For my weekend getaway to Nashville, Tennessee, I specifically asked to use our long-term 2018 Mazda CX-9. It was a great road trip companion last spring on a couple trips and I really wanted to get some additional drive time with it again. Since the CX-9 is one of my favorite full-size SUVs, now was a great time for a road trip for my girlfriend’s birthday. It’s been a while since I put in some serious drive time with it and I wanted to get one last road trip in before it leaves our fleet for good. Let’s see if the CX-9 still continues to rank high on my list of favorite SUVs.
Once we got out on the road, it was time to set the cruise and enjoy the ride. One of the first things you notice about the CX-9 is just how quiet it is. Road and wind noise are minimal thanks to the CX-9’s sound-insulating glass and sound-deadening materials incorporated into the floorboard.
Shortly after passing through Chattanooga, Tennessee, the terrain went from rolling hills to steep 6-percent mountain grades. Even with only 227 horsepower, the CX-9 stayed up to speed and handled the ascents without feeling underpowered or sluggish.
The drive back home was a bit treacherous with rain and drizzle following us almost all the way back to Atlanta, Georgia. Driving conditions like this really made me appreciate Mazda’s i-ACTIV all-wheel drive system. It’s a smart system that monitors your throttle and braking and adjusts power distribution to help give you optimum traction under almost any driving condition. It felt really sure-footed on the wet interstate, even in spots where water had pooled.
One of the CX-9’s more innovative features I’ve grown quite fond of is the Active Driving Display. It’s a head-up display system that projects important driving information such as posted speed limits, cruise settings and blind spot monitoring onto the lower windshield. It even detects stop signs and speed limit signs.
One of the few aggravations I’ve had with the CX-9 is the lack of Apple CarPlay. However, we recently got a software upgrade to convert our CX-9 over to Apple CarPlay. Once you’ve driven with it, it’s one of those conveniences that’s hard to do without. Knock on wood, the system has worked great so far and I haven’t experienced any problems with the system.
During my trip, I logged just over 588.6 miles with 90 percent highway driving. I averaged 24 miles per gallon, which is a little better than the EPA’s rating of 23 mpg combined. However, this was not as good as the 26.1 mpg I got last year during my road trip to Mississippi. My guess is this drop in mpg is due to the mountainous conditions we experienced during this trip.
Our long-term 2018 Mazda CX-9 continues to impress. I’m still convinced it’s one of the best SUVs you can get today. When it comes to overall drivability, amenities and performance, you’ll have a hard time finding a better road companion. I will hate to see it drive away when it leaves our garage. Find a Mazda CX-9 for sale near you
Check out our 2018 Mazda CX-9 New Car Review