The Redesigned Mazda CX-9

The 2016 Mazda CX-9 has been updated in a variety of ways, enabling the automaker to offer a more competitive and current three-row SUV. The latest design and structural changes and new features make this model even more appealing than the past version, which was the 2008 Motor Trend SUV of the Year.

The following are some of the big changes and additions to appreciate in this popular SUV from Mazda.

Lighter & More Efficient

One significant change is that the 2016 Mazda CX-9 weighs much less than previous versions. The new model weighs up to 287 pounds less than past models – making it more streamlined than ever and easier to drive.

The formerly used V-6 engine has made way for a turbo-four that offers up to 310 lb-ft of torque. Owners of the newest model will also enjoy 227 to 250 hp (the number varies based on the kind of fuel being utilized).

2016 Mazda CX-9

Interior Refinements

The CX-9 has an all-new interior with even the upholstery being updated. The Nappa leather is accented by aluminum and real wood.

The seating has undergone changes in the CX-9. The second-row seat now tilts to slide forward; getting in and out of the third-row seat may be done seamlessly with this model. The third-row seat now comes with a top tether anchor, so parents can safely position a child there in a forward-facing convertible car seat.

Passenger Comforts

A difference in the new CX-9 that many consumers will likely appreciate is the addition of a standard air-conditioning system that includes a three-zone, automatic climate control feature. This means that passengers may control the airflow and temperature in their sections from the center storage bin. This welcome feature should eliminate disagreements among driver and passengers in regard to the level of warmth or coolness in the vehicle.

Passenger access to USB ports during long trips can be invaluable. Two new charging ports have been added to the second row – they may be conveniently found inside the armrest of the second seat. The ports in the second row offer even more power than the ones in the first row, which should virtually guarantee that passengers in the back remain content.

Sunshades have been added to the second row, which is great for both adults and children. The sunshades are manually operated.

Take Aways

The new CX-9 offers plenty of features that will appeal to a wide demographic and has a starting retail price of about $31,000, but many of the features and trim lines in the CX-9 take the model’s price to over $40,000.

Mazda seems determined to accommodate the latest desires of auto consumers. The additions to the 2016 Mazda CX-9 clearly indicate the manufacturer’s commitment to accomplishing that goal. Stay tuned as we make more detailed comparisons with the new CX-9 and other competitive three-row SUV models.

2017 Acura MDX

With the 2017 Acura MDX on its way with both in a traditional and hybrid model there’s a lot to look forward to for three-row luxury SUV fans. With a complete fresh for 2017 including an all-new front-end and new hybrid option, the MDX has seen huge upgrades in power, safety, and comfort. With the standard model rolling out over the summer, hybrid fans will get to see a taste of what’s coming for them in the fall.

The 2017 Acura MDX is being released with AcuraWatch as standard on all its models. This innovative feature brings advanced driver safety features such as automatic emergency braking. The 2017 MDX is on sale at Acura dealerships nationwide as of late Summer 2016 and will be joined by the MDX Sport Hybrid fall 2016.

2017 acura mdx

More Style

The look of the vehicle is one that is focused just as much on looking as good as it feels to drive. Virtually every aspect of the 2017 MDX has been given a luxury look and feel, down to the fenders and the headlights. The whole front end has a crisper and sharper look to it, incorporating Acura’s ‘diamond pentagon’ grille.

Twin tailpipes and the unique design of the hood and fenders are designed to send a message that the MDX is as much about performance as it is about size and comfort. Everything from a heated steering wheel to customized mirroring is available on this vehicle.

Comfort For Everyone

Meanwhile, the interior of the vehicles are simply stunning: the leather seats are each designed to look individually sculpted, which is quite the accomplishment for a three-row seating vehicle. Meanwhile, a second-seat captain’s chair gives every passenger the comfort that they want.

The MDX has USB charging stations throughout the vehicle, helping ensure that everyone will be entertained and comfortable. SiriusXM radio 2.0 is available on all vehicles, as well as an upgrade that allows for the installation of a rear entertainment system.

Power and Fuel Economy

The MDX offers a 3.5-liter V6 engine producing 290 horsepower, which is competitive for its class. Fuel economy is rated at 19-mpg city and 27-mpg highway, with a 22-mpg overall rating.

