• Sign in to follow this  
    Followers 0

    Quick Drive: 2014 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring

    • Needing Some More Zoom-Zoom

    The Mazda CX-9 is one of the oldest nameplates in three-row crossover marketplace and also happens to be one, if not the oldest model on sale. At one time, it was considered to be one of the best crossovers. But since then, a new generation of crossovers have gone on sale. Does the CX-9 still have a place?

    Last year, Mazda gave the CX-9 a bit of a facelift with a new front end to bring it more in line with other models with the Kodo design language. The facelift hasn't worked out as the new front end seems very out of place to the rest of the vehicle. The remainder of the vehicle from the front doors on is still the same as the first CX-9 from 2007 and is still a very handsome vehicle.

    Inside, the CX-9 is a mix of the old and new. Old is the seating arrangement which provides good head and legroom, though the seats are little bit stiff for long trips. Also staying the same is the minuscule amount of cargo space when all three rows are up. To get any cargo space, its recommended that you fold the third row down. New is a revised center stack with a new head unit. In my tester, it was the optional navigation system. The system is the same as the Mazda6 and CX-5, which means a somewhat dated interface, and long time for the system to find to connect my phone to the bluetooth system. I would just pass on the navigation.

    Power still comes from 3.7L V6 with 273 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. This is paired up to a six-speed automatic and optional all-wheel drive system. This engine really needs to worked around the 3,000 to 4,500 rpm area if you want to feel like your moving along. Anything below that and the engine feels very legarthic. On the plus side, the six-speed automatic is very smooth and the optional all-wheel drive was able to keep the vehicle on the road with plenty of traction. Fuel economy on the CX-9 is rated by the EPA at 16 City/22 Highway/18 Combined. In my week-long testing, I only got 17.6 MPG.

    Being a Mazda, you would expect excellent driving characteristics. The CX-9 is almost no exception to that rule. The CX-9's suspension is on the firm side, which means the model doesn't show any lean and is fun to play around in the corners. That also means you'll be feeling a fair number of bumps and road imperfections. Steering is slow to respond at first turn, but once it catches up, it provides decent weight and feel. Wind and road noise were somewhat apparent when driving in the CX-9.

    As I was driving around in the CX-9, I thought that if I have driven this before the Dodge Durango, I would like the CX-9 a bit more. The reason is the Dodge Durango takes the CX-9's recipe and improves on it with a better V6 engine, higher fuel economy numbers, and being a bit better to drive. The CX-9 is getting up there in age and I think needs to retire and let a new model take its place. When that will be is up in the air.

    Disclaimer: Mazda Provided the CX-9, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

    Year: 2014

    Make: Mazda

    Model: CX-9

    Trim: Grand Touring

    Engine: 3.7L MZR V6

    Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive

    Horsepower @ RPM: 273 @ 6,250

    Torque @ RPM: 270 @ 4,250

    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 16/22/18

    Curb Weight: 4,552 lbs

    Location of Manufacture: Hiroshima, Japan

    Base Price: $36,625

    As Tested Price: $39,855 (Includes $795 Destination Charge)


    GT Tech Package - $2,435

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.


    Sign in to follow this  
    Followers 0

    User Feedback

    Actually, this, the Durango, and the RDX are the class of the SUV set IMHO.


    Although I would have a Grand Cherokee before any of those, I think.


    Then you should be keeping a close eye in the next few weeks then. I'm beginning to work on a review of the Grand Cherokee.


    Share this comment

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I have been noticing that the fords and Mazda's sure have dirty carbon exhuast pipes. I thought the idea behind EcoBoost was to have cleaner emissions and yet I noticed in walking from work to the bus stop that many Fords and a few Mazda's all have very dirty tail pipes.


    Share this comment

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    One of my favorite cars still, back to the 2011 Grand Touring I owned. I was told it was odd I...just by myself...was driving a car like that, but it was more entertaining and more practical than anything. The 3.7L V6 isn't necessarily light on fuel but likes to roar, and the driving dynamics with the firm suspension, steering and 20" wheels are great. Could be a bit posher like newer models, but I liked everything about that car, even the old school nav and well functioning remote starter.


