2018 Mazda CX-9 essentials: Three-row punches above the weight class

What is it: The CX-9 crossover is Mazda’s largest offering, and arguably a many luxurious. Predictive all-wheel expostulate and exclusive G-Vectoring Control worsen pushing dynamics and for 2018 all CX-9s get involuntary puncture braking, blind-spot monitoring and behind cross-traffic warning standard.

Key Competitors: Toyota Highlander, Hyundai Santa Fe, Ford Explorer

Base Price: $33,105 As-Tested Price: $45,555

Full review: Mazda CX-9 initial drive

Highlights: The CX-9 has Mazda’s best interior ever, and levels of excellence that are unike anything a code has offering before. The 2.5-liter turbo engine has good punch (250 hp) with important fuel economy (22/28). Its i-ACTIV all-wheel expostulate complement calculates 27 opposite factors to confirm where to send behind torque.

2018 Mazda CX-9 interior

Smart City Brake Support, Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert are now customary on all 2018 Mazda CX-9 models. Automatic on/off headlights and rain-sensing windshield wipers are customary on Touring models.

Our Opinion: While we weren’t looking, Mazda started creation some of a best cars and crossovers in a history. The Mazda 3 compress and CX-5 little crossover are distant and divided a sales leaders for a brand, yet a CX-9 three-row application is hugely poignant if not in sum volumes, in what it says about a brand’s instruction relocating forward. This is a beautifully designed, solidly built crossover that can contest with anything in a low $40K cost operation in that it competes.

The CX-9’s 2.5-liter turbo 4 is an comprehensive gem of an engine, ideally matched with a 6-speed involuntary transmission; if we have concerns about a four-cylinder utility, go expostulate a CX-9 –- with 7 passengers aboard a Mazda has no problem blustering adult on-ramps and flitting slower trade though straining. Ditch a weight and it’s officious quick, with heading Mazda steering response and framework restraint on all surfaces. Plus a CX-9 returned a real-world 23.9 mpg in 60/40 highway/city driving.

My stream family automobile is a 2014 Ford Explorer, not utterly as well-optioned as this Mazda tester; still, a similarities entice comparison. While both are 3-row utilities, a Mazda is a half-size smaller inside notwithstanding approximately a same altogether length. Total interior volume is 135 cu-ft, vs 151 cu-ft for a Explorer, a disproportion that’s quite strident when comparing load space with a third-row adult and folded (a 7- and 5-cu ft win for a Explorer, respectively). The new Chevy Traverse is even incomparable inside. Overall, a Mazda simply offers reduction load coherence than some of a competitors, yet a shifting second-row seats do help.

Space restrictions aside, my usually other quibbles are exclusively ergonomic; if this list seems some-more vicious or notation that usual, marker it adult to a fact we got to know a CX-9 very good during a week of family vacation, during that we took it on a 600-mile highway outing with passengers and luggage. To wit:

— There’s a tiny, harmless LED in a beyond console with a solitary pursuit of educational a core console between a motorist and newcomer seats during night. It does this pursuit exceedingly well, delivering a relations power of a full moon while pushing during night; a lurch dimming controls have no impact on a zeal. Fortunately one of a kids had a plaque book with them, yet it still took dual layers of Pokemon to make a LED low adequate to forestall distraction.

— The aforementioned core console is too high/wide. When set adult for a taller driver, holding one’s hands during 9 and 3 formula in a driver’s right bend smacking into a side of a console lid during turns. On prolonged stretches of driving, should we use a “two hands during a bottom of a wheel” loose placement, a right bend is wedged uncomfortably between a console and a driver’s body. Note that another staffer didn’t have an emanate with it, so your knowledge might vary.

— There are usually dual 12-volt sockets, one during a passenger’s left knee and a other in a behind of a load compartment. The use of, say, a radar detector and a unstable video complement will need an adapter of some sort. At a really least, a hollow for a second quarrel should be mandatory for a family vehicle.

Keep in mind that, with a difference of a console tallness issue, these are flattering notation issues; even with them, a CX-9 creates my brief list for a subsequent family automobile interjection to a interesting impression and good real-world fuel economy. The fact it’s poetic to demeanour during inside and out helps too.

Andrew Stoy, digital editor

2018 Mazda CX-9 cutaway interior

The 2018 Mazda CX-9 comes in 3 trims: Sport, Touring and Grand Touring.

Andrew Stoy

Andrew Stoy

– Digital editor Andrew Stoy has spent a past 20 years slashing on and essay about cars. He’s worked everywhere from play use bays to a domicile of a world’s largest automakers.

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On Sale: Now

Base Price: $33,105

As Tested Price: $45,555

Powertrain: 2.5-liter DOHC turbocharged I4, AWD, six-speed automatic

Output: 227 hp @ 5,000 rpm (with 87 octane); 250 hp @ 5,000 rpm (with 93 oct); 310 lb-ft @ 2,000 rpm

Curb Weight: 4,361 lb

Fuel Economy: 20/26/23 mpg(EPA City/Hwy/Combined)

Observed Fuel Economy: 23.9 mpg

Pros: Wonderful powertrain; good looks inside and out; fun to drive

Cons: Ergonomic quirks; not as vast inside as some competitors

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