Review - '18 Mazda CX-9 51k miles

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I enjoy reading car reviews that people post on here so I figured why not review the CX-9! A little history; we bought the car in January with 36,000 miles. Funny little side story, according to the ad it was supposed to have somewhere in the neighborhood of 31,000 miles. They did not tell me this apparently someone had been using it at the dealership as their "personal" car. I had driven all the way to Illinois to get it and, and could have walked. I almost did actually but dealership manager offered a 9 year 150,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty on the deal. I thought that was pretty good so I accepted 👍 she's sitting at 51,000 and some change now, ok on to the review!

My wife and I both really enjoy it a lot! It is the sport model, so very minimal features. Essentially this is their base model, with a better name I'll admit that makes you think it's not. It does have all wheel drive which was a must on our list. Like I mentioned before, I drove 200 miles to Illinois on a whim with my father-in-law. I felt confident in the reviews that I would like it and it didn't disappoint.


Pros:

- Drivetrain. Power from the 2.5 turbo 4 is plenty enough to get this thing going. No rocket ship of course but lots of low-end grunt which is what you want in a grocery getter. I also like the 6-speed Mazda uses very smooth and predictable. Only minor gripe I've noticed is when it's cold out the first couple of shifts can be abrupt. I'm sure there's something to do with the programming and a reason for it.

- overall fit and finish is very good. No squeaks or rattles in the doors, dash etc. In general when you were driving, it just feels like it is quality.

- love the driving Dynamics, Mazda lives up to its reputation of making vehicles driver focused. Even in their largest, I really do like driving it and it feels engaging.

Cons:

- I can't complain too much because it is a sport model so if I wanted more features I should have got an upgraded trim. So it does not have automatic headlights. I'm used to turning the headlights on and off on the crown Vic so no biggie. One feature I actually do really like though if you turn on the headlights and forget to turn them off, they will turn off saving the battery! I will say I wish it did have proximity key sometimes when your hands are full it's nice to just be able to push a button on the door handle.

- overall fit and finish seems to be holding up well, only gripe is the driver's seat is starting to get a little squeaky sounding when you move around or making a turn.

- not a huge fan of Mazda's infotainment setup including the rotary dial. You can touch the screen as well but I just don't find it very user-friendly.

- fuel economy is not bad but I was expecting a little better at least in city and mixed driving. In the all-wheel drive config, it is rated at 20/26. I keep track on fuelly, over 9,600 miles tracked It's averaging 21.3mpg. the reason I mentioned depending on what type of driving, it has exceeded its rating on the highway at slightly more than 28. When driving all City mileage though it is very difficult to get up to 20, more like 18 with conservative driving. That 21.3 is definitely an overall mix of driving so I was hoping for a little bit more. Could be worse, could be better kind of thing.

- rear cargo space is not as good as some of the competitors but I haven't ran into any issues. We knew this going in so not complaining but more of a wish list item

I'm sure I'm forgetting something but that sums it up mostly. In the 15,000 miles that we've owned it, I've done filters, oil changes and a couple of fuel treatments. Other than that nothing. It does have an annoying clicking sound sometimes when stopping, I've read there is a TSB regarding brake pad shims. It hasn't bothered me enough to take it in but may if I have to do something else. On my to do is transfer case and transmission fluids in the near future maybe spring. According to the Carfax there was no listed repairs either other than new set of tires so I would say the first 36,000 were pretty trouble-free as well. To sum it up it has been one of our favorite vehicles we have owned. I definitely understand the appeal of Mazda's vehicles.

A few pics, I don't have great ones. Second one is the crown Vic following me home from Illinois. Side note, if you're ever in Peoria, Illinois and enjoy Indian cuisine; Indian Tadka was great 🍻
 

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Comparing any vehicle to a Crown Vic on this forum is an unfair comparison. The Crown Vic is the poster child of BITOG

In all seriousness, I like these cars alot and im glad you are enjoying yours. Sharp car and nice pick.
 
Comparing any vehicle to a Crown Vic on this forum is an unfair comparison. The Crown Vic is the poster child of BITOG

In all seriousness, I like these cars alot and im glad you are enjoying yours. Sharp car and nice pick.
😂 It's true! I do love the crown Vic of course but for road trip duty it's the Mazda all day
 
I knew I'd forget things, had a reminder running an errand this morning.

The first is that sometimes when I go in reverse the camera is either slow to catch up and turn on, or once in awhile it will be very dim anywhere from seconds to half a minute.

One other experience I had was the maintenance light coming on when there was no maintenance to be done. Luckily I found an easy fix to reset the light and it worked. My reminder came this morning when I was driving in a heavy rain, all the sudden the collision symbol popped up on the dash. It went away after about 10 minutes and from what I can read, is the safety break system Mazda employs? I don't have automatic braking so not sure on that one. One website suggested that sometimes in heavy rain it can come on which it was raining pretty hard.


