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. ReliaQuest's benevolent hackers try to make companies more secure


    TAMPA — Their goal is to get in. Past a security desk, through a firewall, into a system they shouldn't have access to. Sometimes they'll look like a regular person in the lobby who innocently forgot their access badge. Most times they won't be seen at all, remotely and quietly prodding a company's systems from a …

    Angelo Castellano of Tampa works at his desk at ReliaQuest | | [CHARLIE KAIJO, Times]
  2. Despite soaring home prices, Tampa Bay still an affordable market

    Real Estate

    Times Staff Writer

    Finally, some good news for Tampa Bay home buyers. Despite rising prices, the bay area remains relatively affordable compared to many other parts of the country.

    Despite rising prices, the bay area remains relatively affordable compared to many other parts of the country. [Associated Press file photo]
  3. National economy off to a luckluster start this year


    WASHINGTON — The U.S. economy got off to a lackluster start during the first three months of 2017, though it enjoyed more momentum than earlier estimates indicated.

    he U.S. economy got off to a lackluster start during the first three months of 2017, though it enjoyed more momentum than earlier estimates indicated.
[Associated Press file photo]
  4. Last steel beam marks construction milestone for Tom and Mary James' museum


    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom and Mary James on Wednesday signed their names to the last steel beam framing the 105-ton stone mesa that will be built at the entrance of the museum that bears their name: the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art.

    The topping-out ceremony of the James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art was held Wednesday morning in downtown St. Petersburg. Mary James (from left), husband Tom and Mayor Rick Kriseman signed the final beam before it was put into place. When finished, the $55 million museum at 100 Central Ave. will hold up to 500 pieces of the couple's 3,000-piece art collection. [Courtesy of James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art]
  5. Heights Public Market to host two Tampa Bay food trucks


    TAMPA — The Heights Public Market announced the first two food trucks for its "rotating stall," which will feature new restaurants every four months. Surf and Turf and Empamamas will be rolled out first.

    Heights Public Market is opening this summer inside the Tampa Armature Works building.
[SKIP O'ROURKE   |   Times file photo]