Sunday, March 1, 2015
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

Peace and patience: Quilters gear up for show

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: C1 | Gallery

 
School bands compete in Pageantry on Parade

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A1, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Calling someone a ‘smoker’ is hilarious

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A2

Conservancy plans next Quail Ridge Reserve walk

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Police seek suspect in armed robbery

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A3, 3 Comments

 
4-H Presentation Day brings fun, education to Fairfield

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
The agony of the codling moth, ecstasy of worm-free apples

By Christine Macgenn | From Page: C4

 
What you eat can affect your medications

By Marilyn Ranson | From Page: C4

Tri-City NAACP honors community members at gala event

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
CAASC 18th Annual Chinese New Year and Scholarship Celebration

By Steve Reczkowski | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Rollover in Suisun City

By Aaron Rosenblatt | From Page: A5, 1 Comment | Gallery

State schedules ramp closure at freeway project site

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

 
Appointments on tap for Board of Supervisors meet

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

 
NY, SF town house prices through the roof

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: B7

 
Fairfield police log: Feb. 27, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
Suisun City police log: Feb. 27, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Airmen with local ties finish basic training

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B10

 
Force draws many from South, middle class

By Tom Philpott | From Page: B10

.

US / World

Christie to Calif. Republicans: No rush to pick 2016 nominee

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
US missionary abducted in Nigeria is courageous, friends say

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

Dress that ‘greatly resembles’ stolen Nyong’o gown found

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Weekend storm drops snow, rain, hail in California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Churches, synagogues, mosques bear tough New England winter

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Hyundai recalls 263,000 cars due to power-steering problem

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Blind dog rescued after being lost for 2 weeks in the cold

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Details about proposed national monuments in California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
National monument supporters in California get antsy

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

US drone strike in Yemen kills 3 suspected al-Qaida fighters

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Greece will not seek another bailout, prime minister says

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Attacks kill 37 people in and north of Iraq’s capital

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Nemtsov a possible ‘sacrificial victim,’ investigators say

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

.

Opinion

Sound off for March 1, 2015

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

 
New school funding plan remains on bumpy path

By Dan Walters | From Page: A8

 
Even Gruber deserves a break sometimes

By Megan Mcardle | From Page: A8, 2 Comments

I might just vote for a Democrat next time around

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 8 Comments

 
Aging Fairfield housing agency faltering

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

Editorial Cartoon: March 1, 2015

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
.

Living

Today in History: March 1, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: March 1, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

With numbers falling, Houston-area nuns’ future uncertain

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

 
Horoscopes: March 1, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: C4

Kidney Walk participation helped give me a positive outlook on life

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: C4

 
.

Entertainment

Take a look – Dr. Seuss has a new book

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
Publisher launches line of Warhol e-books

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

Q&A: Opera star Deborah Voigt writes of turbulent life

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2Comments are off for this post

 
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

Review: ‘The Girl on the Train’ has realistic plot

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2Comments are off for this post

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

.

Sports

A year after meeting Tiger, Indian golfer on the rise

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Jeff Gordon takes a final spin at track that meant so much

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Vikings girls looking for first section title

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Local Report: Vaca’s Aquino wins Masters wrestling title

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

Phegley hopes his style will catch on in Oakland

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Environmental activists disrupt meeting by Olympic officials

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Hamilton hones Mercedes with fastest time at F1 testing

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Thunder’s Russell Westbrook has surgery on cheekbone

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Anthony Mason, rugged forward of 1990s Knicks, dies at 48

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Warriors center Festus Ezeli suspended for a game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Reichelt leads Austrian World Cup downhill sweep

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Players’ union head: future spring games in Cuba possible

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Harrington takes 36-hole lead, then more rain in Florida

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Defending champ Federer beats Djokovic to retain Dubai title

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Safarova beats Azarenka to win the Qatar Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Stolen No. 44 NASCAR race car found in suburban Atlanta

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Harvick wins Xfinity race at Atlanta for 3rd year in a row

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
.

Business

For many in US, cash saved at gas pump is staying in pockets

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Fruits and vegetables get a star-studded marketing push

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Historic snows causing headaches for real estate industry

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Nevada casinos keep $953.7 million in winnings in January

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Greek prime minister rules out third bailout

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
Boy, 13, builds Braille printer with Legos, starts company

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9Comments are off for this post

Recalls this week: hand trucks, ceiling fans

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
Review: Freedom! These smartwatches leave the phone behind

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

AP Exclusive: Fuel-hauling trains could derail at 10 a year

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12 | Gallery

 
.

Obituaries

Thomas Browning

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Leah E. Hoffman

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

John W. Van Wart

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Virgil Albert Hanson

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

.

Comics