We put this SUV to the ultimate stress test: Transporting screaming children.
Cars are a lot like pants - many come in beige, they have all sorts of unexplainable stains and, as you get older, they get harder and harder to fit into. Over the course of just a couple of years, you go from single man cruising with your bros to married man carting groceries, sticky kids, and their insanely horrible smelling hockey equipment. Suddenly, sadly, your beautiful Mustang just ain’t cutting it. You have to expand to keep up with the junk in your trunk. In the words of Chief Brody, you’re gonna need a bigger boat. Well, a boat with wheels on it.
Enter the 2013 Mazda CX-9. It’s big. Big enough to haul seven passengers, but not so big that a short driver (guilty!) can still maneuver it without accidentally crushing everything his kids left on the driveway. It also helpfully has a blind-spot monitoring system, which beeps if you're about to change lanes into the side of someone else’s car. (P.S. It never beeped when I drove it because I am a great driver. P.P.S. Neither part of that statement is true.)
Anyways, the 3.7-liter V-6 engine gives the CX-9 enough kick to make you feel like you’re driving a car and not a minivan, while the collapsible third row allows you to pack in children like you are driving a minivan and not a car. Whammy! The dash has a 5.8-inch display screen for your GPS-icle needs, as well as the HD radio command station. The sound system is great, but is anything as wonderful as listening to your two kids fight over who gets to sit in the last row? Not by a long shot.
I spent a week cruising around town, putting the CX-9 to the suburban dad test: Stopping and shopping at Stop ‘n’ Shop, picking up crap furniture from IKEA, taking the kids through McDonald’s drive-thrus (don’t gimme that look, they put apples in the Happy Meals now—it’s healthy!), going to baseball and hockey practice, and yelling at the idiot in front of me driving 10 miles UNDER the speed limit. The CX-9 passed with flying colors!
My entire family fell in love with this car, and on the day I returned it, more tears were shed than the day we put my 6-year-old’s goldfish Swimmy in the ground. But before we parted, I did get to spend one last drive, all by myself, back into NYC. It was a special time, and provided the one final test for this glorious vehicle:
Base Price: $29, 785
Under the hood: 3.7 liter, V6
MPG: 16 city, 22 highway
Length: 200.6 inches
Width: 76.2 inches
Satisfying: Yes, yes, oh God, yes!
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