Mazda Cx-9: Looks Better, Drive Nicer, and Oh so Quiet

By: Kraig Johanssen

Mazda has launched its CX-9 to fill the role that was once occupied by minivans. It is no secret also that most young car buyers thinks of minivans as an abomination probably because they have grew up riding their parent's minivans so owning one is like buying their mom's or their dad's car which is definitely not cool.

Fortunately there are SUVs and CUVs that are as useful but not as un-cool as the minivans. SUVs have become the choice for many but lighter crossover vehicles are also gaining popularity attributed to the increasing prices of gasoline plus the unnecessary weight of truck-based SUVs. CUVs on the other hand are unibody vehicles based on car platforms, and are considered to be more efficient and much easier to maneuver as compared to big SUVs.

The CX-9 is actually a large CUV just like the Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX although not smaller than minivans but their sporty looks subdued their size. The chassis of the CX-9 is derived from that of the Mazda 6 while its basic architecture and many components such as its are shared with the Edge and the MKX. Moreover the CX-9'swheelbase is 2 inches longer than that of the Ford Edge's. The CX-9 is offered in three trim levels and prices start at $29,035 while the top of the range loaded Grand Touring has a price tag that comes close to $37,000.

The CX-9 also looks a great deal like the smaller CX-7 that you would probably mistaken them for the other especially when they are parked near each other. The CX-9 has a striking looks provided by its sharp nose, sloping windshields, and tapered roofline that contributes to a wedge-shaped profile that looks as if it was polished by the wind. The CX-9 bulging rear fenders that look like powerful haunches cover the fat tires. Eighteen-inch wheels are standard on the CX-9 while the twenty-inch wheels are offered as an option. Bu the Grand Touring model comes with the twenty-inch models.

Likewise, carefully executed styling details are manifested throughout the vehicle like for instance the taillights are trimmed with chrome while the rear hatch is made convex. The interior of the Touring model test car also contain a nice blend of wood-grain trim; stain finished accents plus piano black panels.

The Mazda's door panels possessed curved ribs that mimic those of the center stack, and power window switches that are mounted on the ribs. There is also nothing to complain with regards to the instrument panel since it is cool at night. The main gauges have red numbers accentuated by a ring of blue light. Moreover, blue LEDs light the door handles and cast a soft glow on the center of the console.

And that best thing about the CX-9? It's tight, solid, and quiet. It is powered by Ford's 3.5 liter V6 and it's rated at 263 horsepower. It easily accelerates through crowded highways and the engine does its work producing very minimal noise. Its six-speed automatic transmission is flawless while the optional all-wheel-drive system continues to do its functions without a hint that it is providing traction to all four wheels.

The CX-9 on the road might feel a little heavy for the first few miles but for the duration of the trip it becomes easier to drive. It is also stable and quiet at highway speeds. The CX-9 possesses a wide cabin with an easy slide second row seats made for easy access to the third seat. By sliding the second-row seat forward increases the third seat legroom. The center console has a power outlet and a jack for an MP3 player.

The rear cargo is extensive especially with the rear seat folded down. The top-hinged rear tailgate was relatively heavy to close. The starting price of the all-wheel-drive Grand Touring model was $33,875. If additional options like power sunroof and six-disc CD player are to be included its price tag would reach $36,955. The warranty is good for three years or 36,000 miles with a five-year, 60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

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