While planning our recent family vacation (stay tuned for my Lancaster Getaway Guide!), I reached out to DriveShop to borrow a car for our road trip. I told them I needed a car that could fit our family of 5 (including 3 kids in car seats) as well as our luggage and a double stroller. Their recommendation? The Mazda CX-9. And after spending the better part of the last week with it, I can say in full honesty that it is an AWESOME car and I can't recommend it highly enough for large families such as ours. Keep reading for some of the features we fell in love with!!
The 2017 Mazda CX-9 is a seven passenger SUV: driver and passenger in the front row bucket seats, 3 seats across in the second row, and 2 seats in the third back row - all 7 seats have 3-point seat belts. The back row doesn't have as much leg room, so I really wouldn't recommend using it on a regular basis for adults, but it would be a good spot for 1 or 2 car seats or older kids. We chose instead to fold the back row down (really quick and easy - you can fold down one or both seats!!) to create a huge trunk space that had no problem fitting our large suitcase, double wide stroller, and tons of other "necessities" for our trip.
In the second row, we were able to fit 3 kids across using two Combi Coccoro car seats on each side for our toddler twins (using the easy LATCH system), and our 4 year old in the middle in his RideSafer Travel Vest. Specs say 57.4" hip room in the second row, so if you have car seats that are under 19" wide each, you should be able to fit 3 across. For example, 3 Clek Foonfs or Diono Radians or Combi Coccoros should be an easy fit.
- Blind Spot Monitoring System - the car beeps and the side mirrors light up if you put your blinker on or start to turn and there's a car in your blind spot.
- Windshield Projected Active Driving Display - see how fast you're going without having to take your eyes off the road!
- Lane Keep Assist - if you start to drift out of your lane or into the shoulder, the car takes control and steers you back into your lane!! Or you can have it help you stay in the center of your lane, even around curves. Kinda freaky but wow! We tested it out and were so impressed! This is the future, guys!
- Mazda Radar Cruise Control - this was my husband's favorite feature, you can set the cruise control to keep you a certain distance from the car in front of you and it'll speed up or brake accordingly!
There are 2 USB inputs in the middle front arm rest console - we found these really handy for charging our phones on the go! It even worked to have a phone plugged in while sitting up on the dash so we could use our phone's GPS!
There's also a large screen in the center of the dash you can control via touch screen or with dials between the driver and passenger. We mainly used it for XM radio and the backup assist video camera.
This was great as we could control left, right, and back to be different temperatures. However, my son quickly found out he could control his temperature with his foot by kicking in front of him... he kept turning the heat up to the 80s and then screaming out "HOT HOT HOT!!!!!!" hahahaha. There's probably a way to lock it, but we never took the time to figure it out... definitely something you'll want to figure out if you'll have a child in the middle seat!
When you're carrying a sleeping child and a diaper bag, the last thing you want to do is dig through your bag to find your car keys. I can now speak from experience. If you have the key in your bag, you simply open the door - it unlocks for you. So freaking amazing!!! Once you have everyone in the car and buckled in, just start the car with the push of the button, leave the keys lost in the bottom of your diaper bag!!
Suffice it to say, we are in love. We were not planning on buying a car, and it won't be happening in the near future, but driving this puppy around really got us talking about it. Having a car that easily fits the whole family and all of your, ahem, stuff, sure can make life easier!!
Do you have a Mazda CX-9 or have you taken one for a spin? Do you have a car you recommend for large families?? Leave a comment below, I'd love to hear your thoughts and advice!!
Disclaimer: I'm no sellout guys! Though I was provided this car by DriveShop for a week in exchange for my honest review, all thoughts and opinions are my own and completely unbiased.