How does the Hybrid stack up in terms of power? The 2017 MDX hybrid is using Acura’s unique three-motor Sport Hybrid SH-AWD powertrain with 325 horses of pure power, for its six-cylinder V6 engine. The hybrid model also sports a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, a level of power and performance that matches that of the standard, but with better fuel economy.

With a fuel economy rating of 26-mpg highway/25-mpg city the MDX is simply one of the most energy-efficient three-row Sport Utility Vehicles in the market today.

With the new Volvo XC90 and all-new Mazda CX-9, three-row SUV shoppers are going to have better options to choose from on showroom floors.

5 Good SUVs for Short People

Finding a vehicle that suits people on the shorter side can be a challenge. Intuitively you might think a small car is best for short people, but this is not necessarily the case. Many cars have low seating positions, restricted viewing areas, and high door sills. Drivers smaller in stature may find that SUVs offer the best comfort and viewing areas since they ride higher.

Shorter drivers need to consider the following:

– Is the seat adjustable and to what height?
– Are the seat cushions too long or too wide?
– Does the vehicle have a low belt-line – the point at which the glass ends and the metal begins?
– Is the steering wheel adjustable – does it tilt and telescope?
– Do the vehicle’s pillars obstruct views?
– Are the windows large enough and shaped in a way that allows for good views all around?
– Are the pedals adjustable?
– What’s the ground clearance of the vehicle? And if taller, is there a step to assist?

If you are a driver smaller in stature, check out these 5 good SUVs for short people.

2017 forester

Subaru Forester

The Subaru Forester is well-known for fitting short drivers well. With a high ride height and lots of windows, this vehicle offers a low belt-line that provide great viewing areas. The Forester hits almost every consideration mentioned above, as well as offering plenty of room for passengers in both rows, impressive fuel economy, and advanced safety features.

If you are looking for a smaller subcompact SUV, check out the Subaru Crosstrek which has a more aggressive look than the Forester in a much smaller package but similar features.

Honda CR-V

The Honda CR-V is a longstanding favorite for shorter drivers. A higher ride height, spacious interior, a lower price point, and great reliability make the CR-V an excellent choice. The CR-V has also performed well in safety testing. If you are looking for a subcompact crossover, consider the Honda HR-V which is much smaller than the CR-V, but still provides plenty of interior room. There are mixed reviews on it’s ability to accommodate shorter drivers.

Chevy Trax

The Chevy Trax is a subcompact SUV that offers rear seats that fold down and lots of standard features for the price. The ride height is higher in both the front and back, making the vehicle comfortable for short or tall people.

Jeep Renegade

The Jeep Renegade is the latest addition in Jeep’s subcompact SUV lineup. It offers excellent off-road capability and agility and has many easy to use features. The driver’s seat is height adjustable and the steering wheel is tilt/telescoping for a comfortable fit.

Acura RDX

Many tall drivers complain about the lack of driver room in the Acura RDX, but that’s good news for short people looking for a more luxurious SUV. The RDX offers an 8 way power driver’s seat, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, and a great view all around.

Whether the SUV is large, midsize, compact or subcompact, it’s worth a look to see how it fits a short driver. If low entry price point is what you’re looking for, take a look at cheaper SUV options.

Cheapest 2016 SUVs

It’s no surprise that the cheapest 2016 SUVs are all among the smallest crossover models. Jeep, which is a brand not normally associated with inexpensive, comes in tops with two of their 2016 models having starting prices below $18,000, and a third model starting below $20,000.

In this article, we’ll look at the least expensive 2016 SUV models and other factors consider when you’re budget is tight for a new crossover model.

1. Jeep Patriot, $17,695

The Patriot debuted in the 2007 model year and hasn’t changed a whole lot since. It’s assembled along side the slightly larger Jeep Compass. If you want an upgraded and more rugged 2016 Patriot, Jeep® is offering a 75th Anniversary addition with exclusive color, accents and badging.

Jeep Renegade

2. Jeep Renegade, $17,995

Jeep’s new Renegade SUV model is their present and future among small models. It has a more efficient engine and modern design and interior than the Patriot or Jeep Compass. The Renegade shares the same platform as the new Fiat 500x, which has a starting price of $20,000.

3. Honda HR-V, $19,215

The HR-V debuted for the 2015 model year. Built on the same platform as the diminutive Honda Fit, the HR-V makes good use of its space.

4. Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, $19,595

The Outlander Sport debuted in the 2010 model year. This subcompact shares components with its larger sibling the Outlander, but has a smaller frame. The Outlander Sports 148 horsepower engine is above average for the class.

