2008 Mazda CX-9 Long-Term Road Test

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2008 Mazda CX-9: Don't Get Complacent

June 10, 2008

I love the compact mirror-mounted display for our 2008 Mazda CX-9's back-up camera. This morning while backing into a parking space, though, I was reacquainted with the limitations of a tiny camera mounted just above the rear bumper.

Based on the mirror display, it was clear sailing into the parking space. But a glance out the back window told a different story.

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2008 Mazda CX-9: Big Tea

May 27, 2008

Big cupholders seem like a silly reason to like a certain car. It didn't seem so silly when I dropped my new favorite beverage in the CX-9's bigger is better holder - a perfect fit. Another little touch that I like about the CX-9 is the front power windows - both are one touch up and down. No big deal really, but both windows have a feature that makes it easy to "crack" the window... Hit the button slightly and it moves to the same barely open position each time.

However, I don't care for the CX-9's ride. I took it on a trip a few months ago and thought it was fine on the highway. This weekend, I stuck to surface streets and boulevards and found the Mazda to be to stiff - my wife even said she felt a little car sick after a 45 min ride. And no, she's not a complainer by nature. I get that the CX-9 has better handling than other, softer SUVs, unfortunately I don't live near a slalom or a twisty mountain road so I'd rather just have the comfort.

Brian Moody, Road Test Editor.

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2008 Mazda CX-9: Loose Knobs

May 05, 2008

Despite the fact that I'm not much for SUVs, I like our long-term Mazda CX-9. Its size is perfect for being utilitarian without being unwieldy. And it drives well. There's more steering feel and better response than I've come to expect in three-row SUVs. Plus, I can haul a kid, a bike and my wife (order not important here) without feeling cramped. And I think Mazda's interiors are usually class leading.

So why is it that every time I'm in the back of the CX-9 I knock the rear-seat climate control temperature knob onto the floor?

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2009 Mazda CX-9: Watch Your Cranium

April 07, 2008

A professional reenactment - don't try this at home.

During our Sacramento run, my wife spent some time behind the wheel of our 2008 Mazda CX-9. At 5' 4" tall, her driving position is quite a ways further forward than mine and she cranks the seat height up to see properly.

The first time she got back in to her previously-set driving position, she nearly knocked herself unconcious. The sleekly-styled CX-9 has a much more steeply-raked windshield than its competition, but she has to scoot and lean forward towards it to get past the seat bolsters when she gets in.

Cranium, meet a-pillar. A-pillar, this is Cranium.

She'd need to learn to duck to drive this one daily, but that's easier said than done as she simultaneously needs to step up to get into the seat. I suppose she could move the seat down and back each time she gets out, but that's such a pain and power seats are so s-l-o-w.

I don't have this problem because my seat position is already all the way back and down, because I actually sit DOWN onto the seat and because I've hit my head getting in and out of enough caged racecars to have made the "duck" reflex instinctual.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 11,345 miles

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2008 Mazda CX-9: Console of Hard Knocks

March 07, 2008

As long as a car drives right, I generally don't mind so much if the interior's covered in hard plastic. And as I discovered on a road trip to Santa Barbara yesterday, our long-term CX-9 certainly drives right -- the steering's a bit light for my taste, but it's quick and accurate, and I didn't think it was possible for such a large vehicle to feel so buttoned-down on serpentine sections of the Pacific Coast Highway. So normally I'd be inclined to forgive the acres of hard plastic that adorn the CX-9's dash and center console.

Unfortunately, I found that the rakish slope of said console causes the lower portion to impinge on driver knee-room, so that when I was cruising on the highway, the bony right side of my (sun-deprived) knee was in constant contact with the console's rock-hard edge. I had two unappealing choices: live with the discomfort, or hold my leg in an unnaturally upright position for the duration of the trip. Though my dimensions are on the tall side of normal (6'1", 32.5-inch inseam), I can't imagine I'm the only person who's had this problem.

Upright consoles tend to be less problematic because it's typically the fleshy side of your calf muscle that rests against them, not the bony side of your knee. I like the aesthetically pleasing rake of the CX-9's console, though. It just needs some kind of soft-touch material in the circled area for knee-cushioning purposes.

Josh Sadlier, Associate Editor, Edmunds.com @ 9,146 miles

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2008 Mazda CX-9: The Back-Up Display in the Rearview Mirror

March 05, 2008

We've had the 2008 Mazda CX-9 in our fleet since last year and last night was my first time in it. It was also the first time that I've seen a car with a back-up camera display in the rearview mirror. Neat! Well, that was my first reaction until I realized how distracting it was. The picture is so tiny that it's almost useless to me. I was squinting my eyes trying to make out what the little picture was telling me but then decided to just actually look at the rearview mirror instead and then look out the back window as I was backing up. You know, the "old-fashion" way.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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2008 Mazda CX-9: (Re)Learn and Know your Knobs

March 03, 2008

The traditional design and placement of automotive audio knobs has been under assault for quite some time. We've now got everything from iDrive, that tries to perform every function with one knob, to various Scion faceplates with no knobs.

I'm a fuddy-duddy when it comes to faceplate knobs: give me power (push) and volume (twist) on the left side, bass/treble/balance control (push, then twist) along with manual frequency tuning or CD track advance (just twist) on the right side. The ultimate in "KISS" design -- meaning some engineering brainiac can't resist trying to improve on it.

Our long-term 2008 Mazda CX-9 is a perfect example. In this vehicle you have one large central knob for power (push) and volume (twist), plus a left-side knob for manual tuning/track advance (twist) and display change (push). You also have a right-side knob for bass/treble/balance control (push, then twist). I first saw this "big, central knob" design on our long-term Honda Pilot, and I eventually got used to it. I'm sure owners of the CX-9 will do the same, but I still find myself reaching for the left knob to adjust volume and the right knob to manually tune the radio. Don't get me started on the new Accord's center stack controls...

Obviously modern audio systems are more complex than they used to be, but adding knobs -- and putting them in strange locations, doesn't seem like the best solution. Certainly Toyota doesn't think so. Even with all the modern gadgetry packed into the Lexus line those models continue to use the old, fuddy-duddy knob placement.

Karl Brauer, Editor in Chief, Edmunds.com @ 8858 miles

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