Some people think it’s easy to drive car after car after car every week. It’s actually hard for a lot of reasons.
Well, actually, the driving part is easy. Learning all the ins and outs of a new vehicle is fun for me. Figuring out how to sum it all up after a week and put it into a meaningful format is a little harder. And even hard still is trying not to make comparisons.
With that said, I just couldn’t help comparing the Mazda CX-9 and here’s why.
Last year, I went to the DFW Auto Show where I was introduced to and promptly fell in love with the 2017 Mazda CX-9. I didn’t just fall in love with it. I WANTED IT. In fact, I wanted exactly this one. The 2017 Mazda CX-9 Signature All Wheel Drive in Machine Gray Metallic with Auburn interior.
And then I went to the WAPA (Washington Auto Press Association) Road Rally where I had a chance to drive it myself. I felt so confident that this was the car for me that I pictured myself (LITERALLY) in the driver’s seat.
Recently I was invited to spend a week in the Mazda CX-9 and I went into that week fully expecting two things.
- I would love it.
- I would regret buying my Mazda CX-5 last year.
Here’s what actually happened.
I spent the entire week not only enjoying the car but mentally comparing every aspect of it to my CX-5. I just couldn’t help it. So bear in mind that I’m not coming from an unbiased perspective. I’ve got baggage that I carried into this week.
A Short Week, A Lovely Surprise
I spent several days in Orlando for the Mom 2.0 Summit and while I was away, the Mazda CX-9 was delivered to my doorstep (on a Thursday, to be exact). I had completely forgotten this fact until I returned home late Saturday night and saw a new car in my driveway!
The next day was Mother’s Day and I was ready to make the most of it. I wanted to head out in the CX-9 so I
forced asked my husband to take a hike with me, right after we ate an indulgent breakfast of donuts (for which I still have regret). And then I posted a photo proclaiming I got a new car for Mother’s Day (which technically I did – I just couldn’t keep it).
While I hoped the rest of my time with the Mazda CX-9 held great adventures, here’s how I used this vehicle.
Monday – Take my son to the dentist in the morning, pick him up from school, attend a movie screening in the evening
Tuesday – Take my son to school, long haul into Washington, DC for a WAPA event, pick him up from school
Wednesday – Take my son to school, grocery shopping, pick him up from school, wash the car, take photos and video
And you thought it was all glamorous!
But I used the vehicle the way I really would use the vehicle. I got to drive it in town and on the highway, during the day and also at night. It helped me decide who this car is for and who it ISN’T for.
The Best of the Mazda CX-9
Let me be a girl for a second and just say it. I think this is a pretty car. Not so pretty than a guy couldn’t drive it but I think it’s just a beautiful car. The commanding nose, the sleek and linear tail, and the side body with curves that catch the light just so.
What you’re seeing here is the 2017 Mazda CX-9 Signature All Wheel Drive. On the outside, you might notice things like the Machine Gray Metallic (available for an upcharge), or the rear privacy glass, or the 20″ rims (gotta have my big rims!). It adds up to sleek design that’s just nose-heavy enough to make it look muscular.
Every beautiful exterior deserves an equally beautiful interior.
The driver’s seat felt like a cockpit where you’re surrounded by all of your piloting instruments, including the command control (the round knob in the center of the console) which controls all screen functions on the display screen.
To me, the display screen follows the trend of a “tablet display” which basically looks like you’ve mounted your iPad atop your dash.
And you’re staring at that color, aren’t you? That’s the auburn interior throughout, especially on the Nappa leather-trimmed upholstery.
Now, your front seat passengers are happy (especially with heated and power-adjustable seats on both sides). What about the rear passengers – the ones that are most likely to be whining about something?
In the Mazda CX-9, you’ll find second and third row seating. As expected, both will fold completely flat (fairly easily, too). But the second row is impressive with its adjustable back, sliding ability, HEATED seats, climate control, and dual USB ports. Find me some passengers that will complain about all of that!
And finally, let’s talk about whether or not this SUV is really a UTILITY vehicle. With the third row up, the cargo space was limited but that’s expected for similar vehicles in this class. Your third row comes at a cost if you don’t want to drive a behemoth. But with the third row folded flat, cargo space was more than adequate for most light duty.
Oh, and I forgot to tell you about my favorite thing!
THAT ENGINE. I normally don’t touch on the mechanical side of things but this vehicle will not make you hesitate to nail the gas. The Skyactiv-F 2.5T Turbo Engine was my favorite thing! See it in action here:
What’s not to like?
In an effort to be fair and balanced, I always like to point out the good, the great, and the not-so-great. I had two small gripes about this vehicle and they are minor.
This is the location of the only 12V power port available in the front seat. It’s on the front console right near the front passenger’s left leg. For me, this was a problem because I use a charger to charge and I use a USB cord to connect. My cord would constantly fall down and it was awkward to reach all the way over to reconnect.
The other thing was the display. The head-up display on my windshield never seemed to fall in the right place for me. I’m short so that may cause a problem. Even though I adjusted the height, I felt like it was somewhat in my line of vision. Longer term, I probably would have simply turned it off.
As much as I loved the display screen in the center of the dash, I found it gave off too much of a glare on the windshield at night.
While the turbo engine gives you POWER, you’ll suffer a little on fuel economy. The EPA fuel estimate is combined city/highway of 23 mpg. During my week of combined driving, I averaged about 22.1 mpg. I’m sure a lighter foot would do a little better.
Comparing it to the Mazda CX-5
I don’t normally do comparisons but I couldn’t help it. By the end of the week, I definitely had an opinion about whether or not I made the right decision when I bought the CX-5. It’s that I made the right one. Although I loved driving the Mazda CX-9, it’s not as sporty as my CX-5. It’s got a softer, more comfortable ride with a capable engine and plenty of passenger and cargo space. But for me and my family, it turns out that I’ve already found my Mazda.
The 2017 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD featured in this post has a total MSRP of $45,755.