Just Another Pretty Mommy Car?

My husband is self-employed, as a result we both lease our cars (something about a tax benefit there). About every 2-4 years we get the exciting experience of choosing another automobile that is suitable for our growing family. When our Audi A6 lease was soon to expire, we came to grips with the fact that we really needed a 3-row, 7 seater car of some sort for hauling kids, their friends, our friends and the occasional visiting relatives. Frankly, we were tired of taking 2 cars for one group of us for an outing. But how do you choose? There are mini-vans, a plethora of SUV’s – small and large, luxury, economy, American and foreign. Not to mention the gas price factor of these behemoths. We had our work cut out for us and realized this decision might take a while. So, like most good shoppers in America, we turned to Motor Trend magazine. MT had just published their top mid-sized SUV picks, with the Mazda CX-9 taking first place in the March 2001 issue. So, off we went to the dealerships to check out MT’s top 5. In the end, we were most pleased with the fit and finish of the CX-9, as well as the cushy handling of it. It reminded us most of our sporty Audi we had just returned. With plenty of room and decent gas mileage, we made our choice and ordered one in black on black, with optional all-wheel drive, automatic rear lift gate, and sunroof. Mom feels kinda cool driving it — with or without kids in the back. Dad and mom enjoy it on date nights as well (especially in black). The only criticism I have is regarding the remote key fob buttons. In bright sunlight the silver buttons can reflect the sun directly into your eyes. My husband’s biggest complaint is the operational buttons inside the car – he says they are not “intuitive”. For example, the activation button for the automatic rear lift gate is below and left of the steering column, making it difficult to locate. It also must be intentionally depressed for a couple seconds in order to engage, lest you open it inadvertently. He found that a bit frustrating. So, maybe for those low-tech, husband types, the manual option is the way to go. Personally, I love having the gate raise magically while I walk toward the car from a distance — usually with arms full of groceries. All in all, the Mazda CX-9 is a winner of a car and I recommend it highly.

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