2016~2021 Cargo management in the CX-9

Hi all. Long time lurker here. I finally pulled the trigger on a new CX-9. First post, so go easy :).

I'm planning to outfit my new wheels with a hitch, crossbars, cargo box/bag and some interior appointments to make the best use of the limited cargo space. I have searched through and read many associated threads and wanted to seek the most current info and experiences and not necessarily revive old threads. hope that's okay.

1. CROSSBARS - I would like to avoid oem because of the difficulty installing. I only plan to install and use them as needed and want to remove after each use. What do you recommend for these flush side rails?

2. CARGO BOX - Looking for a good value. I've seen boxes by Sportrack, Proz, etc. that look decent. Any experiences with "off brands" such as this or are the Thule and Yakima options the better option despite the cost?

3. HITCH - So apparently the installation of a hitch can prevent the use of the hands free hatch opening. I understand why. Can anyone who has installed a hitch on a 2020 confirm (or deny)?

4. SIDE CARGO NETS - Anyone actually install these. There is 1 review on Amazon from a buyer who returned them because he claimed the installation was too difficult.

TIA for the assistance.
 
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Crickets :D. Anybody?

Actually, I started another thread yesterday when my cx-9 was dead in the driveway from an apparent battery drain issue. Makes me hesitant to start outfitting this car as apparently some manufacturers have instituted buy-backs for similar issues. Seems a leap. But makes me a little nervous to invest.

That said, hopefully someone has some feedback regarding these accessories questions.
 
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sm1ke

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'18 CX-9 Signature
Crickets :D. Anybody?

Actually, I started another thread yesterday when my was dead in the driveway from an apparent battery drain issue. Makes me hesitant to start outfitting this car as apparently some manufacturers have instituted buy-backs for similar issues. Seems a leap. But makes me a little nervous to invest.

That said, hopefully someone has some feedback regarding these accessories questions.
Unless you need any of those accessories right now, I'd hold off on buying them until you get the battery drain issue resolved.

Wish I could chime in, but I don't have experience with any of those accessories, lol. I do have side cargo nets, but they are aftermarket ones that use hook-and-loop fasteners to stick to the carpeted trim. The OEM ones are a little more complicated to install as you'll need to drill out some holes in the carpeted trim to install the hardware that the nets will hook onto.
 
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Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring 2016
Crossbars: The Thule crossbars cost $460 or $560 depending on bar model.

Hitch: etrailer.com says, "The Draw-Tite Max-Frame Trailer Hitch Receiver part # 76020 which is a fit for a 2020 Mazda CX-9 and what I recommend using will work with the hands free lift gate sensors. That said, you will need to place your foot on either side of the receiver tube opening in order to activate them but aside from that you will be good to go. I like this hitch in particular because it has a hidden design and comes with integrated trailer connector mounting bracket. "
 
Veh buyback for battery drain ? That sounds ridiculous, but who knows. I am surprised mazda would do that instead of investing time into a proper diagnostic! Anyhow, back to the main topic.

The OEM bars are apparently a pain to install and uninstall. I don't own crossbars yet but was shopping around for them and watched a lot of the instruction procedures. Thule and Yakima are probably the 2 best racks system in the business, but they are pricey.

It looks like the Thule Aerobars screws in the same mounting location that the OEM does. It would be very secure but I don't know if they would be easier/faster to install remove than the OEM. (maybe PTGuy or someone on here can comment on that, prove me wrong or right).

The Yakima ridgeline system seems to clamps on the bar and hold by pressure. This would probably be the easiest to install and uninstall and the one I was most likely looking to get eventually. I had that system door jamb mounted on my mazda 6 and they never moved an inch once properly secured, and I was taking it on and off regularly. I assume this would be similar with the roof rail install on the CX-9. You can also change the car specific mounting clip and re-use the system on a different car if you decide to change vehicle.

Watch some installation videos to help guide your decision, and if you can find a car rack store (like rackattack or something similar), ask them to demonstrate the installation or call them for advice on the installation before buying.
 
