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Mazda CX-9, 812 miles, 5 adults, 8 days, 7 nights, Grade = D-

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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.

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I am assuming you are talking about 2017 CX-9.  It is not clear until you talk about the engine.

I have not used Bluetooth in the new CX-9, or test driven it for that matter, but I have used quiet extensively it in new Mazda 6.  Bluetooth always connected fast and worked flawlessly for me.

Also, you saying right in the beginning " Due to my past experiences with Asian auto's" kind of puts your credibility under question with all due respect.

Not saying of course that CX-9 is perfect, far from it.  However, initial attitude and expectation I think is important.

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On 1/6/2017 at 10:09 AM, ykX said:

I am assuming you are talking about 2017 CX-9.  It is not clear until you talk about the engine.

I have not used Bluetooth in the new CX-9, or test driven it for that matter, but I have used quiet extensively it in new Mazda 6.  Bluetooth always connected fast and worked flawlessly for me.

Also, you saying right in the beginning " Due to my past experiences with Asian auto's" kind of puts your credibility under question with all due respect.

Not saying of course that CX-9 is perfect, far from it.  However, initial attitude and expectation I think is important.

I understand the point you are trying to make, when your 280lbs, 6'6" tall of muscle, most asian auto's do not fit me. For a CUV, I expect space and this failed on that. Yes, this was a 2017 CX-9 and I have to say I was totally shocked by the sluggish Bluetooth. My son also was very unimpressed with the slow response.

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i had big mixed feelings when i drove this new gen CX-9.  I didn't think the powertrain was up to snuff and it doesn't surprise me that it doesn't get amazing mpg.  If i recall the console between the front seats was a huge intruder into the side of my leg.

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14 hours ago, regfootball said:

i had big mixed feelings when i drove this new gen CX-9.  I didn't think the powertrain was up to snuff and it doesn't surprise me that it doesn't get amazing mpg.  If i recall the console between the front seats was a huge intruder into the side of my leg.

Yes you are correct, the console does push into leg space. Over all packaging is not that impressive.

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      Updates to the Mazda CX-5
      Powertrain, handling stability and ride comfort
      The first model in Japan available with the SKYACTIV-G 2.5T, a 2.5-liter inline-four direct-injection gasoline turbo engine. Burning regular unleaded gasoline, it outputs up to 169 kW (230PS) at 4,250 rpms and produces up to 420 N・m (42.8kgf・m) of torque at 2,000 rpms. GVC Plus, a new technology that improves handling stability at high speeds and during emergency maneuvers while suppressing sudden, unintended movements to enhance passengers' peace of mind, comes as standard equipment on all model grades. The SKYACTIV-MT six-speed manual transmission is now available with the SKYACTIV-D 2.2 diesel engine in both FWD and AWD configurations. Advances in safety and convenience
      Nighttime pedestrian detection is added to Advanced Smart City Braking Support (Advanced SCBS). A 360° View Monitor is standard equipment on the Exclusive Mode special edition and is available as a factory-installed option for all model grades. Mazda Connect car-connectivity system supports Apple CarPlay5 for the first time on a Mazda model in Japan. Mazda Connect car-connectivity system supports Android Auto ™6 for the first time on a Mazda model in Japan.  Improvements in design and quality
      The 17-inch aluminum wheels are painted Gray Metallic instead of Dark Silver. (The design is unchanged.) The climate control panel, switches and dials are redesigned for better feel and operability. For models with normal speakers, the surface material of the A-pillar trim has been changed from resin to fabric. In addition, tweeters have been added at the base of the A-pillar, increasing the number of speakers from four to six. Exclusive Mode special edition (with SKYACTIV-G 2.5T or SKYACTIV-D 2.2)
      The Exclusive Mode special edition offers Mazda's highest-grade interior, using specially selected materials such as Nappa leather upholstery and real woodgrain trim to create a premium cabin space with the feel of a higher-class vehicle. In addition, features and functions that improve comfort and safety enhance the joy of ownership.
      Seats are upholstered in soft, smooth Nappa leather and the exclusive interior color coordination uses black on the pillars and ceiling and Deep Red in the lower areas. Real woodgrain is used in decorative trim panels for a look of refinement and warmth. The frameless rear-view mirror provides a wider field of vision and a cleaner look. 19-inch aluminum wheels with exclusive dark gloss paint accentuate a look of composure and toughness. Both front seats feature a ventilation system that extracts hot air trapped between the occupant and the seat surface. The seven-inch TFT LCD display mounted in the center of the meter cluster shows essential driving information in a well-organized and easy-to-read manner. White LEDs are used throughout the cabin for consistent interior lighting, and foot lamps come as standard equipment for both front and rear seats.
    • By William Maley
      Mazda is the latest automaker to announced plans for electrify its entire lineup and it will involve the return of the rotary engine.
      By 2030, five percent of Mazda vehicles will be pure electric and range extender models. The rest will have combustion engines with some sort of electrification.
      "We've seen drastic changes in automotive-related environmental policies all over the world. We at Mazda are keeping an eye on what is going on in the industry as we move forward with our strategy," said Mazda CEO Akira Marumoto.
      The push begins in 2019 with a mild-hybrid model, followed by a electric vehicle that is being developed in-house according to Automotive News. A plug-in hybrid will debut in 2021.
      But what about the rotary engine? This will be the range-extender for an electric vehicle that will recharge the battery and provide a longer cruising range. Mazda says the rotary is the perfect engine for this application as it is compact, powerful, and quiet. One interesting tidbit - Mazda says the rotary will be able to burn liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).
      Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Mazda


