$23,049 - $31,773

2018 Mazda CX-9 Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2018 Mazda CX-9 was new.


Interior: 8.2

The 2018 Mazda CX-9 has an elegant and luxurious cabin that's fitted with top-notch materials. The fully loaded Signature model even has genuine wood, metal, and leather trim pieces that wouldn't be out of place in a luxury-badged model. The CX-9's seats are comfortable and spacious, and its infotainment system is intuitive. Many competitors offer more cargo room, however.

  • "The 2018 Mazda CX-9 blurs the lines between family vehicle and luxury cruiser. The top-of-the-line Signature trim features real rosewood accents and Nappa leather seating with styling that could just as easily have come from the studios at Audi, Mercedes-Benz or Lexus." -- 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 (2017)
  • "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)


The seven-seat CX-9 has three rows of cloth-upholstered seats in the base model. Some trims add leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, heated front seats, heated second-row seats, and a heated steering wheel.

The driver and front passenger enjoy ample room and plenty of shoulder space. The second- and third-row seats are comfortable and roomy as well. The CX-9's third row is spacious enough for adults, which can't be said of all 3-row SUVs. Climbing in and out of the third-row seats can be a challenge, though.

There are full sets of LATCH car-seat connectors on the second-row outboard seats. The middle second-row seat and the passenger-side third-row seat only have a lower tether anchor.

  • "The front seats are roomy, and the area feels commanding thanks to a wide console." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "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 (2017)
  • 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

The CX-9 comes standard with tri-zone automatic climate control, push-button start, a 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system, Bluetooth, dual USB ports, a rearview camera, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and low-speed automatic emergency braking.

Optional features include an upgraded 8-inch touch-screen infotainment system, a 12-speaker Bose audio system, satellite radio, navigation, a moonroof, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, active lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, a traffic sign recognition system, and front and rear parking sensors.

The Mazda Connect infotainment system is relatively basic, which can be a positive or a negative, depending on your perspective. It's easy to use, with straightforward menus and an intuitive interface. On the downside, it lacks many of the latest features – like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration – that are available in most competitors. Physical buttons and knobs control most features, and a central control wheel – in addition to the touch screen – operates the infotainment system. The optional Bose audio system has excellent audio quality.

See 2018 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)


Most midsize SUVs have more overall cargo space than the CX-9, which has 14.4 cubic feet of cargo room behind the third-row seats, 38.2 cubic feet behind the second row, and 71.2 cubic feet with both rear rows folded. The seatbacks fold nearly flat into the floor, making it easy to slide in large or heavy objects.

You can't fold down the second-row seats from the back of the SUV. Instead, you'll have to go around to the rear side doors to lay them down. There are plenty of small-item storage spaces throughout the cabin, including an under-floor bin to hide precious items. A power liftgate is available.

  • 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 (2017)
  • 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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