• Support M247: Allow Ads or Register (fewer ads)

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.
2009 Mazda CX-9 GT
My cheap black plastic looks mint. :)

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.


2021 CX-9 Signature
the plastic along the rocker and wheel well openings is the exact reason we chose to go with the machine gray exterior. We had the option for red as well but the plastic made it look super cheap. It blends in really nice with the machine gray
I have the machine gray also and the black plastic actually looks really good. The cx9 cladding is not extreme around the fenders....now the cx30 i would agree has excessive black trim around the fenders...not balanced styling wise at all. My 2018 cx9 sat at the dealer for 3 and a half months recently waiting for a new engine and it stained/faded the cladding a little. I am going to find a product that can restore the trim...wolfgang looks the most promising so far....ordered it today from amazon. I will report on what works the best....
North of Toronto
2019 CX-9 Sig
It's a funny thing, the cladding. Eye of the beholder obviously, but sometimes with certain colours I'd agree it's no big deal. Have grey myself, as others do, and I'm fine with it.

Some vehicles, such as the new RAV, no matter the colour, the cladding just seems too dominant. Heck, I've seen Macans with too much black trim. Shameful at that level.

White I find is a harsh combo with the black. But I have the same view of white as a colour in general, sometimes my eye likes it. Other times, nope.
Pueblo county CO
CX-5 Sport 16.5 6M
I found some info on Wikipedia, turns out the black cladding goes back a number of years.

"The AMC Eagle" was arguably a decade ahead of its time."[107] It was a passenger car that "pioneered the crossover SUV" category.[6] Introduced in late 1979 for the 1980 model year, it "was unlike anything on the market" and in the 2000s "the somewhat traditional SUV has given way to the 'crossover utility vehicle' ... the market has become saturated with these new crossovers that provide a car-like driving experience with the security of a little more ground clearance and all-wheel drive" making the AMC Eagle "about 30 years ahead of the curve."[108]

. A sports package was available only on the 2-door and wagon models featuring in addition to "Sport" emblems the following items: Durham Plaid fabric seat trim, leather-wrapped sport steering wheel, P195/75R15 Tiempo steel belted radial tires, sport fog lamps, halogen highbeam headlamps, dual black remote mirrors, 4X4 sport graphics, black bumpers with nerf strips, black lower body moldings, blackout grille, taillamp paint treatment, side tape stripes, and black moldings on the windshield, rear window, door frames, and B-pillar.[27]


2018 Mazda6, CX-9
At least 80% of SUV's/crossovers have the grey (not black) cladding. No sense in calling out Mazda for using it.

Good thing is that The plastic used on the last 10 years seems to hold its color much better than the stuff used in the 90's and 2000's.