5. Jeep Compass $19,695

Rounding out our top five cheapest 2016 SUVs is the Jeep Compass. The Compass and Renegade are also offering bolder 75th Anniversary edition models. Expect a new version of the Compass by 2018 or it will be discontinued.

There are several other models just above the $20,000 price point including the Fiat 500x, Nissan Juke, Chevrolet Trax and Dodge Journey.

Chevrolet Trax LS

Think Beyond Base Price

Of course, base price isn’t the only factor to consider when purchasing a new SUV. The Patriot scored a ‘Poor’ rating in Insurance Institute For Highway Safety (IIHS) crash tests (subject to update). The Chevy Trax had ‘Good’ ratings in IIHS testing. In addition to safety, resale value, fuel economy, and insurance costs are other important factor to consider.

All-wheel drive is an other factor to consider. It typically is about a $2,000 option. The Subaru XV Crosstrek has a starting price of $21,595 and comes standard with all-wheel drive. It also had the strongest resale value of any subcompact model last year.

The prices in this article are manufacturer’s suggested base retail prices and do not include additional fees such as destination, upgraded trim lines, dealer markup or taxes. If you want more than basic features, you’ll likely have to pay a minimum of several thousand dollars more than base.

Many of these subcompact models have pricing that can reach nearly $30,000 at the top end with all-wheel drive. For example, the subcompact Fiat 500x may have a base price of $20,000, but it’s sharp-looking top end trim starts at a whopping $28,000.

Do you have a favorite inexpensive new SUV model? Take our poll and let us know.

Which is your favorite 2016 SUV with a starting price under $20,000?

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Worst 2016 SUVs

The release of new SUVs into the market is always an exciting prospect, especially among automobile enthusiasts. The adrenaline associated with driving a new high-tech SUV model is more than thrilling. However, there is no guarantee that any new SUV suits the demands and preferences of all motorists.

As much as there are numerous SUVs in the market, some get less than favorable reviews from motorists and industry organizations. This has to do with their low ratings in terms of reliability, fuel consumption, safety, speed, horsepower and body quality. Additionally, the ratings of a particular SUV remain the same for other models, especially if they use the same manufacturing platform.

Some of the worst 2016 SUVs according to consumer reviews include the following:

KIA Sportage

The 2016 Kia Sportage is a small SUV that has undergone redesign and modifications since the 2011 model. Safety features include airbags, rollover sensors, electronic stability control and antilock brakes.

The KIA Sportage SUV has a good overall safety rating. Its front moderate crashworthiness and side crashworthiness ratings are relatively good. However, its front crash test ratings are very poor making it among the worst SUVs for 2016. The structure and safety cage compromises on the driver space, increasing the risk of injuries, in the event of an accident. Ratings for restraints and kinematics for the small front overlap test were poor. The Sportage also was also on our
worst visibility SUVs
list.

Chevrolet Trax LS

Chevrolet Trax

The Chevrolet Trax, a subcompact crossover, was released in the 2015 model year. This SUV has a small structure and a compact body style. Common safety features include side airbags, rollover sensors, electronic stability control, daytime running lights and anti-lock brakes. It also includes knee airbags for the driver and front passenger.

The Chevrolet Trax has a good overall evaluation safety rating. The vehicle has passed all the vital crash tests including front crash tests and side crash tests. It has a very good rating for head restraints and seats. There have been a few complaints regarding its structure and safety cage as it is relatively small. Another problem relates to its power output as it has a small turbocharged engine, but it is lackluster and the model’s fuel economy is not among the class leaders.

Chevrolet Equinox

The 2016 Chevrolet Equinox is a compact/midsize SUV. Model variations for Chevrolet Equinox 2016 go back to 2010. Common safety features include side airbags, rollover sensors, electronic stability control, daytime running lights and anti-lock brakes. Additional, its spacious passenger compartments allow for child seat anchors.

Like most SUV from Chevrolet, Equinox has very good ratings in terms of safety. The vehicle has passed all the front and side crashworthiness tests. The overall evaluation of the roof strength head restraints and seats is very good. Nonetheless, the main shortcoming of the Chevrolet Equinox is its dated structure and powertrain. The Equinox also has a
low resale value
.

While we placed these models on our worst 2016 SUVs list, it doesn’t necessarily mean their the bottom of the barrel. See our post from 2015 for more SUV models best avoided.