The OEM ones are a little more complicated to install as you'll need to drill out some holes in the carpeted trim to install the hardware that the nets will hook onto.
How are the aftermarket nets holding up for you? Pretty secure with the hook and loop system? Didn't really think of that. I knew the oem version required panel removal and drilling. Was just curious if anyone here had tackled that project and how it went.
 
Crossbars: The Thule crossbars cost $460 or $560 depending on bar model.

Hitch: etrailer.com says, "The Draw-Tite Max-Frame Trailer Hitch Receiver part # 76020 which is a fit for a 2020 Mazda CX-9 and what I recommend using will work with the hands free lift gate sensors. That said, you will need to place your foot on either side of the receiver tube opening in order to activate them but aside from that you will be good to go. I like this hitch in particular because it has a hidden design and comes with integrated trailer connector mounting bracket. "
I think I saw that info from etrailer and have that model in a cart. Must be something specific to that design that allows it to play nice with the hands-free lift gate?? That particular hitch is a class III that can handle more than the vehicle. Does using a more rugged higher class hitch improve how much load you can carry? I'm thinking particularly of adding a 5 bike rack.

Re: the crossbars - was hoping for a more economical option than Thule or Yakima, but realize that if I want the convenience of easier installation and removal, I may be stuck with them. Do you have to use Thule and Yakima cargo boxes and rooftop accessories if you install their brand bars? Was hoping there might be a universal system (or another brand with a customized fit) that was worth consideration. Thanks for the input!
 
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For the hitch If you don’t tow it is more depending on what size the bike rack can fit into. I have a class III and a 4 bikes rack, but the bike rack is designed to fit on a class II and included adapter which i am using to fit the biggest class III. Pretty sure the weight of a bike rack with bikes is pretty insignificant for any of the hitch classes, so it is really up to he bike rack model to make sure it fits.
 
Thanks. It's either 1-1/4" (class 2) or 2" (class 3), right? And if you have one size you can always get an adapter to fit the other, right?

Happy with your rack? What do you have? Any particular feature to look for? I know some have tracks for the wheels to rest on, some suspend the bikes by the frame, some swing out to allow some access to the lift gate, etc.
 
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Thanks. It's either 1-1/4" (class 2) or 2" (class 3), right? And if you have one size you can always get an adapter to fit the other, right?

Happy with your rack? What do you have? Any particular feature to look for? I know some have tracks for the wheels to rest on, some suspend the bikes by the frame, some swing out to allow some access to the lift gate, etc.
That's correct is is either 1-1/4" or 2". Mine is a 2". I don't know if adapter can be sold separately, mine came with the bike rack, so some bike rack models may fit both sizes, other will only fit 2". I think you can buy adaptor separately but they won't provide as secure of a fit. Trailer hitch fits are often a bit loose (this allows you to slide the adapter, rack in or off). But if you had a loose aftermarket adapter to a loose rack then it may get very wobbly.

You are correct that there are 2 types of rack, the ones where the bikes sit on and the one where they hang down from. I really like the one where the bike sits on, I think they are easier to use, but they are more expensive, bulkier to store, and there isn't a lot of options for 4 bikes, most are designed for 2 bikes. The ones where the bike hangs from are smaller and easier to store, but can be more difficult to use, especially the 2 prong model with children bikes and women bikes.

I have the older version of the Thule Apex. I like it but apparently the new one isn't as good because of the new strap system they are using (fancy looking ratchet strap systems are not always easier to use). Reason I went with it is because I wanted to be able to transport 4 bikes and wanted it to be easily removable, I don't use it that often and usually take it on and off for a day or two.

Price wise there is a huge range of price, with the evident quality difference between them in their construction, but they all work for what they are intended to do, which is carry bikes from point a to point B. For hanging type bike rack the price difference is almost all in the "anti-wobble" category. "anti wobble hitch attachment" more secure bike attachment (hold to horizontal bar and the vertical post of the bike. And in how they get out of the way (if the fold down to access the lift gate, if the bars fold down to be more compact when not in use, etc). The side swing are the most convenient but cost an arm and a length for that feature alone. The drop down feature works well but only when there are no bikes attached. It works with bikes on but is very heavy to lower down and up. Depending on the region a locking mechanism to lock the bike rack to the hitch is a must as well.
 
