Long-Term Review

2018 Mazda CX-9 Ownership: Head Up

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author photo by Tara Trompeter December 2018

I've never been a huge fan of head-up displays. If you're not familiar with this newish piece of automotive technology, a head-up display is a very small, transparent digital display that shows up at the bottom of your windshield while driving, directly in your line of sight. This tech has been around for the past decade or so, but it's just now making it into mainstream vehicles. Formerly, the feature was reserved for sports cars and luxury vehicles. Our long-term 2018 Mazda CX-9 Signature comes standard with a head-up display, and I can honestly say this is the very first one that not only doesn't bother me, but that I actually like.

Does It Distract?

Many people find this technology to be distracting, though it's obviously intended to be helpful. Autotrader's executive editor, Brian Moody, almost as a rule turns off the head-up display in every car he drives. I used to do the same, until I spent time in the Mazda CX-9. There are many factors that contribute to whether or not a head-up display is distracting -- things like the positioning, intensity and info displayed, which can sometimes be customized. I do think it takes some getting used to if you've never had this technology in your vehicle before.

Useful Information

The reason I started actually liking the CX-9's head-up display is that it provides you with a ton of useful information at once, without the driver ever having to take their eyes off the road. First it shows you both your current speed and the speed limit, which is incredibly helpful. Many displays will only show you your speed. There's a traffic sign recognition system that shows things like stop signs, and your blind spot monitoring shows up there as well, indicating a vehicle on either side of you.

I can't say I'll use the head-up display in every car I drive, but I'm more likely to give it a chance now that I've had such a great experience with the one in our long-term 2018 Mazda CX-9. It's a handy little display that helps keep you safer on the road, and I'm all about that.

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Certified 2018 MAZDA CX-9 Grand Touring
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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2018 Mazda CX-9 Ownership: Head Up - Autotrader