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Real Family Review: 2018 Mazda CX-9

Tuner Tom

”Are we there yet?” Surprisingly, this phrase was never uttered from the back seat, thanks to the 2018 Mazda CX-9 and all of its passenger-friendly creature comforts. Our summer road trip destination was the Grand Canyon, and our mode of transportation was the gorgeous 2018 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring in Soul Red Crystal Metallic. We thought a long 9-hour drive with two pre-teen girls would be a great way to test the merits of the CX-9, and we certainly put it through its paces.

road trip from kids pov

Staying Entertained
Frankly, kids are spoiled these days when it comes to new cars. Back in the day, the only entertainment we had were games like “I Spy” or “Mad Libs.” Today, kids have the luxury of portable DVD players, tablets, and smartphones to keep them occupied. Our Mazda was too modern for an old-school DVD system, but two USB ports in the second-row armrest gave each kid access to their own recharging station.

kid friendly crossover

Layers of Luxury
How comfortable is the Mazda CX-9 according to the kids? So comfortable that their first 4 hours on the road were spent sleeping. The plush second row and its generous amount of room allowed the kids to stretch out and snooze. And when they weren’t sleeping, the comfortable center armrest also acted as a buffer separating their personal space, which meant I did not have to mediate any scuffles.

mazda cx-9 climate control

As we drove through the desert en route to the Grand Canyon, temperatures reached triple digits. The kids stayed cool as cucumbers, thanks to the rear A/C vents and manual sunshades. It sure beat rolling the window down and sticking your head in the 55 MPH headwind, like we did in my day. Now the air conditioning is accessible to all with the CX-9's rear climate controls.

mazda camping

Standout Family Features
The Grand Touring trim is packed with all kinds of technological goodies, but there were a few that stood out above the rest when it came to the road trip. The adaptive cruise control with the stop and go function made stressful driving in heavy Southern California traffic a breeze. It allowed us to melt away the miles, although surrendering to the car's automatic function took some getting used to.

mazda cx-9 active driving display

The head-up driving display with traffic sign recognition also performed flawlessly. Thinking that this feature would be a passing fad, Mazda's version changed my mind. With the head-up display, all of the important driving details were right in front of my face. As we drove through multiple states and counties on a variety of freeways, highways, byways, and back roads, I was always aware of the speed limit, thanks to the traffic sign recognition feature. 

 kid approved

In the end, the Mazda proved to be much more than a capable road trip choice — it offered quite a lot to love. The second row was comfortable and spacious for two pre-teens and the multiple USB ports, sunshades, and rear air conditioning made for a complaint-free trip. No car is perfect, but in our family's opinion, Mazda's largest crossover combines all the best aspects of a car and an SUV. We give it four thumbs up!