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2018 Mazda CX-9

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Expert Rating

Our expert ratings are based on seven comprehensive criteria: quality, safety, comfort, performance, fuel economy, reliability history and value.

You can interpret our ratings in the following way:

: Outstanding vehicle. Only the most exceptional vehicles achieve this rating.

: Very Good vehicle. Very good and close to being the best vehicle in its class.

: Good vehicle. Decent, but not quite the best. Often affordable, but lacking key features found in vehicles of the same class.

: Below average vehicle. Not recommended, and lacking attributes a car buyer would come to expect for the price.

: Poor vehicle. Simply does not deserve to be on the road.

Select a Trim
Select a Trim
2018 Sport 4dr Front-Wheel Drive Sport Utility
most popular
Price:   -  From $32,130
2018 Sport 4dr All-Wheel Drive Sport Utility Price:   -  From $33,930
2018 Touring 4dr Front-Wheel Drive Sport Utility Price:   -  From $34,960
2018 Touring 4dr All-Wheel Drive Sport Utility Price:   -  From $36,760
2018 Grand Touring 4dr Front-Wheel Drive Sport Utility Price:   -  From $40,470
2018 Grand Touring 4dr All-Wheel Drive Sport Utility Price:   -  From $42,270
2018 Signature 4dr All-Wheel Drive Sport Utility Price:   -  From $44,315


Finding a three-row crossover SUV that is stylish, functional and fun-to-drive can be a challenge. Mazda has infused each of these critical consumer attributes in its new CX-9. Available in four unique trim levels and priced competitively, the 2018 Mazda CX-9 is exceptional for growing families or anyone searching for a peppy, good handling crossover SUV.

What's New for 2018

For 2018, Mazda made minor adjustments, mainly offering more standard features. Safety systems previously found in upgraded trim levels, including blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and low-speed automated emergency braking are now available on all trims of the CX-9. The G-Vectoring control system, which helps to improve stability while cornering is also a standard feature.

Mazda CX-9

Choosing Your Mazda CX-9

The 2018 Mazda CX-9 is available in four trims – Sport, Touring, Grand Touring, and the premium Signature. Consumers can select one of the seven exterior colors and five interior color patterns for each trim level. The Sport, Touring, and Grand Touring feature standard front-wheel drive but can be upgraded with all-wheel drive for an additional $1,800. All-wheel drive is standard for the Signature.

Each Mazda CX-9 is powered by a 2.5-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder with 250 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. Power is delivered to the ground by way of a six-speed automatic transmission. This powertrain combo delivers an EPA-estimated 22 miles per gallon city and 28 mpg highway.

Mazda CX-9


The Sport trim level is considered the CX-9 base and is priced with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $33,070 which includes a $940 destination charge. The Sport trim features 18-inch wheels, three-zone automatic climate control, cloth upholstery, an infotainment system, steering-wheel-mounted phone, audio and cruise controls and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

Multiple safety systems are also standard with the Sport, including blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and low-speed automatic emergency braking. Mazda has introduced a new Power Driver's Seat and i-Activesense Package for this trim for an additional $1,290. It adds heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, a power driver's seat, automatic high beams, lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, and full-speed automatic emergency braking.

Mazda CX-9


The Touring trim is arguably the best value for most consumers and starts at $35,900. The extra price adds heated outside mirrors, a power rear liftgate with programmable height adjustment, rain-sensing windshield wipers, lane departure warning with lane keeping assist, and automatic emergency braking. Dual heated and leather-trimmed front seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, keyless entry and start system, second-row seating with two USB charging ports, and an eight-inch touchscreen display are added options for the Touring.

For an additional $1,745, consumers can add the Touring Premium package to this trim which adds navigation, an automated braking system, a Bose audio system with 12-speakers, LED fog lamps, SiriusXM satellite radio, and a power sunroof.

Mazda CX-9

Grand Touring

The Grand Touring trim begins at $41,410 and adds upgraded features including 20-inch wheels, a sunroof, aluminum roof rails with satin chrome finish. The Grand Touring also includes the features listed in the Touring Premium package, driver’s power seat memory, second-row heated seating, an aluminum interior trim and LED interior illumination package. The added windshield wiper de-icer, along with front and rear parking sensors to round up the available options.

Mazda CX-9


The Signature trim of the Mazda CX-9 starts at $45,255. However, unlike the other three trim levels, the Signature is only available with all-wheel drive. This trim level includes all exterior, interior, safety, and entertainment options included in the Grand Touring. Additionally, inside the cabin, the Signature offers LED signature grille accent and overhead lighting, rosewood trim, Auburn Nappa leather seating, and trim.

