Two days. That’s all it took out on the street for the reigning Wheels Car of the Year to succumb to thousands of dollars of damage.
For the first five weeks at Chateau Hagon the still-new CX-9 long-termer had been tucked safely away in my carport. But the arrival of an MX-5 RF test car saw it relegated to life on the streets, which is when things went wrong.
The culprit? Ice. Big chunks of it falling from the sky. I wasn’t even home when the biggest hailstorm in years hit Sydney’s north, destroying thousands of cars and stripping leaves from trees.
To be fair, the CX-9 wasn’t destroyed. Golf ball-sized stones left more than a dozen dings in the roof and bonnet, but no windows were smashed. From 10 metres away you’d struggle to spot the damage.
Still, for $63K of new car it’s less than ideal. And the aluminium bonnet is likely requiring replacement due to the metal’s reluctance to be beaten back into shape.
From now on, though, the Azami AWD will be back under cover, something that often provides a source of excitement for my kids. They love it when I reverse towards the plants at the back of the carport and let the auto braking system grab the anchors hard, which is accompanied by a graunching sound as the ABS does its thing.
My wife isn’t as enamoured and refuses to take part in such skylarking. She’s a bigger fan of the 12-speaker Bose sound system (complete with a subwoofer in the boot) coupled to the digital radio tuner. There’s decent bass and crisp treble, making for great 80s blasts.
However, the digital radio reception isn’t as strong as it is in a Toyota, Holden, Audi or Mercedes-Benz. You can be happily bopping along to Whitney Houston (the missus, not me…) on full bore, proud of how in-tune you are and how well you’re hitting the high notes … before being hit with the sound of silence when the reception strikes a black hole. Somehow the CX-9 finds plenty of them.
It’s then you realise how out of tune you are. And how you’re at least two octaves shy of hitting those high notes.
First published in the June 2017 issue of Wheels Magazine, Australia’s most experienced and most trusted car magazine since 1953.
Read part one of our Mazda Cx-9 Azami long-term review here!