Saturday, April 18, 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

 
 
Child care program helps teen parents, students

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

 
Wood students entertain guests at Epcot

By Susan Hiland And Susan Winlow | From Page: A2

 
 
 
Solano County Science Fair continues to grow

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Take stock of where you are now, and act

By Murray Bass | From Page: B8

 
Fairfield police log: April 16, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Suisun City police log: April 16, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
Weather for Saturday, April 18, 2015

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B10

.

US / World

Family awarded rights to rare coins

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
AG announces anti-bias training program

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
 
Dog flu outbreak sweeps across the Midwest

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 2 Comments

Gas-line blast closes Highway 99, injures at least 11

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Iraqi officials believe Saddam’s top deputy killed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Germany mourns citizens lost in plane crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Following Alps crash, debate over pilotless planes heats up

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

.

Opinion

 
Time for meaningful financial reform

By Paul A. Volcker | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: April 18, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in history: Saturday, April 18, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: April 18, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A7

 
My daughter is upset that I didn’t attend my former in-law’s funeral

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A7

Idea from Adam Sandler film used to soothe dementia patients

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
.

Entertainment

.

Sports

Warriors, Pelicans enter series with different pedigrees

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Prep softball: Seldon powers Rodriguez to victory over Armijo

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

JC baseball: Falcons win as Pavlovsky, Evans homer

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

 
Prep badminton: Mustangs roll to 15-0 win over Wolves

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

Prep baseball: Haney hurls Vanden to 3-2 win over Benicia

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

 
Armijo nears girls soccer title with 2-0 MEL win

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

SCAC girls roll past MEL 55-28 in All-Star hoops game

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
SCAC boys slip past MEL in entertaining All-Star game

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Athletics fall to Royals 6-4 in rematch of AL wild-card game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
2 weeks before Mayweather-Pacquiao, not a ticket to be seen

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Big Ten’s Delany lays out plan for freshman ineligibility

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Collmenter shuts down Giants, gets three hits in D-backs win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Merritt’s 61 trumps Masters champion Spieth’s 62

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

2 minor league baseball teams to test game with 5-pitch rule

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
NBA could alter schedule, but no change to playoffs, lottery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Coonan stepping down as Santa Clara’s athletic director

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel says he “let down” fans

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

49ers fullback Miller at home in Georgia after March arrest

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Rockhold hopes win over Machida launches him into contention

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Martina Hingis to make singles comeback in Fed Cup match

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Injured Giants fan throws out first ball in San Jose

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Flyers fire head coach Craig Berube after 2 seasons

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Hornets GM Cho: Stephenson ‘didn’t work like we expected’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Brazil eyes historic medal haul in 2016 Rio Olympics

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Before ruling out an upset in NBA East, listen to these guys

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Western Conference teams face perilous path to NBA Finals

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
This date in sports history for April 18

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Back on the USA Network: Sports return with NHL playoffs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
.

Business

California home prices hit new 7-year high, sales rebound

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Secrecy shrouds decade-old oil spill in Gulf of Mexico

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5 | Gallery

Frederick’s of Hollywood reveals closing of retail stores

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Don’t plan to line up for Apple Watch next week

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Google shaking up search recommendations on smartphones

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Glaxo recalls flu vaccine due to potency problem

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5, 2 Comments

.

Obituaries

Douglas Craig Sparks

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Carole Anspach

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Dennis Burkhart von Ting

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7