Family-friendly vehicles are never the sexy choice.
But that doesn’t mean they can’t be more than functional. My case-in-point is the 2019 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring sports utility.
It’s fun to drive, is loaded with all the latest-greatest creature comforts to keep back-seat whiners happy and doubles down on safety and security features.
The CX-9, with three rows, seats up to seven passengers and affords the versatility to turn into a cargo-carrying workhorse when the third-row seats (and even second-row seats if needed) fold flat. Plenty of room for golf clubs, push carts and even a water cooler.
All-wheel drive delivers confidence during the long Northwest fall, winter and spring seasons when Mother Nature can throw curve ball after curve ball. The 2.5 liter, turbocharged engine provides plenty of power for towing or climbing mountain passes with 227 horsepower and 310 lb.-ft of torque.
Mazda continues to make inch-by-inch improvements to the award-winning CX-9. Updates for 2019 include a refined and retuned suspension that offers a smoother, quieter and more natural ride than ever.
Those were the first attributes I took note of on Day One. The CX-9 rides and handles like a sedan, with conversations taking place at a normal level – no shouting required – which makes it easier to enjoy factory-equipped Apple CarPlay and Android Auto infortainment technologies that are now standard at the Touring trim level and above.
Standard features are pretty much over-the-top on my tester, the Grand Touring. There are so many, it will take a couple paragraphs to get the job done. I was most impressed with the CX-9’s navigation system, radar cruise control, power moon roof and leather-trimmed upholstery.
Running a close second was the three-zone automatic climate control, Bose stereo system with 12 speakers, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, adaptive front lights, LED headlights, rain-sensing windshield wipers and fixed intermittent rear wiper, Bluetooth and USB ports.
And that’s not even touching the slough of safety features that are designed to protect your most valuable investment – your family. Highlights include dynamic stability control, traction control, front and rear parking sensors, 360-degree view monitor, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist and smart brake support.
The Grand Touring’s exterior received a beautiful Soul Red Crystal Metallic coat of enamel, 20-inch alloy wheels, rear roof spoiler, auto-fold side mirrors, and a pushbutton lift gate, just for starters, and its pushbutton to enter and start.
CX-9 is available in Sport, Touring, Grand Touring and top-of-the-line Signature trim levels. I would recommend a test drive this weekend. You’ll see what I mean.
Base Price: $41,835
Price As Driven: $42,640
Base price includes destination charge. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturer. List price may vary at local dealerships.