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.
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.