Review | 2016 Mazda CX-9 | Plump Yet Satisfying

Review | 2016 Mazda CX-9 | Plump Yet Satisfying

(quiet piano music) – The more and more I do car videos, the more I’m surprised at
what viewers wanna see. In my height I thought, “Well, everybody is
gonna wanna see Ferraris, “or just pure sports cars like
the Chevy Corsica,” but no. Over and over again,
this has been requested, the Mazda CX-9. (bang) (quiet piano music) (bang) Believe it or not, the CX-9
is on the same architecture as the CX-5 and the Mazda 3. You would never guess because
this thing looks immense. It’s wider, longer. It’s just more beefy. Now when you talk about exteriors, everybody has got a different opinion. When you look at that, I
almost got in a fist fight over that grille with Turbowski. Straight on, I think it’s
one of the best integrations on any Mazda car, but
when you get to the side, it looks like you drove it into a wall, and that’s what he said. And the more I look at
the car from the side, the more I feel the same way. So let’s talk about the front. You have the LED accents
in the headlights, much like all the new modern Mazdas, but you also have LED
low beams and high beams, which are a really nice touch. The light output is excellent
at night on this car. Coming along the side of the CX-9, this is where you start to
see that up-sizing effect that I spoke about earlier. The lines work really well
on this vehicle specifically. It doesn’t look awkward like it does on some of the smaller cars. One of my favorite parts are these gunmetal-ish 20 inch wheels, and yes, I know, the tires are gonna cost a ridiculous amount for this
car, but it looks so good here. But where this falls apart, and we talked about this
in the shop, is this. These plastic, non-painted
panels all over the car, and it just is a total distraction here. And then on top of it, they stick this chrome
finishing accent on it, and it just, you know what? I actually would take this and I would have a body
shop paint all of it. I just don’t like it. The back of the CX-9,
I can just describe it really in one way, and
that is streamlined. The lines are really clean. There’s just not an overuse of anything. I’m not a huge fan of the chrome, but the taillight design is compact, the center lines are compact. It just looks really clean and efficient. Now unlike the CX-5, this
has a power lift gate, which is just like every
other power lift gate. It’s way too slow. You really don’t have much
manual control over it. So for a vehicle like this, of course, you’re gonna have an electronic liftgate. I couldn’t see them doing a manual one. It’s just too big. Here’s what’s good about
the back end of the CX-9 is everything is manual back here. To flip down the seats, the actual headrest
goes down automatically when you pull this lever
and you push it down. Now, pulling it back up is
a little bit of a stretch, and I’ll be honest, I
don’t like it at all. I have longer legs. If you’re really short, this is probably gonna be
a pain in the ass for you. The second thing I don’t
like is these handles here, these release handles. They feel so cheap. They feel like I could
literally break them off in probably a hundred
times of pulling this, especially if you’re really
reaching and in a hurry. I don’t know how they’re gonna hold up, but I’m just saying, try
them out for yourself. The next thing is, there is a ton of room when you fold down all these seats. Now the other negative here is there is a huge gap in between, and I noticed that right away when I threw my tripod in the back. It would always get stuck
in between the seats, and god, does it piss me off, because I can’t reach it from the back. I have to go in the back door,
dig it out, and pull it up. And I can’t move these seats back, the frontal seats, to close that gap, and I’m not sure if there’s
something I’m missing here, but it’s definitely something to note. (dramatic tones) So we are under the CX-9, and what we’ve learned about this is that for the most part,
the architecture underneath is shared with the CX-5 and the Mazda 3. So a lot of all this has been reused. Now in terms of suspension
components, linkages, bushings, tie rod ends, all that type of stuff is all unique to the CX-9
and has been up-sized because this is a much larger
vehicle, but you can tell with the frame structure
and the sub-frame structure how much room is in this suspension, and the wheel wells on this because they moved things outward. And obviously it’s nice, because you can actually
see in here for once. The front part of the
underbody is like identical to the other Mazdas we’ve seen. You have the front aerial panels, all of this is covered
up for air flow purposes. There is strategically mounted drain holes and holes all over the place. – There are a very large amount of holes. We should count ’em. – It would probably take a week to count all these holes under here. But you’re no stranger
to counting holes, so. We do have a service panel to get to the oil drain
cock and the filter. – Why do they have two
screw type fasteners here and two push-in type fasteners here? – I don’t know. – Why not just go all four of these, ’cause these are gonna break or some yahoo is just gonna throw ’em out. – Right. – It’s gonna fall off anyways. – I don’t like it. Strut-based front suspension. No adjustability for
alignment aside from tow. But something you noticed right away that’s different from the other Mazdas. – What’s that? – The rubber isolators. – Oh yes. – Vibration dampers. They have them strategically
placed on this car. You have one on the lower control arms, and you noticed some other ones, too. – [Scott] Two on the struts. – Yeah, two on the actual struts
