2019 Mazda CX-9 Signature Review

The CX-9 which I have reviewed last year has received critical acclaims from both automotive journalists and car owners. With each succeeding year, Mazda engineers find ways to improve on their already excellent vehicles. It is the same case for the 2019 CX-9. For one, it has finally been equipped with Apple Carplay and Android Auto (finally!). It also features a new 7.0" display that dominates the instrument cluster. There is a new 360 degree camera system, ventilated front seats, power folding door mirrors, and a new Santos Rosewood interior trim.

All these changes, while small on its own, provide solutions to real world issues car owners face. Collectively, they make the CX-9 that much more enjoyable as the ultimate family vehicle.
Thanks to Mazda Canada, I was loaned the 2019 CX-9 Signature for a week, below is my unbiased review.

The exterior of the CX-9 remains largely unchanged. The Kodo design langues still looks the best on a long car like the CX-9. The body proportions make the car look agile and much smaller than it actually is.

In the front, Mazda has added LED grille lighting accents to make the car stand out at night. The two-toned exterior mirrors are now power-folding to accommodate tight parking spaces. On its side, the muscular wheel wells are now filled with large, 20" rims to give the car a sportier look.

Overall, while the exterior only receives minor updates, it is still the best looking 3-row SUV on the market in my opinion. It is a timeless design that ages gracefully.

Inside our Signature Trim tester, a clean but upscale cabin greets you. I very much enjoy the multi-toned interior design of the 2019 CX-9. Warm leatherette and wood appointed trims contrast the beautifully sculpted aluminum trim pieces to create a unique and premium combination. Gone is the tick frame around the rear view mirror. It is now a frame-less design that matches with the premium quality of the interior.

By simply changing the materials, the engineers at Mazda manages to make the already excellent interior design feels that much more expensive in the 2019 model. At the same time, the third row space remain to be on the smaller side compare to its rivals. A small scarify I am willing to make for the beautiful interior.

The infotainment system receives some of the most noticeable updates. Apple Carplay and Android Auto are finally standard for the 2019 CX-9. This makes the somewhat dated infotainment interface more tolerable. A 360 degree view camera system helps to keep a big car like this in the center of the parking stall. Sport trim model has a 7.0-inch center screen, while Touring, Grand Touring, and Signature models receive the 8.0-inch unit. One thing to point out is that while in Android Auto, the touchscreen is not active. You will have to rely on the rotary control dial behind the shifter to interact with the phone.

The center dial in the instrument cluster is now a 7" digital display. It can be configured to display navigation, audio, or vehicle information. The display is controlled by the nicely laid out buttons on the steering wheel.

Safety and Driver Assistance
As usual, Mazda is generous when it comes to providing driver assistance. Our tester is equipped with the following features:

  • Automated emergency braking
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Rear cross traffic alert
  • Automatic high beams
  • Lane departure warning 
  • Lane keep assist
  • Heads-up display 

It earns 5 star safety rating from NHTSA and scores well in all IIHS crash tests.

The 2019 Mazda CX-9 is still powered by the same 2.5L turbo 4-cylinder engine that provides 227 hp (250 on premium fuel) of power and 310 lb.ft. of torque. It provides good power while maintaining excellent fuel efficiency for a car this size. Mazda rates the car at 11.6 L/100 km City 9.1 L/100 km Highway. Our mostly city driving test drive returns a 12.9 L/100km average, but we did leave the car idle for some time while shooting.

The transmission is the same smooth-shifting 6-speed automatic from last year. The car feels light on its feet. The suspension keeps the car nice and tidy on corners while still provides a supple ride over rough roads. The steering is precise and vigor, making the car behaves like a much smaller SUV.

While nothing is really changed in this department, the 2019 CX-9 is still one of the most fun to drive vehicle in the 3-row SUV segment.

Cargo Space & Storage
If there is a trade off for the exterior beauty of the CX-9, it is the below average cargo space behind the third row seats. With all the seats up, there is only 407L of cargo space. Fold the 3rd row seats down, and a much more reasonable 1082L of cargo space becomes available. Folding the 2nd row seats down almost doubles the amount of usable space to 2017L.

In cabin storage options remains excellent. There is a carpeted storage bin with two USB plugs under the front center armrest, and all door pockets are nice and deep.

The CX-9 could have remained unchanged and still attract lots of buyers, but I very much appreciate all the changes Mazda decides to implement. You can tell that the engineers at Mazda listen to the customer feedback and decided to address some of the most relevant issues they face. The folding exterior mirrors and the 360 degree camera system make parking a large vehicle easier. The addition of Apple Carplay and Android Auto, as well as a digital center gauge keeps the infotainment system up to date. And with a few materials changes, the interior of the 2019 CX-9 now feels even more premium. If I am in the market for a 3-row SUV, this is the one I would get.

Test Vehicle
2019 Mazda CX-9 Signature
$53,795 without Destination
Snowflake White Pearl Mica


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