2008 Mazda CX-9: My Pick of the Litter
May 13, 2008
Having the Mazda CX-9 and Buick Enclave as long-term cars at the same time has provided plenty of opportunity for head-to-head comparisons. Both crossovers have proven to be mile-gobbling staff favorites, but for me, I'd buy the Mazda.
I do prefer the Buick in some respects. It has better interior materials and looks nicer than our CX-9 Touring's more somber approach (a Grand Touring may have been a different story). Also, the ride is less firm and a lot friendlier on crappy highway pavement...
However, the CX-9's nimble steering and slightly smaller size (specifically the three-inch difference in width) makes it feel less cumbersome when driving around town. Its transmission is also quicker to downshift and I appreciate the automanual override provided (with preferred - + arrangement). Lastly, the CX-9 fits me like a glove. The telescoping wheel goes way out and the front of the height-adjusted seat pushes up high, providing my long legs with ample support. It's not that I'm not comfortable in the Enclave (or any of the GM triplets), but the CX-9 fits me better than 95 percent of all other cars.
If the CX-9 didn't exist, I'd probably pick the Enclave (or rather the Acadia) as an easy favorite. But the CX-9 does exist.
James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 14,766 miles