First Impression…

I’m excited about this new 2018 Mazda CX-9. The exterior is sleek, strong, and breaks from the typical carpool-line mold. It looks good! The interior is sculpted, lean, contemporary, and sport-luxurious. Mazda’s designers are playing on their own level. In other words – it doesn’t seem like Mazda is looking over their shoulder to see what the rest of Japan is doing… and that’s a good thing considering a lot of Japan’s current gaudy & bulky styles.

2018 Mazda CX-9 interior wood trim

The Mazda CX-9 is a "basis-for-comparison" vehicle in its segment.

2018 Mazda CX-9 2.5 turbo


One Week Later…

The new Mazda CX-9 seems to be a solid vehicle worth real consideration. With stretched rear doors, hips, & a high waist line, it offers a similar design presence to those sophisticated (80-100k) European SUVs… but with the cargo-space & price-point of a realistic family hauler. The CX-9’s 310tq TURBOCHARGED 2.5 engine makes a lot of boost lower in the RPM range… which gets the car up to speed quickly & gives you plenty of passing power. The tradeoff – turbos do ‘prefer’ premium fuel.

The 2-tone interior with genuine rosewood accenting & night/mood lighting is on-point. It would be nice to have a bit more storage/drawers/pockets, but at some point you have to take sides between “trim, sporty, & lean”… or “bulky, plastic-y storage pockets” (…most of which end up littered with stray Cheetos & sticky trash anyway).

Mazda CX-9 interior dash


In conclusion, the Mazda CX-9 is a great basis-for-comparison vehicle in its segment. Meaning – there are a lot of generic & almost-identical options in this 3rd-row SUV segment… and you can get lost in it. A lot of plain vanilla functionality. So go drive the CX-9 AFTER you drive some others… and the Mazda will help you really pin down what you do/don’t like across all models. And for that reason alone, it needs to be on the list.