2008 Mazda CX-9 Long Term Road Test - Audio & Technology

2008 Mazda CX-9 Long-Term Road Test

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Audio & Technology

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Mazda CX-9 is Well Traveled

September 29, 2008


After a 480-mile weekend round-trip to the Central Coast, I was hoping to shed some new light on our Mazda CX-9. I discovered, however, my fellow bloggers had already made 40 posts on the well-traveled vehicle. Oldham has illuminated us on the dim bulbs which are indeed poor, MacKinnon logged our collective fuel economy, to which I can now add my 20 mpg average, Riswick documented the fritzy window switches that seem to have fixed themselves, and Riches, among others, posted a warning about the handy-yet-miniscule rear-view camera that I can attest is even harder to see with polarized sunglasses.

Despite my daughter's best efforts to adjust the rear HVAC knobs with her feet from the child's seat, they didn't fall off once, unlike Jacquot's experience. And only after reading Brauer's post about the counterintuitive audio controls did I learn that it wasn't necessary for me to push-push-push the toggling tune button to advance radio stations. (The multi-functioning tuning knob is directly below the button I used--duh.

About the only thing I can add is that Sirius satellite radio is very difficult to use in the absence of a more advanced display. The over taxed dot-matrix display (that also shows time of day, HVAC temp and mode) reads, "Loading" for about 5 seconds when you finally land on a station with a limited ability to display what and where you are on the dial. Happily, we've got a few key stations saved as presets which made jumping ahead a little less problematic.

I performed the initial testing back in January, and it still feels as sporty now as it did then. The CX-9 really does drive smaller than it really is, which is big. I wish I had more to share, but the highly competent CX-9 has seen a ton of use in its 9.5 months with us. At this rate, it'll likely rack up 30,000 miles before it leaves in January.

Chris Walton, Chief Road Test Editor @ 22,736 miles

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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: That's Using Your Head

January 22, 2008

Warning: The following 2008 Mazda CX-9 post may contain discussions of volume and volume settings that might only be fully appreciated by Nigel Tufnel of Spinal Tap. Some aspects of Andy Rooney-ism are liable to creep in, as well.

Didja ever notice that when you switch from, say, the FM radio to your iPod running through the Aux connection that the volume levels don't match up? Most of the time, I find the iPod volume to be too soft - even with the iPod turned up to max.

After switching from AM or FM, I find I have to turn up the volume so I can hear the iTunes version of NPR's "Wait, wait," or my personal heavy metal favorite "Big Bottom" on my Nano. A few minutes down the road, I switch back to AM for a traffic report and the durn volume is now so loud that it blasts my eardrums clear in. Dontcha just hate that?

It seems that many cars have their volume knob linked across the various inputs. So, for example, if I set the volume to 11 on my AM dial, its setting is 11 for FM, AM, CD, Sirius and, usually, Aux. This is fine for most of those, as the levels have been standardized and normalized over the years.

But Aux jack inputs are different. No one seems to be able to decide what the output level of the typical third-party music player should be, or the level at which an iTunes song or podcast should be mixed. So, in some cars, the iPod sounds come in lower than the rest - most of the time, actually. But I find that it can vary from podcast to podcast, song to song.

So I was gratified and relieved to find out that Mazda has thought about this. If I set the volume to 12, as shown below, that volume level carries over to AM, FM, Sirius and CD, as per usual.

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2008 Mazda CX-9: MP3s to My Ears

January 03, 2008

As if the Mazda CX-9's driving dynamics, functionality and interior design aren't reason enough to love it, I recently tried out its auxiliary audio input with my iPhone. Guess what? It works! Yeah, not a big deal to most of you, but this is my first i-Anything, so the concept of simply plugging in a cable and hearing your own 2 gigs/500 songs worth of music is still relatively new to me.

Pretty cool.

Karl Brauer, Editor in Chief, Edmunds.com @ 6,030 miles

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