Mazda CX-9 This larger SUV adds a V6 option, as well as more cargo room, to the CX-7 option.

X5 Replacement Outback Touring vs. CX-9 Signature.

  #1  
Old 12-05-2016, 02:29 PM
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Default X5 Replacement Outback Touring vs. CX-9 Signature.

A bit long so bear with me here…

My wife and I have a ’12 X5 diesel that we ordered new. It has been a great vehicle—while it was in warranty. Now that it is out of warranty, in the last two months we have had two things break that cost over $1k to repair. We were torn on getting an aftermarket warranty or dumping it for something new. We have our first child on the way so comfort and convenience safety features were important so in the end we decided to sell the X5.

I have long been a Subaru, Mazda, and BMW fan as I do participate in motorsports and appreciate good driving dynamics. A year ago I purchased my first Porsche 911. It was not as expensive as it sounds as it was a CPO ’09 base Carrera (with a manual). So, it looks expensive but cost the same as a loaded CX-9. It drives amazing and fills the hole that my previous M3s and RX-7 left.

The X5 is a good size for us as we have three large dogs and now a baby on the way. We wanted a 3rd row seat too but not having one is not a deal killer. I used to tow my RX-7 race car but I sold that so I no longer need 7,000lb towing capacity so the diesel engine, with 425lb or torque, is not necessary. I do still have a small trailer that I use for Home Depot runs or to tow my motorcycle to the track etc. so some towing capability is important.

I looked at the Honda pilot. Rides great but the steering is numb and it is a barely disguised minivan (with rear seat entertainment—totally unnecessary as iPads exist) and has much more space than we needed. The biggest killer though: The terrible plastic interior. While not as bad as a Ford Focus, for +$40k, I expected a little more—especially coming from BMW. I know, I sound spoiled (#firstworldproblems). I briefly contemplated a highlander but also quickly eliminated it.

The CX-9 was a joy to drive. Great off-the line performance and on some twisty roads, I flipped the transmission into “Sport”. This thing carved corners like an AWD Mazda 3 would if it existed. Great downshifts and never once did it wallow in the corners or feel like it was searching for the right gear. The steering was well-weighted and it was very easy to find the line. The salesman was not too happy with me treating it like an MX-5 but the CX-9 seemed to love it. I dare say it was more engaging to drive than the X5 which has the sport package. The HUD was nice although hard to see at times with polarized sunglasses; it was great at night (I did both a night and day test drive). Interior was beautiful (although not Audi build quality) and I like the colors of the machine grey (an up-charge but amazing 7-layer paint—I should know I used to work for Ford in the paint shop) over that buttery auburn leather interior. I know this is a long vehicle, but once underway, it shrinks around you. I just wish it had front parking sensors with that long nose. The second row seats are very comfortable and they recline. We sat in the third row for “fun” but it is not recommended for adults over long trips. The lack of Apple play is also a drawback but I can still stream music and I’m hoping that future updates may fix that and it is not a deal killer.

I have been looking at the Outback since early in the year. My wife was ok with it but still had a hard time trading in an X5 for a Subaru. She also associates the brand with people who grow their own granola. However, the 3.6 Outback Touring does move up the scale in fit and finish a bit. We recently moved from Philadelphia to Raleigh, NC so optimal deep snow performance is not needed and we don’t exactly go off roading. AWD, however, is essential considering my other car as there is still some snow down here and we do go camping and like the stability of AWD for inclement weather. We had a hard time sourcing a 3.6 Touring as the ones locally are sold before they come in. We test drove a 3.6 and, unfortunately, it did not handle and have the road feel of Mazda/BMW. It was a bit numb and the CVT did not do it any favors. If it was available in a manual, I may have gone with it. I could not test drive a 3.6 Touring as the one on site was sold so I could look at it, but if I wanted one I would have to order it. Although the interior is nice, it still had a considerable amount of hard plastic where wood/aluminum should be. This was not as noticeable in the catalogue as it looks like aluminum is used in the pictures, while in reality it is plastic. MSRP with eyesight is $39k so there is not a lot of savings with the disadvantage of reduced towing, (3,000lbs vs 3,500) no 3rd row, more plastic interior, less engaging drive, worse transmission, and less stylish exterior (the CX-9 is quite beautiful). Advantages of the Outback are probably better off-road handling, and perhaps better resale (even though this is unknown for the Touring as people may be unwilling to pay for the up-charge on a used vehicle).

