Oregon Trip Contender II - 2008 Mazda CX-9 Long-Term Road Test

2008 Mazda CX-9 Long-Term Road Test

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2008 Mazda CX-9: Oregon Trip Contender II

December 19, 2007

Presents go here...

As you might already have guessed, the 2008 Mazda CX-9 is the mystery "other choice" for our twice-yearly road trip to Oregon. Like the Buick Enclave, our's is front-wheel drive. Unlike our Enclave, this one has the seat heaters my wife covets.

Both have iPod aux jacks. The Enclave has a navigation system and our CX-9 doesn't. But that's not a factor because, after a dozen years making this drive, I know where I'm going.

The decision comes down to the view above, as we will be well and truly loaded down with luggage and gifts for 10 relations during our 2,000 mile round-trip to Pistol River, Oregon. Santa advises me that some of them are bulky.

The pertinent facts are these: cargo space with all seats in use - 17.2 cubic feet; cargo space with the third row folded - 48.4 cubic feet; cargo space with the second and third rows folded - 100.7 cubic feet. It is the second figure, 48.4 cubic feet, that matters in this case, because I do plan on bringing my young daughters along for this one.

While the Mazda CX-9's cargo capacity numbers are good, and would work well for my crew 51 weeks out of the year, the Buick Enclave is bigger inside at a particular point in time when I need space. Cargo stats: seats up - 18.9 cubes; third row down - 66; second and third rows down - 115.1 cubic feet. The Buick's advantage for this trip, 66 vs 48 cubic feet, is too big to ignore.

On top of that, the Enclave's middle row is a pair of buckets, with space between for longer items to protrude forward. The Mazda's 60/40 seat, as shown above, forms a solid wall.

I think the nod has to go to the Buick Enclave for this particular trip. But a bigger inside means a bigger outside. We'll see how that works out on the sinuous mountain roads we'll be heading into.

And I just know I'm gonna hear about the lack of seat heaters at every stop we make.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 5,865 miles

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