CarsDirect Tip

For consumers interested in buying the 2018 Mazda CX-9, a critical decision will be choosing between the all-wheel drive and front-wheel drive. For crossover SUV shoppers living in cold-weather climates, or those looking for more responsive handling and sporty ride, the extra $1,800 upgrade is a smart decision. Of the four trim options, the Touring delivers the best bang for your buck. The price is slightly less than $3,000 over the Sport and almost $6,000 below the Grand Touring.

Get your price on a Mazda CX-9 »

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Automotive Editor
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Expert Review

Expert Rating

Our expert ratings are based on seven comprehensive criteria: quality, safety, comfort, performance, fuel economy, reliability history and value.

You can interpret our ratings in the following way:

: Outstanding vehicle. Only the most exceptional vehicles achieve this rating.

: Very Good vehicle. Very good and close to being the best vehicle in its class.

: Good vehicle. Decent, but not quite the best. Often affordable, but lacking key features found in vehicles of the same class.

: Below average vehicle. Not recommended, and lacking attributes a car buyer would come to expect for the price.

: Poor vehicle. Simply does not deserve to be on the road.

author image
Contributing Editor

Three-row SUVs typically offer an excellent blend of passenger room, cargo space and towing capabilities. Mazda’s entry is the sleek looking CX-9, motivated by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine and outfitted with the latest technologies and available premium features.

Best Value

The 2018 Mazda CX-9 operates in a sea of competitors, delivering four trims for your consideration: Sport, Touring, Grand Touring and Signature. Our pick is the mid-range Touring with all-wheel drive as it includes automatic headlights, heated outside mirrors, a power liftgate, heated, power front seats, and leather upholstery. That's in addition to the CX-9's impressive roster of standard equipment.

Advanced safety features roll out at this level and include lane keep assist, lane departure warning and full-speed adaptive cruise control. This is an impressive list of equipment for a middling trim level like the CX-9 Touring – typically, these features only exist as a package or on top-trim models (or as a package limited to a top trim level). You could spring for a more expensive trim, but we think most customers will be satisfied at the Touring level.

Mazda CX-9
  • Model: 2018 Mazda CX-9 Touring AWD
  • Engine: 2.5-liter turbocharged inline-four
  • Output: 227 hp/310 lb.-ft.
  • Transmission: 6-speed automatic
  • Drivetrain: Front-wheel drive
  • MPG: 22 city/28 highway
  • Options: The 2018 CX-9 Touring offers a Touring Premium Package ($1,625) with such features as LED fog lights, a power sliding moonroof with an interior sunshade, front and rear parking sensors, a 12-speaker Bose audio system, satellite radio, navigation and a second-row retractable window sunshade. We like this package as it adds amenities to the CX-9 typically associated with far more expensive SUVs, while keeping this model’s final price well below $40,000.
  • Base Price: $37,735 (including $975 destination charge)
  • Best Value Price: $39,625


The CX-9's 2.5-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder spools up quickly, but it doesn’t match most V6 engines in out-of-the-gate performance. The transmission shifts nicely, but in a market where eight-speed transmissions are common, the standard six-speed automatic just doesn't feel as advanced as it should. The CX-9’s strong suit is with its steering – this vehicle drives like a smaller crossover, something no other model in this segment has mastered.

We recommend the 18-inch wheels for optimum comfort, although the CX-9 trails the Buick Enclave in ride contentment.

Interior and Exterior

No other midsize SUV matches the CX-9’s beautifully executed exterior. Front to back, the Mazda is simple, yet superb and elegant, but not overwrought. We haven’t seen such a beautiful tapestry among mainstream models. Standard features include LED headlights and taillights, 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, a roof spoiler and dual exhaust outlets.

Inside, the CX-9 offers three rows of seating, but is most useful and comfortable with two rows. The third-row is tight; consider those two seats as jump seats — what you might want in a pinch when you need to accommodate two additional riders. Otherwise, fold the rear seat to expand the tight 14.4 cubic feet of storage space to 38.2 cubic feet.

The cabin comes outfitted with nice-looking materials, including a surprising amount of glossy finishes. The dashboard sits low and the infotainment screen is unobtrusive, although we’re disappointed it doesn’t offer touchscreen capabilities. Standard features include push-button start, cloth seats, three-zone climate control, Bluetooth connectivity, two USB ports, blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

The Best and Worst Things

The 2018 CX-9 is one of the best-styled vehicles in the segment. Its Kodo or “soul of motion” design executes well, giving this vehicle a premium look straight away. On the other hand, interior room is tight and that immediately puts this model at a disadvantage in a highly competitive segment.

Right for…

Owners looking for an ideal blend of style, amenities and quality. This Mazda clearly punches above its segment without charging the higher price.