    Replacement should take it even farther like all of Mazda's latest products, and hopefully be lighter and more efficient too.


    Share this comment

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    now that i am doing some unplanned shopping, this has crossed my radar a little more,


    I am finding the Traverse, Explorer, Durango, anything with AWD and its darn pricey.  As in, I am priced out.  Still need the room though.


    The sport trim level of this vehicle has pretty much all i really need and is a fair amount less than those others.  Cargo space is a bit shy, but after driving the Traverse and feeling underwhelmed again, I am guessing that this Ford Edge on steroids may have appeal to me?


    Share this comment

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    took one for a spin last night.  what a nice refreshing drive for a larger crossover.  Lots of kit for the $$$$ too.  Despite what the specs say, a bit tight on the inside in the back 2 rows and for cargo.  Very appealing, feels a lot lighter than its size and weight would suggest.


    Share this comment

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Your content will need to be approved by a moderator

    You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
    Add a comment...

    ×   You have pasted content with formatting.   Remove formatting

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

  • Popular Stories

  • Similar Content

    • By William Maley
      Homogeneous charge compression ignition or HCCI engines are a unique prospect - use compression to ignite gasoline, like in a diesel vehicle. This allows for better fuel economy and lower emissions. A number of automakers have built prototypes and said they would be putting them into production down the road, but it has never happened. That may change in the near future.
      The Nikkei Asian Review reports that Mazda will be launching an HCCI engine for the 2018 Mazda3 (Axela in Japan). This will be part of Mazda's second-generation of SkyActiv technologies to improve fuel economy. According to the report, the engine could give certain Mazda3 models a fuel economy figure of 30 kilometers per liter (about 71 mpg on the U.S. cycle). The report doesn't say if this is for city, highway, or combined.
      Can Mazda do it or will it be like the others and not appear? We'll be watching to find out that answer.
      Source: Nikkei Asian Review

