2014 Mazda CX-9 – First Drive

7 passenger

The Mazda CX-9 – Maximal space; powered by performance.

In our short but sweet test drive, the Mazda Cx-9 proves itself to be more than just a high capacity people mover.  Sharing the bloodlines as some of the most recognizable sports car in automotive history namely the RX7/8 and Miata, the Mazda CX-9 aims to deliver a thrilling driving experience in a practical family car package.

The Mazda CX-9 is a 7 passenger cross-over SUV with no shortage of power and an abundance of grip and low latency response around corners.  Powered by a 3.7 liter 6 cylinder engine, the CX-9 outputs 273 horsepower, and 270 ft.lbs of torque.

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But the CX-9 is stubborn to keep up in terms of innovation.  Its younger Mazda 3′s digital playground has it all with an up-to-date infotainment system, heads up display, and its i-Active safety system employing adaptive front light controls, lane departure, and automated Smart City Brake support.  Hop in both vehicles and compare, the technology employed in the CX-9 is archaic with its dated 5.8″ infotainment screen and its blind spot detector is the only advanced safety feature it has to offer.

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Putting all computer nerd talk aside, the CX-9 is all about delivering that raw driving experience in a 7 passenger package.  And that is pretty impressive, considering that the curb weight of the CX-9 is a hefty 4,559 lbs.  De-activating traction control and flooring the gas pedal, the CX-7 accelerates from 0-60 mph in a mere 7 seconds.

Sling-shooting around corners proved to be fun in the CX-9.  Steering remained composed and responsive with surprisingly minimal body roll considering its measured height at 1.73 meters.

With a more relaxed foot behind the gas pedal, the CX-9 offers a comfortable and composed ride.  Thanks to its conservative suspension tuning and abundant ride height, the CX-9 has no problems soaking up any bumps or ruts on the road.

Interior form follows the same historical trend as its innovations department.  The layout, color palette and choice of materials are well thought out, but overall a bit dated and bland with its homogeneous black interior.  Front leather seats are well padded and comfortable for long duration of driving with its 2nd row seats comfortably fitting 3 normal sized adults and an additional 2 seats in the rear.  An addition to the practicality of the CX-9 is the option to fold down both 2nd and 3rd row seats.  With both rows folded down, the CX-9 cargo space provides 2,851 L of storage space.  What I would have liked was a moon roof to help bring in more light into the dark cabin space.

Our tested Grand Tour is priced in at $37,420, breaching the 40k mark with all tax and fees added to the equation.  A quick glimpse at the CX-9 Monroney was about what I had expected.  The Mazda CX-9 doesn’t exactly fall under the “bang for the buck” category, and it’s a bit behind in the modern digital trend.  But don’t let the flashier marketing ads and robotized safety features impair your purchasing decision.  Take the effort to explore and examine the same 7 passenger cross-over SUV species such as the XL, Kia Sorento,   or the Dodge Journey. What you will ultimately love about the CX-9 compared to the bunch will be its comfortable ride quality, sharp handling, and an overall easy car to drive.