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2019 Mazda CX-9 Interior Review

Scorecard

Interior: 8.3

One of the best cabins in the class belongs to the 2019 Mazda CX-9. The space is elegant and modern, with materials that are on par with much more expensive brands. An abundance of safety and technology features accompanies every trim level, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto make their debut in all but the base model. Passenger space is agreeable (especially in the first two rows), but cargo space is on the small side for a vehicle this size.

  • "More upscale than a Honda Pilot or Toyota Highlander, the CX-9 looks like a high-end luxury vehicle, and its interior, especially the Signature trim, will have you believing you're riding in an Audi or a Lexus SUV." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Pretty much everything about the CX-9's interior feels right and thoughtfully designed. This is a new benchmark for non-luxury SUVs, and other manufacturers should take notes on how Mazda makes the most of available space and how quality components all contribute to a favorable impression." -- Edmunds (2018)
  • "The CX-9 has Mazda's best interior ever, and levels of refinement that are unike (sic) anything the brand has offered before. " -- Autoweek (2018)

Seating

The CX-9 is a 3-row SUV that can carry up to seven people. Its seats are comfortable throughout, starting with front seats roomy enough to ensure even wide-shouldered drivers have acreage to spare. The second-row seats are also spacious, with reclining seatbacks that adults will find appealing, and a tilt-slide feature that makes it easier to crawl back to the rearmost row. The third-row bench seat is adult-friendly for only the shortest of excursions.

Cloth upholstery, a six-way manually adjustable driver’s seat, a four-way manually adjustable front passenger seat, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob are standard. Upgrades include leather-trimmed seats in the first two rows, premium Nappa leather seats, a power-adjustable driver's seat with power lumbar support, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, a heated steering wheel, and second-row sunshades.

LATCH hardware consists of three anchors in the second row and a fourth in the third row. All anchors are clearly marked and easy to find, except for the middle seat in the second row. Two sets of lower anchors are also present in the second row, both of which are easy to use.

  • "Adults fit fine in the second row, but the third row is best for kids. The front seats are roomy, and the area feels commanding thanks to a wide console." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The CX-9 feels larger inside than its exterior suggests, and its front and middle rows easily accommodate larger passengers. The third row has enough space to prevent claustrophobia, but a low cushion and tight headroom make it best suited for kids and smaller adults." -- Edmunds (2018)
  • "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)

Interior Features

While no infotainment system is ever perfect, professional automotive journalists say the Mazda Connect interface is one of the best. The menus within the interface and the system's accompanying buttons and knobs are straightforward, making the system easy to use. It comes standard with a 7-inch touch screen, dual USB ports, and Bluetooth, and it integrates the apps Aha, Pandora, and Stitcher. Upgraded systems include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for the first time in the CX-9. Additional infotainment options include an 8-inch touch screen, navigation, satellite radio, HD Radio, and a 12-speaker Bose surround-sound system.

The CX-9's list of notable standard features doesn't stop with the infotainment system. Its standard safety systems include Smart City Brake Support (low-speed automatic emergency braking), blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and a rearview camera. Tri-zone automatic climate control and push-button start also come in every CX-9.

Available options include a sunroof, a proximity key, a 7-inch LCD driver's display, automatic high beams, adaptive headlights, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality, rain-sensing windshield wipers, Smart Brake Support (forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking), Advanced Smart City Brake Support (a combination of forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and pedestrian detection), front and rear parking sensors, a traffic sign recognition system, and a surround-view monitor.

See 2019 Mazda CX-9 specs »

  • "Most major controls are logically placed and easy to use. The infotainment system's main control knob is easily one of the best we've encountered. It is placed where your hand normally rests, the screen is right in your sight line, response is quick and the menus are intuitive." -- Edmunds (2018)
  • "Unassuming and sophisticated at once, the control layout takes a minimalist approach to gauge clusters and information screens, and the Mazda Connect infotainment system represents a master class in elegant simplicity. Rear climate controls are a major bonus, as are USB ports hidden in the second-row armrest." -- New York Daily News (2016)
  • "The interior looks great and Mazda's user-friendly infotainment setup allows for your choice of voice, touch-screen, or twirl-and-press knob to control most major functions." -- Motor Trend (2016)

Cargo

Across the board, the CX-9 has less cargo room than many other 3-row midsize SUVs. Still, the space is sizable enough to hold more than six small suitcases or large backpacks. Every CX-9 except the base Sport trim comes with a power liftgate, and the cargo area is wide and flat. There is 14.4 cubic feet behind the rearmost seats. Fold down both 50/50 split third-row seats to open up 38.2 cubic feet of space. The second-row seats have a 60/40 split, and with all rear seats folded, the CX-9 has a maximum cargo area of 71.2 cubic feet.

  • "We found the CX-9's cargo capacity to be sufficient at 14.4 cubic feet behind the third row and 71.2 cubic feet with all the seats folded, but others in the class offer more. On the plus side, it has a flat cargo floor that makes it easy to load bulky items." -- Edmunds (2018)
  • "Storage space abounds, with several useful covered bins and an open tray beneath the center stack that's very useful." -- Forbes (2017)
  • "The cargo area is very wide at the rear, and there's a good amount of storage space under the floor; all but the Sport have a power liftgate. Volume is sizable, and the 2nd- and 3rd-row seat backs fold level with the load floor, making the CX-9 competitive from a cargo standpoint." -- Consumer Guide (2016)
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