Cruising in luxury with the Mazda CX-9

Sponsored post 04_mazda_cx9_1608.ts.1608050646444530You zoom zoom? We zoom zoomed this past month in a fancy-schmancy new Mazda CX-9 crossover SUV with seating for 7. After reading about and hearing from friends for so long how fun and engaging Mazdas are to drive, we had high expectations, and the CX-9 didn’t disappoint. It was quiet, big {but not too big}, and powerful enough that it was super fun to cruise in, whether it was around town or on long trips. Maxda CX9 sideHere’s what we learned from our week of zoom zooming in luxury:

Daddy-O Likes

  • Space for everything – With the third row up there isn’t a ton of storage space, but you pop that row down and you’ve got ample storage for when you drive to your brother-in-law’s and he loads you up with all his old GI Joe bins and buildings for your son. We’re talking 5 bins of stuff, the Cobra command center, and a box of food… all without having to remove the mammoth stroller that normally takes up the entire trunk. Mazda CX9 back
  • Heads Up Display – If you’ve never experienced a Heads Up Display, you don’t understand what you’re missing. Instead of having to glance down to see your speed, or glance around to see speed limits and more, you can see it right through the windshield without taking your eyes off the road, which is awesome. You can customize what you see, where it is placed, and how bright and noticeable it is.Mazda CX9 interior
  • Rocking stereo – With AM/FM radio, Satellite channels and iPod and Bluetooth integration, plus streaming apps, there are tons of ways to enjoy the clear sound of the CX-9’s bumping stereo system, and you can fine tune just about everything – including which seat gets to rock out the most.
  • Back up camera – Safety is paramount, so anything that helps keep us and our kiddos safe is a huge plus. Also, it makes parallel parking a breeze in the city, even with the larger vehicle size. Mazda CX9 back up cam
  • Aggressive styling – The husband really likes cars that look like they are ready to go without being overstyled. The CX-9 looks super sporty and tough with a menacing grill. And the Mazda designers did a great job integrating design cues from the rest of their cars that help disguise how big the CX-9 is. Mazda X9 grille
  • Manual shifting – Since we’re used to a manual transmission, automatic transmissions can seem like they lag a bit, so having the option of shifting is really nice. With the traditional gear selector you can shift with, it’s much closer to having the same feel as a manual but with the ease of an automatic. And the automatic in the CX-9 did such a great job anyway, we ended up driving for a few days before we remembered to even try manually shifting.
  • Driving experience – We are now Mazda believers since the CX-9 was so incredibly fun to drive. Everything was well tuned and balanced between the suspension, transmission and engine which really made it feel like we were in a smaller sporty car.   Mazda CX9 front seat