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      Homogeneous charge compression ignition or HCCI engines are a unique prospect - use compression to ignite gasoline, like in a diesel vehicle. This allows for better fuel economy and lower emissions. A number of automakers have built prototypes and said they would be putting them into production down the road, but it has never happened. That may change in the near future.
      The Nikkei Asian Review reports that Mazda will be launching an HCCI engine for the 2018 Mazda3 (Axela in Japan). This will be part of Mazda's second-generation of SkyActiv technologies to improve fuel economy. According to the report, the engine could give certain Mazda3 models a fuel economy figure of 30 kilometers per liter (about 71 mpg on the U.S. cycle). The report doesn't say if this is for city, highway, or combined.
      Can Mazda do it or will it be like the others and not appear? We'll be watching to find out that answer.
      Source: Nikkei Asian Review
    • By dfelt
      G. David Felt
      Staff Writer Alternative Energy - www.CheersandGears.com
      Mazda CX-9, 812 miles, 5 adults, 8 days, 7 nights, Grade = D-
      25 years of Marriage is what started this lovely 8 days, 7 nights week for the family. Wife wanted to celebrate with the kids in a warm place. Answer was to trade in our time share condo for a time share condo on Kona at Aston Shores at Waikoloa (http://www.astonshoresatwaikoloa.com/).
      With the wife asking for a perfect week, I went ahead and got our place, made a reservation for a full size SUV, which sadly I could not get with Enterprise or Hertz as they both were out of stock, crazy but being married on Dec 24th does make auto rental in desirable places like the Hawaiian islands hard to find. I was able to reserve one with Budget rental who said they had a full size available for our trip.
      We arrived flying in on a direct flight with Alaska Airlines from Seattle to Kona, got our baggage and then off to Budget at 10pm to pick up our auto rental. Upon arriving, was met by a polite nice young woman, who checked me in, told me I would have a Mazda CX9. Due to my past experiences with Asian auto's, I did ask if they had an American suv? Sadly for Kona Budget uses Mazda as their only SUV's, so CX9 it would be. We walked out to the auto, it was the only one left in the SUV section, loaded up our luggage, got into the auto and I hit my head as I got in and off to our condo for the week.
      The next morning, as everyone was unpacking as we just crashed after our flight and slept, I went out to check out the Mazda. Realized that Budget does a terrible job of cleaning the auto's. Garbage was left in the center arm rest, the back door pockets had garbage in it and the interior clearly needed a wipe down. Off I went to get some paper towels and cleaned up the auto before the wife and kids saw it. Once the interior was all cleaned up, I went back in see if everyone was ready to head off to Costco to buy staples for the week when we just chill around the resort versus exploring the island.
      First thing I noticed is that my hitting of the head last night when we arrived was not just me being tired on a 6 1/2 hr flight. But was a piss poor design by Mazda on the CX9. My wife who is 5'8" tall had to do the same thing as me, face away from the car, place your butt in the seat and partially bent over swing into the auto. After you get past the A pillar you can sit up straight and there is plenty of head room. In fact everyone that sat in the front seats except Kay my sons girlfriend of 4 years had to do the same thing. My son and Daughter are also both 5'8" tall compared to Kay who is only 5'2" tall.
      Next thing is that what I thought was someone turning down the dash lights was actually not it at all but Mazda not putting any lights in the door lock or all the window buttons. Only a single light dot was on the drivers window. At night on an island that does not have bright street lights to allow the view the space to show up, finding your door locks or windows buttons is a pain. I know every maker puts basic controls on either side of the steering wheel, but Mazda really has a strange layout compared to GM, Ford or Dodge. Yes everyone has a different take on this but after all these years, some things should be consistent across all auto's. Example is the windshield wipers and rear window wiper, which should be first on the stick? I say front windshield wipers and yet Mazda felt rear should be.
      After checking the lights, getting myself all set for driving, we loaded up to head out for our first day of fun. 
      The Radio / Nav system has a Bluetooth option. My son said he would connect his phone so I could hear the navigation for where we were going first for breakfast and to stream Pandora. Sadly their Bluetooth SUCKS! takes about 1 1/2 to 2 miles of driving before the system is sync'd and working, was this way all week, at least it did work once it sync'd. I did think maybe this was an Apple to Mazda issue, but after testing it with my wife's and my own Android phones, experience was the same. Sucky Bluetooth connection and reading of the device. Pandora was actually better being streamed from my sons phone than from the auto system as there was much delay and pause on the auto system but everything played fine on the cell phone.
      Off and driving around Kona, first thing noticed by the family was the auto let allot of wind and road noise in. Definitely not my Trailblazer for sure which is much quieter inside. Observation was that while once the radio / Nav was up and working, the angle of it in the auto in a very sunny place makes the screen pretty much useless unless you use your hand or some other item to shade the display. Backup camera worked fine, very reliable but their fish-eye lens really distorts the view. Using your shoulder checks shows two blind spots in the rear making you want to check the camera but again distorted, so was cautious of backing out, pretty much always backed into places so I could easily get out of them.
