Mazda’s Top of the Line SUV
My connection with Mazda goes back to the 1970s when I was in college, where I raced on one of the first rotary coupes, the RX 100. From then on I have always loved the way a Mazda traversed no matter what the model, which brings us to the new CX-9 I recently tested.
Mazda has done a good job styling the vehicle to follow the theme of the rest of the company’s vehicles. The gentle curves are generally pleasing to the eye, at the same time being practical enough for the occupants to get in and out easily.
The CX-9 is a full seven-seater SUV that I have to say I really enjoyed driving, and I can’t say that about many of the larger SUVs I have tested in a while. The reason for this is the great handling and general performance of the CX-9. Getting in and about traffic was just a dream, as was acceleration onto the highway, with or without a load. I was lucky enough to have had the CX-9 on a track and I really put it through its paces and was not disappointed. In the short time period I experienced rain, I was impressed with how well the vehicle gripped the pavement, even when climbing steeper roads. Our test vehicle was equipped with 225/50R20 on all four wheels, good for spirited driving.
Starting with the performance end of things, first is the CX-9’s 2.5 litre inline four-cylinder turbo that produces a healthy 250 horsepower on premium gas and slightly less on regular
87 octane. As this is a four-cylinder compared to many makers’ V6 models, the Mazda’s 2.5 litre is lighter, making the vehicle less front heavy and thus more nimble. Even though this is a turbo, acceleration is effortless throughout the power band. Getting that power to the wheels is a smooth shifting six-speed automatic, the only transmission in the CX-9 models.
Like most press vehicles, my CX-9 was the top of the line signature model that combines great looking Nappa leather interior in an auburn colour with wood accents. It is by far one of the nicest looking interiors I have seen. I can honestly say it is at par with any high-end Italian SUV on the market. This high-end look continues on into the two rear rows of seats. Besides looking good, the seats are comfortable, and for the short time I spent in the back seat, they too were comfy. Mazda calls the CX-9 a seven-seater but I like to refer to it as more of a six-seater as the rear seats will accommodate three people but two people are better suited there. As for the three-row of seats, I think I would reserve those for smaller people like children or adults only for short trips.
Once in the driver’s seat all the controls are easily found and easy to reach. Like most new vehicles the centre touch screen houses all your communication, sound and navigation systems. My only beef with this was the radio controls, which always made the user hit a few controls before changing the stations on the radio. Short of that, the interior is a very pleasant place to be. The panoramic sunroof is a nice feature especially when travelling as passengers can get a great area view when heading north to places like Whistler.
With the third row of seats down, the CX-9 had ample space to put all you’re shopping in the back. If even more space is needed, the second row seats easily fold to give the driver and passenger plenty of room for all types of items. If you do need to leave the third row of seats up, there is still enough room for small shopping needs.
If you enjoy driving and at the same time have to carry about family, children and all their related items, the CX-9 is well worth the considering. While you are doing this, the CX-9 signature model will
carry you about in the ultimate style and comfort. At the price of $50,100, the Signature model packs a
lot of value for your dollar.
Motor: 2.5-litre four-cylinder turbo
Horsepower: Maximum 250 at 5,000 rpm
Torque (lb-ft): 310 at 2,000 rpm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Fuel economy: 11.5 L/100 km city
and 8.9 L/100 km highway