themselves in the uprights. Interesting. And the actual wheel wells are coated with a material to reduce road noise. It’s a felt-like fabric that
reduces tire and wheel noise, tire road noise, whatever. So that’s really about
it on the front, Scott. So as we get to the back and
the middle of the vehicle, this is an all-wheel drive model, and I cannot believe they offer a front wheel drive only for this because of the torque output at low RPMs, but these on-demand systems in most all-wheel drive
cars or SUVs of this type are primarily front-wheel drive biased. Now the drive shaft is always
spinning while it’s driving, and this whole rear end is activated via an electromagnetic clutch which is controlled electronically. So when the computer decides that it needs to send power
to the rear, (snaps fingers) it sends voltage, locks that clutch, and can slip the clutch as well to send power to these rear wheels to balance out the power
split front to rear. Now this is not any different
than all the other systems from Toyota, Hyundai, Honda,
all of that, it’s the same. Now where Mazda differentiates where they talk about this all the time is their use of sensor data. They wanna make this as
proactive as possible, which means it looks
at ambient temperature. It looks at steering angle sensors. It looks at g-force, yaw rate, so it knows if you’re on a hill. If you’re on a hill, obviously, it wants to send the power differently. It knows when it’s super
cold out, potential snow, when your windshield wipers
are on, it knows when it’s wet, so it can always adjust the
power before you get slippage. It can react faster than you can. So that’s their big thing. They spent a ton of time with that. Now in terms of the actual drive train, from talking to Dave, or I’ve
emailed Dave some questions, this is almost identical to the CX-5. The differential is identical. They haven’t really up-sized it here. Most everything is shared from the CX-5, and actually in the
CX-5 during the planning they knew they were gonna build this, so a lot of it is very similar. (sighs) This is the way of the future, bro. – The big wheels and big grilles. – Yep. How much are these? – 200 bucks. What’s the tread life? – I didn’t even look at that. I was afraid to look at that. – Pertinent information, 300. – God. Okay, so you’re gonna pay, for a really crumby set of tires on here, about 165 is gonna be about
the lowest you’re gonna find. These are 200 and you can go
all the way up to about 289. Winter tires are about 180 for this. So it’s something to note
in terms of consumables, and you’ll probably get what, two years out of these, three years? – Depends on who’s driving. You’re driving it, a year. – Yeah, with all the torque in the front, at least you can rotate
’em, ’cause I think you’re gonna be tearing up the fronts if you’re driving hard. You said this hood is almost
as long as that, what? – 1963 Bonneville. This is, what did I say? 48 inches from the metal to here. That’s 52. – [Mark] The Bonneville
is 52 and this is 48? – [Scott] Yeah, and
that has a proper engine and a proper layout. – What’s not proper about this? – Just look at it. My God. – Okay, so let’s talk about this, because this is a big deal. A lot of people that are huge Mazda fanatics or fans in general have been waiting a long
time for this 2.5 liter, to have a car that makes
some horsepower and torque, so here it is. – They should’ve built a V6 instead of did this to a four cylinder. – They didn’t want a V6. That’s why they built this, is to avoid having to do V6s and V8s, because they feel they can get the same effect out of
a turbo four as a V6, have it more powerful and more efficient– – And 10 times more complicated. – It is complicated, I’ll give you that. I would not wanna work on this car. We looked at it front to back, and compared to the
regular two liter and 2.5, this is vastly more complicated. So let’s talk about
what makes this special and why they did it the way they did, because this is much different than a lot of the other turbo applications that are out there. For one, it still has a
high compression ratio. – Why didn’t they just do a diesel? – That’s what this feels like driving it. Because diesel has more
problems with emissions, and they do have a diesel in Europe, but they can’t bring it over here because they can’t get it certified to pass California emissions,
all the emissions nonsense, so that’s why they’re doing this. So the first thing that
they attempted to do was create a turbocharged motor that has almost no turbo lag. And to do that, they’ve had to
custom make or custom design a head with three exhaust
ports instead of four. So your outside cylinders
have their two exhaust ports. Your middle two cylinders
share one exhaust port. And they’ve done trickery with the way they get the exhaust gas out to help pull the exhaust gas out of those middle two cylinders so all the exhaust gas is
coming out efficiently. So one of the ways they’ve done it is to build a exhaust manifold
connected to the head, and the turbo is right after it. So you have head, exhaust
manifold and butterfly valve, and your turbo sandwiched together. And that middle butterfly valve allows the actual valve to close on those three exhaust ports, and what it does is it
routes exhaust gas upward to three smaller exhaust ports, which it creates a highly
more compressed air flow to spool up that turbo almost from idle. So they’re using a trickery
through the head design, through this exhaust manifold
with a butterfly valve, to reroute the gas, to
spin up the turbo fast, and when that turbo gets
going, they open up that flap, all the exhaust gases
flow out at full speed for higher RPM action. So what it gives ’em is the
ability to have no turbo lag at the lower RPM, provide
