What is it: The 2019 Mazda CX-9 is a midsize SUV from a mainstream brand that’s attempting to creep towards the premium market. The Grand Touring model is one level below the top trim for the CX-9، still above Sport and Touring، but underneath the Signature، which is all-wheel-drive only. Every other CX-9 can be purchased with the option to send power to just the front، or all four wheels. Highlights: New for 2019، the CX-9 offers more technology to woo general consumers. Critically، Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now offered on Touring trimmed and above CX-9s. If you buy a Grand Touring، like the one we drove، you also get a seven-inch touchscreen display، 360 degree view blind spot cameras and ventilated seats. Signature trimmed versions now have a new wood trim and Signature badge. Mazda is the one and only mainstream car brand that consistantly maintains an iron grip on driving feel، despite technology and general consumers pushing in the other direction. In the past، that meant Mazda was a touch behind in gadgets and tech، but ahead in engagement. The hardcore enthusiasts among us love it; sadly we’re not a big enough group to support the company.
But now، a quick look at highlights show that Mazda is closing the gadgets gap and still remains an engaging drive، even with its entry in the three-row crossover SUV category. What does that mean? Systems like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available to keep the commoners happy، while driving enthusiasts like us still enjoy the experience behind the wheel. And we can all enjoy the pretty darn decent turbocharged motor and drivetrain.
Every CX-9 runs a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that makes an adequate peak 227 hp at 5،000 rpm and a much more than adequate 310 lb-ft of torque at 2،000 rpm، all while running on 87 octane gasoline. If you fill the tank with 93 octane، claimed peak output rises to 250 hp، still at 5،000 rpm، while torque remains the same. No matter what grade of fuel you use، it’s still a six-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy depends on trim and driven wheel، ranging from 20-22 mpg city، 26-28 highway، and 23-24 combined.
Because you get over 300 pound-feet of torque to play with، brisk acceleration is never far away and that’s despite the nowadays low number of forward gears from the transmission. More critically، the chassis constantly provides clear and pleasant feedback to the driver. No، it’s not as lithe and lively as an MX-5، but if you find yourself on a nice twisty road، you’ll be entertained all the same.
Mazda built a good looking، functional، well-equipped machine that now also checks a lot of non-enthusiast consumer boxes as well. If they choose the CX-9، they might learn to enjoy driving too.