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Fall, Winter and Spring in the two thousand seventeen Mazda CX-9
For the most part, road testing a fresh model consists of a two-day stint covering over three hundred km. Then, it`s possible some weeks later to test the same vehicle out in greater depth, say for a period of seven days. The third possibility is to drive the vehicle for a few months to build up greater insight into its strengths and weaknesses. Of course, the majority of fresh vehicles these days are of such exemplary durability that even a road test covering several thousand kilometres likely won`t tell us much in terms of reliability.
Rather, the primary objective of doing a long-term test drive is to put the vehicle to the test in all sorts of circumstances and weather conditions. And this is exactly what we had the chance to do with the fresh Mazda CX-9, embarking in the fall of 2016, then spreading through the winter and right into the spring of 2017. We racked up upwards of Ten,000 km in the SUV, which permitted us to learn much about it and its spectacle.
Is the 4-cylinder engine up to the task?
When the CX-9 was very first unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Showcase in 2015, the largest surprise for those in attendance was not its elegant contours or its excellent interior design. Eyebrows were most raised by what sat under the fetish mask, in the form of a Two.5L 4-cylinder tasked with powering this fairly large SUV and enabling it to transport up to seven people.
For the umpteenth time, the engineers at Mazda displayed that they simply don`t tackle problems in the same way that their opposite numbers do at other manufacturers. So instead of juicing up the power level by including a more fuel-hungry V6, they opted for a petite, turbo-charged 4-cylinder that produces two hundred twenty seven hp (with regular gasoline) or two hundred fifty hp (when using super gasoline).
The amount of horsepower may not sound that extraordinaire, but the secret of this engine`s success lies in the three hundred ten lb-ft of torque it can produce, even at low RPMs. Rather than worry about impressing consumers with high raw power numbers, Mazda focused its efforts on meeting their daily needs. And so, to my surprise, I was duly affected upon very first encountering it by the responsiveness of the engine. Moreover, all through the duration of the road test, the tank was often as not packed with regular gasoline, and the reduction in power was not an issue – albeit to be clear, those extra twenty three hp do make some difference.
In any event, no matter which pump we used when packing up, the engine`s spectacle was adequate, even when it had to lug five occupants around. What was even more surprising, however, was the capability of the little 4-cylinder to pull its weight and then some – towing capacity is Trio,500 lbs. Over the course of the three seasons we drove the Mazda CX-9, average fuel use came in at around Ten.6L/100 km, which is more than acceptable for a vehicle this size.
From the time it was introduced, the CX-9 received rave reviews for the sophisticated presentation of the dashboard and luxury-minded cachet of the interior. Our months-long test drive confirmed the consensus opinion: all those who sat in it were affected as much by the elegance of said dashboard as by the overall quality of the cabin. And lo and behold, that third row of seats proved adequate to accommodate average-sized adults; it helped that their access to it is made lighter by a 2nd sliding door.
On the other palm, Mazda`s infotainment system, tho’ alright in and of itself, won`t strike fear into the hearts of the model`s competitors that suggest more for the buck. Still, the comfy front seats, generous middle-row space and ease of access to the third row make the fresh CX-9 effortless to appreciate. There`s also the ample cargo capacity to consider; it grows from four hundred seven to Two,017 litres when the rear seats are folded down. As it happens, during our road test we had on a few occasions to transport cumbersome items, and the capability of the vehicle to accommodate them proved a valuable asset.
Over the course of the road test, which extended from fall two thousand sixteen to spring 2017, we did not encounter the slightest mechanical issue. In wintertime the all-wheel drive proved to be both efficient and translucent. When road conditions became most difficult, the large family vehicle maintained its grip and behaved ideally. And while at the outset we felt that the 6-speed automatic transmission should indeed count eight of them instead, in the end the gearbox demonstrated itself to be well-calibrated and gentle when shifting.
As for the road treating of the two thousand seventeen Mazda CX-9, we found little to complain about, this despite the vehicle`s rather imposing dimensions – as long as we kept in mind we were driving an SUV and not an MX-5, say. Certainly this is one of the most pleasant SUVs to drive in its category.
The final report card, then, is a very positive one for this vehicle which has much to suggest, particularly given the asking price. The absence of a V6 proved to be no handicap at all. Unluckily, just a few weeks before the end of our extended road test, an overly-aggressive or negligent snow-plow driver caught the right front end of our CX-9, hurting the grille and a section of the bumper. Shockingly (or not), there was no note leaving contact info or even an apology. At least the headlights were untouched, which kept the cost of repairs from skyrocketing.
If you`re in the market for a vehicle able to budge seven people in convenience should include the fresh two thousand seventeen Mazda CX-9 on their brief list, particularly since it offers outstanding fuel economy for the category.