DRESSED TO THE NINES
The 2012 Mazda CX-9
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Fri, Apr 13, 2012
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
You wouldn’t think a car company famous for its fleet of zoomsters would have a blingster in its midst. Okay, maybe not exactly a blingster, but a crossover that will give Lexus, BMW and Mercedes a run for their money. But this one will cost you far, far less. It’s the new 2012 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring crossover utility vehicle. Mark Dorman reports. By Mark Dorman The Mazda CX-9 is quite the impressive vehicle. When you think Mazda, luxury and quality are probably not the first things that cross your mind. Prepare to have your prejudices changed.
The Once Over The CX-9 is a wonderful looking crossover. With great proportions and modern styling, it doesn't look out of place in even the upper end of Orange County—a region saturated with high end vehicles. The 20-inch wheel package adds to the look but which also adds a drawback. More on this later. The paint on this Mazda also adds a touch of flair to the car, making it stand out in the sun and giving it that extra sparkle at night.
The Inner Soul Upon climbing into this full-sized crossover, we realize this is not your typical Mazda. The CX-9 comes equipped with a full leather interior and all the toys you come to expect from Lexus, Mercedes, and BMW. The quality of the leather is top notch. The supple feel and matte look of it exudes quality, and the stitching on the seams looks great. The steering wheel doesn’t escape the leather wrap, making it a pleasure to hold and steering, while the mounted controls are intuitive and easy to use. Sitting in any of the seats in the car, you are surrounded by leather accents and soft touch panels. Our only gripe: The use of some cheaper plastics in places you don't normally touch, like the dash and the kick panels—but that is minor distraction. All the seats are comfortable, although larger drivers may feel a little cramped in the cockpit. The third row seat, however, is not suited for anyone over the height of 5 feet two.
The cup holders are well-placed, not intrusive, and can accommodate most beverage containers. The navigation system is easy to use. As with many systems, you cannot set a new destination after the first couple minutes of driving, unless you put the car in park. There is an auxiliary input for mp3 players and phones, but no iPod integration. The Bluetooth works well and it’s pretty easy to have a conversation on the phone even at highway speeds.
On the Road At first blush, you can't help but think how big the vehicle is compared to your average four-door sedan. However, once you drive the CX-9, you don't feel the size as much. The chassis carries the weight of the car well and the suspension gives it an almost sporty feeling. Bumps and road imperfections are soaked up with ease and the ride is always comfortable. The blind spot detection system really helps out on the road. The CX-9 has a few blind spots, and because of its size, it does requires a decent bit of space when merging. The back-up camera helps a lot as well with maneuvering in reverse. Power is more than ample with the V6 power plant. However, fuel economy is a bit disappointing.
The average real world fuel consumption over 700 miles is 19.1 with 80 percent highway driving (EPA estimates are 17 city/24 highway). Slightly higher numbers might be expected from one not equipped with the large, optional (and heavier) 20-inch wheel package. The car is fairly quiet at surface street speeds but tire roar becomes a bit intrusive at highway speeds depending on the road surfaces. Again the 20-inch wheel package may be a bit to blame. Overall, the car is well-mannered and easy to handle in typical So Cal driving situations. Parting Shot Fully loaded, the Mazda CX-9 is a worth contender in this category and can even hold its own against its upscale rivals carrying a much higher price tag. If you are looking for a stylish, reliable, comfortable, and affordable full size crossover with seating for seven, this should be at the top of your list of cars to look at. Contributing Editor Eric Dorman assisted on this review. For more information about Mazda products, go to www.mazdausa.com
SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2012 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring FWD Price: $33,395 (base) $38760 (as tested) EPA fuel economy rating: 17/24 mpg (3.7L AT) Engine sizes and type: 3.7-liter DOHC 24-valve 6-cylinder (V6) with VVT
Horsepower: 273 hp @ 6250 rpm Torque: 270 lb-ft @ 4250 rpm Transmission type: 6-speed Sport with manual-shift mode Drive configuration: Front-wheel drive (FWD) Steering (type): Power rack-and-pinion with hydraulic variable assist Suspension (front and rear): Front independent MacPherson struts Rear independent multilink Front and rear stabilizer bars Brakes: 4-wheel disc with Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) w/ Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) Wheels, and Tires: 18 inch alloy wheels P245/60R18 all-season radial tires Optional 20 inch alloy wheels P245/50R20 all-season radial tires Dimensions Length: 200.2 inches Wheelbase: 113.2 inches Width: 76.2 inches Height: 68.0 inches Curb weight: 4328 pounds