      Corners, I have always prided myself on knowing my corners of an auto, yet this design of the Mazda really sucks for your corners, after a day of driving, I did figure out just how far I had to be to be in tight but not hit anything. Lucky for me, I never caused damage on any of the auto.
      Rain, WOW, So by our resort we were in the mid to upper 80's and sunny the whole time, from about 4000 to 9000 feet the island would have rain on and off and boy was it heavy. Two things noticed that the wife was not happy about nor was I, was that even on the fastest speed the windshield did not clear the rain away very well, bothered her more than me, after all heavy rain, but even in lite rain this other really bothered me and is a safety fail. The way the design of the auto is with the side mirrors, the rain makes the side mirrors unusable. I could see nothing out the mirrors as the water comes off the front windshield and smears across the side mirrors and pretty much makes those little mirrors useless. Not a good design at all.
      Seats, after our first day in the CX9, the kids let me know that the back seat was hard and not comfy for more than an hour of driving. The front bucket seats while having good side support and for a person as big as me was fine, for my more petite wife, she and the kids when they sat in the front all felt like they were sitting in a Toilet falling through. Very uncomfortable bucket seat. On top of this, only the drivers seat has full electronic control so I could have it go down to the floor, the front passenger seat was set very high and so you only had back and forth and low back support. Very limited, why not have the front seat equal to the drivers. Made no sense and the one time I tried to sit in the front, it was impossible, the setting of the seat was too high for me. All around failure. 3rd row seat was nice folding flat into the floor, but two poor designs, again head rest were manual as they had to be folded down and then you had to pull the 2nd row seats forward to allow you to put up or down the third row seat. Kay said it was the same comfort as the second row and for her plenty of space but then she is only 5'2" tall and very petite.
      Engine, WOW, Yes on Kona you have 3 mountains, 1 that is spewing lava, very cool to visit and see, above 9000 feet they had snow after snow storm so was able to snorkel / scuba in the morning and ski in the afternoon. Why do I bring this up, simple the engine really leaves a ton to be desired. average for the week was 16.8 mpg in a FWD CUV. Sucky no way to put it for this auto, worse yet was unless you kept it revved above 4500 rpm, any minor hill caused you to loose speed fast. Driving up to the Observation scopes was very tricky as it was a dirt road with snow and traction just sucked. Not what I was expecting. So according to Mazda this is a 227HP motor on regular gas or 250 on premium. I only used regular the whole time and should have gotten 22/28/25 average of City/Highway/Combined and yet did not matter, 16.8 is what the auto reported to me as average MPG. I was filling up every other day, plus who ever thought hiding the fuel filler door release on the left side of the drivers seat under the seat was cool is an idiot. Not easy to get too.
      Lighting, Interior left much to be desired as places I would expect lights to be the auto had none, places that should be easy to read where not, only the drivers dash and nav system would give you clear visible displays, otherwise even the overhead lights left allot to be desired. Mazda says they have key-less illumination entry system, but it never worked on our auto unless the pathetic light they had on each rear view mirror that put out barely any light is what they consider to be this system. Exterior, the headlights are OK, they give you enough light to see the road, but when no other auto's were around I did use the high beams to see the curves better in the road.
      Door Locks, Mazda says they have speed-sensing auto locking, not sure what it is, but the double click to unlock the auto was slow and most times a third press of the button was needed.
      Center console, comfy for my arm rest, strange with the dual split opening in the center, you had to open both sides to store anything in it, so not sure why they decided to split such a small center storage arm rest into what is about two 2 1/2 inch wide doors. A single door would be much better.
      USB ports, sad that all would allow connection to the NAV system but only 1 port in the center arm rest would charge your device and even then only android, apple could not get a charge off the port. Really weird cheap implementation of the USB ports.
      End Result - The auto was reliable and got us all over the island for 812 miles. Other than that, I really could not find any exciting point that would make me recommend the auto to anyone. My family was happy with our trip, wished we had a better auto. Next time I will reserve much earlier.
    • By William Maley
      Last fall, I had the chance to drive a Dodge Charger R/T Scat Pack for a week and fell in love. It was basically an SRT Charger, minus a few items for just under $40,000. This fall, another high-performance Charger came in a week’s stay and it was packing more heat. 707 horsepower to be exact. Yes, I finally got my hands on a Hellcat. What was it like? It was fast, but you want more information than that.
