Thursday, March 14, 2013

Mazda's CX-9 feels better this time around

Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews also can be seen on the business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website – via the “GALLERY: Reviews of new cars” link at

Sacramento, California – The seven-passenger, three-row Mazda CX-9 is six years old now, and I remember getting into one of the earlier models.

It felt dinosaur big, and I remember having an irrational fear that I was somehow going to lose control of the big tail end – which seemed WAY far to the rear of where I was sitting in the cockpit – and wipe out an unsuspecting bike rider.

Fortunately, that disaster did not happen.

Also fortunately, the 2013 CX-9 Grand Touring FWD model I recently had for a week was nothing like my early experience.  It was nimble and responsive, and I felt entirely comfortable and in control of the vehicle during my time behind the wheel.

So, right way, good marks from me for the latest CX-9.

It didn’t hurt that my tester’s nicely angled lines – particularly on the front end – looked fairly fetching in Meteor Gray exterior paint.  The 20-inch aluminum alloy wheels also didn’t hurt.

In the driver’s seat, I had a giant cafeteria line of interior features at my command.  They worked well without taxing my brain.  Goodies included a heated power front seat (leather, no less), heated power mirrors and three-zone climate control.

Gas mileage was, ugh, a wince-inducing 17 miles per gallon in the city and 24 mpg on the highway.  Yet, I’m not expecting much else out of a three-rows-of-seats transporter.

As I said, driving the CX-9 was an entirely comfortable experience, and frankly, the 3.7-liter V-6 with 273 horsepower performed at a level higher than those numbers would indicate.  Best of all, the CX-9 had about zero body sway on sharp corners taken at high speed.  I even further challenged grip with the back end loaded up with decidedly heavy cargo.  Still no sway.


Please be advised that my tester was the second highest-priced model among six trim levels: $34,785 to start and a bottom line of $38,115 on the bottom line after extras were added in.  Only the AWD Ground Touring model costs more.

And yes, that’s a fair chunk of change.  But consider that this fun-to-drive SUV can carry lots of folks and cargo and still has that upper-end ambience you expect from a $50,000 model … and maybe you’ll feel better about the pricing.

I certainly feel pretty good about this latest-generation CX-9.

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