2014 Mazda CX-9 Review
Mazda's large crossover proves its mettle by dancing in the snow.No Comments
The heavy CX-9 doesn't feel very zoomy. Acceleration is fine for around-town driving, but it's limited by the CX's corpulence.
When the white flaky stuff falls, most folks feel safer in an SUV. While our inner hoon loves the idea of sliding a rear-drive sports car around the snow, we can see why less enthusiastic drivers cocoon themselves in large crossovers with all-wheel-drive, even though tire type and driver skill are often the biggest factor in safe snow driving. Feeling safe is enough for most folks, apparently.
That's a long way of saying our latest Mazda CX-9 tester showed up right around the time that mercury dropped to Arctic levels near our Chicago-area offices, complete with a blast of snow. That's a good time for a large all-wheel-drive (AWD) crossover to show up.
What's new for 2014? Not much, besides some safety features and colors. No big deal there, the CX-9 has always impressed us as a solid crossover - but has age slowed it any?
Our ride and handling testing was limited by inclement weather - if snowstorms that stir comparisons to disaster flicks can be understated as such - but even so, we could tell that Mazda gifted the CX-9 with sporty steering that feels appropriately weighted. We can also report that there's a tad more body roll than we'd like, but that's par for the course among crossovers. The CX was nimble enough to handle the challenges of a snowy urban slog, but we'd still never mistake it for anything other than the people and cargo hauler it is.
The AWD system did deliver as promised, getting us through the snow with no drama, but should we feel the need to indulge our inner leadfoot, we could get the CX to safely slide around a bit, making a miserable drive slightly more bearable.
We also would've liked it if the dual-door center-console lid was less finicky.
Mass may be the enemy of both performance and fuel economy - the numbers we saw on the trip computer were ugly, hovering a bit below 17 mpg - but the CX-9 does enough things well that its bulk can be forgiven.
We can even forgive it the $40K sticker price, which is hefty in its own right. There's room for improvement here, but crossover buyers could do much worse.
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Drive Wheels: Front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive (tested)
Fuel Economy: 16 mpg city/22 mpg highway w/AWD
Base Price: $36,625 (excludes $795 destination fee)
As-Tested Price: $40,905
Available Features: USB port, navigation, heated front seats, moonroof, fog lamps, rear cross-traffic alert, Bluetooth, satellite radio, keyless entry, push-button start, fold-down second and third row seats, three-zone climate control.