consistent, linear power. That’s what this is all about. The next, so we’ve got a couple
other things to talk about. The EGR system is cooled,
well that’s what this has, an EGR cooler, and the whole idea is to cool that exhaust gas that’s going back into the intake or into the engine to reduce cylinder high temperature, high compression, higher risk of knock, they wanna reduce the risk of knock. Really, there is so many
tricks in this engine. In terms of head design,
they’ve taken measures. I asked about carbon buildup. That was the big thing. Now that they have a turbo on this, how are they gonna deal with
intake valve carbon buildup from the direct injection? And Dave– – It won’t have it. – Yeah, that’s what Dave’s answer was. They’re not gonna have to
deal with it on here because– – ‘Cause the air blows too
fast past intake valves it can’t ever stick. – Right, well no, it wasn’t so much about the speed of the air. – I know. – It was about the temperature,
that they’re able to control the combustion and the
ignition temperatures and all of that in the cylinder head to prevent the carbon from building up. If you can keep the temperatures in there at the proper range, you don’t
get as much carbon buildup, and the way that they’ve designed their actual cylinder walls,
their ring design, all of that, there’s very minimal blow by, including the way they’ve
done the turbo seals. There’s a lot less oil,
a lot less blow by. So long story short, Dave is saying that carbon buildup on the intake valves is going to be a non-issue on this motor. So we’re just gonna have
to take him for his word. – [Scott] We’ll see. – Now adding a turbo, which
Mazda has not had for a while, you run a heavier weight oil, 5W-30, to handle the heat, the
higher temperatures. So I asked Dave, “Do they
run an engine oil cooler?” And they do run an oil water-heat
exchanger for this car, so technically, oil cooling should not be an issue
unless you’re in maybe really, really hot climate
uphill towing situations, but overall, it should be
a non-issue for this car. So now the more real question. We could talk about all
the technology in here. That’s a more in-depth discussion, and you can find more
about it on the Internet. But the biggest thing
that people wanna know is, will this fit in the Mazda 3
and the Mazda 6 and the CX-5? – If they put a five foot
long front end on it, sure. – Actually that’s, they’ve said that it will fit in those
cars, that it will be, this could drop directly
into all of those, because it’s the same architecture. – There’s your market. You can start doing swaps. – And do some swaps. I hadn’t driven this car, and I heard about it and
I was excited about it, ’cause I thought this would be really good on a Mazda 3 or a 6 or even a CX-5, right? So after driving it, there’s no way this is gonna
go in a Mazda 3 or a Mazda 6. It would be an absolute
nightmare to drive. It would be horrible. There’s too much torque at the bottom end to control all of that to front wheels on a lightweight platform. – No, no, no, you turn
the engine that right way, send the power to the back. – You’re not gonna do
that on Mazda 3 and 6. – They should consider it. Base everything off the Miata and just– – Just build it, build that outward? Yeah, that’s exactly what I
think most people would want. (bang) The CX-9. It’s time to take a drive, and I’ve chosen sub-optimal weather. Parts of pavement are wet, others are dry, which is a good test for
the all wheel drive system in the CX-9, including
its new power output. So let’s take it around
the pavement that is broken and see how it does over some chop. The CX-9 is a cruiser, but it’s definitely
more on the sporty side. The big bumps sometimes unsettle
it, but for the most part, 90% of bad pavement feels smooth in here. In terms of road noise isolation,
it does a really good job. I mean, these are huge 20 inch wheels, so sometimes you feel a
little bit of tramlining, a little bit of pulling
when you hit some bumps, but for the most part, I think they’ve struck a
really good balance here without having to use adjustable dampers to get the sport on the smooth pavement and for it to soak up the bumps on just all the bad stuff, too. We got problems. Hey, get in my car! Get in here! They don’t wanna get in. They never wanna get in. And the CX-9 is Mazda’s
quietest vehicle ever. Now part of the trickery is, as Dave Coleman and other
engineers have stated is, they were able to reduce
so much weight outta here they could add some back, which means they’ve added sound insulation into the doors and
particularly the floorboards, and it helps a lot in the overall quality of the driving experience, specifically on a vehicle like this where it’s more of a cruiser. You’re gonna buy this for
comfort and not sporty driving. Now in terms of fitment and quality, there are some rattles in here, and it’s coming from one of the pillars on the front right passenger side, from the plastics around the windows. And I pushed on it,
pushed in different areas, and it’s a little annoying, but that’s exactly what happens when you start to silence everything down. Every little creak, vibration,
you start to notice, and that’s something that
can be very frustrating. Personally, over the life of a car, I’d rather have a little
bit more road noise. I’m trying to track down these nagging little creaks
and rattles everywhere. The next part about the driving experience is this HUD, and now you no longer have a flip up Plexiglas screen
that I wanted to rip off. It’s projected onto the glass like cars have been doing since the ’80s, and it’s a pretty good HUD,
but I have to turn it off. Because it’s LED backlit,
there’s some flicker, and when the car has vibration, you start to see the actual
