Text by Cheryl Tay
Photos by Adrian Wong
I have this bad habit of carrying a lot of things out, sometimes things that I don’t need. I have my usual tote bag which is stuffed with notebooks, pens, wallet, namecards and other little trinkets. I am still quite old-fashioned in the sense that I prefer using pen and paper instead of an electronic device, hence I carry a few notebooks around – a filofax, a daily food journal and one more for general notes.
I also have a gym bag for my exercise clothes and my huge two-litre water bottle on my workout days. Then there are occasions where I will have my laptop and also my camera equipment. All these take up space and usually I would put them in the rear of the family sedan or the passenger seat of the coupe. There is always the boot I know, but I tend not to put my bags in there for fear that they might start falling out of the bags when I go round corners.
There isn’t a MPV (Multi-Purpose Vehicle) or an SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle) in the family, so I don’t really have the luxury of having lots of space to store my things. Hence, when I get to test drive such cars, I take the chance to fully savour the comfort and the generosity of room. The Mazda CX-9 here is one perfect example.
This is one big Mazda. I’ve test driven a few Mazda models before, but this is the biggest Mazda I’ve ever driven. The CX-9 is a crossover SUV recently launched and able to seat seven passengers. In the past, vehicles that could carry so many passengers comfortably were vans. Nowadays, these crossover SUVs like the CX-9 can do the job just as well.
With good looks inspired by Mazda’s ‘KODO – Soul of Motion’ design theme, the CX-9 can genuinely hold seven adults. I have sat in cars which claim to be able to seat seven people, but actually only have a rear bench so tight you feel like you are in a box. You can slide the second row forward to give the third row more leg room, but that might make the legroom for the second row a little tight.
Access to the third row is convenient – there are wide-opening doors and the second row seats can be easily folded and slid forward with the touch of one button. The rear seats in the third row can be folded flat too.
When you fold the second and third rows, there will be 2,852 litres of luggage space. I don’t think I will use that much space unless I am moving house or I have an event and I need to transport goodie bags. Already, there is 487 litres of luggage space provided by the CX-9 when the third row seats are in use anyway.
I thought the 3.7-litre powerplant powering the CX-9 was just about right, though there were the odd moments where it felt like it could do with a little push. Its V6 heart delivers a maximum of 277bhp at 6,250rpm and 367Nm at 4,250rpm.
Despite its size, it wasn’t bulky to drive around and parking was not a problem. The CX-9 doesn’t fall short on the equipment list either, coming standard with a premium BOSE sound system, automatic wipers, navigation system, auxiliary and USB jack, as well as keyless entry and start system.
I appreciated having the luxury of space in the CX-9 so I could store all the things I had. The little features of the CX-9 helped me greatly as well, such as not having to fiddle around my bag to look for the remote and also its powered tailgate so I didn’t need to stand up tall and try to close it!
At A Glance
Engine: 3,726cc V6 DOHC 24-valve
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Performance: 277bhp/6,250rpm, 367Nm/4,250rpm, 0-100kmh 9.9 secs
Price with COE: $246,988
Testdrive & Enquiries: Trans Eurokars (Mazda)
Tel: 6603 6118
In a Nutshell
(+) Generous in space, easy access to the rear
(-) Odd underpowered moment from its engine
Verdict: Stylish people mover with the right comfort features
*This was first published in Wheels Asia magazine.