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2015 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring AWD Review by John Heilig

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2015 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring AWD

MODEL: 2015 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring AWD
ENGINE: 3.7-liter V6
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic
HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 273 hp @ 6,250 rpm/270 lb.-ft. @ 4,250 rpm
WHEELBASE: 113.2 in.
LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 200.6 x 76.2 x 68.0 in.
TIRES: P245/50R20
CARGO: 17.2/48.3/100.7 in (3rd row up, 3rd row down/2nd and 3rd row down)
ECONOMY: 16 mpg city/22 mpg highway/18.0 mpg test
FUEL TANK: 20.1 gal.
CURB WEIGHT: 4,559 lbs.
STICKER: $39,890 (includes $830 delivery, $4,135 options)

BOTTOM LINE: The old timer of the Mazda lineup, the CX-9 is listed as a small SUV, but it truly resides in the grey area between mid-size SUV and minivan. It is fully capable, with good power and handling and lots of room.

Mazda has a wide and varied lineup. The “old timers” in that group are the MX-5 Miata and the CX-9 sport utility. Even though the CX-9 has been around for a while, that doesn’t mean it’s old.

Under the CX-9’s hood is a 3.7-liter V6 that delivers 273 horsepower. It drives the front wheels through a 6-speed automatic transmission. These are pretty standard fare these days, plus or minus a tenth of a liter or so. This is enough power for the 4,559-pound vehicle, that I consider a cross between an SUV and a minivan. The EPA calls it a small SUV, but it’s much bigger than that.

Firing up the engine is unlike most start/stop buttons. While there is a keyless ignition, you still turn a key-like knob on the steering column to start and stop the engine. The keys can be stored in a small cubby at the base of the center stack ahead of the shifter. You can put your cell phone in there, too.

Handling is more like an SUV than a minivan, meaning that there is less lean in corners. There is some lean, however. The gearbox is smooth, whether in automatic or manual mode.

With most automatic/manual transmissions, when you switch to manual mode, the gear is indicated on the dash, much like it is with the automatic. One feature I like about the CX-9 is that the gear is indicated even in automatic mode. This isn’t just a “D,” but the actual number like, 1, 2, or 6. It’s nice to know just which gear you’re in.

Besides the gear indictor, the instrument panel is clear, with small water and fuel gauges flan king larger tachometer and speedometer dials. An information panel is in the middle. Equally clear is the center-mounted screen for audio and navigation. It’s easy to navigate among the various audio choices.

There’s a flat center console with two covered cupholders. The divider between the two cupholders can be removed to enhance the cupholding experience. The center console/arm rest is divided with USB, AUX and 12-volt plugs.

The front seats are comfortable with some side support. The rear bench offers very good leg room. These seats slide forward to provide access to the third row, which seems more like an afterthought.

Cargo space is excellent with 17.2 cubic feet behind the third row. This is comparable to large sedans. With the third row seats folded, cargo expands to 48.3 cubic feet, which is enough for most projects. In addition, there are eight tie-downd and a small cubby like area on the right that is perfect for grocery bags,

The Mazda CX-9 may be essentially a carryover model for 2015, but it is as modern as any vehicle. Sure, it may be a SUV or it may be a minivan, burt whtever you call it, it’s practical.

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