by Michael Massey, Vehicle Testing Assistant
After a full redesign for 2016, we were curious how the new Mazda CX-9 would handle itself at the test track. It's certainly not its natural environment, but seeing how the CX-9 deals with extreme situations is a window into its ability to save your bacon when something goes wrong on the road.
Check out the numbers and the comments of our test driver to see how it fared.
Vehicle: 2016 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring AWD
Date: January 17, 2017
Driver: Kurt Niebuhr
Drive type: all-wheel drive
Transmission type: automatic
Engine type: turbocharged conventional gasoline inline four-cylinder
Displacement: 2,500 cc/152.56 cu-in
Redline: 6,000 rpm
Horsepower: 227 hp @ 5,000 rpm
Torque: 310 lb-ft @ 5,000 rpm
Brake type (front): one-piece ventilated discs with two-piston sliding calipers
Brake type (rear): one-piece solid discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Suspension type (front): MacPherson struts with stabilizer bar
Suspension type (rear): multilink with stabilizer bar
Tire size (front): P255/50R20 104V
Tire size (rear): P255/50R20 104V
Tire brand: Falken
Tire model: Ziex CT50 A/S
Tire type: regular
0-30 mph: 2.6 seconds (with TC on: 3.1 seconds)
0-45 mph: 4.5 seconds (with TC on: 5.1 seconds)
0-60 mph: 7.2 seconds (with TC on: 7.8 seconds)
0-60 mph with 1-ft rollout: 6.9 seconds (with TC on: 7.3 seconds)
0-75 mph: 10.9 seconds (with TC on: 11.4 seconds)
1/4-mile: 15.37 seconds @ 89.30 mph (with TC on: 15.63 seconds @ 89.54 mph)
30-0 mph: 29 feet
60-0 mph: 118 feet
Skidpad lateral acceleration: 0.83 g (0.82 g w/ ESC on)
RPM @ 70 mph: 2,250
Good midrange power, especially for a 2.5-liter engine, turbo or not. Even toward the end of the quarter-mile, the CX-9 is still pulling quite well. When all the boost comes in, it is noticeable, but not because it's dead off boost — it's just a wallop of power. Building up power on the brakes before the launch is the way to go, but unless you paddle through the gears yourself, it will short-shift 1-2 nearly 2,000 rpm shy of redline. Flipping gears yourself needs to be done sooner than you think as the paddles aren't exactly instantaneous.
The CX-9 feels like it's using all four of its tires really well. Braking is extremely stable and consistent. It is drama-free, with a nice, firm pedal and minimal dive. These brakes are well sorted. Definitely a benchmark in terms of feel and confidence.
How refreshing it is to find an SUV with stability control that wants to help you get through the corner instead of panicking and wanting you to straighten the wheel and stop. The steering is well-weighted and accurate, but the visibility could be better. You do sit a little lower and the front roof pillar is a bit fat. Still, the chassis is fantastic. Stability control is always lurking and never lets you get too out of shape.
Michael Massey, Vehicle Testing Assistant @ 3,927 miles