The 2019 Mazda CX-9 three-row crossover has managed to improve its overall safety rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety from an already respectable Top Safety Pick to the higher Top Safety Pick +. The area it needed to improve was in the headlight department, and now the crossover features a set of headlights that gets the highest "Good" rating, a prerequisite for the Top Safety Pick + award.
The headlight improvement does have caveats. The top-rated headlights are only available on Signature and Grand Touring trims built after June 2019. Headlights on other trims and older models range from "Poor" to "Acceptable." All versions of the CX-9 have top scores in crash tests, though. Mazda's optional forward collision prevention system also earns full marks, stopping the crossover before hitting a car at speeds up to 25 mph. Child seat LATCH anchor access is rated as "Acceptable."
Four other similarly sized and priced crossovers earn the Top Safety Pick + designation: the Hyundai Palisade, Hyundai Santa Fe, Subaru Ascent and Kia Telluride. And of those, only the Pallisade, Ascent and Telluride offer three rows of seating.