Graced with a 3.7L V6 engine (273 hp/270 lb-ft of torque), acceleration in the CX-9 is linear and ample. Flooring it at freeway speeds resulted in a gear kick down of 1-2 gears, and a quick pass of slower vehicles. The engine is a bit noisy when pushed, but at normal cruising speeds, it quiets down. Panic stops were effortless with the CX-9 stopping quickly and without drama … thankfully. Expect 0-60 times around 8-seconds which is fine for such a large vehicle.
Shortly after driving a few blocks, my wife’s immediate complaint was about the suspension as it jostled her around. She reminisced about the ride in the (albeit different class and purpose of vehicle) RX-8, and how the CX-9 ride was similar. For a 4,300 lb. vehicle, I thought the ride would be a bit smoother, but it’s not. For a smaller load (just two people), I suspect the suspension is under-damped creating a choppy ride. However, on-center feel is excellent and it was a pleasure driving it on long stretches of freeway while sudden lane changes are direct, confidently made and well-controlled with little body lean/sway.
When the CX-7 debuted a few years ago, I thought the design was fresh and different from all of the other boxy mini-SUV’s that were on the market. Now the shape is more common place with many manufacturers softening edges for both design and aerodynamic purposes. It still maintains the rakish windshield of the previous generation. The CX-9 with its Crystal White Pearl Mica paint has a futuristic quality with a tapered shape that slices through the wind. The lower edges of the side windows taper upwards toward the rear, and made it difficult to see to the sides by looking over my shoulders. With the 2010 models, Mazda revamped the fronts of the CX-line and gave it the gaping mouth look of its Mazda 3 (or maybe they modeled it after a smiling Lightning McQueen from the “Cars” animated movie?). Either way, the “mouth” is a quite large on the face of this Mazda.
If you’ve got a big family and enough kids to require use of the second and third row of seats, storage will be an issue: I could lay my Timbuktu messenger bag down in back plus my workout bag, and that covered most of the real estate in back (17 cubic feet). Add 2-3 sleeping bags and a tent, and you’re out of space and out of luck. “Who volunteers to stay home?” However, because of the length of the Mazda, if you fold the 3rd row down, you have ample storage space (48.4 cubic feet); go one step forward and fold the 2nd row seats as well, and you end up with a cavernous 100.7 cubic feet. The price on this CX-9 was $34.5k. If you stick to comparable Japanese makes, the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander come to mind. The Toyota pricing starts lower (than the CX-9) with the Pilot base price being slightly higher. For just a bit more, you’ll get 8-passenger seating in the Honda, and comparable EPA combined gas mileage.
Overall, the Touring version does come with a lot as standard and is a terrific value. My overall impression of the CX-9 is that it is an easy vehicle to drive. The engine never struggled, and provides plenty of power and would be perfect for a young family and all their groceries. The steering is light, the HVAC system is easy to adjust, and the seating position is high for great views of the road. As a driver, you won’t have to put much effort into the driving process which is a great vehicle quality for those looking for such in a crossover vehicle. I would personally prefer a little less steering boost and more feedback in the steering wheel, and the suspension calibration should be revised for a more comfortable ride.
None of the Mazda’s qualities or features stood out as spectacular, but it is a capable vehicle providing the functionality that many of us in the suburban environments need. I wish the gas mileage was a bit higher than what I averaged because even with the 20-gallon tank, you’ll be filling up on a regular basis. Mazda, please bring the European diesel engines here sooner than later!
|2010 Mazda CX-9 Review
By Gary Chan
“My overall impression of the CX-9 is that it is an easy vehicle to drive. As a driver, you won’t have to put much effort into the driving process which is a great vehicle quality for those looking for such in a crossover vehicle.”
|2008 Mazda CX-9 – the Zoom, zoom, zoom SUV!
By Holly R.
“The “Touring Edition” has all the bling: 20″ wheels, leather interior, navigation system, 6-disc CD changer, heated seats, back-up assist camera and on and on. It was actually pretty “hot” looking for a 7-passenger SUV.”
|Official website for Mazda cars, trucks, and SUVs – www.mazdausa.com|
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