2017 Mazda CX-9 Aces IIHS Crash Tests, Headlights Leave To Be Desired

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Redesigned from the ground up for the 2016 model year, the CX-9 is a versatile mid-size sport utility vehicle designed for the family-minded customer. The three-row model received full honors from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, but not everything is perfect about the CX-9.
21 photos2017 Mazda CX-9 2017 Mazda CX-9 2017 Mazda CX-9 2017 Mazda CX-9 2017 Mazda CX-9 2017 Mazda CX-9 2017 Mazda CX-9 2017 Mazda CX-9 2017 Mazda CX-9 2017 Mazda CX-9 2017 Mazda CX-9 2017 Mazda CX-9 2017 Mazda CX-9 2017 Mazda CX-9 2017 Mazda CX-9 2017 Mazda CX-9 2017 Mazda CX-9 2017 Mazda CX-9 2017 Mazda CX-9 2017 Mazda CX-9 Up to this point in time, the IIHS awarded “good” ratings for headlight performance only to two mid-size SUVs: the 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe and 2017 Volvo XC60. The Japanese contender, meanwhile, settles for an “acceptable” rating when equipped with curve-adaptive and auto high-beam assist technologies. Without the latter goodies, the headlights of the 2017 Mazda CX-9 are “marginal” in the view of the Insurance Institute.

Another stumbling block for the $31,520 sport utility vehicle is the ease of use of child seat anchors. The middle seat of the second row features a hard-to-find tether anchor, whereas the outer seats have the anchors located too deep in the seat. When it comes to crashworthiness, crash avoidance, and mitigation, the CX-9 is an out-and-out Top Safety Pick+.

Compared to the first model year, 2017 saw Mazda modify the deployment pattern of the side curtain airbags to improve protection in both front and side crashes. From the small overlap front to the moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, head restraints, and seats tests, the CX-9 earned “good” ratings across the board. Equipped with the optional Smart Brake Support and Smart City Brake Support, the overall evaluation for front crash prevention is a 6 out of 6 points. In both the 12 and 25 mph autobrake tests, the seven-seat family hauler avoided a collision on both occasions.

“The concepts of ‘self’ and ‘family,’ as well as ‘smart indulgence’ led the way for our engineers and designers to create their ideal midsize crossover SUV,” commented Masashi Otsuka, vice president of R&D and design at Mazda North America, a gentleman who served as the all-new CX-9’s program manager in his previous role with Mazda Motor Corporation. “Now, we are proud to say that the IIHS has recognized CX-9 for its safety, highlighting the achievements of our engineering team."

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