Monthly Update for May 2017 - 2016 Mazda CX-9 Long-Term Road Test

2016 Mazda CX-9 Long-Term Road Test

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2016 Mazda CX-9: Monthly Update for May 2017

by Josh Sadlier, Senior Manager of Content Strategy

Where Did We Drive It?
The long-term 2016 Mazda CX-9 continued to win plaudits in May for its punchy performance and — predictably, perhaps — its practicality. Senior Writer Carlos Lago rolled up many of this month's miles on a road trip to Lake Tahoe, while other staffers chipped in per usual with various commuting and errand-running ventures.

On the fuel economy front, we're inching closer to the EPA's estimate of 23 mpg in mixed driving, which is something of a welcome surprise in this era of highly rated turbocharged vehicles that struggle to deliver in the real world. Overall, it's hard to find anyone with a bad word to say about the CX-9 so far.

What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
It was a busy month for the CX-9. Conveniently, we filled it up on the first and last day of May, making it easy to calculate the 2,547 miles we covered — a pace that would get us to our 20,000-mile target well before the end of the yearlong test.

The best tank for the month checked in at 26.1 mpg, which is right on the EPA's highway estimate, while the worst was a still-respectable 19.5 mpg. Not bad for a large three-row crossover that has impressed just about all of us with its eager and effortless acceleration (more on that below).

Average lifetime mpg: 22.2
EPA mpg rating: 23 combined (21 city/26 highway)
Best fill mpg: 26.7
Best range: 461.4 miles
Current odometer: 13,832 miles

Maintenance and Upkeep
None.

Logbook Highlights

Cargo Space
"I used the CX-9 to pick up a rolling toolbox I'd abandoned at my mom's house around a decade ago. The two-part box stands roughly 4 or 5 feet tall when assembled, so I was a little concerned about fitting it inside, but I didn't need to be. It fit perfectly. The top part went on the folded second row, and the bottom part just squeezed between the second row and rear hatch. The only problem was the rattling I endured over the eight-hour drive back home." — Carlos Lago, senior writer

2016 Mazda CX-9

Performance
"The 2016 Mazda CX-9 has a great engine. The 2.5-liter turbo-four is very responsive and is easily up to the task of moving this midsize SUV." — Ron Montoya, senior consumer advice editor

"I love the low-end power from this engine. Feels more powerful than any SUV in this segment with almost turbodiesel-like grunt. It accelerates powerfully from stoplight to stoplight in the city, and has excellent freeway passing power, too." — Carlos Lago

"I want to like the CX-9's engine, and I generally do. It feels responsive in most situations, with a boatload of low-end torque that belies its modest power rating. But when you're really on it, foot to the floor, some unbecoming vibrations make their way past the firewall and into your bones. Yes, four-cylinder engines are more prone to this sort of thing, but that doesn't stop certain manufacturers (Volkswagen comes to mind in this price range) from making four-bangers that, well, don't bang. No big deal, you might be thinking, but not so fast. Mazda has upscale aspirations with this rig; the carmaker wants you to consider it alongside premium-brand family haulers. In many ways the CX-9 is indeed a legit lower-cost alternative to such vehicles, but I'll wait to give my full endorsement until I can plant my right foot without feeling that budget-class buzz." — Josh Sadlier, senior manager of content strategy

Technology-Audio
"My girlfriend tells me the Bluetooth quality is the best she's heard me use yet. Considering how frequently I bounce between cars, that means a lot. According to her, the Bluetooth sounds like I was on the headset. Good going, Mazda." — Carlos Lago

Interior
"The driver's seat is turning blue. I don't know if it's the fault of my admittedly cheap blue jeans, but it's a bummer to see. White interiors always look neat, but here's another reason to avoid them." — Carlos Lago

2016 Mazda CX-9

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