Once upon a time, we had to watch cable TV, and therefore were forced to watch commercials — we couldn’t click “Skip ad” after a few seconds back then. I’ve seen a lot of toy-related ads in my day (no duh, kid-friendly channels will serve up kid-friendly ads) which usually resulted in me pestering my parents about the latest trend (Poochie, Furby, Tamagotchi, etc.).

One advertisement that had nothing to do with toys, but remains ingrained in my memory, is the old Mazda commercial. I can still hear the catchy “Zoom! Zoom! Zoom!” and I really hope you sung that instead of just plainly reading it.

I was going to show my three kids the commercial; however, out of a fear of initiating the most annoying car ride ever, I quickly changed my mind. Besides, the old commercial was advertising the Tribute, and this is the 2022 Mazda CX-9.

Though this tester isn’t old by any means, it’s giving me all the nostalgia feels as I think about some full-circle moments mixed with the most modern of twists.

amazon, millennial mom’s review: 2022 mazda cx-9

2022 Mazda CX-9 Signature Photo by Renita Naraine

amazon, millennial mom’s review: 2022 mazda cx-9

2022 Mazda CX-9 Signature Photo by Renita Naraine

amazon, millennial mom’s review: 2022 mazda cx-9

2022 Mazda CX-9 Signature Photo by Renita Naraine

amazon, millennial mom’s review: 2022 mazda cx-9

2022 Mazda CX-9 Signature Photo by Renita Naraine

amazon, millennial mom’s review: 2022 mazda cx-9

2022 Mazda CX-9 Signature Photo by Renita Naraine

amazon, millennial mom’s review: 2022 mazda cx-9

2022 Mazda CX-9 Signature Photo by Renita Naraine

amazon, millennial mom’s review: 2022 mazda cx-9

2022 Mazda CX-9 Signature Photo by Renita Naraine

amazon, millennial mom’s review: 2022 mazda cx-9

2022 Mazda CX-9 Signature Photo by Renita Naraine

amazon, millennial mom’s review: 2022 mazda cx-9

Photo by Renita Naraine

amazon, millennial mom’s review: 2022 mazda cx-9

2022 Mazda CX-9 Signature Photo by Renita Naraine

amazon, millennial mom’s review: 2022 mazda cx-9

2022 Mazda CX-9 Signature Photo by Renita Naraine

Talk to the hand, because my eyes are on the road

I remember going on road trips with my family and packing specific items: CDs (cassettes if you go back a bit further), extra batteries, my Walkman and headphones. Remember that anti-skip button that was supposed to help if the car went over a bump?

Well, the CX-9 doesn’t have a shock-proof sound system, but it doesn’t need it, because there’s no spot for a CD and therefore no chance of skipping — unless the data from my phone cuts out, in which case, the song streaming on Spotify will pause or skip. This top Signature trim has a 12-speaker Bose system that can really bump the bass, if you so choose to do that in this family-hauler. The majority of my time in this tested CX-9 was spent changing tracks for an eight-year-old who is currently obsessed with Olivia Rodgrigo; she has some headbangers, but blasting the music didn’t feel right with kids in the vehicle.

I’m not thrilled with the infotainment setup in the CX-9, but that’s mostly based on my recent long-term test with the 2023 Mazda CX-50. I got used to a few features that aren’t yet available in this CX-9, such as wireless Apple CarPlay. Keeping the wire in the SUV isn’t a deal breaker, but it’s just weird entering a new car and not being automatically connected (#FirstWorldProblems). Additionally, what’s the point of a wireless phone charger if your phone has to be connected to a wire that will inevitably charge it?

amazon, millennial mom’s review: 2022 mazda cx-9

2022 Mazda CX-9 Signature Photo by Renita Naraine

amazon, millennial mom’s review: 2022 mazda cx-9

2022 Mazda CX-9 Signature Photo by Renita Naraine

amazon, millennial mom’s review: 2022 mazda cx-9

2022 Mazda CX-9 Signature Photo by Renita Naraine

amazon, millennial mom’s review: 2022 mazda cx-9

2022 Mazda CX-9 Signature Photo by Renita Naraine

amazon, millennial mom’s review: 2022 mazda cx-9

2022 Mazda CX-9 Signature Photo by Renita Naraine

amazon, millennial mom’s review: 2022 mazda cx-9

2022 Mazda CX-9 Signature Photo by Renita Naraine

amazon, millennial mom’s review: 2022 mazda cx-9

2022 Mazda CX-9 Signature Photo by Renita Naraine

amazon, millennial mom’s review: 2022 mazda cx-9

2022 Mazda CX-9 Signature Photo by Renita Naraine

amazon, millennial mom’s review: 2022 mazda cx-9

2022 Mazda CX-9 Signature Photo by Renita Naraine

amazon, millennial mom’s review: 2022 mazda cx-9

2022 Mazda CX-9 Signature Photo by Renita Naraine

The CX-50 also has touchscreen capabilities when using CarPlay; the CX-9 does not. Again, it’s not the absolute worst thing, but it does take some getting used to, especially when you’re using something like Spotify. It’s much faster to quickly tap, instead of going through an endless scroll back and forth to figure out which direction of the dial will take you to the desired icon.

