Back on the Road with the 2022 Mazda CX-9

Since moving to the West Coast a little over a year ago, I haven't had the chance to dive into automotive reviews as much - but I'm excited to be revisiting vehicles other than my own!

I wanted to get out and go on a short road trip into the mountains - but this time, I specifically wanted to explore east of Vancouver: the Chilliwack and Hope region (about 150km from Vancouver); and I wanted a reliable, spacious, and comfortable ride to galavant in.

A few options came to mind. I had been keeping my eye on some of the newer Japanese makes - such as the Toyota Highlander, Mazda CX-9, or Honda Pilot, and I wanted give one of their updated models a go. I had enjoyed the RAV4 and the CRV in the past, but Mazda was a brand that I hadn't driven in a while. Every Mazda I've driven before was fun - and in recent years I've heard only great things about Mazda vehicles; so that helped narrow down my decision-making process.

In the past I also had great experiences with full-size SUVs for longer journeys, so that's where my mind went immediately. In that category, I really enjoyed the Ford Explorer ST and most recently, the Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport (a friend's loaner), and I wanted to see how the Mazda CX-9 compared.

If you simply want a TL;DR: It was fantastic!

So let's dive in. The CX-9 is a great looking 7 seater SUV that embodies understated luxury, inside and out. The aesthetically pleasing silhouette can be dismissed at first glance - but it gets even better when you're driving it or you're a passenger inside. Seriously - most of the features and functions that you have up front, you also have in the back!

The refined interior is immediately inviting: with perforated leather seats (front and back), a user-friendly infotainment system, ambient cabin lighting, and a 12 speaker Bose sound system (which I learned is an ongoing partnership between Mazda and Bose for 30 years), I was genuinely impressed!

Furthermore, the i-Activ AWD was impressive on all terrains. Since I took it into the mountains, I was looking forward to seeing how the CX-9 handled unpaved roads. As expected, it was a smooth, quiet, and comfortable driving experience that left me feeling empowered behind the wheel.

And that's not all. I was wowed by the reactive and proactive advanced safety features that the CX-9 had. They were all incredibly useful and I can see how this could help drivers in many ways (the future is now). My only gripe here was with one of the safety features: which was the Driver Attention Alert (DAA), which came up almost every ~100km and caught me off guard at times. Could just be a me thing, so perhaps I'm just not used to it yet!

Finally, with the wild gas prices in Vancouver, I couldn't help but keep an eye on the fuel efficiency throughout my time driving. This could be a newer car thing, but I was amazed by how the AWD technology managed to adapt to road conditions to optimize fuel consumption - which in my opinion, appeared to be better overall than the consumption of the other full-size SUVs I had driven recently.

The Verdict

All in all, I really enjoyed my time with the 2022 Mazda CX-9. It proved to me that it's as competitive as any other full-size SUV out there, if not relatively better (my passengers were also impressed). The tactile and functional feel of every component inside felt well designed and in the right place. Moreover, the exterior's details stood out to me up close - but from far away, I would have missed some things (such as the aesthetic light accents that compliment the grille in the front).

It's a vehicle that you have to drive to truly appreciate what it offers - and I promise that you'll also be impressed by the simple yet thoughtful touches that this well-designed SUV offers!

The 2022 Mazda CX-9 starts at $43,031

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