Saturday, August 13, 2016

Mazda CX-9

By John Heilig

  • MODEL: 2016 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD
  • ENGINE: 2.5-liter Turbocharged I-4
  • TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic with sport mode 
  • HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 227 hp @ 5,000 rpm/310 lb.-ft. @ 2,000 rpm 
  • WHEELBASE: 115.3 in. 
  • LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 199.4 x 72.5 x 69.0 in. 
  • TIRES: P255/50R20 
  • CARGO: 14.4/38.2/71.2 cu. ft. (all seats up/3rd row down/2nd row down) 
  • ECONOMY: 21 mpg city/27 mpg highway/21.4 mpg test 
  • FUEL TANK: 19.5 gal.
  • CURB WEIGHT: 4,301 lbs.
  • COMPETITIVE CLASS: Chevrolet Equinox, Honda Pilot, Mercedes-Benz GLC 
  • STICKER: $46,215 (includes $900 delivery, $300 options (Machine Gray paint)
  • BOTTOM LINE: The Mazda CX-9 is smooth, quiet and comfortable. It’s a good driver on long trips and around town.

            The Mazda CX-9 is the kind of vehicle you like or dislike almost immediately. I fall into the like category.
            First, the seats are among the most comfortable I have sat in. At first blush, they hold you in nicely, without being intrusive. For example, Recaro seats really hold you in, but they are sometimes hard to get out of. Mazda put some time into setting these up. We took the CX-9 on a long trip to the beach (and on an even longer one back thanks to traffic) and suffered no discomfort. Power adjustments permit you to customize the seat as well. And they are heated, but not cooled.
            At the beach, we went out to dinner and stuffed eight people in the CX-9. Even the teenagers in the third row didn’t complain about discomfort or lack of decent leg room. Access to the third row is made available by folding the second row seat up and out of the way. Assist handles over all four doors make entry and exit easier. Most of the time we folded the third row seats for maximum cargo capacity. Folding the seat backs is easy and the result is a lot of cargo capacity. The cargo area has four tie downs plus under floor storage. 
            Second row legroom is excellent. In addition, the rear doors have sun shades. The pull down rear center arm rest has a pair of cup holders, two USB connections and a small console. There are four cupholders for third row passengers. 
            There is good power from the 2.5-liter turbocharged four. We didn’t notice any turbo lag. Most of the time the engine is quiet. The only time it complains is when you hit the gas pedal for hard acceleration. During our test we drove on Interstates and my winding hillclimb route. The CX-9 thoroughly felt right on all roads.
            The instrument panel has a tachometer, large central speedometer and an information panel/gauge. There is also a heads up display that we found to be a slight problem. One of our roads is a dark tree-lined lane that often has deer on the sides, and even an occasional fox. The HUD’s background is bright enough that it’s hard to see through it on this particular dark road. It’s not a problem on other roads, though, or in daylight. 
            There is a full suite of safety features, including advanced blind spot monitoring, Mazda Radar Cruise Control, Lane Keeping Assist that vibrates the wheel slightly when you wander, high beam control, and several others. Needless to say, the CX-9 is safe as well as smooth.
            Both my wife and I liked the interior styling. Dark wood trim accents the center console controls and the shifter as well as the window controls on the doors. Soft surfaces abound throughout the interior. 
            There’s a good audio system with the usual choices, except a CD (unless it was so well hidden I couldn’t find it). The volume control is on the passenger side of the center console where the passenger can make adjustments. The driver has switches on the steering wheel.
            The infotainment screen, while clear, seems like an add-on. Stuff can get lodged behind the screen. It would be nice if there was a way to lower it when it isn’t in use.
            On the center console is a control knob that allows you to navigate among the various choices. It is also used to program the navigation system, which is easy to do. My only concern was that when you are switching states for your destination, you always have to go through a “Country” selection. 
            Interior storage consists of a nice cubby at the base of the center stack that is ideal for keys or sunglasses. There are the standard two cup holders in the center console, plus room for water bottles in all the doors. The center console/arm rest has a clam shell affair for opening it, so you only have to open one half at a time. 
            The CX-9 has a well-designed interior and exterior. The optional $300 Machine Gray paint is nice, but $300 is a bit much. 
            Overall, the second generation Mazda CX-9 is a pleasure to drive. It is above all smooth, with great interior space for passengers and/or cargo.

(c) 2016 The Auto Page Syndicate

No comments: