Performance – Underneath the new body, the powertrain remains unchanged for the 2013 model year. A 3.7L V6 producing 273 hp accelerates the big CX-9 to 100km/h in 8.5 seconds. Strangely though, the front-wheel-drive version can do a standing 0-100km/h a full second faster than the all-wheel-drive version. You might be wondering to yourself “why?”, well this just proves that less weight equates to better performance and better fuel economy. For an SUV the fuel economy is not stellar but it’s not horrid either with the front-wheel-drive achieving 12.7L/100km city and 8.4L/100km highway while the all-wheel-drive version can manage 12.8L/100km city and 9.0L/100km highway. Although this CX-9 has the same styling cues as its smaller sibling, the CX-5, it has not been given the Skyactiv treatment. Hopefully Mazda will redesign the CX-9 from the ground up and infuse it with Skyactiv technology to give it better performance and improved fuel economy.
Of course this wouldn’t be a Mazda if it wasn’t a little fun when the roads get twisty. The body does roll around a bit but the tires can still hold on tight to the road under sporty situations. Traction Control, Dynamic Stability Control, and Roll-Over Stability Control ensure that the big 2060kg CX9 stays under the driver’s complete control even when the road conditions are worse than poor.
Comfort – On the inside the CX-9 can hold its own with other high-end luxury SUVs. For an SUV costing under $50,000, it has the standard goodies such as Satellite Navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, and a 5.8” display with a rearview camera but this GT model has added extras such as Blind spot monitoring, Keyless ignition, and a Bose stereo system. The look of the center console is a bit utilitarian, especially when compared with the Cayenne or new X5, but it has a nice sense of similarity and the controls are where you’d expect them to be. Around the back, there is loads of space in the middle row of seats but space in the third row is at a premium. The best feature about the CX-9’s interior is actually something that you can’t see but rather hear… or in this case not hear. It is superbly quiet and this makes it an excellent commuter SUV on those noisy hour long highway drives.
Odds and Ends – It looks a heck of a lot better than all of the previous generations of the CX-9. This is one vehicle that cannot get lost in a parking lot among the other bland looking SUVs. But unfortunately it has technology from the 20th century and hopefully Mazda will quickly bring a technologically updated version of the SUV to better fit into their model lineup.
Thank you to OpenRoad Mazda for providing the vehicle and head over to their website to view this vehicle and many other Mazda cars. www.OpenRoadMazda.ca
Editor at large and gearhead. Can drive anything on 4 or 2 wheels... sometimes 3 wheels too.