Only a couple of years have passed since the award-winning second generation CX-9 was released, but the hard-working folks at Mazda have already endowed the mid-size crossover with additional functionality to its Mazda Connect infotainment system.
During an informal briefing session in Vancouver, the brand says the updates are in part a response to an overwhelming number of customer requests for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone compatibility. Both services have now been seamlessly integrated, and all users need to do to get started is to plug their mobile devices into a more powerful 2.1-amp USB port, which has the extra bonus of providing quicker charging.
What’s unique about the setup in the CX-9 is, once connected, not only can you navigate the CarPlay or Android Auto menus using conventional touch inputs on the central display, but via the commander control knob comfortably located beneath the transmission lever as well. Rotate to highlight a different onscreen icon and push to select, or pressing the surrounding Entertainment, NAV and Home buttons will also execute the respective commands. This is part of an overall strategy to minimize manual distractions while on the road.
What else is new, you ask? SiriusXM Travel Link (five year trial subscription included with vehicle purchase) adds live traffic and incident reports directly to the built-in map, and offers weather, fuel prices, parking availability and sporting event information all at your fingertips.
Aside from the tech upgrades, the crossover benefits from suspension and steering tuning to improve ride quality and handling; better sound absorption materials to reduce noise, vibration and handling; optional ventilated front seats for greater passenger comfort; and the introduction of a 360˚ View Monitor that uses four cameras to give a birds-eye view of the driver’s surroundings.
The 2019 Mazda CX-9 is available in four trim levels and starts at $36,700.