2010 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring 4dr SUV AWD (3.7L 6cyl 6A)
After 8 months: best combination of driving experience, braking, interior space & comfort, technology and safety amongst Highlander, 4Runner, Pilot, Sante Fe,Outback, Tribeca, Vera Cruz & other Asian SUV/CUV's w/ AWD evaluated (Asian quality/value bias after owning 20+ domestic, Euro & lately Asian vehicles). A nearly perfect family of 5 transport design w/ generous 2nd row and a 3rd row even adults could fit into in a pinch - and still have some cargo room. Not there isn't decent competition, but the steering, decent acceleration & AWD, excellent brakes and low road noise compared to even pricier CUVs are impressive. Drive of the CX-9 to others considered or you will be short changed.
Handling, steering, brakes, engine, transmission, seat comfort, a/c, trip computer, blue tooth, HID / LED lgihts, Bose sound system, blind spot monitor, adjustable 2nd row for fast growing boys, cargo space - sharp looks don't hurt either.
OEM NAV system not worth the price - a 7" screen Magellan @ $195 fits into the console cup bay perfectly - Mazda needs to move to more state of the art NAV tech to justify $1500+. In a perfect world, higher gas mileage would be nice, but for this size & weight, the 87 octane gas 21 MPG is a small trade