projection onto the glass vibrate with the car, and
to me it’s very distracting. So you can turn it off in
the actual infotainment menus by going under Settings and AD Display. And you have to actually scroll down and uncheck Active Driving Display. Done, easy, except when
you turn the car back on, it automatically turns back on every time. It doesn’t stay off, which
is super annoying to me that I have to disable it every time. So then you have to go
into the height adjustment, move it all the way up. Whatever. This is technology for ya. Mazda has finally got
a turbocharged engine that makes some significant
amount of torque and horsepower. So what is it like
accelerating in this vehicle? Let’s check it out. I’m gonna brake-torque
it just a little bit to get the turbo up just so you can see the best case scenario here. (engine revving)
(tires screeching) So, first impressions, you feel a lot more
torque than horsepower. That initial push back into
your seat at the lower RPMs is where you feel everything. As it starts to wind up towards
the higher RPM it falls off and you actually have to
shift sooner in manual mode to get the most out of it. Let’s check out the handling
in some of these damp roads, and I have traction control
off and I’m in manual mode. Dry pavement now, so
we’ll get some dry grip. Very well dampened over the tracks. You can feel that all
wheel drive system working with initial understeer, and then it starts to
neutralize a little bit. It’s pretty good. Now we’re gonna turn sport mode on and the transmission not manual mode and turn traction control off so all the stability systems are on. There’s a little bit of understeer. The steering weight is heavy on this car, and one of the things about it is they’ve tuned this to give
you some steering feedback. For a big car, it communicates really well with what the vehicle
is doing at all times. A lot of SUVs or heavier vehicles do this light steering
feel to give you the sense that the vehicle is lighter than it is, and then you turn in so
quick and it upsets the car. You don’t have that problem with the CX-9. Now the thing is, this
is still a heavy SUV. It completely hide its weight. The all-wheel drive
system can only do so much to neutralize the handling. Now with the turbo in this car and they way that the turbo is tuned to give you all that torque up front, it tends to torque steer the front a lot, especially when that boost comes on. And it’s not as natural and not as neutral as the other Mazda cars I’ve drive. So I’ll tell you the first thing I did. When I got this vehicle
from the fleet company, I wanted to try out to see
what the power delivery was in 87 versus 93, because the
ECU on this car will adjust for different types of fuel,
and give you more power. It won’t pull as much
timing using 93 octane. So I burned through that
initial tank of fuel, and the one thing I notice about it was definitely you lost
horsepower at the higher end. It felt like you fell off a cliff. You’d get all this torque, and at about 4500 to 5000
RPMs, nothing was happening. There was no pull. So I flushed all that out,
got 93 octane in here, and after about 100 miles,
you can definitely feel there’s a lot more pull in the higher RPM. It just, it doesn’t fall on its face as fast as it did with the 87, which is really good for
somebody who wants to drive this in a more aggressive fashion to have more linear power
delivery, and I really like that. You can drive it more
like a normal sports car because this is tuned with
87 octane to not do that. It’s designed for people that aren’t gonna put their foot down. Yeah, so these tires aren’t
particularly the greatest on wet as you could see there. It washes out a little bit
with the stability system off, but usually it’ll give you
a little bit of slippage with the stability control on, obviously it’s set up for
safety and it will correct, but this is definitely more
understeer prone than anything. That’s to be expected, too. I mean, it’s an on-demand system. It’s gonna favor front wheel drive. Let’s take it through the
turns in fully automatic here and see how it does. I don’t have a lot of
confidence in these tires. There is torque steer. You can feel the wheel tugging at you a little bit in this car, of course, because of all the torque delivery. And they don’t have the
best lateral wet grip. All understeering through there. But what’s impressive overall is that you can drive this
in an aggressive manner and have a little bit of fun for the size and weight of this. They didn’t just wanna sterilize
all the sport out of it, which I can really appreciate. There’s comfort. There’s good steering feel. There’s good low end
power for daily driving, and that’s a huge, huge
factor for most people. You don’t have to wind the piss
out of this 2.5 liter turbo to get it going. Again, you really have
to back off on the wet. This thing wants to understeer for sure. Torque steer, see how the brakes do here. Good, brakes are solid. There’s no confidence issues. Yeah, this is some of the price you pay for having all that torque,
300 pounds, at such a low end. You start to wash out, you
start to lose traction, and that stability control system has to work a little bit more
to keep the car in check. Last but not least, the transmission. And I’ve said this about other Mazda cars. This is one of the best automatics, regardless of price
point under like $60,000. It’s a torque converted setup that has the torque converter
locked up almost all the time. It has almost instantaneous downshifts. It rev matches all your downshifts, so when I go from fourth to third, second, it’s never jarring,
it’s always ready to go. Upshifting and downshifting
is a total joy here, and it’s one of the best parts about Mazda automatics, I’ll be honest, and it’s not a drudgery like
