We recently partnered with Roger Beasley Mazda to take the 2018 CX-9 for a spin around Austin as well as a fun road trip to the central Texas Hill Country.  While my knowledge of cars is a little limited when it comes to technicalities and design specs, I didn’t have to become a car snob to appreciate the level of fine detail and luxury that has gone in to production of the Mazda CX-9.


As a food writer it’s a challenge not to come off as a spoiled consumer, but its hard not to use my position to appreciate a few of the finer things that cross my path.  The 2018 Mazda CX-9 is not an organic, grass-fed masterpiece that I can easily consume, but it is a work of automobile craftsmanship.  This SUV is as fine of an automobile any moderate enthusiast of any profession should appreciate, especially if you value comfort, gas mileage and the look and feel of a luxury vehicle.

Looks Matter

One of the most important things in a young man’s life is how he gets noticed in the vehicle he drives.  Most SUVs might not have the sharp appeal of a sports car, but the CX-9 is as sexy as they come for a crossover SUV.  It’s design is one of a family-friendly vehicle with a luxurious edge that’s both affordable and comfortable enough to seat 6 people.  From the moment I first saw it, I felly in love with it’s bold new exeterior facelift of Mazda’s signature Kodo design.  The new grille, headlights, and restyled front vents boasts a refined update, giving it a more sleek and stately look than its predecessors.  The new design is shorter than previous models, but boasts a longer wheelbase, resulting in shorter front and rear overhangs.


What’s Inside Counts

If you’re looking for attention or an approving nod from a fellow driver, the CX-9 is a conventional chick magnet.  It’s fine exterior boasts a handsome look and feel most high-end car owners will appreciate, but the interior design is equally impressive.  From the moment you step in to the cabin you’ll immediately notice the upscale materials and detailed styling that doesn’t seem to leave much room for future updates.


The Grand Touring model features a heated steering wheel as well as heated rear seats with power adjustments for the driver and passenger.  The 8.0-inch touchscreen stereo and navigation system, leather stitched steering wheel, brushed aluminum, and genuine rosewood trim makes the vehicle a chic habitat to spend your time as you navigate the roads and highways.


Mazda CX-9

Driving and Performance

One should never eat and drive at the same time but I may have eaten a few tacos during my time with this vehicle (as a passenger) and I’m happy to say I didn’t spill one single drop.  The smooth ride of the CX-9 is in a class all its own, making it perfect for those moments you need to eat on the road.  Despite the luxurious nature of this vehicle and as much as I enjoyed spending time in the cabin, no one enjoys sitting in Austin’s historically bad traffic.  To truly appreciate this vehicle’s dynamic performance, I took it on short road trip to Fredricksburg to visit a friends and to show it off.

From rough riding, American made old Jeeps, to modern day German made Volkswagens and BMWs I’ve been driving SUVs since I was in high school.  Despite my varied history with vehicles I can say without a doubt that the CX-9 was one of my favorite vehicles to drive.  It offers sharp and accurate steering with excellent stopping power and a smooth and composed ride.  The six-speed automatic transmission offers a smooth and relaxed drive while in Normal mode and is most ideal for long road trips or most commutes.


Mazda CX-9

Final Impressions

Mazda really nailed it with the CX-9, holding almost nothing back.  The only thing it doesn’t feature is a self-driving option, which I’m sure will come in a few short years.  Every aspect of technological accomplishment for this mid-priced vehicle resembles accomplishment for Mazda and the consumers who purchase it.


If you’re in the market for a luxurious vehicle but not looking to spend over $60k for an expensive import, the CX-9 would make for an outstanding choice for most drivers.  The Touring Premium package provides a bevy of high-end features, including navigation, automatic braking, 12-speaker Bose audio package with satellite radio and a power sunroof.  It’ $40,000 price tag is a fantastic value that can be appreciated by those looking for a premium vehicle.

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