Stick With The 18s - 2008 Mazda CX-9 Long-Term Road Test

2008 Mazda CX-9 Long-Term Road Test

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2008 Mazda CX-9: Stick With The 18s

August 11, 2008

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As noted in Edmunds' recent crossover comparison drive, "the CX-9 is the seven-plus-passenger crossover all but one of us would take home." Confession: I was the one. The Veracruz got my vote instead. Why? Two reasons: (1) the Veracruz had a significantly more compliant ride than the CX-9 Grand Touring in our comparo while still offering decent handling, and (2) the Hyundai's interior materials quality was leaps and bounds ahead of the Mazda's.

There's not much that can be done about (2), but our long-term CX-9 Touring provides a simple solution for (1). Whereas the CX-9 Grand Touring has 20-inch wheels, our long-termer rolls on 18s. Result? Its ride is comparatively supple, with no discernable handling penalty at any sane cornering speeds. Translation: if you pushed these CX-9s to the point where you could tell a difference, you might not come back in one piece. It's just a shame that Mazda makes you roll on dubs if you want the Grand Touring's top-of-the-line luxuries.

I still like the Veracruz a lot, but our long-term CX-9 handles better while offering a satisfactorily cushioned ride. Slap some Hyundai-style soft-touch materials on the dash and I'd be sold.

Josh Sadlier, Associate Editor, @ 19,837 miles

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