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2017 Mazda CX-9 Touring AWD Long-Term Update 1: Road Trip to Monterey
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By: MotorTrend On: 11-14-2017 Model(s): One week each summer, the sleepy, affluent California communities of Monterey and Carmel-by-the-Sea get inundated with the smells and sounds of vintage cars in what is one of the most spectacular automotive events in the world. 2017 Mazda CX-9
Author Experience: Expert review

One week each summer, the sleepy, affluent California communities of Monterey and Carmel-by-the-Sea get inundated with the smells and sounds of vintage cars in what is one of the most spectacular automotive events in the world. Every hotel in town is booked solid with 1 percenters, and the streets are flooded with million-dollar hypercars and vintage rarities. And of course the mighty CX-9.

Over the years I have done the drive to and from Monterey along Highway 101 countless times, and it remains one of my favorite short road trips. This would be my longest journey behind the wheel of the CX-9 to date, and it would be the perfect opportunity to test the CX-9’s comfort and efficiency during a long drive.

First off, the CX-9 is incredibly comfortable both in ride quality and seat comfort. With multiple stops at my favorite coffee shops and eateries, I spent nearly 7 hours behind the wheel during the 353-mile journey north. During that time, never once did I feel fatigued. I’ve made the trip in an array of vehicles throughout the years, and that is not always the case. Part of the overall comfort is how quiet the car is, which goes a long way during a full day of driving. Comparing the ride quality, comfort, and sound level of the CX-9 to my previous two long-term vehicles, it drives much more like the Range Rover Sport than it does the more trucklike Dodge Durango

As far as the efficiency goes, I averaged 19.2 mpg, which is well below the 28.3 mpg number attained by the trusty folks at Real MPG. There are obviously many factors that could have affected the overall efficiency, but during my trip the highest per-tank number I managed was 21.2 mpg—and that was on the most highway-intensive day. In general, you get about 350 miles a tank, which isn’t bad for a long road trip. With numerous long trips ahead of me, I will continue to monitor my fuel economy and enjoy all the comforts the CX-9 has to offer.

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