My first car ever (not the one I drove but the one my parents owned and let me drive freely) was a 1978 Jeep Cherokee Chief. If you’ve never seen this orange and black monster, there’s a video of a mint condition Jeep in all its glory.
It was surprising to me how much I loved that Jeep because I had hated all of our family cars up until then. It was either a giant Chevy station wagon, or a giant Oldsmobile station wagon, or even a relatively giant Buick station wagon. And I hated them all. I either wanted a tiny Japanese car or a big honkin’ truck.
In the years since then, I’ve waffled between small SUVs, crossover vehicles, and nicely appointed sedans, none of which was a category that suited the Mazda CX-9.
Let me start by saying this. IT’S BIG. Not giant gas-guzzler big, but big enough that I had to look closely to see if my son was still sitting in the way back. It was a far distance from the driver’s seat.
After reviewing the Mazda3, I know many of you were anxious to hear what I thought of the CX-9. For those that are devout Mazda lovers (and apparently there are a lot of you), this large vehicle seems the next logical step up as a family vehicle. So I took my large family of three for a day on the town. The town of Baltimore, that is.
We had planned to have a little lunch and set off in search of a local seafood chain called Ryleigh’s Oyster House but in true Nally family fashion, we were late. That meant that everyone was hungry and super crabby, which ends up looking like this.
Basically, I wasn’t talking to either of them until we got our order. And unfortunately for me, THEY WERE OUT OF CRAB. How do you run out of crab in a seafood restaurant in Maryland? I still got my fix by having a cup of she-crab soup and some pretty amazing huevos rancheros. And the boys ate some other stuff that didn’t appeal to me. Because they’re boys.
Once we had full tummies, we were no longer crabbing at each other (see what I did there?) and we set off for a few hours at the American Visionary Art Museum, a unique museum housing exhibits of work done by self-taught artists.
On one hand, a lot of it was very unique and interesting. On the other hand, a lot of it was very weird.
After a long awaited lunch and a quick browse of some unique art, we piled back into the Mazda CX-9 and make the trek back to our neck of the woods.
Did we haul a lot of cargo? Nope. It’s just the three of us. I didn’t even go grocery shopping with it. But it was fun to drive, handled well, and of course, provided plenty of room for all of us. In fact, I bet you’re having space envy right now.
The best thing about this vehicle is that there is plenty of room. Touted as a 7-passenger mid-size SUV, the seats are legit. The third row is actually meant for people with legs, something that other vehicles often overlook. And the ease of converting the space in the back was simple. No instruction manuals needed.
So what didn’t I like? Oh, I liked it. I just didn’t love it like the Mazda3. The interior wasn’t quite as “high-tech” as I was hoping, even thought it has a full color touch screen navigation system.
Turns out the Mazda CX-9 is due for a redesign in 2016 that will bring it up to speed with the rest of the redesigned family. What that means for you is that if you like the 2015 Mazda CX-9, you’ll probably get a great deal as the 2016 models are set to come out (estimated to be late 2015 or early 2016).
As for me, it turns out that I’m over big cars. I don’t need to passenger seating or the cargo space (unless I’m heading to IKEA). So while it was a fun drive for me, I’m happy to stick with the smaller and sportier rides.
I test drove the 2015 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring All Wheel Drive for a week March. As tested, the total MSRP was $39,890 with the EPA fuel economy was estimated at 18 mpg.