Like most relationships, being together for longer periods of time brings out characteristics that may or may not change one’s initial “love-at-first sight” feelings. More often than not, initial in-your-face reactions turn into “normal” emotions. Additionally, sometimes characteristics that didn’t bother you before start becoming real irritants, that the longer you remain together, the more major they become. Your original strong emotional thoughts about your partner become less magnified the longer you are together because of those pesky, small things.
In many ways, this is NOT the case with this wonderful CX-9. OK, let’s be honest. There are a few minor (major?) annoyances (No CD player?). Yet, now that it has become my daily driver, the one major nuisance is its size. It’s a big Crossover. OK, the front looks stunning and masculine, but it is a wide body, no matter how you slice it. You do not sit too tall in the car but you do know you are in a definite utility vehicle. So much so that I began to start avoiding Waze-recommended side streets because maneuvering this extensive Crossover through “makitid” (narrow) streets turned into a horrifying experience. (I think that maybe I do need another smaller vehicle … say the equally wonderful CX-3).
During the recent rain storms, the CX-9 showed extreme poise and confidence through the many weeks of “habagat”. Its All-Wheel Drive system never exhibited any slipping or skidding driving through the wet and flooded streets of Metro Manila. Traveling Commonwealth Avenue at speed limits did not give any cause for concern during the heavy downpours. ABS brakes handled all emergency stops in a non-panicky manner. Its rather low ground clearance (by SUV standards) may have had me less daring to traverse the flooded Metro Manila streets, but I know there would be no problems handling one to two feet of deep water. I did go through some flooded roads and the CX-9 did not miss a beat. Still, I chose NOT to try and test this vehicle with waist high deep waters. No one should. Bottom line, this is a nice car to drive on dry and wet pavements.
Cabanatuan City, Palayan City, Lipa City, Lemery (Batangas)
When you drive on either NLEX or SLEX, this Mazda exhibits its tremendous sports/luxury characteristics with aplomb. This is where having a CX-9 really makes sense. You begin to realize that this is where the car was really built for. Stepping on the gas to pass is so smooth and non-eventful; just continuous power going through all four wheels. The turbo coupled with the CX-9’s automatic transmission work flawlessly together. The CX-9 absorbs all the minor potholes along the way and handles twisty roads with confidence. I was late for my shoot last week and I needed to go through the short twisties towards Canyon Woods rather quickly and not once did this CX-9 give me any anxious moments. However, I do feel this car was meant for the wide highways of the US because the suspension simply absorbs every imperfection and nuance on the road with ease while delivering a car-, cloud-like, luxurious, ride. I dare anyone to find a more relaxing and poised drive at a similar price range. Hello, Audi Q7? Mercedes GLE?
Cruising down SLEX, NLEX and Star Tollway is an exciting experience. The cruise control is so seamless that sometimes you forget you have it on. This car just journeys comfortably and gives decent gas mileage. I averaged 11 km/L on the average, cruising at 100 km/h (speed limit) drives, which is excellent for such a luxurious vehicle.
Yet, I AM still driving this car like a grandfather. It’s just that it is so comfortable and easy to drive, one cannot help but enjoy the ride and drive. Speaking of which, my overall gas mileage has improved. I am now averaging 9 km/L since the time I got the car. I have driven approximately 5500 kilometers now and I am averaging 8.5 km/L due to my less than aggressive driving.
So, three months with the CX-9. WOW. I’m still in love. Minor quirks are not enough to turn me off.
I am scheduled to have this car serviced next month. Watch out for my next article online regarding Mazda’s acclaimed service center.
*This is a part of series review of the Mazda CX-9.