Drivers looking for a midsize SUV with a sporty edge are going to find themselves flocking to the highly-rated 2019 Mazda CX-9. Although the CX-9 does not quite stack up to its competition in terms of available cargo space or towing capacity, it makes up for these shortcomings with its exciting performance capabilities. In particular, the CX-9 has some incredibly sporty handling and a re-tuned suspension that gives the vehicle a more refined ride than ever before.
What's New for 2019?
This year, several significant changes have been made to the CX-9. The 2019 Mazda CX-9 now comes with smartphone app integration availability in the forms of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. They come standard on the Touring trim and above. Also, there is a re-tuned suspension that provides a more refined ride and thicker floor mats and a headliner that help to keep noise from seeping into the cabin. Finally, there is a new surround-view camera system that is standard on the Grand Touring and Signature trims.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2019 Mazda CX-9 – The Pros
1. Sporty Handling Abilities
Midsize SUVs are not typically known for having sporty handling, but the 2019 Mazda CX-9 redefines those expectations in this installment of the second generation of CX-9 models. The 2019 Mazda CX-9 drives much more like a smaller and spunkier sport sedan than an SUV. Nimble on its feet and strong in its chassis, the CX-9 offers some of the most exciting handling capabilities you can find on a vehicle in its class.
2. The Newly Re-tuned Suspension
This year, the Mazda CX-9 features a newly re-tuned suspension that offers a quieter ride quality. The bumps in the road get smoothed over even better than before, and the re-tuned suspension helps the overall ride quality achieve a significantly more natural feel. With the thicker roof and floor mats adding an extra level of insulation to the cabin, the CX-9 ups the ante in terms of refinement.
3. High-quality Interior Design
A lot of SUVs in this segment manage to look contemporary but do not really nail it when it comes to luxurious appeal. The Mazda CX-9 embodies the high-quality interior design found in premium luxury vehicles without having the expensive price tag to match. The base Sport trim has a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and the luxuries pile up with each successive trim level. All of the hard surfaces have a well-constructed feel to them, and there are no noticeable gaps or rattles while the vehicle is being driven.
4. Reliable Braking
The braking abilities on the 2019 Mazda CX-9 border on flawlessness and are some of the strongest you can find in the midsize SUV segment. While driving under normal circumstances, the brakes feel appropriately firm and natural. Making an emergency stop feels extremely secure in this vehicle as well. In fact, when tested, the CX-9 was able to come to a panic stop from 60 mph in just 115 feet. Most third-row SUVs are not capable of reaching a stop in such a short distance.
5. Precision Steering
Steering on the Mazda CX-9 is as reliable as can possibly be imagined. The vehicles has a straight-on tracking sensibility, and making sharp turns yields a highly concise response from the steering to the driver. Steering effort builds up naturally, and the driver ends up feeling connected with the vehicle and its road performance. It is probably some of the most responsive steering that can be found on an SUV this year.
6. Comfortable Seats
Mazda does not forsake performance for comfort. Instead, they offer a fantastic blend of it by loading the 2019 Mazda CX-9 with some seriously comfortable seats. Regardless of where you sit in the vehicle, seats feel well-bolstered and provide plenty of support during long car rides. The second row of seats slide and recline for additional passenger comfort. The third row is best left for children but has seats that kids will be able to feel cozy in.
7. A Quiet Ride Quality
Barely any noise seeps into the cabin of the new Mazda CX-9 thanks to the vehicle's design. Take the CX-9 up to speed on the highway, and you still will not notice anything remotely intrusive. Road and wind noise are barely ever audible, and the engine purrs like a kitten. As far as encountering bumps and ruts in the road, the re-tuned suspension does a vastly better job than it previously had of smoothing out road imperfections.
8. Easy to Use the Controls
Controls on the 2019 Mazda CX-9 are remarkably easy to locate and use despite the vehicle's high-tech vibe. The infotainment controls are particularly user-friendly. The main control knob for the system is located in a space where you would naturally put your hand, and using it is simple. Accessing all of the features from the touchscreen display is quite intuitive, and the screen gives off bright and crisp graphics.