some of the other vehicles. Like your SUVs from Toyota and Hyundai, they are just so slow. The transmissions are
just tuned for one thing, and that is not doing much
or having any fun at all. You can at least have some fun in here by manually shifting it,
and it’s a big pro for me if I was gonna get a hauler like this. Now the transmission does an extremely good job in sport mode of automatically downshifting, keeping you in the
power band at all times. So if you’re in aggressive driving mode and you don’t wanna manually shift this, sport mode will do it
for you based on g-force. If it knows you’re coming into
a turn and there’s lateral g, it will downshift,
prepare you for the turn so the actual motor in
the turbo is on boil, which is really nice. In regular driving mode, not in sport, the transmission just goes
into the most efficient state, and you’ll notice that it’s programming is to always shift about 5500 RPMs, well away from the red line to always keep you in the torque curve where all that torque is coming, because the power falls
off at the top end. So at the end, there’s
some big pros for the CX-9, and the big one is this is the
most refined Mazda ever made. It’s quiet, it’s comfortable. It does well over all pavement types. It’s got a super sporty
transmission, super smooth, and the motor has finally got some balls for a Mazda vehicle,
and it’s fuel efficient. My worst tank, and that was just trying to blow through all the
fuel as fast as possible, was 18.1 miles per gallon. Now that I’ve been driving
it like a normal person, I’m getting upwards of 25, which is really good for
the size of this vehicle. Now the negatives are, it’s
not as sporty as you’d think. It’s not as fast as you would think. If you’re running 87
octane regular gas in here, all the fun is had in
the first 4,000 RPMs. You can’t rev this thing
out and make power, and that’s a big deal for somebody who’s more of a driving enthusiast. If you’re somebody that’s putting around it’s gonna be a total non-issue. You always feel like there’s
power in the low RPMs, which is how you drive every day, but that’s something to note. The other negative is the HUD. I can’t turn it off permanently. I have to disable it every
time I get in the car. And there’s a couple
creaks and rattles in here, and just overall some things
they need to work out, like the rear view mirror
just is always moving. It’s always loose. I mean, there’s just little
quality issues in here that I think that they can improve in the manufacturing process and the quality process over time. But overall, let’s take a look at the overall interior experience. (bang) (piano notes) Getting inside the Mazda CX-9. This is the signature edition, which means it’s fully
loaded, totally tarted out. It’s got everything that you’d expect, and this feels like an
entry level luxury car. This has gotta be Mazda’s
best interior yet. You can tell their interior designers have gotten their shit together here. Let me explain what I mean by that. It’s the diversity of materials,
the choices they’ve made. If you’ve ever been into an affordable car with a black interior
and all black leather, a lot of ’em look very
bland and monochrome, and their attempts to
break up all that black seem kind of chintzy or
cheap or just half assed. Here you don’t have that problem. The upper dash has this
soft touch material that almost feels like leather. The whole middle section of the dash, they decided to go with this
really dark brown material, or dark brown which
also feels like leather that runs across the whole center dash and into the door panels where
the actual door handles are. And it’s just a really nice touch, and to just top all that off, they’ve decided to use real aluminum trim across the whole center dash
and into the actual door areas, which is so nice after you’ve
seen so many cheap attempts at recreating aluminum with plastic. Now every interior has its quirks, and as much as I like it,
there are problems with it. So here they are. And I understand this right off the bat with all these matte textures, from a design standpoint
you need some shiny bits to break up all of that, right? So that’s what they’ve done. There is this piano
gloss or glossy plastic in high traffic areas,
like the window switches and in the entire center console, because this doesn’t have the wood option. So what it looks like in
here is it looks dull, full of micro scratches, splotches, and there’s a gouge on the passenger side, and it just looks bad. It looks like you have
to put a lot of work into keeping it clean,
or it’s just susceptible to develop those problems. The second thing I absolutely
hate is the plastic chrome, and they put it, again,
on the window switch area and around this whole center console. And when I’m driving in the sun, I feel like I just wanna
put my sunglasses on because it’s so reflective down here. I just can’t get used to it
and it’s just not my bag, so whether you have a problem with it you’re gonna have to get in
here and see for yourself. Back to the good stuff,
ergonomics and the touch points, the things that you
interact with every day. This steering wheel is excellent. No, it’s not overtly sporty
but it’s contoured just right as a daily driver or as
a comfortable driver. You’re not inundated
with a million buttons on the steering wheel, either. You have arrows that tell you what your forward and back
is for your track selection. You’re not doing any guesswork. Your leather wrapped shift
knob here on the automatic, if you’re in manual mode
it feels really solid, almost like a manual transmission knob. The turn signal stocks, there’s no digi turn signals
