Hello and welcome to your first session of Couples Car Counseling. I’m Ike, and this is a safe place for you as a enthusiast and your significant who isn’t. These are reviews you can use to communicate with each other what you really want out of a
For today’s session, we will be talking about the Mazda CX-9.
Ah The full size SUV, it’s changed a lot since the turn of the millennium. What was once the domain of farmers and ranch hands has become the go-to family hauler.
Why the enthusiast may want this type of Vehicle
The full size SUV can haul a lot of car parts while keeping them out of the elements, something it’s pick up truck cousins cant. Oh and it can even tow a race car if need be.
Why the non-enthusiast may want this type of vehicle
It’s can hold a lot of people, cargo, and provides the driver a high driving position, along with typically having all wheel or four wheel drive to deal with less than ideal weather.
Now that we have the basics of a full size out of the way, let’s talk about this new Mazda CX-9.
For the enthusiast
The CX-9 is a large vehicle, yet retains the essential Zoom-Zoom character that all Mazda somehow are imbued with. It manages the curvy back roads fairly well with the optional all wheel drive with minimal body roll. The point at which the handling gets sketchy approaches very linearly to help you understand the vehicles limitations. It’s no Miata in the back country, but about as good as a full size SUV could be.
Let’s be real though you’re not looking at getting this car for tackling curvy roads, you are looking to get it because you need to haul things. The 3,500lb hauling limit isn’t class leading, it should however be enough to take a light race car and trailer out to the track. Maybe a Miata? Cargo room is spectacular, the rear seats fold flat, and the second row seats almost, but do not entirely, fold flat. The second row also has a cloth backing on it so you don’t have to worry about ruining your leather.
For the non enthusiast
The CX-9 is deceptively easy to drive. For a full size SUV you’ll have no problem taking this into a busy city on a daily basis. I drove around downtown D.C. a lot with this big Mazda. Between the wonderful steering, blind spot monitoring, back up camera and lane assist tech, it felt more like a midsize car in traffic than a full size SUV. The automatic-everything in this model (headlights, brights, wipers, radar guided cruise control) make long commutes or road trips ridiculously easy and comfortable.
Let’s meet in the middle
This is a very nice SUV to be inside, all the materials feel high end. The infotainment system is one of the best I’ve come across, but has a pretty steep learning curve. It took me 30 minutes of dedicated time to really get a handle on it. Once you learn to use it though a combination of the main control wheel and center console, along with the steering wheel mounted controls, it becomes second nature very quickly.
The interior can get uncomfortable if you’re over 6 feet tall. The padded soft touch area for you to rest your legs and knees on ends a little too low for those of us gifted/cursed with height. I also found the seats to get a touch uncomfortable after driving the car for more than a few hours in a row. That said I can fit in the second row behind my own driving position quite comfortably. I can even fit in the third row, just don’t keep me back there for a long time.
While we talk about seats, I would be remiss to not inform you that you can only realistically get 2 car seats in the CX-9 at a time. So if you are have to have a vehicle that can hold 3 or more car seats in at a time, you need something else. Mazda also did a nice bit of work covering the child seat lower anchors with a fabric pocket. This can make child seat installation a little harder then normal, but does mean they are less likely to press into a rear seat passenger. You can tell that Mazda tried to think of everything.
Therapist closing thoughts
I had low expectations for this car to be honest but I walked away pleasantly surprised. More then that, I found the car still managed to capture a bit of the Mazda zoom-zoom DNA while providing a very practical platform. If I was looking for a large 7 passenger vehicle, this would be on my list for sure. I think it’s good value for the money, even with this model being optioned to just over $40,000. These days that’s a lot of vehicle for the money.
That concludes this session. Thanks for reading.