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Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring 2016
Class I and Class II hitch receivers are both 1-1/4" square. The higher the class the higher the weight limit.
Class III, IV, & V are 2" square.

Get a Class III 2" receiver. You have more options for towing and carrying.

I put my cross bars on at the beginning of ski season and take them off at the end. I don't mind fussing with the hard-to-reach screws, but I wouldn't want to do it very often. The most useful tool I've found for the job is a Wiha 36236 ball-end Torx T-30 screwdriver (about $10).
 
That's correct is is either 1-1/4" or 2". Mine is a 2". I don't know if adapter can be sold separately, mine came with the bike rack, so some bike rack models may fit both sizes, other will only fit 2". I think you can buy adaptor separately but they won't provide as secure of a fit. Trailer hitch fits are often a bit loose (this allows you to slide the adapter, rack in or off). But if you had a loose aftermarket adapter to a loose rack then it may get very wobbly.

You are correct that there are 2 types of rack, the ones where the bikes sit on and the one where they hang down from. I really like the one where the bike sits on, I think they are easier to use, but they are more expensive, bulkier to store, and there isn't a lot of options for 4 bikes, most are designed for 2 bikes. The ones where the bike hangs from are smaller and easier to store, but can be more difficult to use, especially the 2 prong model with children bikes and women bikes.

I have the older version of the Thule Apex. I like it but apparently the new one isn't as good because of the new strap system they are using (fancy looking ratchet strap systems are not always easier to use). Reason I went with it is because I wanted to be able to transport 4 bikes and wanted it to be easily removable, I don't use it that often and usually take it on and off for a day or two.

Price wise there is a huge range of price, with the evident quality difference between them in their construction, but they all work for what they are intended to do, which is carry bikes from point a to point B. For hanging type bike rack the price difference is almost all in the "anti-wobble" category. "anti wobble hitch attachment" more secure bike attachment (hold to horizontal bar and the vertical post of the bike. And in how they get out of the way (if the fold down to access the lift gate, if the bars fold down to be more compact when not in use, etc). The side swing are the most convenient but cost an arm and a length for that feature alone. The drop down feature works well but only when there are no bikes attached. It works with bikes on but is very heavy to lower down and up. Depending on the region a locking mechanism to lock the bike rack to the hitch is a must as well.
Great post and lots to think about. I just need to figure out what features I can't live without and go from there.

My wife has a comfort bike with no real horizontal bar (the traditional low step over girls bike). Will the hanging racks hold a bike like that?

Thanks!
 
Class I and Class II hitch receivers are both 1-1/4" square. The higher the class the higher the weight limit.
Class III, IV, & V are 2" square.

Get a Class III 2" receiver. You have more options for towing and carrying.

I put my cross bars on at the beginning of ski season and take them off at the end. I don't mind fussing with the hard-to-reach screws, but I wouldn't want to do it very often. The most useful tool I've found for the job is a Wiha 36236 ball-end Torx T-30 screwdriver (about $10).
Good tip on the tool. If I go with the oem bars, I'll check it out. Sounds like the Draw-Tite 76020 class III hitch is a popular choice and seems to play nice with the hands free lift gate feature. Are folks tackling this as a DIY job or having them professionally installed? Any idea what installation would cost? Looks like the unit itself can be had for around $140 shipped if you shop around.
 
Great post and lots to think about. I just need to figure out what features I can't live without and go from there.

My wife has a comfort bike with no real horizontal bar (the traditional low step over girls bike). Will the hanging racks hold a bike like that?

Thanks!
It is a bit more clumsy to install since the bike is held at an angle and the space between the two bars is fairly small but it still works with mine. But i think if you want to put 5 bikes a hanging rack is pretty much the only options (or you can get a trailer to throw the bikes on :). )
 

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