or wiper stocks here. All your buttons are easily accessible. Your HVAC controls are carryover from the Mazda 3 and Mazda 6 with the addition of
the rear control here. Everything works so well,
feels so high quality. The padding is in the right
place for your elbows. Your right knee area is padded, but your left is not, which sucks. Overall, this is a
very, very high quality, luxury feeling interior. In terms of seats, these are
the most comfortable seats Mazda has made in a modern car. They’re better than the
three by a long stretch and they’re better than the Mazda 6. They are pretty comfortable. They are not the industry best
because there’s a little bit of sportiness and firmness
here, but overall I like them. The one thing I don’t
like is the driver’s seat. The electronic control, I can’t move the seat forward and recline or decline
the seat at the same time. It’s one button switch at a time, which is a pain in the ass if I have to move the
seats forward or back for somebody in the back seat. Now weird thing is, the
passenger seat is not like that. You can do both buttons at
a time and it will adjust, so I don’t know if that
just needs to be fixed or if it’s actually a programming problem. Last but not least, is
infotainment and the sound system. Now every single Mazda model with this infotainment is identical. There’s no variation. There’s not 20 different
versions of the same thing, which means they’ve standardized it, and coming from a technical background, I really appreciate
what they’ve done here. Now, using it is nice because it’s a touch
screen when you’re stopped, so it’s easy to get around,
and it’s very responsive. And then you have a
central command knob here in the center console when you’re moving. Once you master it, stupid
simple to use, very little lag. And the steering wheel controls
are super intuitive as well. It makes it a very comfortable, non-intimidating user experience. Now the negative part is, this is a Linux-based operating system, and they had an API
opened up to developers to come up with applications for this car, and they have not done anything with it in two and a half years. There’s still no Android integration, there’s still no Apple integration, and it’s falling behind in that regard. As much as it’s quick and easy, there needs to be some ability for users to side load different things
to make it more interesting and more powerful to use
for power users, really. The infotainment is run off
this screen on the dash, which looks like it’s stuck up here like a VTech My First Tablet for kids. It does not go down, either
physically or electronically. It’s always there, and that might be a deal breaker for some,
but you’re gonna see a lot of manufacturers
starting to do this same thing, and it is what it is. This second row is where the CX-9 starts to get me real hot real fast, and that’s because it makes up for a lot of the problems
with the back area. These seats adjust so well, so easily. They’re split, obviously,
20, 60, 40, whatever it is. It does recline, it has a recline feature. It’s all manual, there’s no power seats. And it’s very comfortable. The way that this front seat, the actual back of the
front seat, is contoured, it’s really good for creating knee space, which is pretty important, because the second row
is your most usable, but it does look like a five year old from a child labor camp stitched the back of these seats. They look horrible. There is HVAC in the back. It’s not dual zone, but it obviously, at least you get some vents
and some control back here. There is no heated or
cooled seats in the back, so don’t get too worked up about that. Compared to some of the other three row vehicles I’ve been in recently, this gives you a ton of ingress and egress outside into the back seat, namely if you’re a shorter
driver in the front or short passenger. These seats are up in the front a lot. It’s like ridiculous. It’s so easy to get in and outta here. It’s like two feet, two legs, easily, well almost two legs, and I’m skinny, but if those front
seats are back too much, you’re gonna have to be
like an evolved chimpanzee to get back there, but I
like the amount of space and I like the amount of room, and the third row is pretty usable. Now the negative part is,
this seat, the bigger one, it takes a lot of upper body strength to move it down and up, and that’s one thing, it’s really heavy, and I’m struggling to lift it
one armed with my left arm, and if you’re a female and you’re petite and you’re struggling, this
is gonna be a pain in the ass. And dare I say it, this is exactly why if you need three rows I would always buy a minivan over this because you don’t have to
fight with all this shit. But I know I just said a dirty word for a lot of people out there that can’t even fathom owning a minivan. (bang) So what’s the conclusion? Well that’s pretty simple. This is the best mainstream
vehicle Mazda has ever produced in terms of refinement, quality, comfort, driving dynamics, interior
space, attention to detail, and you can tell with it, it’s a big cruiser without
feeling like a big cruiser. Now that’s where some
of the problem comes in, because this still has
some of the Mazda DNA, and what that means is,
trying to strip out weight where they didn’t need it and complexity. Like, you don’t have the panoramic sunroof or seat coolers or seat
heaters in the back seats. And those are things that people are going to be looking
for and cross shopping for in more of a luxury level SUV, things that Hyundai and
Kia have in their vehicles that this doesn’t. And I don’t know if
they’re gonna steer people away from some of those other brands to sacrifice just for
better driving dynamics, I just don’t know. That’s one of the reasons why it’s a confusing vehicle to me. (quiet piano music)

