Posts Tagged ‘2013 mazda cx-9’

2013 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring AWD

Published by Mazda Blogs on March 20th, 2013

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After spending some time roaming the Hill Country of central Texas with Mazda’s new Mazda6 and CX-5 with the 2.5-liter Skyactiv engine, I got a round with the redesigned CX-9 back in Michigan. The three-row Mazda crossover comes to court in the 2013 model year with the same 3.7-liter V6 engine that we’ve sampled before (still making 273 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque), though the nose that wraps it has been updated with the same “Kodo” design language that marks out the CX-5 and friends.

I had quite recently spent time in our long-term Nissan Pathfinder, so I felt better equipped than usual to suss out the potential high and low points of Mazda’s family-facing CUV.

Driving Notes

  • A combination of a responsive throttle pedal and a surprisingly lively exhaust note made the CX-9 feel immediately sportier than the CVT’d Pathfinder I had just stepped out of. The Mazda’s six-speed automatic transmission was surprisingly willing to drop gears and pile on the revs when I put my foot to the floor for a pass on the highway, and I actually never really felt prodded to use the manual mode as a result. Don’t get me wrong, the CX-9 isn’t “fast” in an objective sense, but it definitely feels adequately powerful for a largish 4,500-pound crossover. (Those seeking real speed with three rows would still prefer the Ford Explorer Sport or Dodge Durango in V8 trim, I’d wager.)
  • True to form for Mazda, the CX-9 feels a shade sprightlier in terms of handling than does the bulk of its competitive set. Sitting in the drivers seat for the first time, I was actually a little shocked at how small in diameter the steering wheel is. Better yet, the front end of the large vehicle moves promptly when guided by this sporty wheel, turning in with a quickness that belies the long wheelbase, and offering a shade more road feedback than is typical of this class. I’m not sure how many buyers really care about a kind of “athletic” steering feel when selecting their next kid-wagon, but the Mazda would seem to be the top-of-class here.
  • Overall fit and finish of our CX-9 Grand Touring-spec interior felt nice – I particularly liked the kind of micro-suede door inserts – if a little bit simple. There’s still more hard-plastic surfacing in the CX-9 than I’d gotten used to in our long-term Nissan, and far fewer enticing pieces of technology. Mazda is offering a new-for-2013, 5.8-inch display with which to negotiate the navigation and media controls, but the interface simply serves to make the CX-9 feel slightly less out of date than it would with the older setup. And the Mazda didn’t have the near-luxury feeling that the plusher, gizmo-laden Pathfinder does.
  • There was more interruption from wind and tire noise in the CX-9 than in other similarly sized crossovers and SUVs I’ve been in lately, too. Just a shade louder, mind you, but there was enough wind noise at 70 miles per hour on the highway that I was forced to notice that I didn’t like Mazda’s stereo as much as I had the Pathfinder’s. (Maybe because the Pathfinder’s quieter cabin provided a better sound stage?)
  • While the third-row seating of the CX-9 is clearly not made for six-foot, five-inch guys like me, I did have a seat in the second row to see how it measured up. Beyond feeling a tiny bit lacking in headroom, I found the three-seat-wide second row a place that I wouldn’t have a problem camping out in over goodly distances. My legs and knees had space to move around, and the seat bottoms weren’t overly short or too stiff. In other words: Your tweenage kids should fit just fine.
  • My conclusion about the CX-9 in today’s market is a little mixed. I feel as though most shoppers in this segment are going to want more content, a cushier ride or more interior volume than Mazda is offering us. On the other hand, I don’t think that I’ve tested a three-row crossover that’s quite so fun to drive as this one. That strikes me as a core competency that’s not super valuable for the segment, though it might be more of a niche (driver-focused family haulers) than I understand.

2013 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring AWD originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 20 Mar 2013 15:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2013 Mazda CX-9 unveiled ahead of Aussie debut

Published by Mazda Blogs on September 18th, 2012

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2013 Mazda CX-9 - front three-quarter view

Mazda is slowly but surely wiping its smiley Nagare design language from the faces of its automobiles, and it appears that the seven-passenger CX-9 is the next to get the bolder Kodo-influenced treatment. The 2013 CX-9 you see here will officially bow at the Australian International Motor Show in mid-October, but Mazda has released a few preliminary images and details regarding the big CUV’s refresh.

Now, as much as we like the design of the new CX-5 crossover and Mazda6 sedan, we aren’t quite sure if we love the way the new Kodo lines flow onto the CX-9’s larger body. The more we stare at the images in the gallery above, the more we start to like it, but this is indeed a case where we’ll need to see the finished product in person before making any final judgments. We can’t yet see what sort of changes have been applied to the rear end or the interior, but new details up front include LED running lights in the headlamp clusters and bolder, more pronounced lines around the foglamp housings.

Mum’s the word about any other new-for-2013 changes, and Mazda states that the current CX-9’s 3.7-liter V6 and six-speed automatic will carry over, likely mated to both front- and all-wheel drive.

We’ll no doubt receive more details closer to the car’s official unveiling in Australia next month, but for now, scroll down to read the official press blast and scroll through the high-res image gallery to take in the Niner’s new schnoz for yourself.

Continue reading 2013 Mazda CX-9 unveiled ahead of Aussie debut

2013 Mazda CX-9 unveiled ahead of Aussie debut originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 18 Sep 2012 09:27:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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