2018 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD Review and Road Test
I spent a week getting to know the 2018 CX-9 AWD Signature decked out in snowflake white pearl mica and 20" alloy wheels. I drove it in and around Washington DC and did a quick trip to Long Island New York. I picked up Troy Mitchell along the way to get his input on the CX-9.
I drove the CX-9 through the streets of Washington DC during the normal routine, took it into Southern Maryland and did a sprint to Long Island New York. I wanted to borrow my neighbor’s kids to get their expert opinions on the “family worthiness” of the CX-9; but they work too busy with school, sports and playdates — normal kid stuff. I did do a load-out test though. The CX-9 easily gobbled up all my inventory, racks and gear for a photography pop-up. It was also much easier on the eyes and easier to park near U St NW than the vintage F-150 I normally use.
The CX-9 delivers a premium driving experience. The way it finesses bumps in the road is really impressive for a vehicle in this price range. I took friends who drive premium SUVs, Land Rover and Porsche, for short drives around town. Each remarked about the CX-9’s quiet, ride quality, and beautiful interior. I am sure that the Range Rover would do better off-road and the Porsche would do better on a track; but around town, the CX-9 is a really nice vehicle.
The CX-9 is surprisingly fun to drive on twisty country roads for a three row SUV. I’m going to credit G-Vectoring control with the lack of body roll while cornering. The transmission is responsive in both manual and sport mode giving the driver more control over the drivetrain when you have the opportunity to zoom zoom.
The CX-9 is a super long trip vehicle as I discovered driving from DC to Long Island NY one weekend. It maintains its quiet personality at highway speeds. No wind intrudes. You can really enjoy the 12 speaker Bose audio system. I also got to use a lot of the i-ACTIVSENSE suite of safety features, particularly:
- Lane-Keep Assist,
- Lane Departure Warning,
- Mazda Radar Cruise Control with Stop and Go function,
- Distance Recognition Support System and Forward Obstruction Warning,
- Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert.
Combined, these technologies help the driver maintain a set speed, maintain a safe following distance, maintain position in a lane and maintain situational awareness of vehicles and obstructions around the vehicle. The system will bring the vehicle to a complete stop as required in stop and go traffic and then smoothly accelerate back to the desired speed set the by the driver. The system will even keep you from banging the CX-9’s sculpted front lip on a curb as you pull into the parking lot at your destination — the system will give you a nice “ding” when you’ve pulling in far enough!
The MSRP for my loaded CX-9 Signature is $45,555. The beautifully appointed interior features Nappa leather seating surfaces, Rosewood and aluminum trim, as well as a heated and leather wrapped steering wheel. The contrasting stitching add nice detail touches throughout the interior.
It comes equipped with the Turbocharged SKYACTIV-G 2.5T engine that’s good for 250 horsepower, SKYACTIV Drive 6-speed Automatic with manual shift and sport modes. Predictive i-ACTIV All-Wheel Drive is standard on the Signature and available on all other trim levels. Fuel economy is at 20 city, 26 highway and 23 combined for the AWD Signature. Front wheel drive units achieve slightly better mileage at 22 city, 28 highway and 24 combined. The CX-9 sprints from 0-60 mph in 7.2 seconds.
The CX-9 is a great value for the money. It's also stylish and fun. #DiscoverMazda