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Mazda CX-9 2012 review

EXPERT RATING
7

THERE is a very simple solution to worrying global overpopulation: Stop having sex. But that's not going to happen. Instead, we build congested cities with rabbit-warren accommodation, invent two-storey trains and prams with tiered seating, and play computer games in the living room because there's no playgrounds downstairs.

Thankfully, you can escape all this by buying cars with as much space as a family apartment. The Mazda CX-9 will seat - and possibly sleep - seven people. You won't have room for sex, though.

Value

Multi-seat vehicles are usually inflated tissue boxes with the aerodynamics of a brick and the driving thrill factor of diazepam.

The US-inspired CX-9 seats seven and is loaded with features, cupholders, storage spaces, cupholders and some extra cupholders. It's big, comfortable and at $56,225, affordable - even more if you forgo the all-wheel drive and save $4500.

Design

The CX family - now with its third member, the CX-5 - has clear genetic links and even telling the CX-7 from the CX-9 can be difficult. It's a no-fuss, attractive and large wagon that boasts more room than rivals Kluger and Territory.

Big points for the sliding centre row, easy-fold third row and split-seating so versatility is practically unmatched. The spare wheel is under the body.

Technology

Simple stuff here, with the 3.7-litre petrol V6 transversely mounted under a wedge-shaped bonnet. The AWD gets on-demand drive to the rear wheels.

There's no manual transmission available so the CX-9 gets a six-speed automatic and even hydraulic steering remains while many rivals have sought the fuel saving benefits of electric-assist steering. Probably a good move by Mazda.

Safety

Hmmm. No Australian crash rating for this car. The US crash testers rates it five stars but ANCAP and the European NCAP haven't shot it into a concrete wall to test it out. But the CX-9 has six airbags, mandatory electronic stability control with brake assist, and has a roll-over mitigation system.

There's also a rear camera, the seven seats all have lap-sash belts and the spare is near full-size rubber but rated only as a temporary wheel.

Driving

Vast cabin room makes for a comfortable, loungeroom-feel driving position that's ideal for long journeys. The V6's 204kW/367Nm looks potent on paper but the figures arrive very high in the rev range and inaccessible to most owners. Obviously, push the 2-tonne wagon hard and fuel consumption soars.

It's built for hauling seven people in comfort and serenity but the high stance and body mass clip its wings through fast corners. It will take to firm sand trails and gravel roads, but it's no offroader and best steer clear of boggy stuff.

Verdict

As a very versatile and roomy family wagon, it's a winner.

Pricing Guides

$18,995
Based on 100 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$12,980
Highest Price
$28,950

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
Classic (FWD) 3.7L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $14,875 – 21,990 2012 Mazda CX-9 2012 Classic (FWD) Pricing and Specs
Grand Touring 3.7L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $12,980 – 28,950 2012 Mazda CX-9 2012 Grand Touring Pricing and Specs
Luxury 3.7L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $14,965 – 25,880 2012 Mazda CX-9 2012 Luxury Pricing and Specs
Luxury (FWD) 3.7L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $12,995 – 24,888 2012 Mazda CX-9 2012 Luxury (FWD) Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7
Neil Dowling
Contributing Journalist

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Pricing Guide

$14,965

Lowest price, based on 16 car listings in the last 6 months

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