Make us your home page
The Daily Drivers | By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek, Times Staff Writers

The Daily Drivers: 2010 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring is stylish but a little stiff

Because we both have kids, we were curious to see how Mazda's CX-9 crossover would fit our needs. But after a week with the stylish seven-seater, we reached a split decision. Lyra, who does more commuting and distance driving, didn't like it; Peter, who drives mainly in the city, found it an amiable people mover.

Appearance: How could you not like a car that smiles? The front grille, like all new Mazdas, resembles a grin with dimples. (For the record: Lyra likes this friendly look more than Peter.) We both liked the chrome trim accents around the grille. The CX-9's profile is elegant, with a high beltline and roof that slopes gently to a rear hatch spoiler. The problem with sleek design is that it means less headroom for the third-row seats. Still, for a seven-seater, it's more aerodynamic than a minivan or large SUV.

Performance: The 3.7-liter, 273-horsepower V-6 is adequate in the city and on the Interstate. The automatic transmission shifts smoothly. For a larger vehicle, it took turns well with a just a hint of body lean. (Credit the host of electronic helpers for this, such as stability and traction controls.) Because of the front-wheel drive, there can be some torque steer. One thing did stand out: a too-firm ride that revealed itself to Lyra on a weekend trip to Daytona Beach. The rear passengers, especially, could feel every bump. On our favorite suspension-abusing brick road, she found the ride to be headache-inducing. Part of the blame has to go to the Grand Touring's 20-inch rubber. (Peter thought the ride was fine in normal city driving, however.)

Interior: We both liked the sporty cockpit and sharp-looking two-tone seats. The second-row seats recline, which is a plus for long drives, and they slide to give the third-row seats a little more legroom. Lyra found them uncomfortable for adults; Peter's 11-year-old pronounced the room fine. And Lyra bashed her head on the protruding rear pillars. There are third-row air curtains in the event of a rollover. Peter liked the split-lid cover on the armrest storage bin, which is a practical touch; Lyra, however, found it annoying, and thought the bin too shallow. Lyra found the seats uncomfortable for long drives. Lyra also didn't like the readings for the AC controls that are placed too far forward in the dash, putting them in a different focal zone than the rest of the controls. We both liked the large side mirrors and the optional blind-spot warning system that flashes an orange warning on the mirror when a car is in the next lane, then sounds an alert if you get too close. And there is a powered rear lift gate that makes it easy to open and close a heavy rear hatch. The steering-wheel controls are tactile-friendly.

Our 3 favorites

Peter Couture

Blind-spot warning: The system is one of the best I've seen in any car at any price.

Cabin: I liked the easy-to-read gauges and two-tone seats.

Crash tests: This people mover gets high NHTSA scores.

Lyra Solochek

Power-lift hatch: It's a must-have for the vertically challenged.

Out of sight: The compartment under the rear deck can be used for storage.

Second-row AC: The vents have their own temperature and fan controls.

The bottom line: The CX-9 looks elegant, has plenty of room and is a good minivan alternative, but its impression is ordinary. Make sure you can live with the ride quality before you buy. Check out the entry-level Sport model.

2010 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring

Price: $33,395 Grand Touring base, $37,965 as tested

Powertrain: 3.7-liter V-6, six-speed sport automatic with sport shift, FWD

Horsepower: 273 at 6,250 rpm

Torque: 270 pound-

feet at 4,250 rpm

Curb weight: 4,334 pounds


in inches:

Wheelbase, 113.2

Length, 199.8

Width, 76.2

Fuel economy:

16 miles per gallon city, 22 mpg highway

Cupholders: 8 (6 with rear-seat entertainment system)

Safety features: Blind-spot monitoring system, collapsible steering column, foldaway brake pedal assembly, roll stability control, ABS, side impact door beams, dynamic stability control, traction control, air bags and curtains.

Other trim levels: Sport ($29,385 start), Touring ($31,305 start)

Options worth considering: Blind-spot warning system, power liftgate, navigation system, moonroof, rear entertainment system

Web site:


The Daily Drivers: 2010 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring is stylish but a little stiff 02/12/10 [Last modified: Friday, February 12, 2010 3:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. 'Toxic' times: How repeal of Florida's tax on services reverberates, 30 years later

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Long before Hurricane Irma attacked Florida, the state faced a troubled fiscal future that the storm will only make worse.

    Robertson says the tax debate is now “toxic.”
  2. Fewer Tampa Bay homeowners are underwater on their mortgages

    Real Estate

    The percentage of Tampa Bay homeowners underwater on their mortgages continues to drop. In the second quarter of this year, 10.2 percent of borrowers had negative equity compared to nearly 15 percent in the same period a year ago, CoreLogic reported Thursday. Nationally, 5.4 percent of all mortgaged homes were …

    The percentage of Tampa Bay homeowners underwater on their mortgages  continues to drop. [Times file photo]
  3. 'What Happened'? Clinton memoir sold 300,000 copies in first week


    Despite being met with decidedly mixed reviews, What Happened, Hillary Clinton's new memoir about the 2016 presidential campaign, sold a whopping 300,000 copies in its first week.

    The new memoir by former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton sold 300,000 copies in its first week.
  4. After Irma topples tree, home sale may be gone with the wind

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — To house hunters searching online, the home for sale in St. Petersburg's Shore Acres neighborhood couldn't have looked more appealing — fully renovated and shaded by the leafy canopy of a magnificent ficus benjamini tree.

    Hurricane Irma's winds recently blew over a large ficus tree, left, in the yard of a home at 3601Alabama Ave NE, right, in Shore Acres which is owned by Brett Schroder who is trying to sell the house.
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  5. Unemployment claims double in Florida after Hurricane Irma


    The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits dropped by 23,000 last week to 259,000 as the economic impact of Hurricane Harvey began to fade.

    Homes destroyed by Hurricane Irma on Big Pine Key last week. Hurricane Irma continued to have an impact on the job market in Florida, where unemployment claims more than doubled from the previous week.
[The New York Times file photo]