When the second-generation Mazda CX-9 went on sale in 2016, critics praised it for its comparatively agile dealing with that set it other than different three-row crossover SUVs. It did not harm that it regarded actually good, too. In spite of all that, its gross sales have not been stellar, however maybe Mazda’s revisions to the CX-9 for the 2019 mannequin yr will assist the family-hauler win extra followers.It’s not going to be straightforward, nevertheless. The previous few years have seen many newcomers just like the Subaru Ascent and the Volkswagen Atlas getting into the fray. On high of that, predictably compelling entries just like the Ford Explorer, Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride are ready within the wings.Drives properly, however now not excellentThe Mazda CX-9 is powered by a turbocharged, 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine that makes 250 horsepower in the event you fill the gasoline tank with 93-octane gasoline. If you wish to save a few of your hard-earned money by filling up with good ol’ 87, you may have 227 horsepower to work with. Regardless of the octane you select, the CX-9’s engine is at all times on the prepared with a stout 310 pound-feet of torque that is channeled via a smooth-shifting, six-speed computerized transmission. The three-row crossover comes customary with front-wheel drive, however you’ll be able to improve to all-wheel drive for $1,800, as seen on my tester.
Stomp on the throttle, and the 4,400-pound SUV jumps ahead with a pleasant sense of urgency, whereas the all-wheel drive retains tire slip at bay. That interprets to stress-free onramp merging, even when filled with youngsters and muddle. On the freeway, acceleration stays robust and is complemented with fast downshifts. It’s likewise easy to carry the CX-9 down from pace, because of a well-modulated brake pedal that contributes to the crossover’s total assured stop-and-go efficiency.
Enter a set of turns, and also you’re met with fast steering that feels somewhat delicate to the contact, whereas additionally being mild on suggestions. The large seven-seater affords a pleasant dealing with and ride-comfort steadiness. For the 2019 mannequin yr, Mazda revised the CX-9’s suspension to make it experience extra easily. Body motions stay properly managed, however in comparison with the way it felt in earlier mannequin years, the CX-9 now not feels a lot sportier than one thing just like the Honda Pilot. That’s not essentially a nasty factor, although, because the Pilot drives actually properly, however in the event you’re searching for a sporty expertise behind the wheel, the CX-9 now not delivers as a lot because it used to.When outfitted with front-wheel drive, the CX-9 is EPA rated at 22 miles per gallon within the metropolis and 28 mpg freeway. All-wheel drive CX-9s are estimated to get 20/26 metropolis/freeway mpg. That stacks up fairly properly among the many competitors, however after per week racking up traffic-heavy metropolis miles, I solely noticed 19.8 mpg.The Mazda CX-9’s inside is simply as impressive-looking as its exterior.
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Still seems outstandingEven although the CX-9 has been offered in its present type since 2016, I nonetheless assume it is the best-looking three-row crossover you should buy at this time. Its neat proportions and swish traces remind me of a ballet dancer. The CX-9’s inside is simply as placing, with tastefully utilized brightwork adorning a cabin that is trimmed with high quality supplies.The cockpit is a reasonably quiet place to be, too, though I used to be left wanting for extra consolation. The driver’s seat feels mild on padding, sadly, however apart from that, the CX-9 affords a snug driving place, whereas providing simply sufficient house for as much as seven occupants all through the cabin. The third row is ok for a few youngsters, and perhaps even a pair of thin adults for brief distances. The second row of seats slides for simpler entry into the third row, however you may nonetheless doubtless should step everywhere in the second-row seatbacks throughout entry and exit.Cargo house is relatively poor. There’s solely 14.4 cubic ft behind the third row, 38.2 cubic ft behind the second row, and simply 71.2 cubic ft behind the driving force and entrance passenger. Those are a number of the lowest numbers within the phase, wanting pale as compared with one thing just like the Volkswagen Atlas. With 20.6 cubic ft behind the third row, 55.5 cubic ft behind the second row and 96.8 cubic ft behind the primary row, the Atlas is without doubt one of the extra capacious entries within the phase.
If it’s good to use the CX-9 for towing, there is a little bit of dangerous information there, too. Compared with most three-row crossover SUVs that may tow 5,000 kilos or extra, the perfect the CX-9 can muster is 3,500 kilos.The CX-9’s new 360-degree digicam is fuzzy and difficult to learn because it battles for house with the blurry backup digicam.
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The newest tech, however not the bestThe base CX-9 Sport at $33,325 (together with $1,045 for vacation spot) comes with a 7-inch touchscreen, HD radio and a six-speaker stereo. My $43,985 Grand Touring tester comes with an 8-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, embedded navigation, a lovely 12-speaker Bose premium audio system, satellite tv for pc radio and a horny 7-inch TFT instrument cluster show that is vibrant, sharp, clear and simple to learn.
Mazda’s made an essential stride this yr by providing Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on the CX-9’s increased trims. That’s a significant enchancment, however Mazda’s infotainment outdoors telephone mirroring leaves rather a lot to be desired. I discover the native menu construction distracting and overly difficult, which is just made worse by graphics that really feel a technology behind.Standard driver help options embrace collision-mitigation braking, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. My well-equipped instance additionally options adaptive cruise management, lane-keep help, visitors signal recognition, computerized excessive beams, rain-sensing wipers, plus entrance and rear parking sensors. My tester additionally features a new-for-2019 360-degree digicam, which is a pleasant addition in idea, however in observe, it isn’t well-rounded. Shift the CX-9 into reverse, and also you’re introduced with a picture that is too small and blurry. The surround-view imagery additionally has to battle the equally diminutive and fuzzy backup digicam picture that is additionally preventing for actual property on the middle touchscreen.It’s a great SUV, however it’s falling prey to essentially good competitors.
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No longer ‘the one’A top-of-the line Mazda CX-9 Signature can strategy $47,000, however all that actually will get you is a few fancy inside and exterior accent lighting, in addition to higher-quality leather-based and nicer inside trim in contrast with lower-priced CX-9 variants.With perforated leather-based upholstery that is already prime quality, in addition to options like a sunroof, heated and ventilated entrance seats, a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, driver’s seat reminiscence, an influence liftgate, adaptive LED headlights and 20-inch wheels, my CX-9 Grand Touring comes fairly near the Signature’s degree of opulence, for round 3 grand much less. Overall, although, the Mazda CX-9 now not looks like an absolute winner in its aggressive set. It’s not that comfy, it lacks cargo house, it does not tow that a lot and even Apple CarPlay and Android Auto aren’t sufficient to masks its outdated infotainment tech. At this level in its life cycle, the 2019 Mazda CX-9 is starting to should depend on its pretty design and pleasing driving dynamics, however I now not assume that is sufficient for me to suggest it to most consumers.
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