Wrong for…

Customers looking for other powertrain choices. The lone powertrain restricts Mazda, a manufacturer that long ago abandoned large engines to concentrate on four-cylinder choices, naturally aspirated and turbocharged. But the segment features V6 engines and Mazda’s lack of an advanced powertrain immediately scratches the CX-9 off of not a few purchase consideration lists.

The Bottom Line

Load this model down and the turbo four struggles. The Mazda CX-9 operates best as a five-passenger model with ample storage space. A handsome exterior, polished interior and advanced safety technologies are features we like with a competitive price only enhancing the CX-9’s appeal.

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Specs & Features

Overall Crash Safety Rating
Engine - Cylinders/Horsepower/Torque
2.5L I-4 / 227 HP / 310 ft.lbs.
6-spd sequential shift control auto w/OD
Drive Type
Fuel Economy - City/Highway/Combined
22 / 28 / 25 Mpg
Passenger Capacity
Bumper to Bumper Warranty
36 Months / 36,000 Miles
Mechanical Specs
Engine - Cylinders/Horsepower/Torque
2.5L I-4 / 227 HP / 310 ft.lbs.
Drive Type
Fuel Economy - City/Hwy/Combined
22 / 28 / 25 Mpg
4-wheel Disc
Front Suspension
Rear Suspension
Independent Multi-link
Spare Tire And Wheel
Compact Steel
Fuel Tank
19.0 Gal.
Recommended Fuel Type
Regular Unleaded
Average Cost To Fill Tank
Dimensions & Capabilities
Maximum Cargo Volume
71.2 Cu.ft.
Passenger Volume
135 Cu.ft.
Exterior Length
199.4 "
Exterior Width
77.5 "
Exterior Height
67.6 "
Front Headroom
39.3 "
Rear Headroom
38.5 "
Front Legroom
41.0 "
Rear Legroom
39.4 "
Front Shoulder Room
57.9 "
Rear Shoulder Room
58.1 "
Front Hip Room
Rear Hip Room
Curb Weight
4,166 Lbs.
Wheel Base
115 "
Turning Radius
19.4 '
Exterior Features
Door Count
4 Doors
18.0 " Silver Aluminum
Clearcoat Monotone / Pearlcoat Monotone / Metallic Monotone
Exterior Mirrors
Dual Power Remote / Dual Power Remote Heated
Grille Moldings
Rear Spoiler
Stainless Steel With Chrome Tailpipe Finish
Interior Features
Passenger Capacity
Seat Trim
Front Seat Type
Heated Front Seats
Driver And Front Passenger Heated-cushion, Heated-seatback
Front Driver Seat Direction Controls
6-way / (6-way Power)
Front Passenger Seat Direction Controls
Front Armrests
6-way / (6-way Power)
Rear Armrests
Rear Seats
60-40 Split-bench
Radio & Infotainment
Am/fm/hd, Clock, Seek-scan
Radio Steering Wheel Controls
Apple Car Play
Android Auto
Bluetooth w/ Hands-Free Connectivity
Convenience Features
Steering Wheel Type
Telescopic Tilt
Climate Control
Automatic Air Conditioning
Cruise Control
With Steering Wheel Controls
Sun Roof
Rearview Mirror
Day-night / Auto-dimming Day-night
One Touch Open Window
Front And Rear
Tinted Windows
Vanity Mirrors
Remote Keyless Entry
Keyfob (all Doors)
Power Outlets
Safety Features
Overall Crash Safety Rating
Overall Front Crash Safety Rating
Overall Side Crash Safety Rating
Rollover Crash Safety Rating
Front Impact Airbags
Driver And Passenger
Driver Side Impact Airbags
Seat Mounted
Knee Airbag
Passenger Side Impact Airbag
Seat Mounted
Rear Side Airbag
Seatbelt Pretensioners
Anti-Lock Brakes
4-wheel Anti-lock Brakes (abs)
Forward Collision Warning
Smart Brake Support Forward Collision Mitigation
Blind Spot Sensor
Blind Spot Monitoring Blind Spot
Lane Departure Warning
Lane Keep Assist System Lane Departure
Autonomous Cruise Control
Pedestrian Detection
Driver Attention Alert
Daytime Running Lights
Auto High Beams
High Beam Control Auto High-beam
Adaptive Headlights
Parking Sensors
Security Systems
Panic Alarm
Ignition Disable
Bumper To Bumper Months Miles
36 Months / 36,000 Miles
Major Components Months
60 Months / 60,000 Miles
Included Maintenance Months
Roadside Assistance Months
36 Months / 36,000 Miles
Corrosion Perforation
60 Months / Unlimited Miles
Accessories Months
36 Months / 36,000 Miles

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