The large midsize 3-row crossover segment is loaded with options. There are more than a dozen to choose from as every mainstream carmaker has one in their line-up at the moment. Not all a created equally, and not all are as accessible.
For the longest time, the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander owned the segment. Ford launched an Explorer that played along, then Mazda, and now even Subaru’s got one. Actually, what makes the Ascent interesting in part is an idea that was spearheaded by Mazda and that’s dropping a boosted 4-cylinder engine in a big brute of a ute.
The Mazda CX-9 leapt in to the present for the 2017 model year and, at the same time, leapt into consumers’ hearts.
Should you just skip Subaru, Ford, Toyota and the others and head straight for a Mazda dealership? Read on.
Why you should buy a 2019 Mazda CX-9:
- The turbocharged 5 litre four cylinder SkyActiv-G engine produces incredible and instantaneous low-end torque. It is a fantastic city-dweller and highway partner
- On the road, the CX-9 handles as well as large SUV could ever hope to thanks in part to standard G-Vectoring control
- As far as styling goes, Mazda’s latest crop of CUVs are some of the most attractive. Despite its massive size, the 2019 CX-9 is immensely handsome, and even looks upscale regardless of the trim
- The cabin is beautifully appointed, especially in the tested Signature trim. There’s room for everyone and almost everything
- Tech-wise, Mazda’s seriously upped its game for 2019. Mazda’s also made all the safety features available at a lower price point
Why you should not buy a 2019 Mazda CX-9:
- Reliability with passed turbocharged Mazda engines (Mazdaspeed3 and CX-7) was spotty. There were some issues early on with the 2.5T but they seem to have been addressed
- Odd for an AWD vehicle is noticeable torque steer under acceleration
- The backup camera’s resolution is terrible. As well, the graphics on the standard 7-inch and upgraded 8-inch touchscreen are sub-par
- The brake pedal lacks initial bite. This is a common problem with a number of Mazda products
- Although it’s the case with a number of 3-row SUVs, the CX-9’s heavily raked rear glass cuts into trunk space especially when the 3rd row is in use
The 2019 Mazda CX-9 has so much going for it. One of the highlights happens to be that Mazda can be aggressive with incentives and deals overall, far more than the other Japanese brands or Volkswagen. With the revised 2019 pricing structure, value has grown too.
The CX-9’s highlights are numerous, as listed above. We love the boosted 2.5-litre’s power and delivery but we are admittedly, if only slightly, concerned with long-term reliability. Generally speaking, Mazda builds excellent products that are quite reliable.
As a 3-row large-midsize crossover, the CX-9 ticks all the right boxes for family duty. The Subaru Ascent too uses a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine which also could be prone to bugs. The Subaru’s quietness and refinement are a few notches above that of the Mazda and the third row is more accessible.
If a V6 is a must, the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander will do the job. Lastly, we have a soft spot for the old-school Dodge Durango and the Volkswagen Atlas which is surprisingly good to drive, delivers decent fuel economy and has a cavernous cabin.
While not our first choice, the Mazda CX-9 would be in the top 3 along with the Subaru and Volkswagen.