Hoping these are glitches and not a sign of things to come in regards to the electronic system. It does have a very good warranty so that's good but hopefully don't need it!
 
It does have a very good warranty so that's good but hopefully don't need it!
Unfortunately, yours is in-range for the infamous cracked cylinder head issue. Good thing you have an extended warranty, as there is a decent likelihood that you will use it.
 
Beautiful. I love the looks of the CX9 and the interior build of all mazdas. They're very 2014-esque BMW.

My reminder came this morning when I was driving in a heavy rain, all the sudden the collision symbol popped up on the dash. It went away after about 10 minutes and from what I can read, is the safety break system Mazda employs? I don't have automatic braking so not sure on that one. One website suggested that sometimes in heavy rain it can come on which it was raining pretty hard.

All 2018 CX9s have Mazda's smart city brake support (SBCS). I have not come across that specific issue yet but I have come across other issues in my CX5 with the safety systems like lane-keep assist and radar cruise control temporarily disable themselves in horrible conditions such as a freak torrential downpour or a blizzard.
 
Sometimes the SCBC warning will come on due to fogging inside. The windshield might fog up within the camera enclosure. I generally put the front defrost on during our rainy cold season here. The issue hadn’t reoccurred since.

Another trick I use is even I apply the Griots 3 in 1 Ceramic wax after washing the car I include the Mazda emblem up front as it includes sensors and the backup camera at the hatch. That keeps water and dirt away and keeps the camera view clear. I do get the slight delay on the backup view too pulling out of the carport. On a really cloudy dark day it might take a few seconds.
 
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18 is not bad, my MIL had the older Ford based CX-9 with the 3.7 V6 and was getting 14 around town. She traded it in for a newer CX-5 and loves it.
 
Unfortunately, yours is in-range for the infamous cracked cylinder head issue. Good thing you have an extended warranty, as there is a decent likelihood that you will use it.
Isn't the cracked cyl head issue only on naturally-aspirated 2.5's?

Related to this, can anyone point me to that TSB? I have a '17 Mazda6...
 
Thanks for the info and that TSB! I've heard of this issue but did not know it affected ours possibly. I wonder what the early signs are, increased coolant temp perhaps?
 
Sometimes the SCBC warning will come on due to fogging inside. The windshield might fog up within the camera enclosure. I generally put the front defrost on during our rainy cold season here. The issue hadn’t reoccurred since.

Another trick I use is even I apply the Griots 3 in 1 Ceramic wax after washing the car I include the Mazda emblem up front as it includes sensors and the backup camera at the hatch. That keeps water and dirt away and keeps the camera view clear. I do get the slight delay on the backup view too pulling out of the carport. On a really cloudy dark day it might take a few seconds.
I did have the defrost on but maybe it was just enough to affect it. Great idea on applying the wax!
 
Another trick I use is even I apply the Griots 3 in 1 Ceramic wax after washing the car I include the Mazda emblem up front as it includes sensors and the backup camera at the hatch. That keeps water and dirt away and keeps the camera view clear. I do get the slight delay on the backup view too pulling out of the carport. On a really cloudy dark day it might take a few seconds.

I found that out last year driving through a snow storm on I70 in CO and the grill was caked in snow and ice.

I have also noticed strong, direct sunlight will also blind the cruise control camera - but not an issue unless you're using the ACC under 20mph since it switches from radar to camera.

One awesome thing is that so many parts are shared across the models of cars and it's surprisingly easy to take off door panels for sound insulation. I just wish the seats weren't so stiff and the suspension feels like somebody threw a set of cheap coilovers on, set the rebound/compression on the hardest, and left the sway bars disconnected. But overall, the car is very very solid for a non-luxo brand. I hope you like the car for the years to come!
 
We have a Mazda 5 with the 2.5 and just love it. It is a 2012 and has been great we now have 143K on it and are getting 26-28 in mixed driving. I log every tank of gas and have only replaced one rear wheel bearing assembly and the rear shocks. Oh I also had the rear hatch switch fail twice. I put my own type in it and no more problems.
 
Update:

The CX-9 is still in the stable and wife and I both still really like it. She's sitting at just shy of 75K miles now. For a while I was racking up a ton of miles on it, but not so much now as my wife works from home and I commute in the Crown Vic.

There has been zero repairs since the original review. I did tires at 71K; ATF, T-case, and Diff fluids at around 60K. Also the spark plugs at 73K. Average fuel economy is just under 22 since we've owned it, up near 30mpg on all highway trips. No issues with the head and I hope it doesn't(or does within warranty period).

Overall, I would highly recommend the car as a good buy.
 
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