      MAZDA ANNOUNCES ELECTRIFICATION AND CONNECTIVITY STRATEGIES FOR CARS THAT INVIGORATE MIND AND BODY
      CONTINUES TAKING A HUMAN-CENTERED APPROACH TO THE JOY OF DRIVING; CONTRIBUTING TO THE EARTH, SOCIETY AND PEOPLE October 2, 2018; HIROSHIMA, Japan – Mazda Motor Corporation today announced electrification and connectivity strategies that build on the company’s human-centered development philosophy, aiming to further advance the joy of driving, provide both drivers and passengers with peace of mind through an enhanced sense of connection with the car in everyday driving situations, and offer an emotionally enriching joy of life through car ownership. The strategies are based on Mazda’s long-term vision for technology development, “Sustainable Zoom-Zoom 2030,” which makes it the company’s mission to preserve the beauty of the earth and enrich society and individual lives and seek solutions in the areas of people, society and the earth.
      The electrification and connectivity technologies outlined below will further enhance the inherent value of the automobile.
      ELECTRIFICATION TECHNOLOGIES
      Mazda will strive to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and enhance the joy of driving by deploying compact, lightweight electrification technologies while further refining the internal combustion engine, which is forecast to be equipped in the majority of new cars for many years to come. The company will introduce electric vehicles as the optimal solution in regions that generate a high ratio of electricity from clean energy sources or restrict certain vehicle types to reduce air pollution.
      With a view to achieving a 90-percent reduction versus 2010 levels in its corporate average “well-to-wheel” carbon dioxide emissions by 2050, Mazda will deploy some form of electrification in all production vehicles by 2030. By 2030, Mazda expects that internal combustion engines combined with some form of electrification will account for 95 percent of the vehicles it produces and battery electric vehicles will account for 5 percent. In-house development of electric vehicles will leverage the advantages of electric drive systems and be guided by Mazda’s unique human-centered development philosophy that focuses on human traits and sensibilities. Mazda will develop two battery electric vehicles, one powered solely by battery and another that pairs a battery with a newly developed range extender powered by Mazda’s small, lightweight and exceptionally quiet rotary engine. The range extender will recharge the battery when necessary to effectively increase the vehicle’s driving range. The concept behind the rotary-powered range extender was to leverage the rotary engine’s small size and high power output to make multiple electrification technology solutions possible via a shared packaging layout. Taking advantage of the rotary engine’s compatibility with gaseous fuels, the rotary-powered range extender is designed to also burn liquefied petroleum gas and provide a source of electricity in emergencies. CONNECTIVITY TECHNOLOGIES
      In line with its human-centered development philosophy, Mazda will develop connectivity technologies that offer an enriching experience of the joy of life, connecting people by facilitating the sharing of experiences and feelings through cars. By offering this new value together with the joy of driving, Mazda aims to inspire people and enrich society.
      Contribute to the resolution of social issues, such as the weakening of interpersonal connections that has accompanied changes in society, by connecting people and society through connectivity technologies. Link connectivity with model-based development and reflect the results in future product development, improving quality and customer satisfaction. Leverage the alliance with Toyota Motor Corporation in the development of connectivity technologies. “They say that the automotive industry is undergoing a once-in-a-century transformation. At Mazda, we see this as an opportunity to create a new car culture,” said Akira Marumoto, Mazda’s Representative Director, President and CEO. “New trends and technologies in connectivity, autonomy, sharing and electrification offer new possibilities for creating ever more attractive cars. Using new technologies based on our unique human-centered development philosophy, Mazda will, in the spirit of ‘Never Stop Challenging,’ continue to pursue the joy of driving and work to create an emotional connection with customers that rivals the strongest brands in the world.”

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