In the end, based on my driving style and limited off-roading needs, I decided to go with the CX-9 Signature. I got the dealer down to $41,500 so the price difference is not that great. I got another dealer to $41,000 but when I got there, he wanted to play games and insist on mandatory accessory packages and in-house financing--what a dirtbag! I left them a suitable review on Yelp and Google (hint, their name rhymes with worst). I found another dealer (Medlin Mazda) who was professional and more in line with my buying expectations although $500 more in their base price. I closed a deal with them even though they did not have it in stock. They are sourcing one and delivering it to my house. Now, time to sell the X5d which will be missed but I will not miss the $300 oil changes and $1,500 break-downs.

Just thought I would add my .02 from my search, needs, wants, and pros and cons between the two.
 
  #2  
Old 12-05-2016, 10:39 PM
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We really like our CX-9.

Replace the polarized sunglasses.
 
  #3  
Old 12-06-2016, 06:16 AM
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Yeah, I'll probably get a pair of non-polarized to keep in the CX-9.

I read some complaints about shorter people having a hard time seeing over the hood. Since my wife always makes me test drive, she had not actually test driven it. So last night, we went for our third test drive with her driving. She was perfectly fine with it. We both wish it had front parking sensors and she missed the 360 degree view when attempting to park, but overall she was fine with it.
 
  #4  
Old 12-08-2016, 03:19 PM
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I wish it had actual 8-way power driver seat as advertised. My wife is only 5' and with the seat all the way up the seat bottom tilts forward too much. Other than that we are very happy with it.

Mazdas are great, I have a '14 6 GT with ~40K trouble free miles on it.
 
  #5  
Old 12-10-2016, 02:02 AM
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God you finally get the Cx9. I had the old v6 and have the new cx9 turbo. It's a great SUV and handle like a car, for sure.

I test the Pilot and Pathfinder before hit the trigger and now after 6 months, I'm more happy every single day.

As soon as you get your new cx9, put some photos please!

BTW, the audio in the cx9 is amazing! they make a great job together with BOSE with the acoustics. I compared the cx9 Bose audio with the high end audio in an Infiniti and the cx9 was better by a lot.

Regarding the power, the new 4 cyl with DP Turbo is just amazing because you get full torque since low rpm. I already had several trips with family and never feel the cx9 underpowered at all, just the opossite!

Congrats on having a baby on the way !!!!
 

Last edited by matrix; 05-18-2017 at 02:21 AM.
  #6  
Old 12-10-2016, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by matrix View Post
God you finally get the Cx9. I had the old v6 and have the new cx9 turbo. It's a great SUV and handle like a card, for sure.

I test the Pilot and Pathfinder before hit the trigger and now after 6 months, I'm more happy every single day.

As soon as you get your new cx9, put some photos please!

BTW, the audio in the cx9 is amazing! they make a great job together with BOSE with the acoustics. I compared the cx9 Bose audio with the high end audio in an Infiniti and the cx9 was better by a lot.

Regarding the power, the new 4 cyl with DP Turbo is just amazing because you get full torque since low rpm. I already had several trips with family and never feel the cx9 underpowered at all, just the opossite!

Congrats on having a baby on the way !!!!
I picked it up today. Happy with my decision. Need to sell the X5 now, once I pay a couple k to get it back from the dealer.

I'll snap some pictures tomorrow.
 
  #7  
Old 12-11-2016, 01:27 PM
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Dropped the wife off at the airport this morning and then went for a drive. Was able to snap some pictures.

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And with its stablemate as I clean out the garage to make room:

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  #8  
Old 02-22-2017, 01:07 AM
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Default Thanks for sharing your story

I'm new to the forum and I appreciate the perspective you offered.
 
  #9  
Old 05-17-2017, 11:15 PM
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I never gave driving dimensions much consideration until I traded in my Subaru Impreza for a Mazda CX9 Signature last weekend. Now I will never go back and will always think "Driving First". I've always had cars that are functional and clean, but never exciting. The Mazda CX9 Signature is joy to sit in and a joy to drive. I often drive my father-in-laws Honda Pilot and the difference is amazing. The Pilot is a great vehicle but "fun" and "excitement" are not part of it.
 
  #10  
Old 05-18-2017, 02:26 AM
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Originally Posted by maddmike View Post
Dropped the wife off at the airport this morning and then went for a drive. Was able to snap some pictures.
@Madmike:

Wow. This photo with the CX9 / Porsche and the American Flag it's a killer. I can easily print this photo and frame it for my office! haha

Thanks for sharing!
 

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