn Nappa leather upholstery, rosewood interior trim and LED interior and grille lighting.
Under the hood
There is only one engine that comes on the 2018 Mazda CX-9 and that is the 2.5-liter turbo-four that cranks 250 horsepower and 310-pound feet of torque. The six-speed automatic is the only offering and you can opt for front or all-wheel drive.
Safety begins with the airbags in this 2018 Mazda and there are quite a few including the driver, passenger, front head, rear head and front side air bags. Four-wheel disc brakes and four-wheel ABS are included as is brake assist, electronic stability control, daytime running lights, child safety locks, integrated turn signal mirrors, traction control, auto-leveling headlights and lane departure warning and lane keeping assist.
Keep in mind the automatic emergency braking is optional on the lower trims but is included on the higher trim levels. Of course, the forward collision warning, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, Distance Recognition Support and blind-spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert are all features a busy driver will rely on for safety.
Interior and exterior highlight
The 2018 Mazda CX-9 feels lush inside with a higher end feel than others in this class. The back seat is not too difficult to get into with a latch that moves the second-row seats forward. You will also find this Mazda to be quite roomy with 14.4 cubic feet behind the third row. If you use the space behind the second row you get 38.2 cubic feet and behind the first row there is 71.2 cubic feet.
You won’t be scratching your head about the knobs and dials in the 2018 Mazda CX-9 because each one is placed logically so you know what you are doing. For the infotainment system the main control is easy to navigate and use and has been placed logically.
This CX-9 also offers plenty of room for the front and back seat passengers and for those climbing into the third row there is enough room to get back there easily, however headroom is best reserved for only children sitting in those seats.
Along for the ride
The 2018 Mazda CX-9 is an easy one to enjoy behind the wheel. There is a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel that means any driver can adjust and enjoy the ride. There is plenty of support and the engine has enough power to get you where you need to go. For road trips and getting around town, this Mazda will take you on a nice ride and you can expect you will get where you are going with ease.
Should you need to know
For fans of red cars take note the Soul Red Crystal, a popular color is replacing what was the Soul Red Metallic.
The gas mileage on the 2018 Mazda CX-9 is 22 in the city and 28 miles per gallon on the highway on the front-wheel drive and 20 miles per hour in the city and 26 miles per gallon on the highway on the all-wheel drive.
The 2018 Mazda CX-9 Signature all-wheel drive I drove came in with a price tag of $45,555.
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