Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring Drive Experience - Simple Elegance with Steroid Induced Power

This 2014 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring beauty was supplied by STI - The Driving Experience Company for review; the opinions stated below are my own and I received no financial compensation.

Mazda America Corporation has presented an impressive line up of Cross-Over/SUV vehicles for a long time that satisfied the needs of car buyers looking for small, medium sized, to full sized SUV vehicles to fit into family needs, budgets, and driveways.  Well, the CX-9 is an exception in that lineup.  Big, bold, powerful, and comfortable are some adjectives thrown at this vehicle for good reason.  The CX-9 represents those vehicle traits very well.

All inclusive - I call this SUV "Simple Elegance"


Appointed with fine leather and suede trim, wood grain accents, a center console to die for, and a VVT 3.7 ltr. 273 Hp/270 LB FT Torque V6 Powerplant,  this vehicle is set up to get the job done with some economy.  The engine has a Dr. Jekyl/Mr. Hyde dual disposition.  High torque and great power give good fuel economy around town on leisurely drives.  However step on the accelerator and Mr. Hyde comes roaring through with quick sudden launches and agile accelerations all through the 6 speed automatic transmission.  A set of 20 inch wheels make this gentle giant a confident road warrior with plenty of grip when needed in controlled doses.  This is a beautiful and elegant vehicle, when equipped with all the safety gadgetry and other electronic niceties you have a simply elegant well rounded package.  I could drive this vehicle to the moon and back and not be tired, bored, or weary.  Comfort abounds in the cabin for all occupants including rear seat heat/AC controls for controlled climate at the "Back of the Bus".

Ergonomics That Will Not Control The Driver

Car manufacturers are in a battle of the marques to offer perspective buyers vehicles jam packed with features, electronic gadgetry, safety controls, and refined comfort. Sometimes manufacturers go way over the line with complications distracting the driver to the point of frustration in a battle to control gadgetry before it controls the driver forcing the driver to change driving habits to accommodate the virtues of the vehicle.  Another words - Control your vehicles gadgets before the gadgets control you.  I never felt a hint of vehicle control on me while sitting in the drivers seat in the CX-9.  Controls, ergonomics, and driving position are set up in the CX-9 for driver comfort, ease of use, and does it with style and elegance - there I used that word again!  Even the shifter commands  special attention for being simple in design, fully functional, comfortable to grab and manipulate, but also techy with a gated position indicator.  Slide the shifter over to the left while in Drive and you start to command the transmission to your every whim.  Downshift-upshift whatever shift you choose are always smooth and powerful with a strong delivery of torque to the wheels.  This SUV grew on me tugging at my heart strings which are especially joyous over technical innovation, gadgetry, indicators, controls, and ingenuity.  The Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring has technical ingenuity but it is not the "In your face I dare you to master me" type of ingenuity.  The controls are simple to operate, fully functional, efficient, and just right to complement a very comfortable stress free driving experience.

Understated Safety

Safety and reliability in this vehicle are bolstered by the latest safety innovations like Front-3 Row side-and knee positioned airbags, Anti-lock brakes, Stability control, Blind Spot Monitoring, Cross-Traffic warning system, Back-up camera, Tire Pressure Monitoring System, Side Impact Door Beams, and electronic parking assist.  What is not over-played about this vehicles safety feature is its weight.  At about 5800 lbs some might say this is a tank.  I call it a gentle unassuming giant.  There is safety in the shear weight of a vehicle and lack thereof in some of the tiniest/lightest 4 wheel offerings from car makers today.  The less a vehicle weighs under 2000 pounds the worse it will fare in a crash.  It is just shear weight and density of the roll cage that can save you.  What also is un-noticed about the CX-9 is its rigid roll-cage structure and suspension system that combine together in unison.  A strong cage, confident handling, super strong braking ability, and dynamic traction and stability control give the driver important tools needed to command the vehicle and the road.  It is big, it is powerful, it is torqy, and it is beautiful - It is CX-9.

I am impressed with Mazda ergonomics in this vehicle!  


This being the third Mazda vehicle I have reviewed I am pleasantly surprised to find a full complement of gauges aft of the steering wheel including engine temperature.  All other vital information is displayed  on either the panel display amid the console controls or above in a red lighted panel showing heat/AC functions, outside temperature, and fuel economy.  The CX-9 displays vehicle driver info such as speed, tachometer, fuel level, and engine temperature in separate round bezzeled gauges placed in easy view of the driver.  Controls for radio, blue-tooth, and info menus can be controlled from the steering wheel.  Everything ergonomic about the CX-9 was structured to be valuable, informative, easy to use and elegantly styled.  In a nut-shell; the cabin is not flashy or "Innovatively techy" - but then you won't exhaust yourself controlling the components either.

Leslie of Leslie Loves Veggies really likes the CX-9 and she is not a big fan of the SUV genre either.  She likes the simple controls and confident comfort of the driving position in the CX-9.  I agree with her whole-heartedly.

Here are some of the best traits of this SUV species:
  • V6 is Big and Powerful with good fuel economy
  • Understated elegance in every inch of interior
  • Capable of towing something of substance like a boat or trailer
  • Leather seating and accents was just beautiful
  • Excellent gauge set up with a clear reading full set of analog indicators
  • Bose Sound System was incredible with the true rich sound you expect from Bose
  • Huge cabin space for hauling large objects
  • Smooth quiet ride (see below for comparison to 2000 Celica GTS which is my daily driver)

Here is what is not so hot:
  • Keyless start is a knob on the column that is turned much like a key;  I wished for a start button...somewhere...anywhere
  • Crash Safety ratings are a tad low for a big heavy vehicle such as the CX9
  • Replacing 20 inch rubber is going to be expensive

The Mazda CX9 Grand Touring is a beautiful vehicle that has enough tech-gadgetry to satisfy this techno-geek while transporting occupants to new adventures in comfortable and classy ergonomics.  The CX9 can take you where you are going in style with power to spare.

Thanks again STI - The Driving Experience People for the opportunity to drive and review the Mazda CX9.

To learn more about the Mazda CX9...Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, Mazda USA
Scott R. Mayorga A.A.S., BS MT(ASCP)H CLS

1 comment:

Anthony Smith said...

Mazdas are pretty good mechanically. They hold up just as good as any other car.
Great Review!

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