Attitude Adjustment – the 2021 Mazda CX-9
Sometimes we just have to grow up. You know, get mature – with a family to care for and a job to do. Sometimes doing that involves the unthinkable: get rid of his/her treasured vehicle for something ‘more practical’. Nightmares of minivans could easily wake one up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat. Well if you are one of those that are attempting to delay the inevitable, maybe there is hope: the Mazda CX-9 – a family hauler that has an attitude of a sports car.
The CX-9 is a large, seven passenger crossover sport-utility-vehicle with most of its emphasis placed on sport rather than utility. Designed with sports-car like cues, the CX-9 features aggressive front styling, 18” wheels (huge 20” wheels come on the Grand Touring and Signature models) and bold front fenders. The styling really works for the CX-9 in a number of ways. First, it is very unique and it stands out in the vast world of SUVs. And second, the styling screams ‘sporty’ and the CX-9 delivers very well in that department.
While the exterior is nice to look at, the interior is near luxurious. The driver-oriented instrument cluster along with the metallic accents give the CX-9 a sporty theme to match its outer clothes. And surprisingly, the third row seat in the CX-9 is one of the better ones I have attempted to sit in – although leg room is still lacking. Access to it is easy, thanks to the large rear doors (which requires extra caution in tight parking lots). And when you don’t need the third row, it conveniently folds flat into the floor. When stored, there is around 38 cubic feet of cargo room. Need more room? Fold the second row and cargo capacity grows to 71 cubic feet.
The Mazda CX-9 is powered by a 2.5 liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that is good for 227 horsepower and 310 lb ft of torque. This engine, along with a six-speed automatic transmission is the only drivetrain available in the CX-9, although buyers can choose from front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The CX-9 is capable of towing up to 3,500 pounds.
The 2021 Mazda CX-9 that I recently drove was the top-of-the-line Signature model which includes the above mentioned 20″ wheels, along with exterior LED accent lighting and a premium leather interior. The $48,100 price tag includes the optional Snowflake White Pearl exterior paint.
Included in the Signature model as well as the Grand Touring model is Mazda’s Active Driving Display. This heads-up display shows speed, navigation instructions and alerts from various safety features such as Lane Departure Warning as well as Blind Spot Monitoring.
For 2021 the CX-9 receives a larger infotainment display (now 10.3 inches, up from 7 inches), along with a slightly different interface.
Saying that the CX-9 has the soul of a sports car really isn’t far fetched, and power from the small but able turbocharged engine will back that up. Going down a straight-a-way will allow you to hit 60 mph in a tick over 7 seconds, which is pretty quick, but it is when the road takes a turn that makes this Mazda really shine. The suspension makes the CX-9 act and feel as if it were a GT car and lets you quickly forget you are in an SUV of this size. Part of this is due to Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control, which is much too complicated to explain, but basically helps shifting vehicle weight and adjusting power deliver as you make turns. With fast and decisive steering, excellent brakes, and eager throttle response, you’ll be reminded of Mazda’s “zoom-zoom” jingle they used to have.
The CX-9, with its attractive styling and great road manners, is still one of the more entertaining SUVs to be in and drive. No, the Mazda CX-9 will not make you forget about having to get rid of that treasured car, but with attractive styling and great road manners, it will sure ease the pain a bit. Oh yeah, and with the CX-9, you can haul the family around, too!
– Christopher A. Randazzo
By The Numbers:
2021 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD
Base Price: $46,605.00
Price as Tested: $48,100.00
Layout: front-engine / all-wheel drive
Engine: 2.5 liter turbocharged four-cylinder
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Horsepower: 227 hp
Torque: 310 lb-ft
EPA Fuel Economy: 20 city / 26 highway mpg
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