Texas®

I’ve been having the strangest argument this week. It’s not just that I’ve been arguing with a car that has me perplexed; really, I do that all the time. It’s the fact the argument seems strangely familiar from someplace, but I can’t put my finger on where it’s from.

The argument is the result of how Mazda’s CX9 crossover minivan SUV is just too smart for my liking. It’s a properly-sized seven passenger minivan that tries all its worth not to be a minivan. The interior proportions are very van-ish with a third-row seat, tons of stowage, and an easy access rear gate. It’s optioned out with GPS, Satellite Radio, heated seats, power everything and tons of usable internal acreage.

So, inside it is a van, outside it’s something else all together.

From curbside, the CX9 is a wagon SUV crossover, really. Good looking and sleek with nice fluid lines wrapped over a great wheel base that drives more like a car than either a bulky van or notchy truck.

It’s not the multiple personalities of the CX9 that I have been arguing with, mind you. It has been the Blind Spot intervention system. The system alerts the driver that there is a vehicle driving along-side and warns of intrusion into the lane when it’s already occupied. I’m sure that if I looked I could have been able to find a sensitivity adjustment for the system, but the shrill squawking of the “OH MY GOD YOU ARE GOING TO DIE” alarm was just unsettling.

The alarm would trigger from the most unobtrusive intrusions. I would be a half a block away from a car turning into a strip mall and OHMYGODYOUAREGOINGTODIE would beep away. And the lane wandering was just as twitchy. I signaled to change lanes coming up to my street and OHMYGODYOUAREGOINTODIE lept to life.

It was as oversensitive as a teenage girl talking about Twilight. Now unlike a Tween Twi-fan I could turn off the incessant tweetalage of the BLiPs. When I did that, the CX9 became a great people mover to move many things beyond just people. The interior is very flexible and can swallow half an isle of groceries or what ever else you might need it to.

This has just enough sport wagon in its minivan mix to make the CX9 one of the best driving options in the over-crowded market. Many of the competitors try deftly to disguise the multi passenger aspect of their CUV or Cross over Utility Vehicle, some try and call a minivan an SUV, others name a wagon as a truck. It always seems to be a little bit of Goldilocks in the recipe, and the Mazda CX9 has the just right aspect handled.

I’m not in the target market for a wagon/SUV/van, but if I were the Mazda would be one of the few I would put on my personal list. It has great curb appeal, excellent driving characteristics full sized passenger and cargo capabilities on a chassis that responds like a car. I generally don’t go for that myself, as I like my trucks to be trucks and cars to be cars. But the market has moved into the Swiss Army Knife approach to the world where a vehicle seems to have to have the capabilities of all the market segments rather than being just one.

Like the Swiss Army Knife in my camera gear that I can use for almost everything, I will never use the corkscrew, but it’s there, none the less. The CX9 has a number of things I would never use, like the third row seating and that pesky BLiPs system. But for most people, I’m sure it’s something they would be more than happy to have.

The CX9 was jammed full of options that took the baseline $33k up to a pretty respectable $38,500.00 and rolls a 17-24 MPG rating from the EPA. My driving around north Texas was pretty much all in-town and I ran in the very low 20’s, so their numbers seem shockingly accurate.

After I discovered the best way of winning my argument was to disable the ability of the offending device that interfered with me, I have now begun rethinking other relationships… but I digress.

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