Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins
Fall weather is upon us, which means the start of a new sports season for my high school soccer striker and her charismatic teammates. So, of course, when I pulled up to practice in a Machine Gray Metallic 2019 MAZDA CX-9 Signature AWD, the largest vehicle on the MAZDA roster, coach Smith immediately ran over to inquire if the Japanese SUV had a 3rd row. Yes, I replied and asked if the team needed any help for the season opener. “Funny you ask,” she replied and assigned me to escort six members to the game since the school doesn’t provide the female teams with buses. Nevertheless, the bonding was priceless, and the girls were fascinated with the comfort and amenities of the CX-9.
As the founder of Fit Fathers and Automotive Rhythms, I take pride in utilizing modern technology beneficial towards social structures and safety values within the family domain, which also includes extensions to the friends of my kids. The players won because they were able to “turn up” in a new ride while blasting music I didn’t understand through the 12-speaker Bose Centerpoint 2.0 surround audio system, while I reinforced protocols such as wearing seatbelts including the shoulder strap which youngsters try to tuck under their armpits. As new drivers I also instructed them on proper driving techniques and the latest safety innovations found in the MAZDA such as Brake-Assist, Dynamic Stability Control, Adaptive Front Lighting System, Side Air Curtains, Smart City Brake Support, Lane Departure Warning, and Lane Keep Assist which is not too overt and aggressive as the systems experienced in many German autos.
The CX-9’s Nappa leather-trimmed Auburn interior was a refreshing welcome and flowed succinctly with the sporty, multifunction leather-wrapped steering wheel with manual tilt and telescope and unique Chidori stitching, LED interior lighting, genuine aluminum trim, a stagnant 8” color display with rear camera visuals (although it was often blurry), power moonroof, dark glass-like material on the center console, and the supportive seats with heating mechanisms in the front and back. The girls were fond of that since warm compressions loosen muscles. Entering and exiting the 3rd row was a simple task because the 2nd row moves fore-and-aft. My only gripe with the cabin is the all-too-simple functionality of MAZDA CONNECT multimedia. Operated through a small rotary scroller aka Commander, the apps are basic and the interface is rudimentary, which leaves you with somewhat disappointing user experiences.
The fuel-efficient 26 highway mpg CX-9 AWD (28 highway mpg with FWD) provides owners with a dynamically smooth ride from its SKYACTIV-G 2.5T turbo engine and SKYACTIV-DRIVE 6-speed automatic transmission with sport mode. Together they produce 310 lb.-ft. of torque and 227-horsepower (250-horsepower using premium fuel). I was expecting a sluggish ride with the team and their gear packed in, but the CX-9 continued to perform admirably. It also brakes effectively when weighted down. MAZDA outfitted the long-bodied SUV with attractive 20” alloy rims and tucked them in chunky 255/50R20 all-season Falken tires. Though, I prefer Michelins or Yokohamas.
Besides soccer activities, I also used the vehicle for mountain bike riding and shopping at Lowes to pick up equipment since we’re into fall lawn care activities. Usually I have to remove the front tire and seat post for my Ghost Kato 7 to fit into midsize SUVs, but in this case, I didn’t! Expect up to 71.2 cubic feet of cargo volume with the 2nd and 3rd row seats laid flat. Additionally, with front parking sensors, a rearview camera, and a 360-degree view monitor, maneuvering the CX-9 in shopping and school lots never presented a challenge.
The 2019 MAZDA CX-9 Signature AWD model has a base price of $45,365 and only required $975 of options to finalize its full potential. The SUV was also quite a hit with neighbors, friends, and family who loved the elongated shark-nose front fascia, tailgate spoiler, LED headlights, LED lighting signature grille, and the dual exhaust tips. It’s another winner for a brand that continues to deliver the goods.