For the millions of you C! Magazine fans who have followed my article on the CX-9, you all know that I made a fantastic agreement with Mazda Philippines to do a one–year long test on a normal, everyday life experience of having a CX-9. After one year, the car would be evaluated, reviewed, critiqued and written about complete with expenses, gas consumption, service experiences, repairs (if needed), etc. As you know, I suggested that I would be the one to review the car and offered to sweeten the pot by adding a win-win addition to the agreement: at the end of the test, if I liked the car, I would be given FIRST option to buy the car!
Well, the time has come. My long-term test is over (sob). After getting the car with showroom-condition 6,580.7 kilometers, I have logged an additional 15,658.3 to 22,239 kilometers. My goodness, I have traveled a lot! I took the car to Tagaytay (numerous times), Catanduanes, Baler, Tarlac, Subic, La Union, Pangasinan, Batangas, Lucena, Tanay, etc. It’s been a great ride.
The car has averaged 8.0 kms/liter during its term with me, which is not bad for a car of this caliber especially since I do on occasion step on the pedal. True, it is such a comfortable ride that sometimes I do drive it like my grandfather. And as far as additional expenses are concerned, well, I actually spent a whopping PhP0.00 in upkeep.
I find that this CX-9 is a car of many faces. You can bring the car to a black tie event, or a casual lunch/dinner, or to the beach, or do a little off-roading (OK not SERIOUS off-roading), my kid’s soccer game, the opening of “The Phantom of the Opera”, or anything! It just fits each event.
Now, having a car for a week does not give you the entire picture of owning said car. Great things, little annoyances, likes, and dislikes, may change or become magnified after many months. My initial likes are still what I liked about this car and my initial dislikes are less pronounced.
What I like about the car:
- Comfort – It is a crossover, after all, but the ride gives this car a strong European feel. It is like driving an Audi or a BMW without spending millions more.
- Power – It feels like there’s a V6 under the hood. You step on the gas and it just goes. The turbo charged 2.5-liter inline 4 carries this heavy SUV with ease.
- Handling – It does like to be driven through twisties with aplomb and confidence.
- Styling – It just looks really good … ‘nuff said.
- Interior – It feels expensive. Good leather throughout the car, with all the bells and whistles, decent navigation system, and power this and that, automatic this and that, infotainment system with a rear view camera, etc. It screams luxury.
What I don’t like about the car:
- No diesel.
- Size – Sometimes driving a huge SUV through narrow, makitid roads can be a challenge. I avoid Waze-recommended side roads as much as I can.
- Tiny 3rd row of seats. Meant only for children or adults for very short jaunts.
- No paddle shifters. (Just an irritant.)
So, what is the bottom line? Did I buy the car? Well, allow me to prefix my response this way:
For some of you who read C! Magazine and know me, well, you may know I dabble as an actor from time to time. So, to answer said query, the other week, in one of my late night taping sessions in Tanay, Rizal (by Laguna Lake) for ABS-CBN’s Wansapanatym, we ended taping at 3AM!
I drove the CX-9 home. (For the record, I do not have a driver. I drive myself.) Even though I was tired, the notion of driving this car home excited me. At 3AM, with fewer cars on the road, nice stretches of well-paved cement and asphalt were ahead for me. I started the car, switched the car’s headlights to automatic bright mode (automatically dimming and brightening the car’s high beams when it reads an approaching car), set my USB music to, well, quite loud, and proceeded to head home. I drove down Tanay’s twisting roads at spirited speeds. This car gives you total confidence. It never gave me any urgent or panic moments while tearing down the zigzag roads of Antipolo. The car took every curve, sharp or lazy, with the same tenacity and sure footedness as any sports sedan out there. Passing trucks was never hair-raising … you downshift, then boom … you’ve passed them. OK, it does NOT have slot car handling like the MX-5 but, again, not once did the car feel like it was taken to its limits and would go out on you. True, it is a heavy car, but coming off sharp curves, this CX-9 corrects itself so naturally that one can apex every corner like the best European sedans. I got home within an hour and 15-minutes … not too shabby and with no dangerous moments and with a smile on my face.
So, to answer the question on whether I bought the car … what do you think? Well, duh! Does a bear poop in the woods? Does a one-legged duck swim in a circle? Is water wet? Does Dolly Parton sleep on her back?
I’m one happy camper.