First of all, happy father's day to all dads out there! This review is dedicated to all you hardworking troopers that put food on the table and take care of their wife and kids - I hope you enjoy this!
If you're too lazy to read, you might want to check out the video here, but we do recommend to read on!
You Want Me to What?
When Raffy mentioned that he wanted me to review this CX-9, I was like: “You sure you want me doing this? You have guys like Billy and Au in your roster, not to mention other race car drivers PartsPro Racing supports. Plus, you do know that I have two crazy kids, and stacks of stuff to transport (because we were in the middle of moving) on the scheduled review dates, right?” He reiterated and said: “That’s exactly why I need you to do this! I need a review from you and your family on how this Mazda compares to cars you’ve owned over the years. I need a review from a cool active macho dad like you!” OK fine, maybe the last bit was made up. Either way, before we start, this angle review is dedicated to all the non-technical dads like me, and is particularly skewed for all the families that are in the market for a new car. Believe me, you would want to stick around and see what this baby has to offer your babies (see what I did there)
At first glimpse, you’d know it’s a Mazda. When my 3-year-old boy jumped out of our Forester, he immediately ran to the front of the car, glued his eyes on the CX-9’s grill like we bought the damn car – calm down son! At least we know you got taste – good start! All shiny, newly detailed by the guys at James’ Car Care, you can’t help but submit your attention to its commanding, yet elegant presence. Older Mazda models in this bracket came with a certain low-key, flies-under-the-radar level of sophistication, but this particular CX-9, especially in Machine Grey, just had a different kind of boldness to it. You know that Mazda has invested time and effort in making this an everyday artwork on the road. I would personally rate it at a solid 8.5 out of 10, where the 1.5 remaining can be solved by changing the 20” stock mags into something more of my character. For top of mind options, I’d probably go for 22” Vossen HF6-2s or anything similar. Might sacrifice a little bit of ride quality, but breaking necks in EDSA, and still being a responsible, practical parent would be the perfect balance. #priorities right? Having a hard time identifying which one fits best for your car and your taste? PartsPro can definitely help! Send us a message via Facebook and our customer service experts will be there to assist!
4.5/5 stars – love at first sight, but you gotta ask the wife first if she’s gonna let you buy it.
The Magic Carpet Ride
When I rode the CX-9, took it out of Fixstop for the first time, it’s like Mazda has made this for dads who wanted total peace and quiet – from both the engine, and your kids. Practically zero noise in the cabin! Barely reaching one of the intersections at Trinoma (which was a couple of minutes away from the shop) everyone was barely awake, struggling to keep their eyes on Peppa Pig, Spongebob and Park Bo-Gum (guess the wife’s favorite character in the bunch – winner gets a prize from me) It wasn’t like a boat, but it wasn’t a rocky ride either unlike the Fortuners and Monteros of the world. As Au mentioned to me, I think the closest thing to the CX-9 would be the Explorer. Mazda’s might be even better, plus it’s without the heftier price tag. Tremendous value for the ride, and the peace and quiet!
5/5 stars – destined to be together. Wife might get pissed at you, thinking this car could be your mistress with the way you admire it.
Thanks to the smooth ride, the kids were knocked out on the second row, along with the help, and wife had her ears plugged with K-pop/dramas; finally had the time to hear to myself talk on Procast with PartsPro along with the guys through those incredible Bose speakers! Subscribe for the latest automotive content, brutal opinions, and industry insights, by the way. We’re giving away prizes for our loyal listeners soon!
Plugging in my iOS phone activates Apple CarPlay (yes, it also has Android Auto) but I’d love how Mazda added intuitive kicks to its accessibility. Home, navigation and music knobs on the easily accessible panel instantly recognized the default apps I’m using (Waze instead of Maps, Spotify instead of Apple Music) same goes for the Android Auto for my wife (where she uses Google Maps instead of Waze by default) Learning curves on the knobs were fairly low, and easy to grasp, except for the volume – arrow pointing up, intuitively indicates to increase volume, right? In this case, arrow was pointing up, counter clockwise kinda messed with my head a little bit. Later, barring my impeccable logic, I managed to figure it out and just follow our thoughts to treat it as a regular knob – right to increase the volume, left to decrease. Lesson: stop overthinking.
4.5/5 stars – love at first sight, but you gotta ask the wife first if she’s gonna let you buy it.
Here is where it gets a little chippy for me.
All these lane-assist technology’s great but until we find a ‘smarter’ AI that can come up with a neural network that can identify the Philippines’ street patterns and signs, these are boundary useless for me to be honest. It’s not Mazda’s fault – I don’t think Google’s nor Amazon’s data science team would be spending x amount of hours and money trying to analyze and fix this for us anytime soon either, but kudos for incorporating this for added safety. I do feel the restriction at times, although very inconsistent – still helps I guess. Again, not Mazda’s fault in any way. Also, I barely use the 360-degree camera the CX-9 is pushing through the screen when I’m backing up – I don’t know about you, but it’s discombobulating for me. Call me old school, but I’d still prefer making ‘tancha’ on my own. I know, I’m horrible.
