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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 Tue, Jul 17, 2007

By: The LACar Editorial Staff


Until now, Mazda hasn't taken the SUV market all that seriously, having gotten by (albeit quite successfully) with a re-badged and re-skinned Ford Escape called the Tribute. That all changed this year, with the introduction of two very modern and stylish crossover vehicles, the CX-7 and CX-9.

CX-9 and CX-7 The CX-9 is the larger of the two new offerings from Mazda. Side-by-side, the size difference is noticeable. Standing alone, it's not all that obvious. That's because the CX-9 is so svelte that it looks smaller than it really is. How svelte, you may ask? Enough to make a Volkswagen Touareg look a little frumpy in comparison. Considering that the Touareg was one of the handsomest SUVs to come down the pike not too long ago, this is no minor feat.

The actual size of the CX-9 becomes more obvious when you fit it into your garage. Not that you'll have any difficulty getting this in a garage, but those swoopy flanks take up room. The size, however, yields dividends, such as three-row seating (room for seven adults) and lots of cargo space. The size advantage also shows up in the CX-9's wide track. It's car-like stance translates to superior corning ability. It's handling prowess is particularly good for an SUV - even one based on a crossover platform (you can thank the Mazda6 for the CX-9's excellent platform).

The crossover platform also makes for a comfortable ride. Best of all, the CX-9 is an easy driver. No high-effort steering wheel to have to deal with. Acceleration also feels effortless, thanks to the new, 263 horsepower, 3.5 liter Duratec V6 engine and six-speed automatic with available manu-matic sequential shift ability. Parking is easy, and thanks to the rearview camera equipped on our CX-9, backing up can be accomplished without fear of running over unseen objects.

The CX-9's interior is also handsome, if not quite as stunningly attractive as the exterior. The fit and finish is commensurate with that of a near-luxury crossover SUV, of which the CX-9 is certainly classified. All-in-all, it's clear that this vehicle's beauty is not just skin deep. For a crossover hovering in the thirty thousand range, it's quite an accomplishment. And unlike some other popular crossover vehicles in this price range, the CX-9 feels like it attended finishing school.

SUMMARY JUDGMENT Not just a pretty face - the new CX-9 has the substance to back up its beauty. For more information about Mazda products, go to

SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2007 Mazda CX-9 Price Base: $29,630 (Sport edition) As tested: $34,470 (all-wheel drive Grand Touring edition) Engine: 3.5-liter DOHC V6 Horsepower: 263 horsepower at 6250 rpm Torque: 249 pound-feet at 4500 rpm EPA-estimated miles per gallon (city/highway): 16/22 Transmission: Six-speed automatic with available sequential-shifting manumatic mode Drive configuration: Front-wheel drive (active torque split all-wheel drive optional) Brakes Front: Power-assisted ventilated disc brakes with two-piston calipers Rear: Power-assisted ventilated disc brakes Suspension Front: Independent MacPherson strut with stabilizer bar Rear: Independent multi-link with stabilizer bar Dimensions Length: 199.6 inches Height: 68.3 inches Width: 76.2 inches Curb weight: 4,546 pounds Performance 0-60 mph: 8 seconds

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