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If you browse 2021 Mazda CX-9 reviews, you’ll notice that most critics find one issue in common. The Mazda CX-9 doesn’t have a touchscreen. But after testing this family vehicle, the lack of having a touchscreen infotainment system isn’t a dealbreaker. 

The 2021 Mazda CX-9’s biggest issue isn’t a big deal 

A red 2021 Mazda CX-9 parked in a drive way near a home
2021 Mazda CX-9 | Mazda

There are several 2021 Mazda CX-9 reviews that list wonderful things about this family SUV. However, some critics can’t get over one feature. The infotainment system in the CX-9 isn’t a touchscreen. 

The Car Connection refers to it as a cursed infotainment system because it can be distracting to use while on the road. 

According to J.D. Power, the lack of having a touchscreen is one of the most common complaints about the CX-9 by drivers. Using the center controls can be a source of frustration. 

SlashGear noted that the center stack has an attractive layout with a luxurious design. However, using the rotary controller provides a plasticky or sticky feel that takes the fun away.

However, I took the time to learn how to use the rotary controller for the infotainment system and got acclimated very quickly. Using the dial to select radio stations, navigation, phone contacts, etc, became simple. If you know the names of your favorite radio stations, then finding them is fast and easy. 

The 10.3-inch infotainment display has clear graphics, it’s fast and responsive. Apple CarPlay runs great and Android Auto is included. If you get mixed up, you can press the home button above the rotary knob to get back to the main menu. All you have to do is take a few minutes to learn the controls, and then you can master the entire system. 

How is the Mazda CX-9’s tech?  

Aside from the lack of a touchscreen, the 2021 Mazda CX-9 is loaded with incredible tech. The wireless phone charging pad is in a convenient spot, and there are USB ports everywhere you look. Even the third row has two USB ports for kids to keep their devices charged. 

The Active Driving Display, also known as the heads-up display, provides crisp graphics and crucial driving information such as your speed, the speed limit, lane-centering assistance, traffic sign recognition, and turn-by-turn navigation. 

You don’t have to take your eyes off the road, and the settings are easy to adjust. You can change its height, the brightness, what information is displayed, and turn the system off. My favorite feature to include on the display is the blind-spot warning system. 

The premium Bose audio system works great. The heated and ventilated seats keep you comfortable, the dual-zone automatic climate control keeps everyone happy. Plus, the hands-free power liftgate is incredibly convenient. 

How are the Mazda CX-9’s safety features? 

The interior of the 2021 Mazda CX-9 with the rotary infotainment system dial
2021 Mazda CX-9 interior | Mazda

The 2021 Mazda CX-9 comes loaded with standard safety features, which is an essential part of advanced car tech. A few standard options include automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control. 

The rear-cross traffic alert is very responsive, and the driver attention alert system will notify you if you seem drowsy or have decreased attentiveness. Plus, the automatic high beams switch to low beams when it senses oncoming traffic or a vehicle ahead. 

Mazda prioritizes safety, which is why tech is focused on keeping drivers alert and free from distractions. The CX-9 earned a five-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, so giving up a touchscreen for safety and convenience is a fair trade. 


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