Monday, September 22, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Mazda’s biggest SUV, CX-9, is a nimble handler

By
From page C1 | July 04, 2014 |

Mazda, the car company that gave the world the nimble, two-seat Miata roadster, makes a commendable seven-seat crossover sport utility vehicle, too.

And like the Miata, the 2014 Mazda CX-9 is a nimble handler that drives as if it’s smaller than it is.

The nearly 17-foot-long CX-9 also is attractively styled with a raked windshield and well-proportioned shape and comes with strong V-6 power and comfortable interior room. The five-door CX-9 is rated by Consumer Reports magazine as above average in reliability as well.

Additionally, pricing is competitive with better known family SUVs.

Starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price, including destination charge, for a 2014 CX-9 with 270-horsepower V-6, six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive is $30,815. The lowest starting retail price, including destination charge, for a 2014 CX-9 with all-wheel drive is $32,405.

Among the standard features on every CX-9 are three-zone climate control, tilt and telescoping steering wheel with cruise control and audio buttons on the wheel, power windows, door locks and outside mirrors, three 12-volt power outlets and 5.8-inch color display touchscreen.

The CX-9 prices compare with the starting retail price of $30,775 for a front-wheel drive, 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe that has a 290-horsepower V-6, six-speed automatic and three rows of seats.

Meantime, the base, 2014 Toyota Highlander with front-wheel drive, a 185-horsepower four cylinder and six-speed automatic starts at $30,075. A 2014 Highlander with uplevel, 270-horsepower V-6 has a starting retail price of $31,380, or $565 more than the starting price of the V-6-powered CX-9.

Japan-based Mazda doesn’t have the advertising budget that bigger car companies do, so many shoppers aren’t aware of the CX-9.

CX-9 sales in the United States through the first five months of this calendar year total just 7,812 compared with 60,583 Highlanders and 43,075 Santa Fe vehicles.

But the CX-9 is worth a look, especially for families that would prefer something a bit different than what the neighbors have.

The test CX-9 — an all-wheel drive model in top, Grand Touring trim — was a stalwart people carrier. Both front and second-row seats moved forward and back on tracks easily, so tall and short passengers always found a way to apportion legroom to make everyone comfortable. Plus, the large and right-height lever on each side of the second-row seats that quickly unlocked them and moved them out of the way for quick entry to the third row was simpler to use than those in some other SUVs.

Even the two seats in the third row of the test CX-9 could accommodate adults if the second-row seats were moved up a ways on their tracks, though third-row seats sat close to the floor.

Indeed, Mazda reports the CX-9 has more second- and third-row legroom than the Highlander, Honda Pilot and even the luxury Acura MDX.

Specifically, Mazda measures 40.9 inches of front-seat legroom, another 39.8 inches for second-row passengers and 32.4 inches for the third row. These numbers compare with the Pilot’s 38.5 inches in the second row and 32.1 inches in the third row and the Highlander’s 38.4 inches in the second row and 27.7 inches in the third row.

But the CX-9’s 5.7-foot height makes for less headroom than is found in some competitors. As an example, the taller Honda Pilot provides up to 40 inches of front-seat headroom compared to the CX-9’s 38.4 inches, and the Pilot offers 38.2 inches of third-row headroom vs. the CX-9’s 35.4 inches.

But driving the CX-9 is a sportier experience. The test CX-9 rode on 20-inch tires and hewed close to the pavement, even though it sat up a good ways.

Via the front MacPherson strut suspension and rear multilink configuration, the driver of the test vehicle felt a constant connection to the road, much as one would in a sporty sedan. This affected the ride by transmitting road bumps to passengers as mostly mild vibrations. But some passengers also noticed the noises that the tires conveyed as they traveled over the bumps.

There was some feeling of tippiness in the CX-9, but it was not as noticeable as in softer-riding SUVs and overall, the CX-9 had good road manners and maneuvered without fuss. The only handling complaint for the tester was a light feel to the rack-and-pinion steering.

The 3.7-liter, double overhead cam V-6 produced strong power for acceleration and never lacked for extra “oomph” during the test drive. Torque peaks at 270 foot-pounds at 4,250 rpm, and most gear shifts in the transmission were smooth.

Fuel economy for the test CX-9 with all-wheel drive averaged 19.6 miles per gallon, which was better than the federal government’s estimate of 18 mpg because the majority of the miles driven were on highways.

This mileage, combined with the CX-9’s generous, 20.1-gallon fuel tank, meant the tester could travel nearly 400 miles before needing a fill-up. Regular gasoline is all that’s needed, so the cost of a tank full was $80.

Though it carried a sticker price of more than $40,000, the CX-9 Grand Touring model didn’t keep out all road noises.

The bi-Xenon headlamps in low and high beam made an odd light shape that looked like parentheses at each side.

Bluetooth for hands-free calling was on the top-level test vehicle, but the CX-9 system did not work with a just-purchased HTC One M8 cell phone.

The CX-9 earned four out of five stars in overall federal government crash testing, with the vehicle getting only three out of five stars in frontal crash tests.

Maximum towing capacity is 3,500 pounds if the CX-9 is fitted with a towing prep package.

 

2014 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring AWD

BASE PRICE: $29,985 for Sport FWD; $31,575 for Sport AWD; $32,480 for Touring FWD; $34,070 for Touring AWD; $35,035 for Grand Touring FWD; $36,625 for Grand Touring AWD.

PRICE AS TESTED: $40,040.

TYPE: Front-engine, all-wheel drive, seven-passenger, mid-size, sport utility vehicle.

ENGINE: 3.7-liter, double overhead cam V-6 with VVT.

MILEAGE: 16 mpg (city), 22 mpg (highway).

