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2018 Mazda CX-9 Ownership: Adding Apple CarPlay

Our long-term 2018 Mazda CX-9 has impressed us in a lot of ways so far. We’ve found it to be an outstanding long-distance road trip vehicle and it’s so good we can even recommend it as a more budget-friendly alternative to a luxury SUV.

Before we get into the new retrofitted addition that we’re very excited about, let’s recap the details of our 2018 Mazda CX-9. The CX-9 is the biggest SUV you can get from Mazda and there’s room for everyone with three rows of seats. Ours is the range-topping Signature trim, which comes in around the $45,000 mark. You might think that’s a lot of money to spend on anything with a Mazda badge, and you might be right, but this thing is seriously loaded.

It includes features you might expect to find on much more expensive SUVs including standard all-wheel drive, a very nice interior with Nappa leather and real wood trim, LED lighting inside and out and much more. But two things that were disappointingly absent were Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, which conveniently allows you to sync up your smartphone with the car’s infotainment system.

Our editor Brian boldly stated that the Mazda CX-9 would be the perfect car, if only it had Apple CarPlay. Well, Brian, here’s your perfect car. One small catch that our content specialist Tommy noticed is that your USB cable needs to be plugged into the one with the phone icon for the connectivity features to work.

Our editor Dwight noted that for as good as Mazda has been lately, the brand has been falling a little behind in the infotainment department. The addition of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay goes a long way in remedying that issue. It might be a small thing, but it really helps make the CX-9 and other Mazdas more competitive. Dwight found the integration to be smooth in the CX-9’s vibrant screen and only experienced one small snag with Pandora not working properly, but it was quickly fixed by just opening the Pandora app on his iPhone.

Mazda is offering a retrofit of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay with all Mazdas model year 2014 or newer that are already equipped with the Mazda Connect infotainment system. It not only updates your software, but you also get new USB ports that can charge your devices faster and of course to allow you to use Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

If you have a Mazda with Mazda Connect, but missed out on the newer models with standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, you can get it retrofitted as we did for $199 plus labor. It’s about a 2-hour job and we think it’s an improvement that’s well worth the cost. Find a Mazda CX-9 for sale

Check out our 2018 Mazda CX-9 New Car Review

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