$24,723 - $33,079

2017 Mazda CX-9 Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2017 Mazda CX-9 was new.

Scorecard

Interior: 8.2

The 2017 Mazda CX-9 has a handsome and upscale cabin that is befitting a car with a much pricier badge. This is especially true of the top-of-the-line Signature trim, which has genuine wood, metal, and leather accents. Even lower trims have soft-touch surfaces, and the plastics that can be found are pleasingly textured.

The CX-9 has comfortable and roomy first- and second-row seats, and even the third row can reasonably fit a couple of adults. Though the Mazda Connect infotainment system isn't as advanced as the ones you can find in some competitors, it is easy to use and has a straightforward layout. Cargo space is just about average for the class.

  • "If you want more proof of the blurred line between mainstream and luxury, look at the Mazda CX-9. Specifically, look at the roughly $45,000 Signature edition. Yes, those are real rosewood-and-aluminum accents surrounded by Nappa leather." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The overall look and feel of the cabin is very harmonious and elegant and would be at home in a luxury vehicle." -- Forbes
  • "Material quality is excellent throughout. Many of the plastics are so finely grained and soft to the touch that they appear to be bovine based. As in all Mazdas, there are round analog dials, but unlike the binnacles in other Mazdas, one of the round housings actually contains a color LCD screen that can display trip information, a compass, and navigation directions." -- Car and Driver (2016)

Seating

The 3-row 2017 CX-9 seats up to seven people. The base trim comes standard with cloth upholstery. Higher trims have leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, and heated front seats.

The front seats are comfortable and roomy, with a large console providing plenty of space between the driver and front passenger. Second-row passengers will appreciate the sliding and reclining seat for finding a comfortable position. Unlike many 3-row SUVs, the CX-9 has enough space in the back seats to accommodate a couple of adults comfortably. However, it can be difficult to climb into the back, even with the second row slid forward.

  • "My second- and third-row passengers praised the CX-9's comfort and luxury. I had a full load of adults, seven people including me, for a stretch, and those in the rear did not feel penalized for a short ride." -- Forbes
  • "The front seats are roomy, and the area feels commanding thanks to a wide console." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • No one's going to have any trouble getting comfortable in the first two rows, and while of course the third row is more ideal for kids, adults would have no problem going for an extended ride back there. The only real problem with the third row is ingress and egress." -- Automobile Magazine (2016)

Interior Features

Standard features in the CX-9 include tri-zone automatic climate control, a 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system, a six-speaker audio system, HD Radio, satellite radio, Bluetooth, and two USB ports.

Optional features include an upgraded 8-inch touch-screen infotainment system, navigation, a 12-speaker Bose premium audio system, a head-up display, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and rear parking sensors.

The CX-9 doesn't include Apple CarPlay or Android Auto smartphone integration, which is available in rivals like the Honda Pilot and Ford Edge. In fact, the CX-9's infotainment system is generally more basic than competitor's systems – but depending upon how you look at it, that could be a good thing. Because of the lack of extraneous options, it's easy to set climate and audio settings or input destinations into the optional navigation system. The CX-9 also has physical controls for some features. This is an improvement over the Pilot, which requires you to use the touch screen to adjust all settings.

If you can afford it, the CX-9's Bose audio system is worth the added cost for its superior sound quality.

See 2017 Mazda CX-9 specs »

  • "Mazda Connect's strength is in its simplicity. There's just not much to this infotainment software. The maps and navigation get the job done. There's USB and Bluetooth connectivity and a handful of audio streaming app integrations, but Mazda's less-is-more attitude can be seen in action here." -- CNET (2016)
  • "From the driver's seat, every critical gauge and display sits directly in the driver's field of view. Buttons and switchgear are within easy reach, lending to ergonomics that feel just right. The LCD display in the center stack is touch sensitive, but Mazda's familiar click-wheel and buttons on the center console perform the same inputs and are just as easy to master." -- Autoblog (2016)
  • "Mazda also upgraded its stereo, working with Bose to develop a 12-speaker setup that offers great sound and can handle a multitude of digital formats." -- Automobile Magazine (2016)

Cargo

Overall, the CX-9 has a slightly below-average amount of cargo room for a midsize SUV. It offers 71.2 cubic feet of cargo space with both rear rows of seats folded flat. Compared with its closest 3-row rivals, its diminished capacity is most noticeable. The Honda Pilot has significantly more overall cargo room, with 83.9 cubic feet behind the first row of seats. The 2-row Ford Edge also offers a bit more cargo capacity than the CX-9.

Behind the last row of seats, the CX-9 has 14.4 cubic feet of cargo room, and there's 38.2 cubic feet with the third row folded. The Pilot beats both of these figures as well: 16.5 cubic feet with all seats in use and 46.8 cubic feet behind the second-row seats.

To make loading easy, a power liftgate comes with every trim except the base model. You can fold the second- and third-row seats to provide a nearly flat load floor. Unfortunately, it's not possible to fold the second-row seats from the cargo area. They must be folded down from the side doors. There are plenty of handy compartments throughout the cabin to stow away personal items, like sunglasses or a phone.

  • The new CX-9 trails the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander in cargo room, but there's a respectable 71.2 cubic feet with the second and third rows folded." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Storage space abounds, with several useful covered bins and an open tray beneath the center stack that's very useful." -- Forbes
  • Mazda did improve the overall folding ability of the second and third row, and when both are down, the cargo space is immense and the floor is relatively flat. The only drawback to the new system is that the second row cannot be lowered from the back of the vehicle. Instead, you must open the second-row doors and reach in to lower the seats." -- Automobile Magazine (2016)

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