2008 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring 4dr SUV AWD (3.7L 6cyl 6A)
After considering the Highlander, MDX, Pilot, and Enclave, my wife and I settled on the CX-9. While not quite perfect for our needs, it was clearly the best overall SUV, and came out on top for functionality, ergonomics, and as a bonus, it didn't look like the box that a more attractive vehicle came in. We had only looked at the Mazda as an afterthought, figuring we'd end up with the Highlander, but were very surprised at the overall quality and attention to detail in the CX-9. While the Highlander had arguably better performance and interior storage space, it lacked many things the CX-9 offered, such as a split-row third seat and ample room in all three rows, among others. A very good buy.
The blind-spot monitor is our favorite; while it's not a substitute for careful driving, it helps in congested, multi-lane traffic. The overall handling is impressive for a vehicle this size. And it has a 3rd row seat that can hold adults and has usable space behind the 3rd row seat even when its up.
More in-cabin storage; the center console and the glove box don't hold much. A bit softer ride. More sound- deadening insulation to help quell coarse-pavement roar. A trip computer. Do away with the two-tone leather. Offer more color choices. We bump our heads on the rakish roof line when getting in.