2016 Mazda CX-9: Monthly Update for June 2017
by Ron Montoya, Senior Consumer Advice Editor
Where Did We Drive It?
Our 2016 Mazda CX-9 not only shuttled some of the women in our department to a work lunch, but it also took some of them to work and back. It also paid a couple visits to San Diego, California. Along the way, I was impressed with the CX-9's head-up display, Dan liked driving it in Sport mode, and Matt was digging the sound system.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
We drove the Mazda CX-9 about 1,445 miles in June and averaged about 20 mpg over six fill-ups. The lifetime average of 22 mpg remained unchanged, so we've been consistent drivers this month. Despite us going on a few long drives, it's hard to reach the EPA's highway number with Southern California's notorious traffic.
Average lifetime mpg: 22
EPA mpg rating: 23 combined (21 city/26 highway)
Best fill mpg: 26.7
Best range: 461.4 miles
Current odometer: 15,280 miles
Maintenance and Upkeep
"Our department has seven women, which worked out nicely when taking the CX-9 to a work lunch. We piled in and all fit nicely. Community Manager Sarah Johnston had to sit in the third row with someone else. 'I would definitely say it is not going to be as comfortable for anyone who is 5-foot-5 or taller. Minimal legroom, and could use better air-conditioner reach back there. But the ride was smooth!' Content Operations Manager Bryn MacKinnon was relegated to the middle seat in the second row and was perfectly comfortable. She wasn't too keen on access to the third row, however. 'The machinations to get the second row to move up so that someone can get to the third row seemed more trouble than I'd want to have to deal with on a daily basis.'" — Caroline Pardilla, senior copy editor
"Managing Editor Kelly Hellwig was tasked with driving our ladies who lunch to lunch and noticed how much a packed car affected the CX-9's stopping ability. 'Totally different driving experience fully loaded. I was especially cognizant about increasing my stopping distance approaching red lights.'" — Caroline Pardilla
"This CX-9 has power almost everywhere in the powerband. It's one of the few cars, and definitely one of the only three-row SUVs I can think of, where there's not a hugely discernible difference between standard and Sport modes. That's to say that standard mode is responsive enough that you'd almost never need Sport. You can just stomp on it in regular mode and it moves. Switching to Sport mode gives it that little extra, and it's a Sport mode you can actually drive around town. It's not something you need to reserve for the curves or open back roads. It hangs onto revs a little more than regular mode, but it's not so high-strung that you can't enjoy it around town, from stoplight to stoplight. It just amps up everything a tad bit more. I find I switch it into Sport instinctively now, just because it's that much more fun and doesn't feel so intense when just ambling around." — Dan Frio, automotive editor
"'Wow,' my passenger said, unprompted. 'Mazda went luxury with this thing, eh?' Why yes, it did, or at least that was the idea. But you never know until the real-world reactions come in. In this case, I think my passenger's right: Mazda has imbued the CX-9 with a genuinely upscale feel. Is it as nice as an Acura MDX? My advice to crossover shoppers would be to drive both and see what you think." — Josh Sadlier, senior manager, content strategy
"The rear passenger headrests are really tall and really intrusive to rear visibility. I suppose it's a moot point if you have riders and their heads bobbing around back there anyway. But if someone had used the third row and you later got behind the wheel as a solo driver, you'd have to suffer through those tall headrests in your sight line for the duration of your drive.
"As it is, the only way to drop those headrests is to manually drop the seats. You'll need to live with the headrests anytime you want the third row up, or just drive around with it folded most of the time. Thus, we beseech Mazda to install a power-folding headrest or power-folding third-row seat mechanism and button to the driver's instrument panel." — Dan Frio
"Drove to San Diego County for a wedding this past weekend and the Mazda CX-9 was a great road trip companion. It was quiet, comfortable and had plenty of power for passing on the highway. I liked the head-up display we have in our Grand Touring model. It keeps your eyes trained on the road as all the pertinent information is displayed on the windshield. It was also a hot weekend and the tri-zone climate control cooled the cabin nicely." — Ron Montoya, senior consumer advice editor
"If I were deciding between three-row family haulers, it would be a hard choice because everything on the market now is just so good. When just about everything is solid, sometimes a small thing like a butt-kicking stereo can be the tiebreaker. I'm a sucker for a hearty audio system and this thing delivers." — Matt Jones, senior consumer advice editor