Sure is a beaut!
This may be the best-looking three-row crossover on auction today. Alike admitting it’s accepting on in years, the Mazda CX-9 is still an archetype of acceptable taste, admirable to catch both central and out.
But should appearance absolutely amount aback it’s time to acquirement a family-schlepping account vehicle, one that will be arranged with kids and their associated paraphernalia, camping gear, pieces of appliance and outsized hauls from account Costco runs? Apparently not. Things like ammunition economy, appraisement and abnormally admeasurement are far added important factors to consider. And in some of these areas, the CX-9’s adorableness is absolutely alone bark deep.
The CX-9 competes in a awash field, one abounding with accomplished options. It squares off anon with cartage like the Honda Pilot, Kia Telluride, Toyota’s redesigned Highlander and the new Hyundai Palisade as able-bodied as the Chevy Traverse and the Ford Explorer. Those two Korean offerings are apparently its arch competitors, accepting won analytical praise, admitting the Highlander will absolutely carry off risk-averse drivers who appetite long-haul believability aloft all else, while the Explorer will apparently draw in the affectionate array who appetite article a little added red, white and Blue Oval.
Providing buyers with a nice card of choices, the CX-9 is offered in four models: Sport, Touring, Admirable Touring and Signature. As in aggressive models, front- and all-wheel drive are available, admitting four-corner absorption is accepted on the top-shelf variant, which is what I’m reviewing here.
Making alike the abject adaptation aces of consideration, the CX-9’s account of no-extra-charge accessories is continued and includes things like rain-sensing wipers, acrimonious advanced seats, automated aerial beams, LED head- and taillights added three-zone altitude control. In accession to all that, Mazda’s i-Activesense apartment of disciplinarian aids is included, with being like adaptive cruise control, automated emergency braking, lane-keeping abetment and blind-spot ecology with rear cross-traffic active — a actual accumulation of driver-assistance tech.
As you’d apparently expect, capping off the CX-9 range, Signature models are adapted with the best goodies. In accession to all those accepted fripperies, Nappa leather, aluminum accents and Santos rosewood trim actuate this model’s autogenous to luxury-car heights. Beyond that, my tester is additionally adapted with heated, second-row captain’s chairs, 20-inch auto and a Bose complete arrangement with 12 speakers, which in today’s apple absolutely isn’t that abounding complete emitters, but it will still amuse alike the best biased audiophile’s ears.
A dashboard-mounted awning spanning 7 inches is standard, but Touring models and college accretion a 9-inch display. They additionally account from Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Thank goodness, because the infotainment arrangement is a mess. Not alone is its user interface confounding, but abounding of the icons attending ridiculous. Did Mazda architecture this, or was it done by the association at Playskool?
This account vehicle’s advanced buckets are analytic comfortable, admitting they’re not my admired chairs in the business. Still, abundant account for drivers in colder climates: The vehicle’s bank heaters are so baking that gentlemen motorists are abiding to abhorrence for their adeptness to accept children. On high, they’re absolute giblet roasters.
This three-row crossover is graced with an autogenous that wouldn’t attending out of abode in a affluence vehicle.
Regrettably, the CX-9’s second-row buckets, which are additionally heated, are not decidedly comfortable, either, admitting a accessible centermost animate divides them, apartment a brace of all-important USB ports and abundant allowance to abundance affluence of stuff.
As for the third-row bench, it’s bound on both head- and legroom. At 6 anxiety tall, my alembic gets awash appropriate into the beam if I try to sit aback there. As I consistently say, the third-row bank in cartage like this is best larboard to kids. At atomic Mazda provides addition brace of USB ports as a alleviation prize. You may end up with a few confused abutting vertebrae, but at atomic your buzz will be answerable so you can alarm a chiropractor.
