2016 Mazda CX-9: Monthly Update for January 2017
by Jonathan Elfalan, Senior Road Test Editor
Where Did We Drive It?
We took delivery of our beautiful Titanium Flash Mica 2016 Mazda CX-9 in December, as Dan Edmunds noted in the CX-9's Long-Term Introduction. Dan also added some break-in miles over the holidays with a trip up to Oregon, during which he voluntarily tested the fold-flat "sleeping configuration" of the rear seats. But that's a story for another time.
In terms of equipment, our Grand Touring model isn't far off the top-of-the-line Signature model that we had in for a previous short-term test, though the Signature's gorgeous Rosewood interior accents would persuade me to shell out the extra greenbacks if I were buying. The optional all-wheel-drive system on our CX-9 makes it an attractive choice for upcoming trips through the winter and spring, especially with local mountain resorts reporting as much as 28 feet of snowfall this season.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
With a couple of highway-heavy tanks in the bank, our 2016 Mazda CX-9's average fuel economy is off to a decent start. Our two-month lifetime average is 1 mpg shy of the EPA combined estimate of 23 mpg, with our most efficient tank coming in at 24.5 mpg.
Average lifetime mpg: 22.1
EPA mpg rating: 23 combined (21 city/26 highway)
Best fill mpg: 24.5
Best range: 414.7 miles
Current odometer: 4,246 miles
Maintenance and Upkeep
Our CX-9's maintenance interval mirrors that of our recently departed MX-5 Miata at a leisurely 7,500 miles, so we don't expect to see a service bay anytime soon.
"I'm a fan of our new Mazda CX-9 overall, but they've simply failed on the adaptive cruise control system. One of the main advantages of having adaptive cruise in the city is to ease the pain of the rush-hour slog, yet the CX-9's system will not work below 20 mph. I can't think of a reason why this is a good idea." — Jonathan Elfalan, Senior Road Test Editor
"The design looks great but certainly seems to put style ahead of functionality. Not that it isn't functional — there's a good-size center console and I like the small bin in front of the shifter — but compared to the Toyota Highlander and its storage shelf that spans nearly the entire width of the dashboard, the CX-9 is less accommodating." — Ed Hellwig, Executive Editor
"Picking up a full load of kids for carpooling means two unlucky riders get to climb into the third-row seat. Knowing this, I purposely left the maneuvering of the second-row seats to the others to see if they could figure it out on the first try. It didn't really work out that well. Lifting the lever on the outside of the second-row seat merely tilts it forward, at least when there's a kid already sitting in the middle. I'm guessing it slides, too, but no one wants to wait around to see. When it came time to get out, the third-row kids used the latches on the backs of the middle seats to tilt and slide them forward, though not enough for a graceful exit. So far it's not an easy-enough system to learn on the fly." — Ed Hellwig