2008 Mazda CX-9

For the 2008 model year, Mazda increased engine displacement to 3.7 litres. Mazda states that the new engine generates 204 kilowatts (273 hp) and 366 newton metres (270 ft·lbf) of torque. The engine went into production in June 2007 at Mazda’s engine plant in Japan. The 2008 CX-9 uses an Aisin F21++ six-speed automatic transmission with a console-mounted shifter in a complex gate. Mazda also introduced a Blind Spot Monitoring System, and a Rearview Mirror mounted Backup Camera System. Also added Collision avoidance/blind spot warning detector.

The 2008 CX-9 won the prestegious Motor Trend SUV of the Year award, beating out such competitors as the Buick Enclave and Nissan Rogue.

The 2008 Mazda CX-9 then won the North American Truck of the Year award at the Detroit Auto Show in January 2008. The CX-9’s sister vehicle, the Mazda CX-7, came in second in the balloting for this award the prior year.

The Mazda CX-9, the CX-7’s big brother, is the latest member of the crossover-SUV juggernaut. It has a full three rows of seats and room for seven passengers. The optional tow package allows the CX-9 to pull trailers weighing as much as 3500 pounds in front- and all-wheel-drive variants. It features the typical receiver hitch, trailer wiring, and transmission cooler, but also adds a towing module to the computer program that’ll watch and respond to various temperature parameters. Without the towing package, the CX-9 is only rated to pull 2000 pounds.

Mazda’s Active Torque Split All-Wheel-Drive system is ideal for slippery road conditions, diverting power to the rear wheels as needed in response to front-wheel slip. Brisk driving on a winding country road showed the system works as well in the CX-9 as it does in the CX-7, with sure-footed traction and little understeer.

This version of the Ford corporate 3.5-liter V-6 (seen in the Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX) is rated at 263 horsepower thanks to the reduced backpressure of its three large-volume mufflers. The Mazda engine also has its own intake track, and the two combine to give what is otherwise the same engine a much smoother, rev-happy character than its Blue Oval cousins.

In addition, Mazda uses an Aisin six-speed automatic rather than the Ford-GM joint-venture transmission seen in the Edge and MKX. Mazda’s engineers have calibrated the shift controller on the CX-9 to respond quickly and more smoothly than the Ford in Drive–but it’s in manual mode the Mazda transmission really shines. Push the 3.5 into the higher rpm range and the transmission is quick to respond to fast up- and downshifts as the road turns wild.

While the CX-9 doesn’t share a complete platform with any other vehicle, there are bits and pieces it has in common with its siblings. The CX-7 and CX-9 use the same floorpan stamping and front suspension, but the CX-9’s rear suspension was derived from the Mazda6 and the CX-7 uses Mazda3-based suspension parts. Our fully loaded test unit had 20-inch rims; 18-inch wheels are standard. Also standard are four-wheel ABS, electronic stability control, rollover stability control, and front, side, and three-row head airbags.

Inside, there’s a surprising amount of cargo room when the second and third rows are folded flat (100 cubic feet, in fact). The second row slides forward and back and offers two separate latches for passengers climbing into the third row. Third-row seatbacks can be lifted or folded flat with one hand.

Mazda engineers sweat thoughtful details, like mounting the second row’s sliding tracks flush with the floor rather than on top of it, so that passengers scrambling to and from the back row don’t catch their shoes on the track.

The CX-9 is available in three trim levels–Sport, Touring, and Grand Touring. Touring adds power leather seats and special cabin lighting, and Grand Touring models also include an alarm, keyless start, rain-sensing wipers, and some chrome. Bose stereo, rear-seat DVD system, navigation, backup camera, 110-volt AC power outlet, and power liftgate are among the optional luxury items.

A lavishly equipped CX-9 is competitive with a new Acura MDX, but at a price that’s about $10,000 lower. And although Acura, like many luxury brands, has cache, dealer support, and residual value that Mazda can’t match, the CX-9 will be a formidable competitor and a strong value when compared with other luxury and midlevel crossovers.

CX-9 Performance – 8.0 (Very Good)

The 2008 Mazda CX-9 provides a spirited driving experience and adequate power, even if the ride is a little stiff. “The all-new CX-9 really does carry on the ‘zoom-zoom’ nature of Mazda’s product offerings with pleasant steering, chassis and brake feel that work in harmony with one another,” says Road and Track.  To find out just how zoom-zoomy a large crossover can be, read our full CX-9 performance review.
CX-9 Exterior – 8.6 (Very Good)

The 2008 Mazda CX-9’s car-like exterior makes it one of the most attractive models in its class. The Washington Post says “Some people thought it was a slick minivan, while others saw it as a slick SUV. But nearly everyone who had anything to say about its appearance gave the CX-9 high marks for styling.” To find out exactly what makes the CX-9 so stylish, read our full CX-9 exterior review.  You can also view our CX-9 photo gallery to make up your own mind.

CX-9 Interior – 7.8 (Good)

According to the Detroit News, “A recent trip through the back roads near Chelsea showcased Mazda’s evolution from zoom-zoom to more room-room.” But mixed feelings concerning in-cabin stowage and third-row seating hurt the CX-9’s interior score.  to find out just what reviewers found lacking, read our full CX-9 interior review, or check out our CX-9 interior pictures.

CX-9 Safety – 9.3 (Excellent)

New Car Test Drive says “Mazda gets credit equipping even the least-expensive model with important safety equipment,” a statement backed by the CX-9’s excellent safety crash test scores. To find out the standard safety equipment on the Cx-9, read our full CX-9 safety review.
CX-9 Reliability – 9.0 (Excellent)

The 2008 Mazda CX-9 reliability score shown is the Predicted Reliability rating provided by J.D. Power and Associates. This score is based on trending the past three years of historical initial quality and dependability data from J.D. Power’s automotive studies, specifically the Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS) and the Initial Quality Study (IQS). The CX-9 comes with Mazda’s three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty.

Base price range     $29,835-$34,275
Price as tested     $38,125
Layout    Front engine, 4-door, 7-pass, AWD
Engine     3.5L/263-hp/249 lb-ft DOHC 24-valve all-alum V-6
Transmission     6-speed auto
Wheelbase, in     113.2
Length x width x height, in    199.8 x 76.2 x 68.0
Curb weight, lb    4546 (AWD)
GVWR, lb     6025 (AWD)
Payload capacity, lb    1450
Max towing capacity, lb    3500
Max cargo capacity, cu ft     100.7
0-60 mph, sec    7.8 (est)
EPA fuel econ, city/hwy     18/24 (FWD); 16/22 (AWD)
On sale    Currently

Scribbled on September 7th 2008 in Mazda, Mazda CX-9
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