The 2014 Mazda CX-9 is something of an anomaly for a company that excels at building small agile cars with their innovative Skyactiv technology. While the Skyactiv technology is more minimalist in nature, the CX-9 leans more toward the other side of the spectrum ? elegant and refined.
More of a product of the old school Mazda, we think the CX-9, is very well done and a strong competitor in that group of mid- to large crossover /SUVs. In 2013, the flagship three-row Mazda CX-9 received a major refresh including a dose of KODO ?Soul in Motion? design enhancements. While the original version still looks good, the new version has a more sophisticated and elegant demeanor that sets it apart from competitors.
At 200-inches long, the CX-9 is only four inches shorter than the Chevrolet Tahoe and a few inches longer than the Ford Explorer. The KODO styling makes it look more streamline and not boxy like more traditionally styled crossovers and SUVs. It also has a sportier feel behind the wheel ? more like a sport wagon than a truck.
The 2014 Mazda CX-9 ?office? or interior has a clean contemporary design accented with comfortable, mildly bolstered leather seating (front two rows) in the top two levels, with the front seats are heated.
The optional Touring Technology Package that was included on our test vehicle includes a navigation system designed by aftermarket maker, TomTom. The audio system-mounted unit sits in the center stack at about the same level as the center of the steering wheel. This requires taking your eyes off the road to look at the map to a relatively small (by today?s standards) 5.8-inch screen. The audio portion of the unit does include the latest technologies like HD radio, satellite radio, Pandora and Bluetooth streaming. The system links with the Internet using a smartphone connection.
The big Mazda will tow up to 3,500 pounds when equipped with the optional ($425) towing package.
Like most top-level models the GT has a long equipment list with all the convenience and comfort features we expect at this price point. It also has some important safety features we think should be on all cars including blind spot monitoring, roll stability control and rain sensor wipers. We also appreciate other features like the Rear Cross Traffic alert system, Bi-Xenon headlights and power liftgate that are standard on the top level Grand Touring.
The 2014 Mazda CX-9 is well-equipped with most of the latest technologies, it?s comfortable and enjoyable drive, plus it?s a good value.