Thank you to DriveShop and Mazda for letting us test drive the CX-9 for the week.
We are a road trip family. All we need to create memories that will last a lifetime are four wheels, an open road, and a destination. While just about any vehicle can get you from Point A to Point B, our road trips are as much about the journey as they are about where we end up. Having the right car can certainly make or break the experience.
We recently had the opportunity to test drive the 2017 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD. We had the car for a week and even took it on a day trip to Montauk. Here’s why we think this car is perfect for families like ours that want to be able to hit the road for quick getaway.
More often than not, when given the option of driving vs. flying somewhere, we choose to get in the car and drive. Not only can it often be less expensive, but driving also gives us more flexibility and control. That’s so important when traveling with kids. It’s so much easier to deal with both the expected and unexpected issues when you have the ability to pull over.
Of course, being in a car that has everything your family needs to be safe, comfortable, and happy is a bonus. In testing the Mazda CX-9, we wanted to make sure it met those standards.
Our family is our most precious cargo. Staying safe is a priority, and the Mazda CX-9 loaded with safety features. In addition to standard features like air bags, seat belts, and child seat latches, the CX-9 goes above and beyond with blind-spot indicators, lane departure warnings, and a backup camera.
There is even a Heads-Up Display so you don’t have to take your eyes off the road to see your speed and navigation info. Many of the other controls are at your fingertips right on the steering wheel.
Unfortunately, it didn’t rain the week we had the car, so we never had the chance to see the rain-sensing windshield wipers in action.
Compared to what we usually drive, the Mazda CX-9 felt more like being in a luxury car. On the outside, the CX-9 has a smooth, shiny look. This is no minivan or boxy SUV, to be sure.
On the inside, the Nappa Leather trimmed upholstery is inviting and comfortable. We nearly had a heart attack when one of our children got some chocolate on the seat, but thankfully it cleaned up very easily.
With features like the push button ignition, heated seats and large touch screen on the dashboard, you definitely feel spoiled when sitting behind the wheel of the CX-9.
It’s also surprisingly spacious. We’ve driven crossovers in the past that have felt claustrophobic. The CX-9 doesn’t feel too cramped at all. There is plenty of leg room in both the front and middle rows. The third row can get tight for those of us with longer legs, but it is perfect for kids.
The smaller size of the CX-9 makes it much easier to handle than a larger SUV. If you normally drive a sedan, the CX-9 is not an overwhelming difference. It’s very responsive, which comes in handy both when trying to park and also when getting around traffic on the highway.
For our road trip to Montauk, we tested out the built-in navigation system. Setting up our destination was easy. The navigation not only appears on the touchscreen, but also on the neat Heads-Up Display on the windshield. In addition to the visuals, there are audio cues. You can adjust the volume of those cues if needed. They were initially too low for us to hear, especially while music was playing.
Speaking of music, the built-in satellite radio was what we listened to on our road trip. If there’s one thing missing from the CX-9, it’s a CD/DVD player for the kids to watch in the back seat. You could always purchase a portable DVD player to use for long trips.
Thanks to the USB charging ports in the back seat, the kids will get drained of energy before their electronics do. Whether napping or using a screen, each window in the back has a sunshade to help make it dim and comfortable.
For a family of four, the Mazda CX-9 boasts plenty of room for just about everything you’d want to pack for any destination. If you need to make use of the third row seating, you’ll still have room for small bags and things in the back. If you are packing luggage for an extended stay somewhere, then you’ll definitely want to have at least one, if not both, of the third row seats down.
The rear door can be opened and shut at the touch of a button.
The 2017 Mazda CX-9 sells for $31,520 at its lowest trim level. The model we test drove is the highest of the four available trim levels and retails for $44, 315. There are definitely other cars in this category of 7-passenger crossovers that are less expensive, but you’ll probably be sacrificing something in the way of looks and performance by opting for something other than the CX-9.
The documentation on the car said we would get 28 mpg on the highway. For the week we had it, where we drove both highway and side streets, we averaged 23 mpg. As we expected, that’s better than James’ crossover and a little worse than Lisa’s sedan.
We had a lot of fun driving the Mazda CX-9 around. It’s not only a great everyday car, it also makes a fabulous getaway car!
Thank you again to DriveShop and Mazda for letting us test drive the Mazda CX-9 for the week. To learn more, check out Mazda’s website, or follow Mazda USA on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.