2010 Mazda CX-9 GT
2010 Mazda CX-9 GT. Click image to enlarge

Manufacturer’s web site
Mazda Canada

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Review and photos by Michael Clark

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2010 Mazda CX-9

Pardon me, but does this Mazda make me look fat?

It’s hard not to appear big in the hips, when your maximum passenger complement comes in at The Magnificent Seven. Crossovers, SUV’s, and station wagons masquerading under either designation continue to wrestle with how to be a van.

2010 Mazda CX-9 GT
2010 Mazda CX-9 GT
2010 Mazda CX-9 GT. Click image to enlarge

Much like the rumble seat of old, the third row on vehicles such as the CX-9 needs to make a decision; are you an accessible seat treat, or a fair-weather novelty? This week, Inside Story tackles the three rows, and the overall comfort and convenience within the 2010 Mazda CX-9 GT, with an as-tested MSRP of $50,125. (Prices shown do not include freight, taxes, regional or promotional incentives.)

The Cockpit/Centre Stack

It’s not that often that this section begins with a beeline towards the driver’s door pod, until you see the design that practically every manufacturer has failed to embrace. Instead of inserting the control pod in the expected door panel/armrest combo sculpture, Mazda has placed the window lifts and exterior power mirror toggle at a unique angle, known as ‘vertical’. The design does a great service in keeping the driver’s line of sight in touch with the roadway, instead of armrest level.

Venturing inward, a dash-mount switch bank to the left of the driver houses the Blind Spot Monitoring, Traction Control System, power hatch release, and the angle adjustment for the GT’s HID headlamps.

The three-spoke tilt/telescoping wheel holds tabs for audio, Bluetooth phone connectivity, and cruise control. The headlamp switch includes an Auto detent, while the wipers are rain-sensing up front, with an intermittent sweep for the rear wiper. Note the front wiper design, a fiend for flexibility, which should keep streaks to a minimum. The gauge cluster keeps in tune with the Mazda love it/hate it red-faced illumination, accented by blue-tinged back-lighting. Information includes engine coolant temperature, and gear selection for the manual floor-shift operation of the 6-speed automatic.

2010 Mazda CX-9 GT
2010 Mazda CX-9 GT
2010 Mazda CX-9 GT
2010 Mazda CX-9 GT. Click image to enlarge

The Navi head unit option dumps the CD changer capacity from six to one. It’s not the most attractive screen display, though the legibility is still above the norm for this price bracket. The screen also provides rear camera views. HVAC can be tailored for driver and passenger, as well as the rear cabin. With the rear system unlocked, second row occupants are free to adjust their climate preferences.

The top-mount LED display details front climate zone temperatures, average fuel economy, and the current audio selection. The GT’s intelligent key provides a traditional twist set-up on the column, with a removable cover for the actual key.

Cubbies!

As attractive as the clam shell centre console lid looks, it’s a little to high and mighty, as in quickly finding your right-hand elbow during spirited steering inputs. Even if it could slide out of the way, the tunnel itself would still interfere with your flesh and bone. Inside, an auxiliary audio input is paired with a 12-volt DC powerpoint. This makes two powerpoints in the front cabin, with the second found below the HVAC controls, with an open cell phone-sized cubby. A flock-lined drop-down coin tray is located below the safety systems switchbank, to the left of the driver. The unique door panel designs do not eliminate the bottle holders for the front and second row passengers. The second row armrest houses a sizable flip-top compartment, with a dual cinchless cupholder of good depth. The front passenger cupholder is revealed via a flip-top door, with a removable sizing cincher. The locking glovebox is quickly overwhelmed by the lump of tree that is the owner’s manual. On a positive note, the rear of the glovebox is easily removed, for access to the fuse block and cabin air filter assembly. Even third row passengers are hydration-blessed, with dual cupholders on each side panel.

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