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Mazda CX-9 short stay - April 2009

By Ged Bulmer, 06 May 2009 Reviews

Mazda CX-9 short stay - April 2009

Space, the final frontier.

Aficionados of this uniquely compelling column would be aware that the Bulmer family has, from time to time, struggled with the space constraints of the C-Class Estate.

This problem loomed large over the Christmas break, in the form of a mountain of stuff on our garage floor — stuff which I initially mistook as emergency aid for flood victims. Not so, said the missus, assuring me that it was all essential luggage and must be conveyed. It was, she said, a matter of life and death. Mine, presumably, if I didn't get it aboard.

Staying within the Benz family I could, perhaps, have whistled up a Sprinter van, but the lack of rear seats would have created problems for the family member chosen to be ockey-strapped into its cargo bay. A Freightliner truck might also have been deployed, but my Jacky-Howe was at the cleaners and, anyway, I'd foolishly let the truck licence expire.

These options exhausted, I searched this section of Wheels for an alternative ... and came up with the Mazda CX-9. I recalled that Mazda had made much of the space advantages of its big SUV over rivals such as the Ford Territory and Toyota Kluger. And I knew, from having driven the CX-9 at COTY, that its dynamics and performance place it firmly at the pointy end of the SUV category.

A couple of phone calls and a trip across town later, I had the wife and kids comfortably strapped into rows one and two of a silver CX-9 Luxury, with the third row folded flat to make way for our pallet-load of humanitarian aid. The CX-9 swallowed the lot, burped, and asked for more.

Four weeks of highway and urban duties later, I came away impressed by the big Mazda's performance in both applications. Its 3.7-litre V6 offered decent urge and respectable economy; its six-speed auto proved smooth and well calibrated; and, despite dimensions to the contrary, it never felt like a truck.

The clumsy interface of its optional sat-nav and a tailgate that was deemed too high and too heavy by my vertically challenged wife were the only gripes. That, and the fact it doesn't unload itself.

Date acquired: Dec 2008
Kilometres this month: 2200
Total kilometres: 2200
Av. fuel consumption: 15L/100km
Maintenance: nil

The combination of a 3.7-litre V6 and 2080kg kerb weight means the CX-9 is never going to be super thrifty around town, delivering its worst figure of 19.9L/100km in this environment. On the flip side, its fully laden open-road averages of 12.1 and 12.8L/100km are commendable.