100 Replies to “Review | 2016 Mazda CX-9 | Plump Yet Satisfying”

  1. 40,000 $ car but the tires are shit, what else is new. Oh and my wife NX had to replace the tires when new because she did not feel confident with the yokohama. Can you imagine driving the cx9 or an NX in Europe where you can drive at 100 mph if you want.

  2. BRAVO to Mazda for not going with a panoramic sunroof. Why you may ask well because they are unsafe in a rollover .

  3. This is the first time I watch your car reviews it’s awesome thank you for making great videos will look out for more Nissan product

  4. Thanks for the great review, most reviews which I have read feel like an advertisement, they talk too much about the advantages. You review is professional and objective.

  5. "There's NO way Mazda is gonna put this (engine) in a 3 or a 6… it would be horrible"
    Guess what's coming to a dealer near you in a couple months?

  6. This is the first video of this car that I’ve seen when the driver actually shifts at redline instead of letting the car short shift itself.

    I’ve been wanting to see someone ring this engine out.

  7. Great review as usual, high standards bar none. The 17:00 Geese pun was cool. 19:00 the small noises / rattles are the typical OCD when in a quiet car…

  8. You summed it up great. Exact reasons I did not buy this, even though liking the driving aspects of it, compared to Highlander Platinum, this was missing Ventilated heated and cooled seats, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, panoramic roof. Ofcourse Mazda is stubborn not adding CarPlay and Android. Even in 2018. Exactly the deal breakers for me. Same with CX5 for the second car. So ended up with XC90 and Q5 – obviously different price points, but Mazda lost about $85K worth business here…

  9. If I ever become real wealthy I'm not gonna get a BMW or Lexus. This car's really good at a fraction of the cost if it's made by a luxury brand.

  10. 87 octane fuel? WTF? Where did you get that? In my country the minimum octane is 92, the last time I saw 76 or 80 it was 90's.

  11. I have watched quite a few reviews on this vehicle and this is the absolute BEST! Nothing left unsaid and it is very much appreciated!

  12. Thank you for all the effort you put into this review. It’s in depth and doesn’t paint the picture of xx is the best car ever like so many others. Nice to see a real gear head talking cars the right way.

  13. I hv seen so many of these reviews n i love em.. only question is why does the reviewer tell all the details that turbowsky is supposed to say? Not sure whats the purpose of taking the car to the shop and not get any info frm the shop guy learning everything everytime or is it that the mechanic gives him all the info offline and make him tell us everything in the video? Doesnt make any sense though. Main reviewer can stick to giving driving and personal impressions while the shed expert can give us the tech and engg info that will make this review really unique..

  14. Hi!! I do understand that this video is from 2016 model and somethings have changed in 2018 model such as addition of heated seats in back etc. I have heard that for 2019 model they are adding ventilated seats feature as well as apple CarPlay/android. Considering thats true and the price doesn't change much, do u think this could be worth to buy? Pls comment as I am really considering buying this but waiting for these features. Thank you

  15. Living in CA, and never driving in bad weather or unpaved roads, does it make any sense to pay the extra $$ for the AWD? I'm thinking of getting a Touring model w/ premium package, but haven't decided on FWD vs AWD. Will dry road performance be comparable between the two configurations?

  16. His reviews are ok but he seems to complain a lot . His voice at certain points makes me want to cut my wrists.

  17. I bought one. Love it. Grille included. Heres a fun grille fact esp for the haters. Do you know the grille LIGHTS UP on the Signature Edition? The plastic cladding around the wheels act as splash guards for the most part.

  18. This is by far the best looking of the mid 40k 3 rows and I would choose this but why do I still get this nagging feeling that Mazda vehicles are, not quite fragile, but just somehow unsubstantial, if that makes sense. I hate the Highlander but have no doubt it will run reliably for 150k miles. I don't have that same feeling with Mazda. I wish I did.

  19. im always confused how i missed or looked over these videos you guys do of cars I love… 2016.. AND Im just getting to it. :'(

  20. Your reviews are absolute quality. You touch on many things other reviewers do not, such as the minor negatives that might irk you on a day to day basis. You are providing really valuable information to both the enthusiasts and regular people. Thanks, keep it up!

  21. These are the best reviews around. You push press cars right to the edge in real world situations, and you’re not biased at all. If I’m putting my wife and kids in a new car, I want to know how the car will really behave in a tight spot. Thank you for what you do.

  22. Great review, I been wanting to see some great reviews on the drive in detail and you did a great job here. What I am concerned as a potential buyer and heavy on driving experience is the torque steer FWD biased AWD system and you touched on it quite well. I am comparing CX9 to the 2014-2015 6 speed MDX SH AWD. Any experience in the MDX for comparison purposes?

  23. Could you do a review on the Forester XT? I know subaru killed the turbo option for 2019 and on but I'd still be stoked to see the 2014-2018 XT reviewed by you.

  24. I don't think it's car manufacturer's fault, I think it's the consumer that needs to be educated. panoramic sunroof adds weight to the top of the car, which means it's a trade-off. I am sure mazda can put a panoramic sunroof, but it will sacrafice the performance….being a company with principle, they have made their stand by emphasize on driverability rather than look.

  25. Good review. Like a common person would appreciate. You are not trying to sell it, just impart good information. Thank you

  26. You really should check out the 2019 model. Heated rear seats, ventilated front seats, surround view camera, trajectory lines on rear view camera, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay… check, check, check. We just leased one after initially looking at up-market models (MDX and CX-90) but the value proposition on the CX-9 just couldn’t be beat. Got everything we wanted in a family hauler and saved $500/month!

  27. Thank you for the awesome explanation on the 2.5T! I love my CX-9 and love hearing about the technical side of things.

  28. Mazda should have backed up there no carbon build up claim with images taken after at least 25 to 30k miles on real world driving conditions… otherwise its just another marketing statement…..

  29. The decision would be easy for me…go with the Mazda DNA. I learned to drive on a Mazda RX3 and lived to tell about it, what a fun car to drive that was. I also bought a Protege ES new in 2000 (a few years before they switched to calling it the 3). That car was a great balance of fun to drive yet economical and reliable.

  30. Lol. I just found a jar of pickles after lifting up the 3rd row seats.
    That gap is ridiculous.
    Besides that im pretty happy with our little suv.

