Review of Mazda CX-9
At least that’s how we felt when we roared Mazda’s huge 7-seat CX-9 on a zigzag road to Mt Beauty in Victoria’s Alps; at the media premiere.
Here, the road beckons a strong 204kW V6 engine to click on, but the stepping control stabilizes the dynamics with brute force almost as soon as a wheel begins to step off the road and turn off everything like the invisible hand of God took hold of the car.
If you want to play, you’re out of luck. But if you want a safe person to move, this is as safe as you can get.
The largest and most powerful Mazda, but also the first in its class to have rollover stability control and the first Mazda to have a reversing camera. It also has curtain airbags next to all the way back to the third row. Safe and almost as big as houses.
The CX-9 is a large piece of metal that replaces Mazda’s MPV and will compete in the midsize SUV segment compared to the new Toyota Kluger, Ford Territory, Hyundai Santa Fe and the updated Subaru Tribeca.
It sits on the compact SUV CX-7, which costs $ 39,910 – $ 45,560.
The Classic model starts at just under $ 50,000 and has a long list of standard features like wipers, reversing camera, fog lights, touchscreen infotainment system, 18-inch wheels, adjustable three-zone draw, cruise control and cruise computer.
The $ 57,265 Luxury model adds leather, a sunroof, power and heated front seats and a 10-speaker Bose sound system.
An adjustable satellite navigation accessory item priced at $ 3000 will arrive in January.
Mazda’s global marketing director Dan Morris says; CX-9 takes the company in a new direction.
He opened up a new part of the market we never had before, he said.
This is really a product suitable for Australia. We know you like the big engine. We know you like large interior spaces.
CX-9 program manager Hideaki Tanaka from Hiroshima said the car was designed to be sporty, reputable, flexible and safe, scoring high marks in the US crash test.
He said Australia was the first market to get the right-hand version.
It has been tested here by Australian and Australian Mazda engineers for its ability to drive, handle, comfort, noise, vibration and harshness.
Some of the standard features that have been fitted to the Australian market include a reversing camera, touchscreen and cruise computer, while the 60/40 second row and middle seat belts are reversed.
Tanaka said the highlight of the CX-9 is the number of rooms in the second and third rows and easy one-handed access to the backseat.
Mazda Australia’s marketing manager Alastair Doak says it will sell about 400 units per month, about 80% of the luxury models.
He refused to call CX-9 a football mom’s car.
Our potential customers will be horrified by that term. They want a performance car with lots of space, he said.
In the boring colors provided, it looks like a stranded whale or at least an over-inflated CX-7. To be fair, it’s hard to make such a large slank, but Mazda has done a fair job.
It’s also hard to make such a large car responsive, economical and dynamic. The 3.7-liter engine has a lot of top power. This is Mazda’s first mass production vehicle with a capacity of over 200kW and is claimed to reach 100km / h from standstill in 8.3 seconds.
But while it lacks some low torque, the super-fast and smooth six-speed Aisin gearbox makes the engine’s best power. It is the same gearbox as in the CX-7, but with a higher gearbox to maximize economy.
Mazda quotes 13 liters / 100km, but when launched, we managed 14.4 and most others were worse. However, it is better than our experience with the Ford Territory.
The automatic transmission tells you what you are in and slides quickly into sixth gear to drive more economically. If you touch the throttle, it immediately drops to almost unrecognizable fifth. Turn the throttle a little harder and it falls down to the two gears immediately.
There is a reasonable ratio gap between the second and the third, on top of the DSC interventionist, making our beauty more difficult when we pass or turn around.
Around town, the big machine feels light and easy to control despite the 11.4m circle. Maneuverability supported by very light steering becomes heavier with speed. But on the highway, the power steering has a bit of a deadly American feel in the middle.
The quiet cabin becomes quite exhausting with lots of tire, road and wind noises, especially from the wing mirrors. However, the cabin is a comfortable, spacious and luxurious place.
Mazda is marketing it under the slogan. It can carry your whole life, and it’s not far away.
There is plenty of legroom, though it should be noted that it’s actually not an adult seven-seater carrier. Like the four adults and three children when the center seat in the second row is narrow and the third row has limited room, though it’s better than many in the class.
Access to the third row is easy as the second row slides a long step forward and the floor is flat. But the third row lacks headroom and a high floor will have adults sitting with knees up. Also, unlike some other seven seats, the third row is actually lower than the second row, along with a low roof and small side windows, making it stuffy.
Someone keeps drinks at the back, but only the floor vents. The second row is controlled separately for air and vents, while the third is for juniors only; there is still more room behind the luggage compartment in the opponent’s car. The third row easily folds flat to reveal a very large and serviceable cargo area. The second row is also folded flat, but slightly higher and there is a gap in the floor.
Mazda can do it with Kluger’s self-closing / opening rear doors because the back door is quite heavy.
At the front, there are comfortable seats, with lots of easy-to-operate controls, but the raking windshield allows under so much sunlight that your feet can bake.
The small sunroof of the Luxury model only stretches on the front seats. It will be better placed on the second and / or third row or with the second sunroof as some competitors have.
Mazda claims temporary spare tire is not a bicycle tire like most space-saving devices. They say it is a very easy to maintain 17-inch spare, which is larger configuration to provide the same diameter as the fitted tire, It is also reasonably 195mm wide compared to 245mm on fitted tires. Mazda said it was only temporarily called because of the Australian Design Code.
Doak said there will be no diesel stripper model as well as two wheels as some competitors.