Oct 4, 2019

What we're driving: Mazda CX-9 Signature

Mazda CX-9 Signature. Photo courtesy of Mazda

This week I'm driving the 2019 Mazda CX-9, the largest vehicle in Mazda's lineup.

The big picture: I've always been a Mazda fan. Their cars are stylish, fun to drive and generally offer great gas mileage.

Details: The CX-9 Signature, which is their $45,365 top-of-the-line model, feels like a luxury car, with heated and cooled Nappa leather upholstery, rosewood trim and LED accent lighting.

  • It features a 250-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder turbo engine paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission that gets 23 mpg in combined city/highway driving.
  • As with other Mazdas, the CX-9's ride and handling set it apart from the competition, hugging the road on tight curves instead of that tippy feeling you get in most 3-row SUVs.
  • The CX-9 has a superb head-up display and offers a full suite of active safety features, including blind-spot monitoring and lane-keeping assist as well as adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability in traffic.

The downside: If you've got a big family, the CX-9 isn't as roomy as other 3-row crossovers like the Honda Pilot, Volkswagen Atlas or Kia Telluride.

  • And while Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now standard, you still have to use Mazda's center console knob to control the screen while driving. It's a safety decision, I know — touchscreens are incredibly distracting while driving — but it's still annoying.

The bottom line: The Mazda CX-9, starting at $32,280, is a family car you'll enjoy driving.

Go deeper

What we're driving: 2020 Ford Explorer

2020 Ford Explorer. Photo: Ford

This week I'm driving the 2020 Ford Explorer, which looks similar to the previous generation, but is fundamentally different, because it is now on a rear-wheel-drive platform.

Why it matters: The Explorer has been around for 30 years, but for the last eight years, it's been on a front-wheel-drive platform, similar to other mid-sized crossovers. Now it's back to its RWD roots. (All-wheel-drive is also available.)

Go deeperArrowOct 25, 2019

What I'm driving: A look at the 2020 Lincoln Aviator

My favorite view of the Lincoln Aviator

My latest ride is the 2020 Lincoln Aviator, the luxury brand's first midsize three-row SUV.

The big picture: Lincoln is making an impressive comeback, with a fresh lineup of new models that emphasize what it calls "effortless luxury."

Go deeperArrowOct 18, 2019

What I'm driving: A review of the 2020 Toyota Supra

2020 Toyota Supra. Photo courtesy of Toyota

What a fun weekend I had zipping around southeastern Michigan in the highly anticipated 2020 Toyota Supra.

The big picture: This is the fifth generation of the Supra but the first sold in the U.S. since 1998. Enthusiasts pleaded for Toyota to bring it back and now it has finally arrived.

Go deeperArrowNov 1, 2019