One irritating lack of feature was it not having the keyless entry feature similar to our current ride – a Subaru Forester. Usually being a dad, carrying a ton of stuff along with your kid, and maybe adding a backpack or two, you’d like to be able to open your car, strap on your kid onto the car seat without having to put your groceries of office junk down on the floor (especially now where we’re all germophobes) Since we were moving that weekend of the review, this particular flaw was immensely magnified.
I’m a tech guy by profession so this field, I might be a tad bit harder to please. Although not hard-tech, but still. You get the point.
3/5 – you have to get ready to sleep on the couch tonight. Does the job but it can be better!
When the last row is tumbled down, you don’t need to be playing Tetris with your luggage with its spacious rear-end; it’s another story when it’s up though. Here’s the breakdown:
With two kids, a help, plus my wife and I, first two rows comfortably accommodates everyone – emphasis on the comfort; the third row was tumbled down for all the important stuff like golf clubs, a stack of sneakers, two gaming consoles (with their boxes), three check-in size luggage, and other odd-shaped items. Two decently sized baby bags and bottles still had space in the second row and were placed them under the leg space of the kid on the car seat (behind the driver) I’d probably buy a couple of organizers just to satisfy my obsessive-compulsive tendencies in luggage-arranging, bag-stacking methodologies. As always, PartsPro to the rescue!
Can this car run out of space?! Well…
When you put up the last row to officially turn it into a 7-seater, it’s a totally different conversation. Storage space at the back was practically non-existent. You can probably fit two cabin size luggage – that may be even a stretch. In exchange, the CX-9 generously provided decent legroom to the guys who will be sitting at the last row, which in my opinion much more important.
So with proper planning and scheduling, which are essential skills for parents, I don’t think you’ll have to worry too much about this issue.
5/5 stars – destined to be together. Buy now, apologize later to the wife.
The Kids Threshold Meter
Having a 2- and a 3-year-old can be messy especially when they both demand French fries from McDonald’s. The premium interior will have you looking over your shoulder every dip of ketchup and every sip from the orange juice boxes. Not to mention, you have to understand that a car seat is like a bottomless pit of stuff.
If you’re like me – coming from the Everests and the Foresters of the world where it’s pretty much OK to turn everything upside down, inside out – you’d feel that this particular car, specifically with its premium interior finishes, is at least two notches higher, hence twice as meticulous. Spills are bound to happen. I had a few close calls but luckily this came back in one piece!
I’d peg it at one kid max, strapped on a car seat, no food allowed; drinks are possible as long as you use one of those protected baby bottles to safely transport the liquids and actually execute the drinking with zero spills. If you have to bring another kid, make sure he’s played all afternoon, take advantage of the quiet ride, and let him or her sleep the whole trip!
4/5 –You have to have that sit-down with the wife, and consider this seriously. Would you be able to handle spilled coffee on those seats?
After the weekend of being the passenger, the wife managed to take the CX-9 for a spin one afternoon to grab some groceries. Coming from our daily driven Forester, she would need to properly plan out what to buy in order to fit everything efficiently. But for the CX-9, where she was genuinely amazed of the storage capacity, she went out and bought a bike for one of our kids – and it still had space for more stuff!
Arkin, my 3-year-old son, also asked when the next car ride was with the CX-9, which he never does for the Forester. Incredible space to maneuver around for kids, parents, and everything in between.
For me, this is of tremendous value for money! Compared to older models where fuel economy is much less forgiving, this gives you that extraordinary yet efficient ride, plus it might be better than the Explorer (as its direct comparison in this context) at the fraction of the price.
Here’s a summary:
- The Impressions: 4.5 / 5
- The Ride: 5.0 / 5
- The Entertainment: 4.5 / 5
- The Technology: 3.0 / 5
- The Storage: 5.0 / 5
- The Wife and Kids: 4.0 / 5
- The Verdict: 26 / 30 (86.67%)
Pasting the YouTube link here again if you want to watch the video version of the review.
So if you’re in a market for a car, and want to avoid the horrendous rides pick up-based SUVs have to offer, want that value for money and still get great aftermarket and service support, go with this CX-9. Better than going with a brand that could give you horrible customer service experience; listen here for our full rants about said brands on.
Thank you, Mazda Philippines for the experience. Thank you Raffy and #TeamPartsPro! My wife and kids thank you! Do we get to review a Miata next? Hehe. Follow their stuff here:
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