David Dewhurst Photography/Mazda - 2013 Mazda CX-9

Bottom line: The Mazda CX-9 — slightly revised for 2013, including a new touch screen on the instrument panel — is one of the best family haulers for sale in the United States. It gets an enthusiastic thumbs-up here.

Ride, acceleration and handling: Excellent marks in all three.

Function before form, beautifully

Function before form, beautifully

The Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring crossover-utility responds quickly to steering inputs in all types of weather.

Head-turning quotient: It is sleek and reasonably attractive. But let’s face it: It’s a crossover-utility vehicle, a family hauler. It gets all the respect reserved for cabs.

Body style/layout: This is a front-engine, front-wheel-drive full-size crossover-utility vehicle also available with all-wheel drive. There are three versions — Sport (base), Touring (mid-range) and Grand Touring (fully loaded top-of-the-line).

Engine/transmission: The 2013 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring comes standard with a 3.7-liter, 24-valve gasoline V-6 with variable valve timing (273 horsepower, 270 pound-feet of torque). The engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission that also can be shifted manually.

Capacities: There is room for seven people with a third row of seating easily accessible. Cargo space with all seats in place is 17.2 cubic feet. The fuel tank holds 20.1 gallons of gasoline (regular grade is recommended).

Mileage: My real-world mileage with the all-wheel-drive CX-9 was 15 miles per gallon in the city and 22 on the highway.

Safety: Standard equipment includes ventilated disc brakes front and rear; four-wheel anti-lock brake protection; emergency braking assistance; electronic brake-force distribution; electronic stability and traction control; and side and head air bags.

Pricing: The base price of the 2013 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring with all-wheel drive is $36,375 with a dealer’s invoice price of $34,413. Price as tested is $40,415 including $3,245 in options (rear audio/video entertainment system) and a $795 destination charge. Dealer’s price as tested is $37,999.

 
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