Sometimes family cars can be a bit blah. No offense to any automakers out there, of course, but when practical 2.45-children family vehicles are put on the road, they're usually on the more mundane side. From ho-hum designs to interiors that serve more purpose than pleasure, it's often hard to get excited about your people carrier.
|The Mazda CX-9 is a sleek, almost svelte-looking vehicle. (Photo: Sébastien D'Amour/Auto123.com)
I realize that as of late I have very few bad things to say about Mazda, and there has to be a reason for that; oh right, because they design cars that aren't just appealing to the eye but get the job done, too. They engineer their cars with a purpose in mind (something I think several manufacturers tend to ignore), and it shows. Case in point: the 2011 Mazda CX-9 GT.
Let's get the “practical” stuff out of the way first. Yes, this cute 'ute sports room for 7 passengers. And that would be 7 fully-grown, adult passengers (yes, we tested that). The rear-most row is almost too easy to fold up and down, and with both second the third rows up, cargo space in the trunk is still 487L. Top it off with the fact that this people-packer sports AWD and you've got it all.
But how does it look, you ask? It seats seven, you think, so it must be horribly disfigured in the back; bulbous, boxy, big, blah. But, you'd be wrong. The Mazda CX-9 is a sleek, almost svelte-looking vehicle that hides its third row option quite nicely in a back end that's perfectly proportioned to the rest of its body. A subtle wing juts off the roof in the back over the rear window, and the rectangle dual exhaust pipes mimic the shape of the rear taillights, giving the CX-9 a uniform look that's sure to please.
In the front, the Mazda CX-9 carries the Mazda grin with a kind of sophisticated demeanour, keeping the smile to a minimum thanks to its size. Slim, angular headlights keep the sporty look, and almost imperceptible ridges on the hood, again, allude to the CX-9's speedy nature. With a sporty stance that sees the rear sitting slightly higher than the front, the CX-9 casts the illusion that this kid-carter is actually quite quick on its wheels continues.
Sit behind the wheel of the CX-9, and that speedy illusion suddenly becomes a reality. Before I talk about the fabulously modern and stylish interior design, let's talk driving dynamics and engine specs for a moment. Mazda has proven with the CX-9 that an SUV doesn't have to be drab and dry, and can actually offer a great driving experience when the time is right.
|In the front, the Mazda CX-9 carries the Mazda grin with a kind of sophisticated demeanour, keeping the smile to a minimum thanks to its size. (Photo: Sébastien D'Amour/Auto123.com)