SEATTLE, May 31, 2018 — To say that I’ve been a personal fan of the Mazda CX-9 over its past few model years would be to understate things. What Mazda has done with the CX-9 has really helped hone it into one of the finest crossover SUVs in its segment. While the average-sized family won’t occupy all seven seats of the CX-9, it’s the extra room it affords when the rear seats are folded down that make it desirable by many.
Mazda’s current design language that it started several years ago continues with its 2018 line-up and dare we say, it’s a stylish as ever. There’s a very sublime combination of masculine lines with smooth transitions that really take one’s eyes on a journey of fantastic styling.
Read Also: The 2017 Model
In 2017, Mazda dropped the V6 engine from the CX-9, in favor of the spirited of the 2.5-liter SkyActiv, turbo-charged 4-cylinder engine. This allows Mazda to garner higher EPA ratings while still offering up its customers an efficient engine that still churns out respectable performance numbers. At 250 horsepower with 310 lb-ft of torque, it’s hardly gutless and propels all 4300+ pounds of the CX-9 along, nicely.
There’s still the very responsive six-speed transmission that does admirable job of not only smooth shifting as you’re accelerating but also will downshift for you at very appropriate times.
Mazda’s all-wheel-drive system is still an ideal option for those who live in areas of inclement weather. It’s adept enough to handle rain, snow and sand, It shifts power to the appropriate wheels, based on its continuous monitoring of wheel slippage.
There are only a few changes for the 2018 model year over 2017. Those include low-speed automated braking (for those times the driver isn’t paying attention), blind-spot monitoring as well as cross-traffic alerts. And this Grand Touring model now features rear heated seats as well as a heated steering wheel. However, the most notable change for 2018 is Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control. An active monitoring system that reduces engine torque as the vehicle is entering corners to help bolster the CX-9s overall stability.
Inside, you’ll still find a best-of-class interior build quality – all of the above-board surface materials, the way it makes the driver feel engaged with the vehicle etc.- Mazda’s design team did an amazing job. What we have is a wonderful integration of form and function, setup and designed in such a way that it makes the CX-9 feel more expensive than it is. In fact, the interior is so stunning that we’d easily put it up against some of the Luxury brands out there as well.
While there’s plenty of headroom for most adults in the front seats, the rear passenger area is more limited, due to the slope of the roof. Not saying it’s at all uncomfortable back there but at 38.5 inches, it can make those over 6’ tall feel a bit cramped on longer rides.
Mazda continues using the Bose-powered audio system and that’s fine. It has really good sound quality but still not quite up to snuff with the likes in other competing SUVs. There’s been no change to the mapping system or the way it’s navigated with the center-console dial.
Even though we’d love to see more cargo room in the back, the CX-9 continues to be an Editor’s Favorite. It offers a solid powertrain, excellent styling both inside and out with top-notch creature comforts to make you want to keep driving, well into the sunset.