Monday, June 19, 2017

My Week With Blue: Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD

Do you ever experience something and wonder how you are going to share everything you want about it? That's where I'm at right now. I just finished experiencing test driving the 2017 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD, and it was amazing. I've been trying to figure out how to encapsulate it in one post, so hopefully I can do it!

My only experience with Mazda has been my dad's Miata, and that was fun to ride in. When the CX-9 showed up I kind of gave it a judge eye because I have a crossover (do we call them that any more) and I wasn't sure how it would compare. Let me give you a comparison as to what this drive was like.  Right now the car I drive is an '09 and would describe as a flip phone. The Mazda CX-9 is like the newest smartphone that's just hitting the market! THAT'S how vastly different they are.

So, where do I start? Maybe by telling you I named her. I've never named my cars. She was easy to name. I named her Blue in honor of how I knew I'd feel once she left me. I referred to her as Blue during our adventures which included baseball games, birthday parties, garden centers, and just tooling around town.

My first step was to figure out all of the bells & whistles. There was so much to familiarize myself with. I started with the center console, where you control much of what goes on "smart wise" in the car. It's what they call MAZDA CONNECT™ infotainment systemIt's the size of a tablet that sits on the dashboard. It's basically your command center sitting right next to you. It didn't take nearly as long as I expected to familiarize myself with everything, but it all came together in no time.

Let's chat about the seats. The driver and passenger are able to control their own temperature and the passengers in the 2nd & 3rd row share one as well. The Signature comes with divine premium Nappa leather. Those seats were heavenly to sit in. Made me miss leather seats. Speaking of those seats, the driver and passenger have heated seat options! Gosh I love that. The driver's seat also has 2 memory buttons, something I genuinely miss in the vehicle I have now.

Between the seats is the dual armrest. I've never seen a split armrest, but each side can open a half. Not impressed with that, and it doesn't make sense to me, but each to her own, right? There are two USB ports inside the armrest. There's also a plug in towards the floor on the passenger's side, but it's really awkward to get to. None of those 3 spots works while the car is off. Definitely a negative for me, BUT (and this is the strange part) the drop down armrest in the second row also has dual ports, but one actually charges while the car is off. So there IS that. If it comes down to needing a charge, it's found in the 2nd row armrest.

Now let's talk about one of the feature that does a TON for this Mazda. It's called i-ACTIVSENSE®. This gives you some added safety features that you didn't realize you shouldn't be living without. I'm missing them A LOT now that Blue is gone! I honestly won't be able to do it all justice in my explanation, but if you watch my Facebook Live video you'll see everything I'm talking about.


If you are using cruise control, the sensors will pick up if you're getting to close the car ahead of you and will slow your car down and then speed it back up when needed. There's the Advanced Blind Spot Monitoring when a car is in your blind spot. It will show up in your side mirrors, on your monitor in your windshield, and as a chime. It. Is. Amazing! Then partnered together are the Lane Departure Assist & Lane-Keep Assist. If the car detects you're departing from your lane, it'll push you back away from the line and jiggle your steering wheel. So stinking cool! Really not sure how I'm supposed to live without these in my old car!

Ok, these next two pieces, which you will also see in my video, are just mind blowing to me. One is super simple and now that I don't have it, I want to cry while driving in the dark. lol So, you know how when you're driving at night and you have to keep switching your low beams to your high beams. Oh my gosh, it can drive a person batty, right? Well, their High Beam Control does it for you. FOR YOU! Whoever came up with that should get a raise or at least a bonus! Then...seriously you have GOT to check this out, they have something called the Adaptive Front-Lighting System. Your headlights freaking turn WITH in they move as you go around a corner then adjust back with your steering wheel! I was absolutely fascinated by this feature. You've got to experience it all to really get the full effect. Again, you can see this in my video!

Oh! Something else that really wowed me was the attention to certain lighting details. There is very subtle lighting inside the door handles. I always feel like I'm searching for the door handle to get out of whichever vehicle I'm in. There's also the LED grilled accent lighting that gives it just that extra bling. The interior lighting is bright, but not harsh on the eyes.

I've never had a moonroof in any of my cars, and with this gorgeous weather, I made sure we enjoyed every single moment of it. That meant I didn't get to try out the rain sensing windshield wipers. I actually hoped for a rainy day just to experience them. Another feature I've missed from my minivan days of old is the power lift gate. From the driver's seat you can push a button, you can push it on your key fob, or if you squeeze the lift gate handle it will open! Magical I tell ya!

Moving back to the second and third row seats, they do a lot more than any of my seats have ever done. The second row seats are rather heavy to push up and I wasn't able to do it one handed. I was actually surprised at how much they weighed. lol It's a 60/40 split and can slide forward to give more room to the back and will also recline! The third row seats 2 and is a 50/50 split. Dropping the back row definitely gives more cargo room if you're road tripping it somewhere or just going to the garden center like I did and stocking up on new plants and soils.

I never had a chance to pack Blue full like we do on occasion with our own vehicles. The Mazda CX-9 is surprising strong for a little 4 cylinder. I think it would probably haul the normal things we'd stick in the back. Maybe next time I'll put it to the test! Speaking of the engine, it has what they call SKYACTIV® TECHNOLOGY which helps with "driving dynamics and efficiency." Now, say you're driving this baby and getting onto the freeway, this came with something called Sport Mode. You can switch that on at any point and kapow, you've just kicked it up a notch. Let me tell you, zoom zoom definitely comes into play. Of course, your mpg drop when you use this Mode.

Going back to our own cars has been quite the transition. Before it was picked up to be shared with another driver, I had to move Blue and my crossover out of the driveway. Pulled her out easy peasy. Got in mine, and sakes alive, it felt like I was moving a tank! I hadn't driven it in almost a week, and the difference was that significant. Letting Blue go wasn't going to be easy. Since Blue has been gone I've compared her to my car every time I get behind the wheel. I realized how important a role those safety features play in your every day driving, and I appreciate them more now that I no longer have them!
Overall Blue was a fantastic automobile to drive. She was fun and zippy. There were a couple of things that I wasn't fond of (as mentioned above), but not so much in a way that I'd pick a different vehicle over her. Mazda has thought of pretty much everything, and I'd give her a place in my driveway!


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Woven by Words by Mimi B is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.