Mazda’s CX-9 lives life large



While other big vehicles look like they were to made to intimidate, the CX-9 has a swooping, beautiful design.


The all-new Mazda CX-9 crossover is huge.


You don’t believe me? It’s longer than any Hummer. Nearly as long as a Cadillac Escalade. A CX-9 optioned with all-wheel-drive weighs almost as much as two Mazda MX-5 (formerly Miata) roadsters. The facts don’t lie. But you’d only ever notice while trying to garage it — or if you were stuck giving Godzilla a ride to the red carpet.

But while other big vehicles look like they were made to intimidate, the CX-9 is a swooping, beautiful design. It hides its weight by using the automotive equivalents of a black dress and vertical pinstripes: Big wheels, a high beltline, and chrome around the windows. Those elements help to break up the CX-9’s visual heft.

Inside, even the base $39,595 CX-9 GS comes equipped with 18-inch wheels, rain-sensing wipers, front and rear A/C with three-zone climate control, cruise control, keyless entry, auxiliary audio input, and a host of safety features. And if you want the $43,955 CX-9 GT, tick all the boxes for niceties like all-wheel-drive ($2,000), luxury package ($1,495), rear DVD entertainment ($1,520, satellite navigation ($3,235), and moonroof ($1,000) - your cheque to Mazda will total more than $50,000.

Two notes: All-wheel-drive is a stand-alone, $2,000 option on all CX-9s, and navigation can only be ordered for the CX-9 GT … after you’ve bought the luxury package.

Pricey, yes — but no more so than its competitors. And the innovative interior may be a deal maker. Unlike traditional SUVs, the high centre console sweeps into the dash, creating a cockpit feel. It’s very car-like, and may help former small-car drivers feel comfortable behind the wheel.

Even better is it moves like a car. There is an inherent size and weight, sure —but the steering, brakes, and acceleration (power comes from a 3.5-litre V6 with 263 horsepower) are very good for its class.

The CX-9’s trump card? Space for seven with a car-like grace. Even better, it moves like a car.

This is the CX-9’s trump card: Space for seven with car-like grace.

That said, it was conceived to be a replacement for the discontinued MPV minivan. Mazda felt customers would respond better to an SUV-like vehicle, with a high seating position and car-like driving dynamics. For people who don’t need as much space, there’s the smaller CX-7 crossover SUV.

But the CX-9 is a compelling choice in a soon-to-be overcrowded segment. The only real knock is the annoying pricing scheme. What if you want DVD navigation with a cloth interior? Not gonna happen. That said, the vehicle itself is good value for money.

Styling, interior packaging, features, and driving dynamics are all near the top of its class. It’s a whole lotta zoom-zoom to love.

2007 Mazda CX-9 GS

  • Type: Midsize 7-passenger Crossover FWD

  • Price: $39,595

  • Engine: 3.5-litre V6 DOHC

  • Horsepower: 263 @ 6250 rpm

  • Torque (lb-ft): 249 @ 4500 rpm

  • Highlights: Styling, styling and styling, crossover image, good base price, standard features, safety, handling.