Sunday, December 18, 2016

Vehicle Review: 2016 Mazda CX-9 Signature Edition

It's Jason from Sasaki Time and it is time for another vehicle review! This time it is the 2016 Mazda CX-9 Signature Edition! I took the gorgeous and stylish Mazda CX-9 on a trip to Northern California and some food adventures! Excited? Well, here we go!

Time to load up the luggage, a duffel bag and some snacks into the Mazda CX-9 Signature and hit the open road.

This is not your average soccer mom SUV. Powering this CX-9 is a turbocharged SkyActiv 2.5-Liter engine with four-cylinders. I averaged about 28 miles per gallon on the highway. Going up and over the Grapevine on my way to Sacramento was a breeze. It didn't even feel like the engine was working hard at all. The Sport version starts at $31,520 but the Signature edition that I tested with the real Napa leather, hand-carved Japanese rosewood interior, aluminum accents, a premium Bose audio system, solid technological and safety features is worth every penny of its $45,000 price tag.

The CX-9 Signature edition is a head turner. The long, sloping hood with that distinctly Mazda grill and smooth lines along the body and roofline make this one of the best looking SUVs on the market. I love the large 20-inch alloy wheels, heated mirrors, keyless entry, rain-sensing sensors and the power liftgate.

Inside, the CX-9 Signature edition has a number of unique interior touches.  You get Napa leather, heated front power seats, real wood accents, even knee padding on the sides of the center console. The cabin is very comfortable as well as very quiet. You get two USB ports in the front and  a fantastic Bose audio system.

The interior continues with a well thought out dash layout. Gauges and controls are easy to read and to use. A central controller on the console helps you navigate the large infotainment display. You also get a Heads-up Display (HUD) with all the critical information floating right below my direct line of sight. Not only can I easily see my speed but all of my navigation information and even safety information such as blind-side monitoring. There are quite a few safety features as well including cross traffic alerts with backup sensors, variable cruise control, lane keep assistance, emergency braking and three rows of side curtain airbags. 

Now driving six hours to Northern California meant a few food adventures with my parents.

The first food adventure takes us to the Jackson Casino for this amazing dish of lobster claws for only $10. A delicious ginger black bean sauce and 10 lobster claws make this one of the best seafood dishes ever.

And no trip home would be complete without some spam musubi from my mom. As some of you know, my folks are from Hawaii and spam is the local favorite.

Back down in Southern California, I went to Cross Roast Eatery in Anaheim. They are trying to become the Asian Chipotle. You pick one of several Asian proteins such as the roast pork belly and roast duck that I chose for my dish above. You then pick the base, which I selected ginger rice, but you could pick ramen, or tacos or a baguette for instance. Then you get to pick your toppings and your sauce. An amazing experience and one I will go back to for sure. 

Halfsies is a new donut shop in Tustin. Here they specialize in amazing toppings for your donut. You get to customize your donut. The one on the right is dipped in maple glaze, then topped with granny smith apples and strawberries, cinnamon toast crunch, whipped cream, a nutella drizzle and finished with a sprinkling of cinnamon. The one on the left is dipped in a chocolate glaze, cocoa krispies, cookie crisp, the Grinch ice cream, a toasted marshmallow and a chocolate drizzle. Both of my creations were amazing!

So, after these food adventures, it was time to finish my week of driving the amazing Mazda CX-9 Signature edition. From the stunning good looks to the power of the turbocharged engine, the Mazda CX-9 is a winner. Add quality craftsmanship, a comfortable cabin layout and a bevy of safety options, the CX-9 deserves to be on your list of the top family SUV list this year.

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