For the last couple of years it’s been a struggle to find the perfect car for our adventurous family of five. Enough seating room & cargo space, good gas mileage, great price, safe and fun to drive…we’ve finally found “The One.”
2016 Mazda CX-9
Those of you with larger families, especially ones where you have a child safety seat or two, know what a struggle it can be to find the perfect car. Finding one with a second row wide enough is nearly impossible and wanting extra room for friends and family requires third row options to be the priority. Combine that with the need for storage for groceries or a weekend getaway, good gas mileage, affordability, safety, handling, and overall function and it becomes a headache trying to find a car to meet your needs. I’ve seriously spent almost two years researching, testing, reviewing and weighing the options! A month ago we finally made the decision and purchased a 2016 Mazda CX-9. I immediately wanted to share all the reasons we loved it, but waited to let the initial “love-struck” feeling wear off and really test it out. I can honestly say after a full month of running errands, hauling children, taking our first short road-trip, and even getting a little mud and dirt on the tires, I’m just as in love with it as I was on day one and here’s why.
Third Row & Storage
From mini-vans to full-size behemoths like Suburbans there are a lot of options available with plenty of seats for our family, but narrowing it down to the right option was tough. I know mini-vans were created to serve this purpose, but finding ones that are all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive can be difficult. Suburbans and other large models also offer a plethora of space which I love, but they can feel like driving a bus and come with a hefty price tag and not-so-great gas mileage. With those two options out I was left with the mid-size SUV options offering a third row and while many models offer them, let me tell you, not all third row seats are created equal. Some models call it a full third row, but no one bigger than my 5-year-old would possibly be comfortable sitting there. Some have no leg room, some no head room and some feel like you’re sitting in a hole. I felt like Goldilocks trying out the third-row seats of many different models.
Here’s why we liked the Mazda CX-9’s third row:
Although it seats only two, it’s fairly wide and you don’t feel cramped.
You can see clearly out of the windows.
Ability to adjust leg room because of sliding second row.
Ease of access (again because of sliding second row.)
50/50 split for laying seats flat.
Amount of cargo space still available behind the third row seats.
As you can see cargo space and the ability to adjust the position of the second row made a substantial impact in our appreciation for the Mazda CX-9’s third row.
Drive, Handling & Safety
Gas mileage is a pretty big factor for most people these days and the bigger the car the more gas it probably guzzles. The Mazda CX-9 comes with a turbocharged 4-Cylinder engine saving on gas and making it fun to drive. It’s got quite the “go” and offers a 21/27 mpg on the all-wheel drive model. It also offers smooth handling, accurate steering, a great turning radius and the 4-cylinder had no problem heading up mountain roads. Although it’s a larger model, you don’t feel like you’re driving one. The all-wheel drive grips the roads and provides great traction through dirt and mud. The Mazda CX-9 offers a rear back up camera standard on all models and the touring model and up offers blind-spot monitoring and a rear cross-traffic alert.
Beyond the benefits we have already listed, the Mazda CX-9 is super stylish, too. Sleek lines contour the outside while upscale materials create a luxurious feel on the inside. While it’s nice to have the third row and offer each kid more space, the second row is wide enough for all of them if needed and has it’s own air controls.
The 2016 Mazda CX-9 offers us exactly what we were looking for in a family size car and we couldn’t be happier with our decision. We’ve been completely impressed with all of the Mazda models we’ve had the opportunity to review and even after a full month this one is no different. It’s sporty, efficient and fits our family and our lifestyle perfectly.
A special thank you to our wonderful sales representative, David, and the rest of the fine folks at Bob Penkhus Mazda at Powers for making the purchasing process so incredibly easy and accommodating. It was exactly how you wish car buying could always be!
Be sure to check out these other great Mazda models, too, and stay tuned for the 2017 model reviews: