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    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)

    Options:

    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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?

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    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.

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