That said, Mazda has said safety is a top priority, and touching a screen shouldn’t be a priority while driving. I can’t really argue with that. However, I can argue that the dial isn’t much safer, especially considering the amount of focus it requires.

Dude, where’s my minivan?

As if anyone wants a minivan anymore. If you truly need more than five seats, then just do yourself (and the kids) a favour, take a chill pill, and spring for the added space of the minivan. If the third row is strictly for occasional use, then this SUV is more than enough!

The first thing I noticed upon entering the CX-9 is that it doesn’t feel big, in the best way possible. There are three rows of seating, but it feels similar to driving something the size of the CX-50. Length-wise, it’s 340 mm longer than the CX-50, but while in the driver’s seat, it’s nearly impossible to tell.

It’s roughly the same length as other comparable three-row SUVs, but while driving, it doesn’t feel as big as the Hyundai Palisade and Subaru Ascent, despite the CX-9 being a tad longer. Instead, it feels more agile and nimble, as opposed to chunky; though that may be in part due to its slightly lighter curb weight, as well as the CX-9’s Skyactiv-G 2.5L turbo engine.

The CX-9’s really smooth drive doesn’t make up for the lack of space inside the vehicle. As mentioned, if you’re going to need regular access to the third row, then you’ll be limited in a variety of ways. Generally, the third row bumps the seats from five to seven. There’s an option in the lower trims for seven seats, but in this Signature trim, there are only six seats: two in front, two in the middle, and two at back. They’re spacious and comfortable seats, but for a larger family — like mine — there’s no chance of fitting everyone in the middle row to gain access to a bigger cargo area.

amazon, millennial mom’s review: 2022 mazda cx-9

2022 Mazda CX-9 Signature Photo by Renita Naraine

I guarantee at some point, you will need a bigger cargo area. In this segment, the CX-9 has one of the smallest cargo areas with the third row up — 407L of fairly usable space, but a big grocery haul will inevitably result in a game of Tetris. With the third row folded, there’s lots of room, but I’d rarely have the luxury of using that added space since a child would almost always be sitting back there. Fortunately, the third row is a 50-50 split, so there is an option to acquire a bit of extra space — unless you have four passengers at all times, then you’re out of luck. (But seriously, why don’t you have a minivan?)

Butterfly clips are hella cute

I recently bought a pack of butterfly clips on Amazon to test out some throwback hairstyles on my daughter. Butterfly clips don’t hold very much hair, but are meant to stay put once secured. As long as you look fly, you’re good to go.

The butterfly opening in the CX-9 (and CX-50) looks nice, but also doesn’t hold very much storage in the front cabin, or in between the second row’s chairs. The already-limited storage area is made worse by the hard-to-access flaps. I double-dare you to fit your arm inside with only one flap open. Though you could store quite a few butterfly clips in there.

While I’m complaining, I’ll also add that I had an issue with the B-pillars. The issue being that I couldn’t properly check my blind spot because the B-pillar was fully blocking it, but that isn’t entirely the vehicle’s fault. In my specific position in the driver’s seat, which is all the way up and fairly close to the steering wheel — due to short legs — I seemed to be at the perfect position for the B-pillar to be in my way. If the driver is taller, then this likely won’t be an issue, which is why it’s important to test-drive this vehicle (and any others) before making your final decision.

amazon, millennial mom’s review: 2022 mazda cx-9

2022 Mazda CX-9 Signature Photo by Renita Naraine

Booyah!

After spending a week being nostalgic, I hopped on Amazon and found a knockoff Tamagotchi brand for my kids. They were all entertained for one car ride from Mississauga to Scarborough. Booyah; that’s a parenting win.

And then I had to fill up the gas tank. The CX-9 should have an average fuel consumption of 10.5 L/100 km, 11.6 city and 9.1 highway. The observed average, according to the vehicle, was 12.6 L/100 km. I do a lot of local, non-highway driving, but that number is still quite a bit higher than the posted rating.

The Signature trim starts at $53,200; the tester costs $55,450, which includes $300 Machine Grey Metallic paint, as well as the $1,950 freight and PDI charges. If you’re looking to save some dough, I’d suggest bumping down a couple trims. The base GS trim costs over $10k less, starting at $41,300. You’d forfeit the Bose speakers, useless wireless car charger, head-up display, and a few more things, but think of it this way: we’ve survived without those features before, we can do it again. Don’t worry, the power windows are standard.

amazon, millennial mom’s review: 2022 mazda cx-9

2022 Mazda CX-9 Signature Photo by Renita Naraine

Final thoughts or whatever

The 2022 Mazda CX-9 is not the most exciting ride, but it’s not meant to be. It’s a family-hauler and it does that well enough. Is that enough to make it memorable when it comes to purchasing a family vehicle?

Maybe not, but the commercial’s catchy tune is more memorable than the vehicle itself, and if Mazda is playing the long game, then hopefully it’s winning over some nostalgic customers who, once upon a time, couldn’t stop singing “Zoom, zoom, zoom.”

Keyword: Millennial Mom’s Review: 2022 Mazda CX-9

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