Room for Seven
By Ron Amadon
DAMASCUS, MD. – Mazda calls the CX-9 its “Elder Statesman” given the fact that it has been around since 2007. While there are ample suggestions that a replacement model is on the way, right now we know more about the El Nino in the Pacific than the CX-9 to be. (More on that later.)
None of this should deter you from checking out the current model that offers three row seating for seven, excellent cargo space, good power and comfort for the crowd.
The top-of-the-line test vehicle was a Grand Touring All Wheel Drive well equipped with 20-inch alloy wheels, and rain sensing wipers, fog lights, power lift gate, bi-xenon high intensity automatic off/on headlights, and three-position memory driver’s seat.
A Tech Package added a 10-speaker Bose sound system, a Tom-Tom based navi system and satellite radio for $2,435 that also included a moonroof. There were multi-adjustable leather seats in front that were also heated. You may not engage that feature for while but hey, Halloween stuff is already in stores and on some lawns.
The 5.8 inch touch screen was on the small side and didn’t offer all the features of newer models. I was not a fan of the clamshell like doors that open on the center arm rest console.
Certainly of interest to families would be the optional rear seat entertainment option with DVD player, 9-inch screen and an 11 speaker Bose audio system. However, then you say farewell to the moonroof. Which would the kiddos vote for on a long trip?
For those with longer legs or a build like Ronda Rousey, the second row seats not only slide back and forth, they recline. Headroom was a tad tight for third row passengers, but getting there was easy. Fold everything down and you create 101 cubic feet of cargo capacity, enough to put a smile on the face of the store manager at the big box hardware store.
Up front is a 3.7-liter V6 with 273 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque married to a six speed automatic. There was plenty of power for most needs with an EPA rating of 16-22 mpg with an average of 18. During a week of testing in the city, country and on the interstates, I came in at 18 mpg. And praise be there is no CVT.
Everything was quiet and peaceful inside so the CX-9 would be perfect for long distance trips and the ride was comfortable on all types of roads. Handling was better than one might expect in a family style SUV – zoom zoom anyone?
With options, the test vehicle, and remember this is a top-of-the-line model, came to $39,890 a figure that you could easily ring up among its competitors. If it is space and a touch or three of sportiness that you are looking for, check out the CX-9 in its current form.
Looking ahead, as was mentioned in a recent “Auto News” column, Mazda will use the Frankfurt auto show unveil a new crossover concept, presumably the replacement for the CX-9. But we will not know for sure until the German auto show opens on Sept. 15 to the press. Still others say the new CX-9 will make an appearance at the Los Angeles show in November.
So change is in the winds, like the El Nino.
3.7-liter DOHC 24-valve V6
Horsepower: 273 @ 6,250 rpm
Torque: 270 lb-ft @ 4,250 rpm
Redline: 6,500 rpm
Recommend Fuel: Regular Unleaded
Drivetrain: Front-wheel drive or Active torque Split All-Wheel Drive
Automatic Transmission: 6-speed electronically controlled Sport with Adaptive Shift Logic and sport shift mode.
Turning circle, curb-to-curb: 37.4 ft
Suspension: Front MacPherson strut with stabilizer bar
Rear: Multilink with stabilizer bar
Brakes: 4-wheel disc
Curb weight: Front wheel drive 4323 pounds
All Wheel Drive: 4959 pounds