This week we’re looking at the 2008 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring front wheel drive SUV. This is ‘hot’ but unfortunately not ‘green’. We keep getting pushed and pulled by the acknowledgment that we must do something to cut our travel budget but we like all the comfort and gadgets available in today’s cars.
This CX-9 has a couple of neat features I got used to really fast and then felt naked when they were not on the next test vehicle. The keyless entry smart card device is like so many fobs that allow you to keep the key in your pocket or purse and get in the car, start and drive the car and then stop, exit and lock the car without ever having to reach for the key (no actual key) fob.
One time however I drove several hundred miles thinking the key was in my pocket but someone had parked the car for me and put the keys on the windshield wiper recessed beneath the hood. If the key fob had blown out of fell through the engine compartment I would have had a problem.
The second fabulous feature is the Blind Spot Monitoring System. Now this is REALLY cool and the best innovation in a while and I wouldn’t buy the car without it because it is only $200.
Parts – US/Canadian 10%, Japan 85%,
Assembly – Hiroshima, Japan
Class: – Special Purpose
Cars: – CX-7, CX-9, Mazda 3, 5 & 6, Mazdaspeed3 & 6, MX-5 Miata, RX-8, Tribute, Tribute Hybrid & Truck.
Since I have the opportunity to test all cars on a race track I’m acutely aware when some highway drivers insist on using our commuting lanes for their own personal raceway. High technology solutions are not far off to curtail dangerous driving habits of the few who display inconsiderate behavior at our peril. Soon satellite tracking will be able to sense erratic and dangerous drivers, ID them and suspend their drivers license. I’m not for George Orwell’s vision of big brother watching everything I do, or fail to do but the highways are public and some things we do in private are not appropriate to do in public. What can be done on the race track has no place on our highways.
An interesting phenomenon with the race drivers I have come to know well is that they have a great respect for public highways and simply do NOT do on our highways that which they routinely do on a race track for a living. They are the most polite drivers when they get off the job.
Handling & Performance:
Noticeably smooth acceleration and braking. I really like this car and it is powerful as well. And it has to be powerful to pull the two ton plus weight. Yes, that’s what makes it everything that it is – pretty, agile, 0-60 in just 7 seconds and lots of great features. But you can’t be thrilled with the fuel consumption in today’s fuel prices fast approaching world price for gas. You get what you pay for.
Beautifully done. It is just smashing and I could own this car if I could justify the fuel sucking that pulls at my wallet. And let’s face it, no matter how pretty she is you get tired of being sucked dry.
Fit and Finish:
A little pricey but a cool car to drive.
Features and Conveniences:
Blind Spot Monitoring System: Perhaps the most innovative adaptation in a long time is the sensors on the mirrors and audible sound when you click the turn signal. If there is a car in the intended lane change to close for a safe move you will see an icon on the mirror light up and a warning sound that the lane is occupied. Very smart. You gotta just love it. A side benefit is that it encourages you to signal before you turn. In fact it is absolutely addictive. You quickly begin to depend on the assist and confident feeling you get from that welcomed sound of impending doom if you fail to see blind spot traffic. And no matter how good the visibility is in any car there is always that nagging spot just off the rear bumper that can ruin your day.
Keyless entry smart card is a neat credit card size device that only needs to be on your person when you want to operate the car, but you need not take the device out of your pocket or purse.
Resource – www.safercar.gov
Ok, if you and I were making tons of money selling global warming to others we too could afford to drive this gas guzzler. Know what I mean Al Gore? If this is your price range and fuel cost is not a consideration today or tomorrow this is a great crossover that easily equals or exceeds the best out there in class. As I said, I could own this car over most of the competition. It is today and it is state of the art in electronics. Test it and I think you’ll agree. On the other hand I would look first at more fuel efficient cars. But that’s me.
Hyundai Veracruz $27-36,000, Mazda CX-9 $29-35,000, Cadillac SRX $38-45,000, GMC Envoy $28-37,000, Subaru Tribeca $30-34,000, Mercury Mountaineer $27-33,000, Infiniti FX $38-50,000, Mercedes M-Class $44-87,000, Acura MDX $40-48,000, Nissan Murano $26-36,000, Saab 9-7X $40-46,000, Lincoln MKX $36-38,000, Jeep Grand Cherokee $29-43,000, BMW X5 $46-55,000, Lexus RX 350 $38-39,000, Volkswagen Touareg 2 $39-68,000.
Handles well with smooth controls, comfortable, nice styling, quality finish and great feature innovation.
Poor fuel economy.
3.7 liter 270 hp V6 engine, 6-speed automatic transmission, 20” Aluminum Alloy wheels, auto headlights, leather heated 8-way power front seats w/3 position memory, tilt & telescope leather wrapped steering wheel with audio and cruise controls, power windows, front and side airbags, rear side air curtain air bags, stability control and traction control, vented 4-wheel anti lock disc brakes, fog lights, rain sensing wipers, heated power mirrors, Bluetooth hands free operation, 3-12 volt outlets, audio with CD player, climate control, 7 passenger seating, LATCH rear child safety anchors, tire pressure monitoring system, keyless entry smart card and anti-theft engine immobilizer.
Options: Blind spot monitoring system -$200, pearl paint $200, moon roof, Bose 6-CD package -$1,750, DVD navigation system with rear view camera, power hatch – $2,500, Total $4,660.
$3.73/ Gal avg. May 18, ‘08
for more information.
16 City and 22 Highway MPG
www.safercar.gov or 888-327-4236
MSRP $33,355 – with options $38,015.
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