If you’re looking for a three-row crossover that isn’t just a wannabe minivan, then the 2019 Mazda CX-9 should be at the top of your list; the same holds true for any of Mazda’s current crossovers. As fun as the CX-3 and CX-5 are, though, the CX-9 is fun on a family scale, and the 2019 Mazda CX-9 gets even better with a quieter, refined interior and a retuned suspension. Like all other Mazda vehicles, the 2019 Mazda CX-9 comes in Sport, Touring and Grand Touring trim levels, but if you want to make some Lexus and Infiniti owners jealous, then check out the range-topping CX-9 Signature, which transforms the stylish CX-9 into a luxury-rivaling family CUV.
2019 Mazda CX-9 Exterior
Since its debut for the 2016 model year, the second-gen CX-9 has exhibited the best styling in its midsize segment, and even though newer rivals like the 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe are catching up in the design department, the 2019 Mazda CX-9 still looks as fresh as ever. Mazda designers have done an excellent job creating a brand image – called KODO, Soul of Motion – that transcends vehicle size with lines and proportions that look good on everything from the smallest CX-3 to this family-sized CX-9.
The exterior of the updated CX-9 carries over unchanged for the new model year, and it’s still the face of the CX-9 that creates the most emotion on this crossover with a large, upright grille, swept front fenders, standard LED headlights and, on the Signature, an LED-accented grille. At the rear, the thin, LED taillights (also standard) mimic the front-end design, and are connected with a tasteful chrome strip. Being the top Signature model, this CX-9 had a more upscale look to it with big 20-inch wheels and a stylish Machine Gray Metallic hue (a $300 option).
2019 Mazda CX-9 Interior
While the exterior was left alone, the cabin of the 2019 Mazda CX-9 received some minor tweaks. Keen eyes will notice new gauge cluster with a large TFT center screen and a redesigned center stack including new HVAC controls and easy-to-read seat belt notifications for all rear-seat occupants, while keen ears will notice a quieter cabin thanks to thicker materials used for the headliner and floor mats.
The 2019 Mazda CX-9 comes loaded with content such as a seven-inch touch screen display, one-touch power windows and three-zone climate control, and the top CX-9 Signature trim level gets a more luxurious atmosphere cabin that includes Nappa leather seats, genuine aluminum and wood trim and an overall design that matches the beautiful exterior and sporty nature of the CX-9. Mazda’s Active Driving Display (a full-color head-up display) and the simple-to-use Mazda Connect infotainment system are also standard, and this tester even added the new dual-screen, rear seat entertainment system (RSES) to keep rear occupants entertained on long trips. This option wasn’t previously offered on CX-9s, but during the 2018 model year, Mazda announced that a rear seat entertainment system could be retrofitted to any second-gen CX-9 as a dealer-installed accessory. On this tester, RSES was a $1,995 option.
The swept rear pillar and raked liftgate are great for the exterior styling, but these design elements limit third-row space and rear cargo space leaving the CX-9 with one of the smallest cabins in the seven-passenger CUV segment and just 14.4 cubic feet of cargo space when the rear seats are in place (there’s 71.2 cubic feet of space when the rear seats are all folded flat).
2019 Mazda CX-9 Powertrain
All 2019 Mazda CX-9 crossovers are powered by the SKYACTIV-G 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with up to 250 horsepower (on premium gasoline; 227 hp on regular unleaded) and 310 lb-ft of torque. This engine mates to a smooth and sporty six-speed automatic transmission, and the CX-9 Signature comes standard with Mazda’s i-ACTIV all-wheel-drive, which can send up to 50 percent of the engine’s torque to the rear wheels for improved traction in wet conditions or reduced understeer in spirited driving. With this setup, the big CX-9 delivers great fuel economy with official EPA-rated estimates of 20 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway**.
The biggest improvement Mazda made to the 2019 CX-9 was a revised suspension. This crossover was already one of the sportiest in its class, but Mazda made sure it was a good family cruiser, too, with a smoother, quieter ride. It’s been a couple years since I last drove a second-gen CX-9, but that model was far from rough or loud. The good news is that the softened suspension doesn’t affect CX-9’s nimbleness, while the retuned suspension and added interior sound deadening help give this crossover a whisper quiet cabin that makes it easy for passengers up front to talk to rear passengers without yelling.
2019 Mazda CX-9 Safety
The 2019 Mazda CX-9 Signature comes loaded with all the latest advancements driver assist technologies, and as a result, the updated CX-9 receives a five-star overall crash rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The CX-9 Signature trim level comes standard with all the latest safety technology including Mazda Radar Cruise Control, Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keep Assist, Smart Brake Support and Smart City Brake Support.
2019 Mazda CX-9 Overall
The market for three-row, midsize crossovers and SUVs continues to boom, yet the 2019 Mazda CX-9 is still our top choice in this segment. Not only does the CX-9 have a beautiful design and fuel-efficient powertrain, it stands out from its rivals thanks to its refreshingly fun-to-drive “zoom-zoom” attitude. If ever there was such a thing as a “driver’s CUV,” Mazda offers a full lineup of them from the small CX-3 and CX-5 up to this mid-size CX-9.
The 2019 Mazda CX-9 is priced in line with most of its three-row crossover competitors with a starting price of $32,280*. If you’re looking for a decked-out Signature trim level, those start at $45,365, and this optioned-up tester had an as-tested price of $49,330.
Make sure to visit your local AutoNation Mazda dealership and test drive the 2019 Mazda CX-9 today!
*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
**Based on 2019 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending on specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.