There is a curious ergonomic miss in the cabin, as well. Window switches are placed so far forward on the door panel that a forward lunge is required for all but the most orangutan-armed of drivers.
The purpose of a three-row SUV is to haul people, and while the CX-9 is an admirable driver’s car, impressions are not as favourable from the passenger’s perspective.
The second-row seats have low, unsupportive pans that feel too small for adults, though the backs do recline to enhance comfort. To their credit, those second-row perches flip easily forward for access to the third row, where there is a decent supply of leg and head room. Cargo space behind the third row, however, is small for a full-size crossover, with 17 cubic feet behind the third row – on a par with the Dodge Durango but short of the 21 cubic feet in the Ford Explorer. Runs to the airport with a full load of passengers and luggage would be a challenge.
If the rear-seat entertainment system did not show its age so readily – it has been around since the CX-9’s introduction in 2008 – that ride to the airport would not be such a chore. Screen resolution is poor, with graininess that the iPad generation is not accustomed to enduring, and it is also mounted high on the roof liner and rearward enough that second-row viewers must crane their necks to watch The Little Mermaid.
So, the CX-9 is more driver’s crossover than passenger’s taxi. That may sound like a winning formula to some customers, but as the CX-9’s limp sales suggest, backseat drivers tend to peddle outsize influence in this segment.
Vital Stats: 2013 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring FWD
- Price: $38,925, including $795 destination charge
- EPA gas mileage: 17mpg city, 24mpg highway
- Standard equipment: 273hp, 270lb-ft., 3.7-litre V6 engine, 6-speed automatic transmission, 20-inch aluminium wheels, heated seats, bi-xenon high-intensity discharge headlights