When it comes to large three-row family crossovers most new car shoppers tend to lean towards the likes of the Honda Pilot, Chevrolet Traverse, or even the Dodge Durango. However, there is one large seven-passenger crossover that we highly encourage you to take a look at — the Mazda CX-9.
Being the largest Mazda in the brand’s lineup, the 2018 CX-9 boasts a gorgeous exterior design, an upscale interior, and strong driving dynamics that give its opposition a run for their money. The Mazda CX-9 checks each of the boxes on our list and perfectly balances being a sleek looking large family crossover and having enough fun-to-drive dynamics to put a smile on the driver’s face. We spent a week with the range-topping 2018 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD model and were totally swept away by the fact that the Japanese brand can easily mimic a luxury vehicle and offer it at mainstream prices.
2018 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD Exterior
When you take a look at non-luxury family crossover segment, you can easily get discouraged by the lack of excitement when it comes to exterior design. However, Mazda has taken its dynamic “KODO” design language and perfectly wrapped it around a three-row family vehicle. In our opinion, the 2019 Mazda CX-9 is one of the best looking vehicles in its segment.
The exterior design is highlighted by a long hood and a sharply angled (not to mention huge) front grille. The 2018 Mazda CX-9 Signature model that we drove here also gets a nice touch of chrome elements for a more luxurious look. Other standard and exclusive Signature trim-level elements include adaptive LED headlamps, LED daytime running lights, LED grille accent lighting, LED fog lights, a rear roof spoiler, dual exhaust outlets, and 20-inch alloy wheels.
The 2018 Mazda CX-9 Signature sits on a wheelbase that measures 115.3-inches with an overall length of almost 200-inches. Width comes in at 77.2-inches while the height stands at 67.6-inches. The 2018 Mazda CX-9 Signature also gets the highest ground clearance in the segment with a total of 8.8-inches so you might want to measure the height of your garage door before committing to buying one.
Overall, the 2018 Mazda CX-9 is one of the best looking large family crossovers on the road. It strikes the ideal balance between aggressive and luxurious without overdoing either aspect.
2018 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD Interior
The 2018 Mazda CX-9’s interior is definitely one of the most upscale in the segment when it comes to design and quality. Honestly, when you go for the Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring and Signature trim-levels – you’ll notice that the cabin actually wouldn’t look out of place in a luxury vehicle like a BMW or an Audi. Elements like brushed aluminum, genuine Rosewood inlays, and Nappa leather seats really take things to the next level.
Tech wise, our 2018 Mazda CX-9 Signature test vehicle came packed with options like heated front and second-row seats, heated steering, three-zone climate control, Bluetooth (phone and audio streaming), a moonroof, memory seats, four USB ports, 8-inch touchscreen display with navigation, a 12-speaker Bose sound system, heads-up display and a range of safety features we’ll discuss in the later part of this review. Unfortunately, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are not a part of the game.
Legroom in the 2018 Mazda CX-9 comes in at 41-inches for front passengers, 39.4-inches for second-row passengers, and 30-inches for third-row passengers. Cargo volume comes in at 71 cubic feet with all the seats folded or 14.4 cubic feet with all the seats in user position.
2018 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD Performance
Power for the 2018 Mazda CX-9 comes from a 2.5-liter four-cylinder turbo engine that produces 227 horsepower with 87 octane fuel and 250 horsepower with 93 octane fuel. The engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission which allows the Mazda CX-9 to run from 0 to 60 mph in 7 seconds flat with a top speed of 132 mph.
What we absolutely loved about driving the 2018 Mazda CX-9 was its eagerness to accelerate when you pounced on the accelerator and its anxiousness to let us turn harder and tighter when throwing it into corners. Not many family crossovers are capable of being comfortable and sporty at the same time but the 2018 Mazda CX-9 does a great job of doing both. The refined ride quality is flawless for a comfortable family road trip out of state or to your local grocery store.
When it comes to fuel economy, the 2018 Mazda CX-9 averages an EPA-rated 20/26 mpg* (city/highway) for the all-wheel-drive model.
2018 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD Safety
Our 2018 Mazda CX-9 Signature came loaded with a long list of safety features and a range of driver asset technologies. Some of the stand-out features include radar-guided cruise control with stop and go, a rearview camera, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, backup sensors, blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, hill launch assist, smart city brake support, and much more.
2018 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD Overall
If you’re in the market for a large family crossover we highly recommend test driving the 2018 Mazda CX-9. Also, if you’re contemplating a luxury family crossover but don’t want to break the bank when it comes to prices, the CX-9 will offer all the upscale touches and elements at a price tag that won’t scare you away. Prices for the 2018 Mazda CX-9 start at $32,110**. Schedule a test drive at your local AutoNation Mazda dealer today and take the new 2018 CX-9 Signature for a quick spin – we promise you won’t be disappointed.
*Based on EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.
**MSRP excluding tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.