2022 Mazda CX-9 AWD reveiw | WUWM 89.7 FM

by decwells
2022 Mazda CX-9 AWD reveiw | WUWM 89.7 FM

Family cars come in all shapes and sizes, but Mazda’s CX-9 midsize SUV is one of the more attractive three-row models, with a distinctive beak-like nose.

So many SUVs and crossovers are boxy, and it’s nice to see a distinguishing feature. Surprisingly, the CX-9’s design dates back to 2016 and still looks fresh.

The Mazda CX-9 midsize SUV reviewed here is a top-of-the-line Signature Edition in a soothing Dark Machine Grey metallic paint ($595 extra). Black is the only color that doesn’t cost extra, but the smart money is Soul Red Metallic, which is Mazda’s absolute best and only makes sense if you pay more.

Still, several people praised the Mazda’s looks, a model suitable for transporting six people, thanks to the captain’s chairs in the middle row. I drove it to Indianapolis for the Indy 500 and it carried the three of us and our luggage comfortably, and then the six of us went to the track. Oh, and there’s little foot and knee room in the third row, but it can get people around town.

All CX-9 models now come with all-wheel drive, which is nice, a welcome feature not another add-on.

Only color is an option here, and the final price for the signature is $49,030. A base Sport model that seats seven thanks to a mid-row bench seat is $36,505 with all-wheel drive or AWD. There are four other trims in between these two extremes, with the new Touring Plus trim adding heated and cooled front seats, 20-inch alloy wheels and leather seats, the $41,660 top pick.

Everything will drive roughly the same engine, transmission and suspension are the same.

Mazda’s refined 2.5-liter SkyActiv-G turbo I4 provides plenty of power, rated at 227 hp on regular gasoline and up to 250 hp. Good and smooth power is delivered via a SkyActiv-Drive 6-speed automatic transmission, including a console-mounted toggle to enable Sport mode. This strengthens the steering and produces more low-end torque for quicker avoidance of traffic lights. In Normal or Sport, the CX-9 reaches highway speed before you exit the entry ramp.

Handling is typically Mazda responsive, making the CX-9 one of the most fun SUVs to drive, especially for under $50,000. And the suspension is good at soaking up bumps without making the ride floaty.

Mazda also employs something called G-Vectoring Control Plus, which tunes the turbo engine and applies four-wheel disc brakes based on steering effort. The result is that if the driver relaxes the acceleration and starts a turn, the power from the AWD goes to the front wheels to provide more traction. Not a big deal in dry summer weather, but it helps during our scruffy winters and fall.

Inside, the CX-9 trim tends to be luxurious, but priced a little lower than entry-level luxury models from other brands.

The grey SUV features a black-brown interior, and the seats are perforated brown Nappa leather with quilted leather outer edges and cushions, plus white piping, all of which hint at luxury. Mazda used real wood Santos Rosewood to trim the dash and doors, but also added a thin chrome ring on top of the console, which is gloss black so it reflects off on sunny days.

The steering wheel is wrapped in leather, and the hubs have the usual controls. Additionally, there’s little aluminum trim on the dash and doors, while large Bose stereo speakers fill the front lower door corners. All of this makes the CX-9 look and feel like a luxury car.

The seats are electrified up front, including heating and cooling, with only heated second-row seats. Rear-seat passengers also get their own climate controls and plug-ins for phones and other electronics in the large center console between the captain’s seats. There are also plug-ins for those in the third row.

Everyone loves the comfort of the seat, except the driver. While hip and back support is great, I found the hip pockets to be too stiff and my tailbone was burning after about 100 miles. Lunch breaks are welcome, but the feeling returns on the road.

Climate controls are easily adjusted via large buttons and knobs beneath the center dash vents. However, the Mazda’s radio is still clumsily adjusted via a console knob. There is no touch screen. It’s still a huge source of panic, and it’s hard to adjust radio and other on-screen activity while driving. good news? The screen is over 10 inches and is mounted on the dashboard.

Mazda also includes wireless phone charging under the center stack in the dash, and a navigation system is standard on the Signature. However, the navigation screen defaults to a fairly close view, and even after using the center knob to adjust for longer periods of time (eg 1/4 to 1/2 mile view to see what’s ahead), the navigation screen reverts to a close view. Ugh, if I adjust it, I want it to stay where I set it.

In the rear is the requisite power hatch, and the third-row seats can easily fold forward for a reasonable cargo area. There’s also storage under the cargo floor, and the sides behind the wheel wells have sizable indents, perfect for items you don’t want to roll around at all.

Mazda offers sophisticated smart cruise control and the safety equipment we all love and need, such as rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot warning, 360-degree monitoring, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, front and rear parking sensors, and an adaptive headlight system .

Other benefits include manual second-row side window shades, 2 memory settings for driver’s seat, sun visor with extender, interior release for fuel door and one-step release for second-row seats to make it easier for passengers Slide into the third row.

There’s also a sunroof, but it’s one of the smallest I’ve seen in the past few years, covering only the front seats. Most SUVs and crossovers now offer a dual-pane panoramic sunroof, and I expect the next-generation CX-9 will include it.

Also note that the center console is rather wide, resulting in less footroom for the driver and front passenger.

Finally, in terms of actual fuel economy, the EPA rates the Mazda at 20 mpg city and 26 mpg highway. I was driving 25.9 mpg on the highway most of the time with the three of us in the car and our luggage.

A hybrid would do better, but for its size (nearly 200 inches long) and weight (just over 4,400 pounds), the CX-9’s numbers are more competitive.

For families that need space, comfort and AWD, Mazda’s CX-9 is a solid, stylish, and smart choice.

Quick Stats: 2022 Mazda CX-9 AWD

Click: Sleek looks, good power, sporty handling and a smooth ride. Quiet interior, 3 rows of seats, power hatch, wireless charger, heated/cooled front seats, heated rear seats, smart cruise and solid safety gear, big climate buttons, big screen, sport driving mode, good mpg.

miss: The console-controlled information screen is a clunky pain, even after adjusting the navigation to default to a close-up view, the lack of a touchscreen, and the small sunroof and sturdy butt pockets make the driver’s seat tiring for long drives.

Making: Hiroshima, Japan

engine: 2.5-liter SkyActiv-G turbo I4, 227 hp/310 torque (250 hp, w/93 octane gas)

spread: SkyActiv-drive 6-speed, automatic with sport mode

weight: 4,409 lbs.

Wheelbase: 115.3 inches

length: 199.4 inches

goods: 14/4-71.2 cubic feet

gasoline engine: 20/26

gasoline engine: 25.9 (tested)

Base Price: $47,435 (including shipping)

bill: $45,883


Machine Gray Metallic, $595

Test vehicle: $49,030

source: Mazda, www.kbb.com

photo: Mark Savage

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