      That 707 horsepower figure comes courtesy from a 6.2L supercharged HEMI V8. Torque is rated at 650 pound-feet.This is backed up by an eight-speed automatic only. If you want a manual, then you’ll need to get the Challenger Hellcat. Trying to explain just how fast the Charger Hellcat is difficult. This is a car that you need to drive or sit in to experience the ferocity of the V8 engine. The best way I can use to describe the Hellcat’s power delivery is engaging warp drive. Step on the accelerator and the supercharger whirrs into life and the V8 produces a roar very few vehicles can dream. Blink and you’ll be at an illegal speed before you know it. Taking turns in the Hellcat is somewhat difficult because of the accelerator. You need to roll on it if you want to do it smoothly. If you step on the accelerator pedal like you would on a standard vehicle, the back will become very loose and the stability control will kick on to get the vehicle straightened out. This is especially important due to the tires fitted to Hellcat, a set of Pirelli P-Zeros. These tires need to be warmed up before they begin to bite the road. The Hellcat will be a regular at the fuel pump with fuel economy figures of 13 City/22 Highway/16 Combined. I got about 14.3 mpg during my week in mostly city driving. Handling? That’s the surprising part as the Charger Hellcat doesn’t embarrass itself. Fitted with an adaptive suspension system, the Charger Hellcat shows little body roll when put into Sport and provides a smooth ride when in comfort. The steering system provides the right amount of feel and heft you want in a performance vehicle.  Bringing a 707 horsepower vehicle to a stop is no easy task, but a set of massive Brembo brakes is up to the task. It brings the Charger Hellcat to a quick halt. The Charger Hellcat looks like your standard SRT Charger with a new front clip and lowered stance. There are some slight differences such as a new hood, 20-inch wheels finished in a dark bronze color, and the requisite Hellcat emblems on the front fenders. Inside, the Hellcat isn’t that much different from the standard Charger aside from the speedometer going 200 mph. It would have been nice if Dodge could have done some sprucing of the interior to not make it feel so dank and dark. A little bit more color on the dash would not be a bad thing. The front seats have extra bolstering to hold you in when you decide to let loose all 707 horsepower or take a turn a bit too fast. As I mentioned in my Ram 1500 Quick Drive last week, the Charger’s UConnect system is beginning to show its age. The interface is still easy to use but is beginning to show signs of aging. Performance isn’t as snappy either as in previous FCA models. Hopefully, the 2017 model is able to get the updated UConnect system that debuted in the Pacifica. The UConnect system in the Charger Hellcat does come with SRT Pages. This allows you to record 0-60, quarter-mile, and reaction times. It also allows you to change various performance settings such as gear changes, suspension, and whether you want the full 707 horsepower or 500. The last one pertains if you happen to have the red key. In terms of pricing, the Charger Hellcat kicks off at $65,495. With options and a $1,700 gas guzzler tax, our tester came to $72,820. Compared to other high-performance sedans, the Hellcat is quite the steal. If it was my money on the line, I would go for the Charger R/T Scat Pack. I get most of the enjoyment of the Hellcat, minus the supercharger whine. But I would have a fair chunk of change that I could spend on hopping it up. But I understand why someone would go for the Charger Hellcat. It is a four-door sedan that provides explosive acceleration and engine note that no other vehicle can dare match. There’s something magical about stepping on the accelerator, being flung back into the seat due to power on tap, and then laughing like a four-year old after what happened. Disclaimer: Dodge Provided the Charger Hellcat, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      (Author’s Note: That’s a wrap for the 2016 review season. We’ll be back with the first batch of 2017 model year vehicles after New Years. But I will be picking my favorite vehicles I drove this year. Expect to see that before the year comes to a close.)
      Year: 2016
      Make: Dodge
      Model: Charger
      Trim: SRT Hellcat
      Engine: Supercharged 6.2L HEMI V8
      Driveline: Eight-speed automatic, Rear-wheel drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 707 @ 6,000
      Torque @ RPM: 650 @ 4,800
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 13/22/16
      Curb Weight: 4,570 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Brampton, Ontario
      Base Price: $65,945
      As Tested Price: $72,820 (Includes $995 Destination Charge and $1,700 Gas Guzzler Tax)
      Customer Preferred Package 23T - $1,995.00
      20-inch x 9.5-inch Brass Monkey SRT Forged Wheels - $995.00
      275/40ZR20 P Zero Summer Tires - $595.00
      Redline Red Tri-coat Pearl Exterior Paint - $595.00

      View full article
  • Recent Status Updates

    • Drew Dowdell

      It might not be VW's scandal that kills diesel, it might be Mazda. What if you could get diesel like fuel economy from a gasoline engine and none of the diesel emissions issues? Mazda just might have the solution. HCCI is a type of gas engine that can run in certain situations with the spark plugs off, making for very efficient operation.
      · 0 replies
    • regfootball

      · 0 replies
    • FordCosworth

      Who thinks lending more money to a country that will NEVER be able to repay its existing loans is solid idea? Oh , right the EU of course ...
      · 0 replies
  • Who's Online (See full list)