Mama Likes

  • Keyless entry and ignition – Keyless is less of an option for me than an absolute must-have. I simply keep the car keys zipped in a pocket and never take them out, which is especially awesome when traveling with 3 kids and all our gear alone. Mazda CX9 hatch opening
  • Large, built-in screen – I really love the new in-dash navigation, back up camera monitors, and entertainment modules that are in most newer vehicles, but I especially loved the CX-9. The 8in screen is on the top of the dash and sticks up pretty high, but I found that I loved the placement because even though it was pretty massive, it didn’t block anything I need to see and made it easier to glance at. Mazda CX9 map
  • Knob selector – I like buttons as much as the next person, but there is something really nice about using the knob selector to navigate menus, make selections, and customize your drive without having to move your hands to press buttons. Once you get familiar with the selections, it becomes super easy to navigate the menus and screens to find what you need so much quicker than buttons. For those that prefer, you can also use the touch screen to navigate, or a combination of both. Mazda CX9 knob selector
  • Heated seats – I love heated seats, even in summer. My husband thinks I’m crazy with how hot it’s been, but I love the heat on my back pretty much year round. My only real gripe is that the passenger seat wasn't very adjustable and I felt like I was constantly trying to find the perfect position. The driver seat is more adjustable, but I found that even then I wanted more premium adjustments and height options.
  • Big, but not too big – I like sitting up higher when driving, but I really don’t want to drive a huge truck or SUV. The CX-9 is big without being unmanageable in a parking lot or on narrow roads, and it has ample room for our gear. 
  • Interior trim details – Honestly, there is nothing that turns me off faster than “premium” trim all over a nice and classic dash. While my husband usually can find beauty in higher end trim, I run the other way because I feel like it dates the car much earlier. This wasn’t the case with the rosewood and metal trim of the loaded CX-9, which was beautiful and sleek without taking away from the classic appeal. And, for those Nappa leather seats? Those had me swooning all week. Not just the feel and look, but also the brick red color. Mazda CX9 trim
  • Divided arm rest – It may seem like a small detail, but I absolutely loved the divided top of the arm rest between the passenger and driver seat {which I’m sure has a much more technical name}. This spilt-top design allows you to open one side or the other, or open the entire top by lifting both sides, which means you don’t have to ask your cruising partner to lift their elbow every single time you need in the arm rest storage area. Since so much happens in the storage area with its USB charging center and its tray divider, I found myself getting into it frequently and really enjoying that I didn’t have to ask first each time. Mazda CX9 console
  • Driver assistance – All the new tech gadgets give a really awesome automated driving experience. With blind spot monitoring, lane departure warnings, auto high beam control, and the active cruise control that automatically applies the brakes if the system senses an imminent collision, the Mazda CX-9 felt safe and I felt comfortable driving it in town and for long stretches.

    Kiddos Like

  • Good visibility – Both kiddos loved being up higher so they could see out the windows on our journeys. Of course, they also loved opening and closing those windows whenever we weren’t on the freeway. Thank goodness there’s a parent lock for that.
  • All the bells and whistles – The kiddos were so excited that there was a flip down middle seat where they could plug in their potential electronics and hold their drinks. It really is the small things for them. If they actually *had* their own electronics, I’m sure this would have been even more exciting. Mazda CX9 back seat
  • The 3rd row – If I was listing things that make them squeal with glee, 3rd row seating is definitely in the top 10. There’s something apparently magical in the idea of now-you-see-them-now-you-don’t seating. They also liked that the Mazda CX-9 has bench seating for the 2nd row of seats instead of the captains chairs on other models. This meant that the kiddos could all fit in the 2nd row and we could fold up the 3rd row for more space, which is preferable for families with three kids like us. For me, I just like options, and 3rd rows that fold up so easy add lots of options for hauling kids or gear. Mazda CX9 3rd row
  • Temperature controls – The kiddos loved that they could select their ideal temperature, fan levels and more from the back seat without us having to change it for them. This may not be a big thing to most, but my kiddos were thrilled. I just loved not having to check their temperature all the time, especially since the baby cannot communicate when she is too hot or cold. Mazda CX9 controls

Overall, we loved the CX-9, and it was the perfect way to zoom zoom down to Portland for the weekend. It held all of our gear, it could haul extra friends and family as needed, and it allowed us to bring Big Red, our beloved double stroller, as well as all of our luggage. Creature comforts, versatility, and beautiful design throughout makes this a luxurious ride for adventurers like us. Mazda CX9 back storageIt’s always a sad day when Drive Shop comes back to collect our borrowed car, but this goodbye especially was difficult for the family. My son even tried to sneak back into the CX-9 and head back to the office with them, and it was hard to blame him. I mean, who doesn’t like to zoom zoom?

Have you checked out the Mazda CX-9? What did you like most about it?

6 thoughts on “Cruising in luxury with the Mazda CX-9”

  1. The cx9 was on my short list until I saw the nav/back up camera screen. It juts out of the dash like an ugly afterthought. Maybe someday they’ll redesign the dash to incorporate it so it doesn’t look like some cheap aftermarket add-on. 🙁


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