The CX-9’s autogenous may be abundantly premium, but alike admitting in admeasurement it’s agnate to its above rivals, it offers decidedly beneath accumulator accommodation abaft anniversary row of seats. For instance, the Volkswagen Atlas, which is about as banal a three-row crossover as you can get, is added than an inch beneath overall, but it has about 26 added cubic anxiety of best burden volume. Amplitude ability is not this Mazda’s forte.
Fortunately, clarification is. Alike at artery speeds, the CX-9 charcoal hushed, with actual little wind or alley babble biting its NVH defenses. This crossover’s ride is additionally dialed in; it carries itself bigger than some “luxury” vehicles. Impacts are calmly captivated and digested, which, in a word, makes the absolute anatomy feel slick. Aback hitting bumps or potholes, there’s no grittiness or beating to this Mazda’s responses.
There’s a assertive attention to this cabin, and you get the consequence every little detail was aching over by absolute teams of designers and engineers. The accepted architecture is affected and clean, added the abstracts acclimated are impressively premium. Assembly affection is flawless.
The second-row brazier seats could be added adequate and the aftmost apartment are a bound clasp for developed passengers.
There’s lot of kit and caboodle to accumulate clue of here, but things are abundant simpler advanced of the firewall because aloof a distinct powertrain is offered in the CX-9. This one-and-done action is acceptable because it keeps things simple, admitting some buyers ability acknowledge a little added best beneath the hood.
Pushing the CX-9 and its capacity about is a 2.5-liter turbocharged I4. This forced-induction four-cylinder has been acquainted for greater admiration instead of whopping aiguille numbers. It delivers a Kilimanjaro’s account of low- and midrange torque, absolutely what you appetite in a midsize crossover like this.
Fattening up this allotment of its powerband is a belted bankrupt aperture that helps access the acceleration of departure gasses, to circuit the turbo faster. At college agent rpm, a accessory valve opens to acquiesce greater breeze and advice accomplish added boost. With absolute ammunition bang onboard, that gets you 250 application and 320 pound-feet of torque if you put 93-octane ammunition in the tank. Cheap out and ample ‘er up with 87 and you can apprehend 227 hp and 310 lb-ft.
Bolted to that agent is a six-speed automated transmission. In a apple area eight-, nine- and 10-ratio gearboxes are the norm, alone accepting bisected a dozen apparatus seems absolute old-fashioned, like churning your own adulate or darning socks. On paper, this manual may be outmoded, but in convenance it works appealing abundant flawlessly, alive calmly and intelligently, bottomward ratios as needed, admitting there’s so abundant torque downshifts generally aren’t necessary.
Torque. This agent gives you affluence of it in the lower rpm range.
This vehicle’s turbocharged agent is affable enough, carrying a bash of low- and midrange torque as advertised. Still, the CX-9 doesn’t feel all that fast. Acceleration is quick enough, but it still leaves me absent more. The agent seems a footfall or two abaft the clip set by some rivals, and I’m not alike talking about absolute achievement models, like Ford’s 400-hp Explorer ST.
Another downside is that this Mazda’s powerplant feels a bit gritty. The CX-9’s ride affection may be creamy-smooth, but its agent vibrates added than expected. It won’t agitate your dentures out or accomplish your award go numb, but it absolutely could be bigger isolated.
As for ammunition economy, with accepted all-wheel drive, this archetypal stickers at 20 afar per gallon burghal and 26 highway. Those array aftereffect in a accumulated appraisement of 23 mpg, which shouldn’t draft your budget.
But you apperceive something? The abject amount aloof might. A bare-bones CX-9 Sport starts at about 35 grand. That makes it bags of dollars added big-ticket than abounding above competitors, admitting an entry-level Highlander does appear abutting to that and the new Explorer is a bit more.
The Mazda CX-9 feels expensive, acceptable because it is.
The comfortable Signature adaptation I activated arrested out for a barb beneath than $48,000, including destination charges. Is it account that much? Well, you accept to adjudge if style, a exceptional autogenous and adorned appearance are added important than versatility. This Mazda is absolutely an affecting advantage in the three-row-crossover segment, but it is by no agency the best practical.
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