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Mazda CX-9 2013 review

With sharp performance from the big V6 the CX-5 is able to cut through the traffic with an agility that belies its size.

We turn the spotlight on the car world's newest and brightest stars as we ask the questions to which you want the answers. But there's only one question that really needs answering -- would you buy one?

What is it?

It's labelled an SUV, but it's really the four wheel drive you want, when you don't want a four wheel drive. CX-9 is big, seats seven and looks a hell of a lot more car-like than a four wheel drive (and drives more like a car too).

How much?

Prices range from $44,525 for the front wheel drive Classic right up to $63,828 for the top of the range, all wheel drive Grand Touring model. The price includes a six speed automatic in all models. There's no manual.

What are competitors?

Take your pick. Perhaps the sizeable Toyota Kluger? But instead of SUV's I'd probably be looking at people movers the Chrysler Voyager or Kia Grand Carnival for instance. Both offer the same sort of utility, minus all-wheel drive which many people don't care about anyway.

What's under the bonnet?

A 3.7-litre petrol V6 produces 204kW of power and 367Nm of torque, the latter from 4250 revs. The V6 is hooked up to a six-speed auto that allows you to change gears manually if desired.

How does it go?

Performance is sharp for a vehicle this size. Hit the accelerator and it literally takes off. Sits high but the width helps mitigate much of the expected body roll.

My wife is a hard marker when it comes to performance and doesn't like it unless a car responds instantly but no complaints from her with this one. Can tow a 2 tonne braked van or boat.

Is it economical?

The trade off for all this performance is fuel economy. Although it is rated at 11.2 litres/100km, it is going to use a lot more than this. Takes standard unleaded and has a 76-litre tank.

Is it green?

Hardly. Not with a big petrol 3.7-litre V6. It gets 2.5 out of 5 from the Government's Green Vehicle Guide, with CO2 emissions of 261g/km. Can't understand why they don't offer this vehicle with a diesel?

Is it safe?

No problems here. With six airbags and a full complement of safety systems it scores a full five stars for safety in crash tests.

Is it comfortable?

At just over 5.1 metres in length and almost two metres wide, it's big and by virtue of its size fairly comfortable. The three-zone climate air helps keep everyone supplied with fresh air, even the little whingers down the back.

What's it like to drive?

The view from up here is generous and with sharp performance from the big V6 it is able to cut through the traffic with an agility that belies its size. You'll need a large garage or extra wide driveway however because it doesn't leave a lot left over. Luggage space with the third row in use is of course limited.

Is it value for money?

Standard equipment on the entry level Classic includes Bluetooth, keyless entry, automatic lights and wipers, 18 inch alloys, a reversing camera and six speaker audio with controls on the steering wheel. All other models add larger 20 inch wheels, Bose audio and TomTom navigation with speed camera warnings.

Would we buy one?

Maybe. We'd prefer a diesel. And here's the thing  there are plenty of diesel alternatives available like the excellent Hyundai Santa Fe.

Pricing guides

Based on 75 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
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Range and Specs

Classic (FWD) 3.7L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $14,989 – 23,766 2013 Mazda CX-9 2013 Classic (FWD) Pricing and Specs
Grand Touring 3.7L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $18,989 – 27,800 2013 Mazda CX-9 2013 Grand Touring Pricing and Specs
Luxury 3.7L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $17,970 – 23,999 2013 Mazda CX-9 2013 Luxury Pricing and Specs
Luxury (FWD) 3.7L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $16,555 – 25,990 2013 Mazda CX-9 2013 Luxury (FWD) Pricing and Specs