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Eric's Autos: 2021 Mazda CX-9

Eric Peters on

In the 1970s, there was something called the Universal Japanese Motorcycle, or UJM. Whether you bought a Honda or a Kawasaki or a Yamaha, the motorcycle was essentially the same. They all had an air-cooled, inline four-cylinder engine, spoked wheels, five-speed transmission and (usually) the same general "stance."

The same is true today with respect to crossovers -- which are also "universal" in that they are so much alike it is often hard to tell them apart.

Except for this Japanese one.

What It Is

The CX-9 is Mazda's alternative to the same, at least in terms of how it drives. Think of a Miata with room for six, and you'll be on the right path.

And yes, six .

 

Or seven.

The Mazda is the only crossover in its medium-large-sized class that has one fewer than the usual seven to eight seats. It is not trying to compete directly with other medium-large crossovers such as the Toyota Highlander, the GMC Acadia or the Kia Telluride as much as offer something that isn't just like them.

Prices start at $34,160 for the Sport trim with front-wheel drive; adding the optional all-wheel drive system bumps the MSRP up to $36,060.

A top-of-the-line Signature trim -- which comes standard with all-wheel drive -- stickers for $46,805.

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