Why does Mazda insist on using black plastic?

My wife and I looked at a used CX-9 last weekend. We were impressed with a lot of things on it as it was a 2018 Signature trim model. But the biggest complaint I had was Mazda's continued use of black plastic around the wheel openings and along the bottom of the vehicle. All of their SUVs have it. I even mentioned it to the sales guy and he said they get a lot of comments on that. It just makes the car look on the cheap side, despite it's great looks on the rest of it. That stuff fades and eventually cracks. It's terrible to have a $30k+ used vehicle and have something like that on it.
Just like almost every other SUV in its category. Its to give a rugged look and also provide some kind of protection against impact damage, rock chip, etc. i don’t necessarily like it either , especially on pseudo SUV like the cx-30, but it is the trend in 7 seater SUVs at that price point.
I agree it's the trend. But I have seen some that are getting away from it. If you get a higher trim level for the Traverse, they don't have it. Same goes for the new Palisade and I think Toyota has one without.


Work In Progress..
'18 CX-9 Signature
I think it probably boils down to cost. It's cheaper to use the black plastic as it doesn't have to be painted, which makes it cheaper for the dealership/owner to replace as well (if they ever have to). Personally I would have preferred body-coloured trim as well.

I've never seen black fender plastic crack just from regular use/sun exposure. There are also very cheap over-the-counter products that you can use to maintain/refresh faded black fender guards (303 to protect, boiled linseed oil or Mother's Back to Black to refresh).
You are correct. I see that these companies are painting these trims on their higher priced trim level. I guess Mazda invested heavily on the interior materials for the signature series, but haven’t really touched the exterior. It is pretty much the same as the GT from the outside. I would have preferred body coloured as well, if it is well done in its application. Sometime just painting a trim looks tacky. Maybe it will be available in the next CX-9 generation
2010 CX-9 GT
I have a 2010 CX-9 and the plastic trim still looks fine. It is probably somewhat faded from its original color, but it is still uniform and hasn't warped or cracked. I haven't done anything to preserve it, either. I also live in Florida, so I am not sure the issues with plastic trim are as bad as they were in the past. I remember my friends Chevy Avalanche looked absolutely trashed after a few years...

Having said that, I agree the plastic trim really is not very good looking. On a vehicle that is never going off road, it's nearly pointless, although shopping carts are less likely to damage it I guess.
North of Toronto
2019 CX-9 Sig
I'm not a fan, but Audi does black in same way on $70k A6 wagon. It's likely better quality...but black trim it is.
It's not a Lexus, Audi, etc...it's a Mazda. I'm sure you could convince a body shop to color match the trim and get a "cleaner" look, but I'm happy with the black trim to prevent constant upkeep on Crystal Pearl White when it comes to road tar, paint, chips, etc.

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