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2016 (new) Mazda CX-9 Sport AWD 2.5 test (and impression)

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EDIT- SCROLL DOWN a few posts for the test drive.




This is cheating a bit , not really a full review. But I just checked out a new CX-9, and boy that thing is (pardon the impression) sweet as balls.

Having looked at a new Cadillac XT5 just a few days ago too, I am not sure why you'd spend much more for the Cadillac.

Interior is really sweet on the CX-9 and packaging and space is great. All 3 rows. Looks nice, crazy low prices if you consider the ludicrous prices of some other brand SUV's. Easily this thing would whoop a new Lilliputian Acadia for same or less $$$. At a minimum far more style and execution for interiors than rival Japanese makers.

Edited by regfootball

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Yeah, I think the Mazda CX-9 is a gem. But also, the U.S. dollar is strong against the yen right now, so they can be a little ballsy with the pricing. But no doubt, it seems like a strong SUVOTY Contender.

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Early impressions I have heard or read from journalists would suggest the CX-9 is great, and maybe the best 3 row SUV out there.  Hopefully people actually buy it, Mazda has some great cars right now.

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spent a lot of time in a Signature.  45k (didn't drive it I'll repeat) but man they really did a bang-up job on the interior.  Great details and materials.  Lots of soft touch points.  Interior space is vast, feels quite a bit larger inside than the last one.  Shockingly large inside.  I would say it feels about as spacious as an Explorer but not really Traverse sized totally.  The second row has about the same leg room as the explorer.  The third row is not quite adult sized, but that's probably ok since the last one wasn't.  LOTS of head room, and quite a bit of girth in the cabin too.  The size is deceiving, because the rear hatch actually has quite a bit of rake on it.  Still behind the third row, the cargo space is not bad.  With the third row folded its quite large.


I love the new Ford Edge but honestly for the same price ranges I can't see how you make a case for the Edge vs. this (unless you go with the v6 sport).


With Mazda though, the proof isn't in the pudding until you find out if its typically underpowered and typically loud inside the cabin, like most of their stuff.


The shifter is moved far up on the console, and then the multimedia controls take up the most accessible area within your reach.  And the cupholders are actually quite far back, squished right in front of the armrests.  The armrests have an strange split in the middle and half folds to each side...that doesn't seem awesome.  But its insane depending on powertrain you really could put this and the MKX and Xt5 in a competition with it for the level of luxury I think.  It has it all over the Pilot and Highlander, those will get crushed i bet if people actually take the time to do comparison drives.  Something like the Envision in similar price class I don't see how it would have a chance.

Edited by regfootball

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Got to get up and personal with a CX-9 over the weekend as my sister is considering trading in her Mazda 6 for a CX-9 or CX-5. They are nice, not at roomy as my full size SUV's, but nice. Mazda has stepped up their interior to compete on the Buick, Lincoln, Acura level of auto's.

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Yeah, bu the price dude. This is like having a car that punches above its weight in every aspect, even the interior and costs less than the competition, and works on everything crossover buyers want. Besides, even the GMT2XXX aren't as roomy as the GMT400's. 

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This ute is incredible, and the thoughtfulness to every detail Mazda put into it shows.


The interior, the styling, etc. are top notch, and even knock far more expensive luxury crossovers out of the mark. I wish an MDX, etc was nearly as well thought out and simple. Mazda interiors lately are the best, and their usefulness is proven.


The turbo 4 in the new CX-9 is interesting. I had a 2011 CX-9 GT with the 3.7L and every option, and loved it. It wasn't easy on gas, but Turbos are variable too. That said, this car looks so good, it's the class leader to beat, period.


Not too big. Not too small. Styled to perfection. Interior others wish they could come up with, and that recent "it's light it's great and wow cool to drive" Mazda knocks out of the park car after car.

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DRIVEN: 2016 Mazda CX-9 AWD Sport    MSRP a hair under 36,000



-Packaging, good first and second rows, third row good for yutes

-Interior quality and design, dare I say this is 'craftsmanship'?  Quality beyond the level of price.

-Excellent touch points, controls, and lickable surfaces.

-Quiet interior, Mazda usually punts on this

-Fairly good at isolating you from bumps

-Nice trunk size, especially with third row down

-Multimedia click wheel is nice differentiator in the car tech race

-Stylish exterior is more sport than droopy like a Highlander

-Mazda has these aggressively priced

-turbo four, when asked, can give some short torque bursts that give you an impression of big guns under the hood

-plenty of greenhouse glass for ample outward visibility

-tack on display screen actually doesn't look too awkward or function too badly popping out from the dash.

-Second row seats are comfortable for adults

-Overall it feels relatively like a quality piece



-This isn't too big of a low, but the steering isn't quick, and it has feel but sometimes a bit dead

-A bit of a flopper on the suspension, even in moderate cornering (note: this is a base model)

-Maybe some would call the second row leg room tight, and the third row overall tight

-throttle control is jekyll and hyde.  like some many other new vehicles tuned for FE, light feathering of the throttle sometimes doesn't get vehicle response.  Can make the vehicle seem as if it has less than ample power, or that the transmission is unresponsive.  If you are really aggressive on the gas, the turbo four wakes up and gets a snarl and some torque.  Then, it feels quite ballsy actually. 

-And then it seems to run short of breath earlier than some of the good v6's I know.  (Actually i think the Ford Edge turbo 4 feels more responsive).  Engine doesn't really have LEGS.....

-So maybe it is a just a bit of turbo lag?

-Tried like hell, but could not dial the seat up high enough or in any correct position.  Did not want to adjust to any position I wanted it to.  Seat lacked support and was not as wide as I would like.

-Big flaw, the really cool center console is a huge leg knocker, to the point of hurt.  If you like to SPLAY when you drive, this will be a challenge.  BIG FLAW, that is a conflict with the really nice design of that center console.

-vehicle does feel heavy.  It is, i get that, but its no different than any competition.

-I do think there is more room for powertrain and chassis refinement.  Not really a drivers car, yet.




You know, the above says it all pretty well.  This is a really good rig, I think perhaps the base model doesn't have the same chassis tuning as the upper trims?  The turbo four really is valiant and I think over time the feds and their oppressive regs pushing FE we'll all get more accepting of these small, highly stressed 4 popper motors.  I do think Mazdas engineers did wonders getting this thing to be as good as it is in this large wagon.  This vehicle is really better suited to a small v6 turbo I think.  A four cylinder still always feels a bit less smooth than a good six.  


Those who will gravitate to this are those that like a nicer interior, crafted well, and the relative perceived ride and handling advantages Mazda is supposed to offer.  The super interior is really the big differentiator here.  Most buyers will be satisfied with the vehicle as a whole with it as is.  I don't think this was as sporty as the last CX-9 though. It's definitely graduated to baby wagon status.  It wouldn't take it much for Mazda to tweak it to get some mojo back though, and maybe the upper trims have it.


I give this a B+, i don't blame Mazda, they are moving to the middle of the market here (cushmobile) and there is just enough of real Mazda here to help it stand out as something more distinct and tasteful.  I think they probably hit the bullseye on what they INTENDED to do here so kudos and an A grade to the engineers and the marketers.  A few tweaks here and there, and maybe some powertrain work and they can have something really special here.

Edited by regfootball

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