TOP SPEED: 118 mph.

LENGTH: 200.6 inches.

WHEELBASE: 113.2 inches.

CURB WEIGHT: 4,558 pounds.

BUILT AT: Japan.

OPTIONS: Technology package (includes power moonroof with interior sun shade, Bose surround sound audio with AM/FM/CD/MP3-compatible players and 10 speakers, navigation system) $2,435; stainless steel rear bumper guard $150.

DESTINATION CHARGE: $830.

 

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 2 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • JazzAzzJuly 04, 2014 - 8:47 am

    Sorry, but I would not trust Mazda as one bit. It is amazing that Mazda still has not issued a recall on the 99-2000 Miatas due to known faulty, "Coil Packs," that can cause the, "The Check Engine," light to come on, causing a, "Random Misfire," code. This can not only be a safety hazard possibly causing the car to stall, but if done in an inopportune moment, like say on the freeway, a fatal accident could be a possibility, and at the very least, this condition has been known to burn out the catalytic converter, and/or the 02 sensors. Anyone with this vehicle that has experienced this ought to report it to the, US DOT NHTSA (Google this for the site URL). Mazda has a, Technical Bulletin," on this issue, but has not issued a recall. For those of us that have already had the COIL PACK replaced, we should at least be refunded for the part, near $400 at the dealer, near $300, anywhere else!!!!! The following site (IN Name) also applies to the 2000 model year, in the, "Technical Bulletin."

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • http://www.arfc.org/complaints/1999/mazda/miata/electrical_system/problem.aspxJuly 04, 2014 - 8:49 am

    FOR SURE!!!!!!!!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Vaca Christian hits FM airwaves

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
 
Hazmat crew responds to Fairfield after spill Sunday

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

SBDC schedules free workshop for small businesses

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Cordelia Rotary to host Senior Center fall dinner

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

CHP offers teen drivers class

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Golf tourney to help uninsured children

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Dixon Scottish Games return to Solano

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Hospital launches farmers market in Vacaville

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Local governments schedule meetings

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Master Gardeners schedule annual plant exchange

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Il Fiorello Olive Oil Co. hold butchery class

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
American music makes a sweet sound Sunday

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4

Popeye’s seeks Fairfield site

By Barry Eberling | From Page: B8, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
North Bay Pediatrics celebrates anniversary

By Barry Eberling | From Page: B8

Sutter Solano has new leader

By Barry Eberling | From Page: B8

 
‘Peter Pan’ earns Elly awards for Missouri Street Theatre

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A11

.

US / World

Some California wells run dry amid drought

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
More drought forecast next year across West

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

32 structures destroyed in California wildfire

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Melted glacier sends miles of mud down Mt. Shasta

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Crews cleaning fuel spill in San Francisco Bay

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Police say rifle carried by ambush suspect found

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Gov. Brown signs clean-air vehicle legislation

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Feds censure local police, yet give lethal weapons

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Del. authorities: Bus overturns, at least 1 dead

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Sierra Leone concludes nationwide Ebola lockdown

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

2016 may loom, but Jeb Bush is focused on business

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
China, US, India push world carbon emissions up

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

New Afghan president, but vote totals kept secret

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
NASA’s Maven explorer arrives at Mars after year

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

North Korea powerful temptation for some Americans

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
Craig Ferguson plays it loose with new game show

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

‘Maze Runner’ races past ‘Tombstones’ with $32.5M

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
.

Opinion

Burning issue of the day? Statehood for D.C.

By Ann McFeatters | From Page: A8

 
Pulse poll: Will the drought end this year?

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

 
Idealists made mess of 20th century

By Jack Batson | From Page: A8

Thanks go out to Telstar Instruments

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
.

Living

Today in History: Sept. 22, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Sept. 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Ned’s drinking is ruining our parents’ business, health

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B5

 
Horoscopes: Sept. 22, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

Horoscopes: Sept. 23, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

 
.

Entertainment

TVGrid Sept 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A10

 
TVGrid Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

.

Sports

 
Giants swept by Padres; fall 4 ½ behind Dodgers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Stanton leads Cardinals past 49ers 23-14

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Donaldson’s walk-off HR powers A’s past Phillies

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Penalty nixes Raiders rally, Patriots win 16-9

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Seahawks hold off Broncos 26-20 in overtime

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

NFL roundup: Cowboys erase 21-point deficit, beat Rams 34-31

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Armijo boys run to 2nd-place finish in Irvine

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

Hamilton wins in Singapore, takes F1 title lead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Ex-Titans kicker Bironas killed in car crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Hur pulls away for LPGA Tour win in Alabama

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9 | Gallery

 
Logano wins at New Hampshire in 2nd Chase race

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10 | Gallery

.

Business

 
Native Americans getting final settlement payments

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

5 ways to protect yourself from data breaches

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Dilbert Sept 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
B.C. Sept 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baldo Sept 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Garfield Sept 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Beetle Bailey Sept 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Peanuts Sept 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sally Forth Sept 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
For Better or Worse Sept 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Wizard of Id Sept 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Frank and Ernest Sept 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Blondie Sept 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Rose is Rose Sept 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Get Fuzzy Sept 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Pickles Sept 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baby Blues Sept 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Zits Sept 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sudoku Sept 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Crossword Sept 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Bridge Sept 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Word Sleuth Sept 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Cryptoquote Sept 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Baby Blues Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Blondie Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Beetle Bailey Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Peanuts Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Zits Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Frank and Ernest Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Pickles Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

For Better or Worse Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Rose is Rose Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sally Forth Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Garfield Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Get Fuzzy Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Baldo Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

B.C. Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Dilbert Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Wizard of Id Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Word Sleuth Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Crossword Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Bridge Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Cryptoquote Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Sudoku Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7