July 14, 2008
No one else has mentioned this before but I noticed over the weekend that the brakes for our 2008 Mazda CX-9 feel crunchy or shudder a bit. The thing is, this wasn't a consistent thing and I couldn't duplicate it if I tried. I had just noticed it when I drove it first thing on Saturday morning. But then it never reappeared as badly as it did in that first hour.
But it happened when I slowed to a stop and then pushed the pedal further to actually stop the vehicle. The flutter was so noticeable that I wondered if there was something seriously wrong. "Uh oh, the CX-9 needs to be taken in!" But then, it never was that bad again. I could still feel that faint flutter but someone else would have to really be aware of it to notice it. Anyway, thought I'd mention it to our vehicle testing assistant and for the record.
Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 18,857 miles
January 14, 2008
Upon seeing me pull the 2008 Mazda CX-9 into our driveway after work this past Friday, my wife remarked that two of her friends got new cars within the last couple of weeks and, coincidentally, they both independently chose the 2008 Mazda CX-9. I've got to hear more about this.
I caught up with Julie and Mary in the school parking lot to find out what they thought about their CX-9s and how they both came to the same decision. Just so I wouldn't feel out of place, I brought our 2008 Sport CX-9 along for a group shot.
Mary's CX-9 is a Grand Touring model in Black Cherry. She is moving up from a '98 Honda Accord. "I wanted something bigger, but I didn't want a van" she told me, "because the kids have grown out of their car seats."
Mary had been thinking about the CX-9 for awhile. She decided to wait for the 2008 and its bigger engine because "Everyone wants more power, right?" After test driving one and liking it, she and her husband asked for quotes via Edmunds.com. The next day they got a price they liked and closed the deal. The dealership even delivered it to their house.
She told me that the reviews she read online got it about right and there have been no surprises. While she is really happy with the car overall, Mary agrees that fuel economy and an occasional firm ride on the rougher stretches of local freeway are not CX-9 strong suits. Mary attributed the latter to the 20-inch low-profile tires. The reported rear blind spots aren't as hard to deal with as she expected, however.
Julie got a CX-9 Grand Touring as well, and hers is also Black Cherry. A roof rack sets hers apart. Unlike Mary, she's downsizing from a Toyota Sequoia, "a big truck." The Buick Enclave was also on the list but ultimately didn't make the cut becasue it was still too big.
While she and her husband had been looking and researching for awhile, and had settled on the CX-9, she wasn't expecting to get one so soon. It came as a Christmas present, big bow and all. "The dealer delivered it to a neighbor's house" she explained, "They moved it to my driveway at 4am." Strong winds blew the bow off in the night, but she was thrilled nonetheless.
Julie has barely had her CX-9 three weeks, but she likes its smaller size and easy maneuverability. She did nod her head in agreement when Mary was talking about the sometimes-firm ride.
Accolades from the media are all well and good, but sales are the real test. I don't have curent figures handy, but it would seem that Mazda has a hit on its hand.
Sure, it's a small sample. But only two of my wife's friends have purchased new cars recently, and they both chose the CX-9. They both say they've seen and heard of others in the neighborhood. Mazda hasn't managed much traction in the PTA market before - not in my neck-of-the-woods, anyway.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 7,466 miles
January 04, 2008
The sports car of large crossovers did a commendable job at the track. In case you're wondering, it wasn't that much better than the Enclave. Specifically, the slalom speeds were basically equal. I've included the Buick's numbers for comparison purposes (in gray), but remember that numbers tell only so much of the story. In real-world driving, the CX-9 feels remarkably more agile thanks to its excellent steering, lighter weight and firm suspension.
James Riswick, Associate Editor @ 6,543 miles
0-30 - 2.8 seconds (3.0)
0-45 - 4.9 seconds (5.0)
0-60 - 7.4 seconds (7.9)
0-75 - 11.1 seconds (12.0)
1/4 Mile (ET/MPH) - 15.9 seconds @ 89.4 mph (16.2 @ 86.2)
Chief Road Test Editor Chris Walton: "With its traction control system off, the CX-9 easily lights its front tires. With near-zero spin, the Mazda makes its best numbers. It upshifts smartly right at redline. This new engine really wakes up this large-ish SUV."
30-0 - 34 feet (33)
60-0 - 133 feet (129)
Walton: "Firm pedal and rapid ABS cycle make for an uneventful series of stops."
Walton: "Understeers on the limit just under the stability control's threshold for intervention. Steering doesn't really load up much and remains fairly light."
58.3 mph (limited by undefeatable stability control)
(58.6 mph also limited by undefeatable stability control)
Walton: "Good yaw response and lively steering is ultimately snubbed by non-defeat VSC. Still, when VSC intervenes, it's not over zealous but simply corrects for a millisecond and releases.
(My apologies to the two blog comments I had to delete. The blog had a programming error and I had to re-post).
December 11, 2007
There were several cars I could have driven to Laguna Seca to attend California Superbike School recently, but I picked our new CX-9 crossover instead. Why? The prospect of five uninterrupted hours of Howard Stern on its Sirius satellite radio was one big reason, but there were others.
I wanted to try out the new V6 and see if the CX-9 is able to mimic the sporty feel of the CX-7. After 650 miles behind the wheel, I would say it came though on both counts. The new V6 doesn't exactly snap your neck, but for such big vehicle the CX-9 moves pretty quickly. The six-speed transmission certainly helps. That, and keeping my foot flat on the floor 90% of the time.
Actually, the CX-9's handling impressed me more than the engine. I took the winding road you see above back from the track and it was actually fun to fling the big crossover around corners. I don't think I could say the same about our Enclave. Then again, the Enclave wouldn't have crashed so hard over all those cracks in the 5 freeway on the way home, so there are most certainly trade offs.
Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor, Edmunds.com @ 2,419 miles