9. Excellent Technological Features
Speaking of the infotainment system, the features that can be found on it are plentiful and happen to be some of the most innovative that you can find. A lot of the Mazda CX-9's competitors have systems that just are not as refined. This year, smartphone app integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is available. There are also plenty of USB ports to be found, and the Bose stereo system that comes on the higher trim levels provides crystal-clear sound throughout the vehicle. Additionally, voice control seems to be tuned for precision and is easy to use.
10. Plenty of Helpful Driver Aids
Active driver aids are quickly becoming a hot commodity, and the 2019 Mazda CX-9 offers a long list of them. Blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and a slow-speed automatic emergency braking system come standard on the base Sport trim. This is a particularly nice bonus since other auto manufacturers continue to leave these as options for their lower trim levels despite demand to make them standard. All of the driver aids seem to respond appropriately and are not at all intrusive.
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Reasons Not to Buy a 2019 Mazda CX-9 – The Cons
1. Lacks Cargo Capacity of Its Competitors
All of the gripes that can be made about the 2019 Mazda CX-9 are relatively minor. First, the CX-9's cargo space falls a bit short of what is offered by its competitors. With all seats in place, you get 14.4 cubic feet of cargo space. Take the seats down, and you will get only 71.2 cubic feet. The one bonus you get is that the cargo floor is totally flat, thereby eliminating some of the hassle of loading bulky items.
2. Climate Control Isn't Terribly Effective
Tri-zone climate control is pretty mediocre on the CX-9, at least in terms of how thoroughly it cools the cabin down. On hot days, it just does not generate sufficient air flow throughout the interior to keep everyone cool. This could be an annoyance for quite a few drivers, especially for those who live in warmer climates.
3. Visibility is Somewhat Obscured
The design of the thick roof pillars on the 2019 Mazda CX-9 hinder visibility to an extent, at least when the vehicle is going through turns or trying to see out of the rear. The rear windshield is also somewhat small. However, the standard blind-spot monitoring system and camera come in handy.
4. Low Towing Capacity For Its Class
A lot of drivers are probably going to buy the Mazda CX-9 for purposes other than towing, but those who have something they want to tow should be aware that the CX-9 has a low towing capacity for its class. Most third-row SUVs can tow more than the CX-9's max of 3,500 pounds. Also, if you want to get the wiring and harness and hitch, you will have to buy them as an after-purchase bundle.
How it stacks up to the competition:
2019 Mazda CX-9 vs. 2019 Subaru Ascent
One of the biggest competitors for the Mazda CX-9 is the 2019 Subaru Ascent. This third-row SUV comes with standard all-wheel drive and is capable of towing up to 5,000 pounds, thereby putting the CX-9 to shame. It also features a huge list of standard safety and infotainment features and has some of the best-in-class cargo space. Unfortunately, the Subaru Ascent has a CVT automatic transmission that lacks refinement and just cannot compare to what you get on the CX-9.
2019 Mazda CX-9 vs. 2019 Honda Pilot
Another top competitor for the new Mazda CX-9 is the 2019 Honda Pilot. It features a standard 6-speed transmission, but the optional 9-speed that you can get does not offer the same ride quality. Some of the active driver aids are overly-sensitive, and the third row is quite small. However, the Pilot offers a good fuel economy and a well-designed interior that speaks highly to the company's focus on safety and comfort.
The 2019 Mazda CX-9 has a lot of positives going for it and will likely find itself on the top of many people's to-be-test-driven lists. The issues it has are relatively minor and can probably be overlooked by most drivers. Consumers will be hard-pressed to find another third-row SUV that provides such a refined ride quality mixed with the utmost in luxury without the extremely expensive price tag.
• Why buy a 2018 Mazda CX-9? w/ pros vs cons