Active Driving Display - keep your eyes on the road
One of the many cool technology features I was looking forward to most about the 2016 CX-9 was the Active Driving Display or heads-up display (HUD). It's exactly that; it keeps your head (eyes) up on the road where it/they should be. But Mazda's HUD does a lot more than just display your speed. It displays the tachometer, cruise control mode and speed, upcoming navigation maneuvers, lane departures, and other warnings and alerts.
In the MZD Connect settings, you can also adjust its height in relation to your eyes, and adjust the brightness and rotation. You can also set to stop navigation from being shown on the HUD.
Push Button Start and Electronic Handbrake
It wasn't there in the 2014 CX-9, and that disappointed me. It had keyless entry, but it was turn-key entry, and it was placed in a strange position. The 2016 CX-9 has push button start, as it should, and is placed in a great position, just left of the steering wheel. It works like most other cars - without your foot on the brake, one push powers up the car and a second push powers up more instruments like audio and AC. With your foot on the brake, one push starts the engine.
Also, new to the 2016 CX-9 is the electronic handbrake / emergency brake. The old CX-9 used a foot "handbrake" / emergency brake, but the new CX-9 has a simple push down / push up electronic version that does the job quite nicely. To be frank, I haven't quite figured out yet if I'm supposed to be pushing up or down. I think part of that reason is due to the fact I recently discovered that it needs a little bit of strength to engage or disengage it, rather than just a little tap up or down, as I was doing at first.
Getting into and Locking the car
Another pet hate I had about the 2014 CX-9 was the number of times you had to push buttons on the key to get into it. With kids and wife onboard, I had to push the unlock button three times, every time. The first unlock being for the driver seat, the second for the front passenger, and the third for the back seats - what a PITA. Now, thankfully, one button opens everything, including the boot/trunk.
If pushing buttons on the remote are below you, no worries, just walk up to the car and push the unlock button on either the driver or front passenger doors, and she'll unlock for you. Don't like locking your car or is it something you forget to do? No worries there either. After enabling the option in the car settings, you can enable automatic walk-away locking. After moving on about two meters (six or seven foot) away from the car, a short beep sounds, followed by a longer beep which tells you the car has been locked.
And on the boot/trunk, there's no need to do the lifting or closing. With a push of a button on the key, it will open and close for you. My old CX-9 included this feature and it's pretty much identical on the new CX-9; it's a great feature for when you have your hands full of shopping bags - just make sure you put your key in your hands with the bags before walking out of the store. This is where I'd like to see Mazda investigate a kick open system like some other cars feature - that would be icing on the cake if they can add that in new models.
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