2011 Mazda CX-9 Touring 4dr SUV AWD (3.7L 6cyl 6A)
Like most reviewers, I looked at a lot of cars in this class.
Right now, the CX-9 is the best deal, hands down.
For around $32K, you get a lot more features for the dollar than almost any competitor, foreign or domestic. The CX-9 has been around several years, so the reliability should be terrific.
It may not have every bell and whistle, but it's got the ones that really matter.
The bluetooth works great with my iPhone, both for music and phone calls. And the rear backing camera will make you wonder how you ever lived without it. I also love the flexibility of the third row and sliding second row. Despite being several years old, the design is still modern and eye-catching; nothing else quite looks like it. Very cool.
The gas mileage is terrible.
The best I've done is about 18, which is not uncommon for this class/weight of car, but it's still a shock coming off a VW Passat.
I'm hoping it improves the longer I drive it (I've had it for about three months).
You can hear the fuel sloshing around in the tank, which is annoying.
But the worst element -- by far -- is the "Bose" speaker system.
I have the Touring; it may be better in the GT, I'm not sure. But this Touring sound system is one of the worst I've ever heard, and I'm amazed Bose puts its name on it. Worse yet: You can't change or updgrade it without spending thousands. So I'm stuck with a stereo I hate. Very disappointing.
Follow up comment: Now that I've owned the car for more than a year, I'm still very happy with it.
I've had almost no problems with it -- one automatic window stopped working, but a simple reset fixed it without a visit to the dealership.
I'm still frustrated with the low-end audio, but the mileage has IMPROVED over time.
I just returned from a long vacation, and got nearly 25 mpg on the highway.
That's well over 400 miles between fill ups -- and that was loaded down with two adults, to kids, and a big load of luggage.
All in all, I'm really happy with the vehicle.