If you’re in search of a Mazda SUV, the Mazda CX-9 (simply put) is a class above. While such a sweeping declaration isn’t something that we make with any sense of comfort, the CX-9 possesses certain nuances that prove especially enticing considering that the vehicle exists as a cornerstone of the most ‘me-too’ segment in automotive offerings.
It would be hard to argue that the SUV segment (especially its crossover subset) ranks as the most uninspired in terms of styling. The aesthetic equivalent of old-school wedge door stops, it takes some clear effort on behalf of automakers to serve up something with visual cache. And, let’s be honest, most are so busy trying to cram everything in (barring the kitchen sink, thus far) that any sense of creating something unique is superseded by an attempt to be everything for everyone. Oops. I guess I’m showing my hand on this one…that’s right…I’m no fan of the crossover SUV (but you’ve probably already figured that out).
Granted, no-one worth their salt would expect to find an accessibly-priced, spacious three-row crossover with plenty of cargo space, competitive mpg, impressive performance stats while being actually fun to drive. And for that reason, I have come to appreciate those that unapologetically refrain from trying to check every box on a list of people-pleasing features. I’d rather see an automaker make strategic compromises in order to play their strengths, rather than default to fears of “well, THEY did it, so we have to do it, too.”
Enter the CX-9 (hell…enter Mazda’s entire lineup of crossovers), and you find offerings that were clearly developed with a clear sense of intention. First, each benefits from the celebrated consistency of Mazda’s KODO design philosophy. While some might criticize it as formulaic, Mazda has sought out a way of creating one of the most easily distinguishable and on-brand lineups that we have ever seen. Each model is effectively nuanced to separate it from its stablemates, asserting an individual identity while remaining a clear part of a family.
And speaking of family, part of what makes the CX-9 so compelling is the fact that it discards the ‘family-oriented’ motivation that most automakers adhere themselves to. Visually, it’s impeccably-designed, whether you’re enjoying the unique exterior aesthetic, or appreciating the thoughtful interior. Seating seven, the roomy three-row crossover displays strong material choices, and genuinely sensible control placement. Confidently-powered, the SKYACTIV 4-cylinder with Dynamic Pressure Turbo wrangles 250 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque with aplomb. And, in terms of driver experience, the CX-9 is responsive and well-mannered, while retaining a sense of fun.
Interested in learning more about the CX-9, here’s a look at the outgoing model year offering to show you where Mazda is, and to intrigue you about where things are headed in 2019…