2020 Mazda CX-9 Touring is nicer than some luxury vehicles.
Even though the Mazda CX nine is a few years old at this point, I don't think there is a better looking mainstream three row crossover.
It is simply beautiful both outside and in.
With fetching style and indulgent interior especially in signature trim and scads of driving refinement, this family hauler should appeal to folks that appreciate the finer things in life.
Even if it's not the most practical choice.
And we start with a few basics.
This Mazda competes with the Honda Pilot, Kia Telluride, Toyota's new Highlander and the Hyundai Palisade.
Chevy's Traverse and the Ford Explorer are rivals as well.
The CX-9 is offered in four models, Sport, Touring, Grand Touring and Signature.
Front or all wheel drive is available, though for corner traction is standard on the top shelf model.
The list of no extra charge equipment is long and includes things like rain sensing wipers, automatic high beams, led head and tail lights, plus three zone climate control.
The high active sense suite of advanced driver AIDS is also included bringing to the table features like adaptive cruise control with stop and go functionality, automatic emergency braking, Lane Keeping Assist and blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert plus a whole lot more Naturally top of the line signature models are fitted with the most goodies, Napa leather aluminum accents and Santos rosewood trim propel, this models interior to luxury car heights.
Beyond that my tester is also fitted with heated second row captain's chairs, 20 inch wheels and the Bose sound system with 12 speakers.
Among other things, there's also a nine inch display home to this vehicles fiddly infotainment system.
Not only is its user interface convoluted, but many of the icons look.
Ridiculous, did Mazda design this or the folks at Playskool?
I really can't tell.
Now, that's a lot of stuff, but just one power train is offered in the CX-9.
That keeps things simple, though perhaps a little underhood choice might be nice.
In any event, this is what you get.
It's a 2.5 liter dynamic pressure turbo.
Now, what does that mean?
Well, I'm glad I asked.
Rather than going for big peak numbers, engineers tuned to this force fed four cylinder to deliver greater responsiveness.
And that gives you a [UNKNOWN] of low and mid range torque, exactly what you want in an outside cross over like this.
Delivering that punch is a restrictive exhaust outlet that increases the velocity of the exiting gases to spin the turbo charger up faster.
Now at higher RPM, a secondary valve will open to reduce that restriction, And help build more turbo boost.
Now with direct fuel injection and other goodies that gets you 250 horsepower with 320 pound feet of torque if you put 93 octane in the tank.
However, if you cheap out and go with just 87, those figures drop to 227 ponies and 310 torques.
I forgot to close the hood I'm sorry.
Bolted to that engine is a six speed automatic transmission.
In a world where eight, nine and ten ratio gearboxes are the norm, having only half a dozen forward ratio seems downright old fashioned, kind of, No turning your own butter or darning a pair of worn socks.
Heck, who needs the internet for fun when you can roll a hoop with a stick?
What is not outmoded, however, is the rest of the CX nines interior.
There's a luxury car precision to it.
Like every little detail was agonized over The general design is elegant and clean.
Plus the materials used are impressively premium and the assembly quality is flawless.
This Mazda is heated second row buckets are not particularly comfortable, though a handy center console divides them housing a pair of all important USB ports.
As for the third row bench, it's tight on both head and leg room.
My noggin gets jammed into the ceiling if I try to sit back there.
As I always say, the third row seat in vehicles like this is best left to the kids.
But at least Mazda provides another pair of USB ports as a consolation prize.
You may end up with a few dislocated neck vertebrae.
But at least your phone will be charged so you can call a chiropractor.
Despite being very similarly sized, the CX-9 offers significantly less storage capacity behind each row of seats than its major rivals.
Volkswagen atlases body for instance, is more than an inch shorter overall, but it has nearly 26 additional cubic feet of maximum cargo volume.
It's probably hard to tell in video but this monsters interior always remains hushed.
Even at highway speeds.
There's very little wind or road noise The CX 9s ride is super refined.
This crossover carries itself better than some so called luxury vehicles.
Impacts are effortlessly absorbed and digested.
In a word.
I would say this vehicles ride quality is slick.
There's no grittiness or vibration to it.
Everything feels well lubricated and friction free.
This vehicle driving dynamics are entirely competent, though piloting it is hardly a religious experience.
There is nothing to complain about, but i did expect a little bit more from Mazda because this is a company that's always using fancy Japanese words to describe how engaging it vehicles are.
This really doesn't feel any better than saying a Highlander.
I may have poked fun at the CX-9's transmission earlier, but really it was only in jest.
This gearbox works pretty much flawlessly, it shifts smoothly, and intelligently.
Dropping a ratio or two as needed, but really there is so much torque, downshifts that they often aren't necessary.
This vehicle's turbo charged engine is pleasant enough delivering a wallop of low and mid range torque as advertised but even so, the CX 9 doesn't feel all that fast.
Don't get me wrong acceleration is quick enough, but it leaves me wanting for a little bit more.
It does seem, perhaps a step or two behind some of its.
Another downside, the engine feels a little bit greedy.
The CX-9's ride quality may be creamy smooth but it's power plant buzzes more than I expected.
No, it won't shake your dentures out.
It won't make your palms go numb, but I think it could be a little better isolated.
As for fuel economy this model stickers at 20 miles per gallon city and 26 highway.
combined those scores should result in an average of 23 MPG, but shouldn't completely destroy your budget.
But the base price just might.
A bare bone CX-9 sports starts at about 35 grand that makes it a couple thousand dollars more expensive than some of its major rivals.
Though a Toyota Highlander does come close, and the new Ford Explorer is a little bit more.
The luxurious signature version.
I have been testing this week's stickers for nearly $48,000 including destination charges, is it worth that much?
Now you have to decide if style or fancy interior and loads of features are more important than versatility.
This Mazda is certainly a passionate option.
The three row crossover segment though it is not the most practical choice.
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