A-List Rides: 2013 Mazda CX-9

For the last several months I’ve been apart of an Influencer program hosted by Don Julio Tequila. They selected 12 of Washington, DC’s most influential men and they conduct a series of exclusive, private events for us where we can bring our fellow movers and shakers along.

During the time in which I was test driving the 2013 Mazda CX-9, I actually had a few Don Julio soirees to attend. The good thing about the CX-9 is that its stylish enough that you feel great about pulling up to fine-dining establishments and five-star hotels to valet, but it offers the cargo space that’s perfect for swag bags and oversized gifts like we receive at these functions.

This vehicle offers you the practicality of a mini-van with its many options, but it’s a contemporary SUV with sleek, modern features.

The CX-9 has seating for seven people – the only person to join me in it was the pint-sized fitness guru Donna Richardson Joyner. It also has folding third row seats and a sliding second row, which creates additional cargo space as needed.

The Mazda CX-9 offers both front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive in one of three models: Sport, Touring, and Grand Touring. (I tested the Touring model). Power is available from a 273-horsepower 3.7-liter V6 with a six-speed automatic transmission that has manual gear selection capability.

My Touring model, which was updated for 2013, featured 18-inch alloy wheels. Standard safety equipment includes side curtain airbags for all three rows of seats, anti-lock brakes, stability control with roll control and tire pressure monitoring. Front and rear fascia’s have been redesigned, including new headlamp, front grille and tail lamps.

As far as accessories, the CX-9 has a USB audio input, HD radio, Bluetooth audio streaming capability are now standard on all trims. The Touring model (and apparently the Grand Touring) also have rear backup sensors and rearview camera.

This SUV had a great drive, both on the highway and in the city. It was comfortable, had great steering and fairly quiet to operate.

The gas mileage wasn’t the most ideal, earning 16 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway.

Spin Control: You’ll spend about $34,000 on the Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring AWD model I had. It’s a solid SUV, though not so great on gas. But overall, its a ride you may want to take.

Industry Status: Grade B

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