Solid and roomy, but where's the lateral visibility?
The CX-9 has all the ingredients to succeed: good liveability, versatility, solid handling and adequate performance. But (and there is always a "but") parking the vehicle and maneuvering through city traffic prove to be a delicate and sometimes frustrating affair because of the lack of lateral and rearward visibility.
The CX-9 is considered as an urban crossover and certainly not as an off-road SUV. My tester, a GT model, was firmly planted on massive 20-inch wheels and sported a very appropriate masculine look. The vehicle makes its presence felt in the city and on the highway. It does not go unnoticed.
Despite having to climb to get on board, passengers benefit from ample room, especially those sitting in front. The second row is comfortable for two adults or three kids, while the third row is pretty accessible for two young teenagers or children. The centre handle helps a lot when you want to exit the third-row seats; again, it's easier for a kid than for an adult. The great climate control system and the high-performing audio-video unit are matched by quality materials and fit. The soundproofing is also worth mentioning.
Everything falls naturally into place. In GT trim, there is a power-adjustable driver seat and telescoping steering wheel to ensure a comfortable and safe driving position. The clear backlighting allows for an accurate reading of the various instruments. Meanwhile, the efficient wipers as well as the powerful defroster and headlights make it possible to safely drive through the elements and in the dark.
This is one of the main qualities Mazda is known for. The CX-9 is certainly no exception. Its solid, surefooted handling is obvious proof. One feels totally secure behind the wheel of this big crossover--on highways or byroads. The suspension does a good job of soaking up bumps and potholes. Also, you can attack turns with confidence because body roll is limited.
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