2016 Mazda CX-9: Car Seat Check

16Mazda_CX-9_CSC_Lead_AC_new.jpg 2016 Mazda CX-9 | photo by Angela Conners

CARS.COM — For 2016, Mazda brings a host of improvements to the redesigned CX-9, and top among those is a robust new turbocharged four-cylinder engine and updated styling, inside and out. For families, the seven-seat SUV’s new slide-and-tilt second row is a significant boon to getting your kiddies safely secured in the third row with as little bending, squeezing and twisting as possible. And while the CX-9 faltered in a couple of areas, by and large the 2016 version is an improvement over the outgoing model.

More Car Seat Checks

How many car seats fit in the second row? Two

What We Like

  • It was easy to install our infant seat using its thin, hooklike connectors. The front passenger had ample legroom with both the infant and rear-facing convertible seat installed.
  • Our convertible seat in the forward-facing position fit well in both the second and third rows. The second row required raising the head restraint, while the fixed head restraint in the third row was thin enough not to interfere.
  • After raising the head restraint in the second row, the booster fit well; the seat belt buckles are on short, stable bases, making them easier for kids to grasp. The third row also has stable seat belt stalks and the fixed head restraint did not interfere.
  • The new third-row access feature is handy; the passenger side of the second row slides and tilts forward even with a forward-facing car seat installed.
  • All the top tether anchors are easy to find and use. There are three of them on the second-row seatback and one on the passenger side of the two-position third row.

What We Don’t

  • The second row’s lower Latch anchors are recessed into the stiff upholstery and tucked under a flap that interferes with access, particularly when trying to connect using our convertible seat’s rigid connectors; the rear-facing position was a particular chore due to the shape of the seat’s base so it lost an additional point.
  • Despite improved access to the third row, it remains a rather tight squeeze.

Grading Scale

A: Plenty of room for the car seat and the child; doesn’t impact driver or front-passenger legroom. Easy to find and connect to Latch and tether anchors. No fit issues involving head restraint or seat contouring. Easy access to the third row.  

B: Plenty of room. One fit or connection issue. Some problems accessing third row when available.

C: Marginal room. Two fit or connection issues. Difficult to access third row when available.

D: Insufficient room. Two or more fit or connection issues.

F: Does not fit or is unsafe.

About’s Car Seat Checks

Editors Jennifer Geiger, Jennifer Newman and Matt Schmitz are certified child safety seat installation technicians.

For the Car Seat Check, we use a Graco SnugRide Classic Connect 30 infant-safety seat, a Britax Marathon convertible seat and Graco TurboBooster seat. The front seats are adjusted for a 6-foot driver and a shorter passenger. The three child seats are installed in the second row. The booster seat sits behind the driver’s seat, and the infant and convertible seats are installed behind the front passenger seat.

We also install the forward-facing convertible in the second row’s middle seat with the booster and infant seat in the outboard seats to see if three car seats will fit; a child sitting in the booster seat must be able to reach the seat belt buckle. If there’s a third row, we install the booster seat and a forward-facing convertible. To learn more about how we conduct our Car Seat Checks, go here.

Parents should also remember that they can use the Latch system or a seat belt to install a car seat, and that Latch anchors have a weight limit of 65 pounds, including the weight of the child and the weight of the seat itself.

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