Driven: 2014 Mazda CX-9 Crossover Review
By James Hamel
Family cars generally don’t come with many more uses than the 7-passenger 2014 Mazda CX-9 SUV without requiring some form of special licensing. Taking into account its standard 273 horsepower/270 lb. feet of torque 3.7 liter V6 engine, spacious cabin and ability to tow a load up to 3,500 pounds (AWD model) it is easy to see why this vehicle has been such a hit for Mazda. Oh yes, and there is also the small part about how the CX-9 is easily one of the best looking SUVs on the new car market today. There are few more difficult styling exercises than trying to make a 7-passenger SUV both highly functional and sleek looking all at the same time. In fact, how Mazda managed to pull off that visual trick may just be a question for the ages.
The 2014 Mazda CX-9 may look like it stickers in the $40,000-$50,000 range yet it starts at just $29,985 which is hugely impressive considering the standard feature count which includes three-zone climate control, halogen headlights, Bluetooth, three rows of seats, power windows, mirrors and locks, 18-inch alloys, USB/i-Pod connectivity and a 6-speaker audio system. Moving up to the $32,480 Touring model adds leather, power driver and passenger seats, heated front seats, a back-up camera with sensors, blind spot warning assist and heated side mirrors to the standard features list.
Topping the 2014 Mazda CX-9 range is the $35,035 Grand Touring model which adds 20-inch alloy rims, , electro-luminescent dials, 20-inch alloy wheels, power rear tailgate, advanced keyless entry and push button start, Bi-xenon HID headlamps and more. Keep in mind that adding all-wheel drive adds about $1,500-$2,000 to the price of the CX-9 and can be ordered with all trims. A wise investment for Touring and Grand Touring buyers is the Technology Package which adds navigation, a 10-speaker Bose center point audio system and power moonroof. Grand Touring models can also be had with a rear seat DVD entertainment system if you despise having to converse with your teenage offspring.
What’s It Like to Drive the 2014 Mazda CX-9 for a Week?
No matter which CX-9 model you choose, however, you will always be treated to a driving experience that lives up to Mazda’s “Zoom-Zoom” ad campaign. The steering rack gives the driver plenty of feedback and the suspension capably absorbs even the worst bumps modern supermarket parking lots can throw its way yet still keeps body roll at bay during spirited driving. It may not offer the same wind in the air driving experience as the Miata but in comparison to most 7-seat crossovers on the market today the CX-9 is the sporty choice. The standard six-speed automatic also knows how to keep the engine on the boil to give you plenty of passing power when you need it.
The CX-9’s EPA fuel economy estimate is 17 city/24 highway and we averaged 18.9 miles per gallon during a week of mixed freeway and around town driving. The engine in the CX-9 also runs on regular unleaded which can be a big money saver for any family on a budget. Taking into account how many years you tend to own your vehicles that could save you some serious coin considering the price difference charged at most gas stations for premium unleaded. The CX-9 also has a 20.9 gallon gas tank meaning it can probably go further on a tank of gas than you can go between bathroom breaks on road trips.
The interior of the CX-9 feels decidedly upscale and all of the materials used feel durable enough to withstand the rigors of daily abuse. Cargo room is also impressive with 17.2 cubic feet with the third row in use, 48.4 cubic feet with the third row folded and a whopping 100.7 cubic feet with all rear seats folded. With that much room you can not only raise four kids with you CX-9 but you can also move them and all of their stuff off to college. Eventually.
Why This Ride?
– Easily the sexiest looking 7-passenger SUV in its price class
– As our Canine Road Tester Roxy can attest, even the beige leather in the CX-9 can handle dirty paws
– The Mazda CX-9 Crossover’s 3.7 liter V6 makes all the right noises and plenty of power
– It drives like a much smaller SUV and as far as SUVs go it is fun to drive
– Storage capacity and hauling capability