  31. I’m very impressed by the technology in the AWD system and engine.

    I’m still glad i went for the 2016 Honda Pilot Elite. It does have a mini van shape but it beats the CX9 in a few areas that are important. Space, comfort, storage, has a V6 engine and no Amazon kindle for the center console.

    Even though it’s supremely comfortable and smooth, you can drive it and have fun. The V6 engine is powerful and has the rated HP/TQ with 87. The AWD is a SHAWD unit from Acura, without the badge; it’s very impressive. You should definitely review it.

  32. That low speed torque is important to me when the a/c is running in warm weather. Without that extra torque the a/c is a noticeable drag on a NA 4 cylinder engine from a stoplight or stop sign. Also, as a city dweller I need ample torque at low speed for quick maneuvers in traffic.

  33. INCREDIBLY Good review…..if you are genuinely into the mechanics of cars….this is the place to learn about these new fangled things….WELL DONE !

  34. Thanks for the great in depth review on Mazda CX 9 but it’s been 3 years since the 2016 model. They have just launched the 2019 model of CX 9 and I’m still hesitating to purchase CX9 simply for what you have mentioned in the video and comments which is regarding the reliability of the motor. What do you think? Is this still a good purchase for 2019? Or do you think Kia Sorento or Hyundai Santa Fe are better bets? I have watched all those videos and you seemed particularly happy with Kia’s and Hyundai’s design under the hood for easy repairability.

    Again thanks for all the videos, your reviews and opinions about cars are really helpful and informative. Keep up the great work!

  35. When someone says, too much power in a small car. I can’t trust that person. Good info but mostly complains about what others say is a great car.

  36. Your reviews are very good – much appreciated your efforts, can you plz add NVH of the vehicle by using the electronic device (real time measure) and add in your video for all your car review – if possible

  37. As an owner of a 2016 CX-9, this review is pretty accurate. Only things I might disagree with are squeaks and rattles (Haven't noticed any with mine), and the HUD. Personally I don't think it's too bright, and it does dim at night. Otherwise great review!

  38. This is very helpful in my looking at a used '16 Touring with 26k miles. It's not certified pre owned but it still has about 5 months left on the new car warranty. Another plus, the price is $22k. You addressed the possible issues the turbo 4 so well. And the other Pros/Cons were also explained well. Great job.

  39. Great review! I LOVE that you actually got under the car with a mechanic. Mazda has made a huge mistake by discontinuing the V6.
    The mechanic was spot on in mentioning the giant increase in the complexity of adding a turbocharger. For folks who keep their cars for 8-10 years this complexity translates into much greater cost of ownership. What do you do when the turbo quits at65k miles. It’s decision time folks. Do you write a check for $2500-3000 to fix it or do you try to sell it? With the V6 there is no need for a turbo and you will save big $$ in maintenance over the long run. So what if it doesn’t get better mpg? Turbos are for unsuspecting suckers.

  40. Incredible in depth review. Thanks so much. As good as it was, there was one glaring error. While they are not badged, the model reviewed is a Grand Touring model, not a Signature model as he said. The Signature model comes with Auburn Nappa leather seats. Nappa leather is softer, wears better, resists stains, is colorfast, and breaks up all the black in the vehicle. It does not look like a 5 year old child from a labor camp sewed it. It also has Rosewood in place of the cheap shiny plastic he was complaining about. Plus there's additional LED lighting including a bright mode on the 3 dome lights that turn night into day to locate lost items. While the Touring and Grand Touring trims are nice, the Signature trim is crazy nice for a Mazda, and competes with luxury brands,

    Ergonomics are great, you'll use the armrests as they are right where you want them. Nav controls on the console right where your hand lies. While not available when it came out, the nav system can be upgraded to Apple CarPlay/Android Auto for $150, plus a few hours of a handyman's time.

    It is a great ski vehicle. Most people buy 3 row CUVs to avoid the look of a minivan, and end up with a CUV that drives and handles like a minivan. Coming from a G37 coupe, I cringed at needing a big vehicle. It is great in the twisties in the mountains. Most fun you can have in a 3 row vehicle that can tow 3,500lbs. Turbos lose much less power than normally aspirated vehicles at elevation. I live at 9300ft, and run regular and it still is fun. If you have a trip to the mountains, treat yourself to some premium and really enjoy the performance, otherwise regular is fine for most fueling. Extra height allows driving in deep snow or getting to a campsite or launching some toys you are towing. It drives like a smaller vehicle that is lower to the ground, which is quite impressive. Utility and a sporty drive are no longer mutually exclusive.

    I disagree about the HUD and nav display. i appreciate the info without having to take my eyes off the road, especially when I'm towing a couple ATVs on tight hairpin turns on twisty mountain roads, Towing is good, and on the rearview camera when you're in reverse, you can see your hitch ball to easily align your trailer.

    Biggest fault I noticed, is the seat preset controls are located on the side on the front seats. If you are of average height or shorter, you will notice when you sit down you will often hit the buttons and the seat starts moving. i will likely place some raised material around that switch, to avoid that from happening.

    Thanks again for the great review!

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