Still, to this day, the Mazda CX-9 surprises, but only those that give it a chance. Somehow, this large crossover misses the mark as it should sell better than it currently does.
At roughly 100 units a month on average, the CX-9 is outsold three times over by the Toyota Highlander. Another close competitor is the Chevrolet Traverse that GM manages to deliver nearly five times more in the same period of time. Yet, we at Auto123.com picked and would probably pick it again over its competition.
It’s got the look
The 2012 Mazda CX-9 is far better looking up close than it is from far. Unlike many cars on the road, the CX-9 requires an extra moment of attention to be fully appreciated. This may be one of the reasons why the take rate is lower than it should be.
The right colors and shadows accent the vehicle’s voluptuous curves and highlight the handsome 20” wheels. The cabin is nothing but elegance and proper modern design.
Well appointed and crafted, it’ll accommodate up to seven passengers without batting an eyelash. The seats are fairly comfortable, good for the long haul. Fit and finish are without reproach and the overall build quality is superior to most other Mazda products and a number of the players in the category as we found out first hand in the course of last year’s seven-passenger SUV comparison test.
It’s got the power
Every competitor in the segment offers up a V6 engine. The CX-9 follows the trend and proposes one of the largest-capacity V6s with a 3.7L. Its 273 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque do not make it the most powerful; however, the big ‘ute has the get up and go to keep things interesting.
Handling is actually one of the 2012 Mazda CX-9’s fortes. The fully independent suspension and meaty tires keep the large galoot on the straight and narrow, all the while allowing for more fun times behind the wheel than would be expected from a seven-seater vehicle with a curb weight of 4,550 lbs (or 2,068 kg).
With girth and grunt comes fuel consumption. On a long, mostly highway travelled road trip, the CX-9 gulped 12L/100km. At an average cruising speed of 110 km/h, the 6-speed autobox keeps engine revs low but, unfortunately, it’s not enough bring the number anywhere near the 9.0L/100km mark predicted by Mazda.
It’s got cosseting power
The 2012 Mazda CX-9 caters to just about every need a family could have, including keep everybody on board sane on a long road trip.
Not only are the seats cozy but the ride is smooth enough not to wake those that may have dosed off. The well insulated cabin remains quiet well into highway velocities.
Take it for a test drive
Once more, although not an obvious pick in the segment, the CX-9 really deserves more attention than it gets.
Even if I repeat myself until I’m blue in the face, the fact remains that Mazda’s big crossover will never be a sales leader in its segment. I suspect that, now that the CX-7 will see its plug pulled thanks to the ever-increasingly popular CX-5, the next CX-9 will be a very different beast.
Regardless, at $36,395, the 2012 CX-9’s pricing is smack-dab in the middle of the pack. The tested GT with all-wheel drive and the Navigation package chimes in at $48,420, and ends up being a relative bang-for-the-buck bargain. With the same level of kit, some competitors are nearly $4,000 more.
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