By Barbara & Bill Schaffer
With the automotive market featuring more three-row crossovers and SUVs than we can recite from memory, it’s difficult to sort through the list simply to identify the ones you want to check out before you buy.
A “Must Drive”
One suggestion we’d give you is don’t pass up driving the 2019 Mazda CX-9. While the Mazda three-row SUV isn’t the bestselling, cheapest, fastest, largest or whatever criteria you are using, it’s one that deserves a must drive.
Stylish and Comfortable
If you stop at your local Mazda dealer, you’ll find a very stylish vehicle with a good build quality, seven-passenger seating and it’s fun to drive – all essential elements of what your next new SUV should have.
Prices start at $33,325
We spent a week driving the 2019 Grand Touring version of the Mazda CX-9 with all-wheel drive. The CX-9 is available in four trim levels: Sport – $33,325; Touring – $36,575; Grand Touring – $41,885 and Signature – $46,710. All-wheel drive is an $1,800 option on the three lower priced models but is included in the price of the Signature. All prices include the $1,045 destination charge.
Feature Laden Equipment List
At the Grand Touring level, the CX-9 equipment includes all the features we feel are “must haves” when we buy a new car. We are spoiled by the features include on most of the test cars we drive and want to make sure our car has them This includes rain-sensor wipers, a power liftgate, automatic high beam control, Lane Departure Warning and a form of Radar Cruise Control. In addition, we like heated front seat, leather seating, keyless entry/start and navigation. The Touring model has nearly all those features and the Grand Touring has the works and much more. The Signature model adds bling and the all-wheel drive.
The Mazda CX-9 debuted in 2007 with some elements that were elements coming from their partnership with Ford. The first CX-9 used Ford structural elements and include a Ford V-6 engine and six-speed transmission. Since the Ford and Mazda partnership ended in 2015, Mazda has replaced all the Ford equipment and developed the latest generation with Mazda’s Skyactiv technology.
A Harmonious Operating System
Not merely a cleaver name, the Skyactiv technology is a series of engineering advancements including engines, transmissions, the body and chassis which all work together to increase fuel efficiency. The technology cuts weight and produces what we think is better harmony between the engineering elements – that’s our idea, not something Mazda expounds.
And it seems to work. Every Mazda we’ve driven with Skyactiv has had good performance, a solid integrated feel and good fuel economy.
250-hp Turbocharged 4-Cylinder Engine.
As the second generation debuted in 2016 the old V-6 engine was replaced by a new impressive 250-hp, SKYACTIV®4-G 2.5T 4-cylinder engine with Dynamic Pressure Turbo. The four-cylinder has more torque than the previous V-6 and better fuel economy estimates from 16 mpg to 20 mpg for city driving and from 22 mpg to 26 mpg on the highway. We averaged 25.1 mpg during our time behind the wheel. Performance is near the same as with the 274-hp 3.7-liter V6. Buff magazines list the new CX-9 acceleration time at 7.1 seconds for a 0 to 60 mph run.
3,500-Pound Towing Capacity
This is not an SUV you’ll want for rock and log climbing it’s more of a mild off-roader, It will pull up to 3,500 pounds, which allows room on back for a small boat or trailer, or a couple of those adult toys, but forget about big loads which are better handled by a truck.
2019 Mazda CX-9
The Skyactiv technology shows up nicely on the road or corners producing a good ride and compliant handling without making the ride too stiff, or too soft. It’s more like driving a sport sedan. It stays flat on the corners and is fun to drive on winding mountain roads.
Stylish Inside and Out
The sportiness carries over to the looks, inside and out. Like all the other Mazdas, the CX-9 is a standout. It’s the kind of crossover/SUV that still turns our heads even with its three-year old design. This benefits the owner, too…it’s not something that looks trendy or you’ll tire of quickly. The interior is equally impressive with plush, comfortable seating, well organized controls and user-friendly operation. This isn’t the kind of vehicle that requires pulling out the owner’s manual to work things; the operation is simple and straight forward.
Ranks Near the Top
The 2019 Mazda CX-9 isn’t one of the best-selling models in this competitive category, but usually ranks high in industry comparisons. This means you’ll probably have the only Mazda three-row SUV in your neighborhood, and it will likely be the best looking one.
Drive It Before You Buy
The 2019 Mazda CX-9 would be high on the list of must drive vehicles if we were shopping for a three-row crossover or SUV. It fits the needs of most families very nicely.