The New Mazda CX-9 in Vancouver

The CX-9 Signature took me all over Vancouver, north up the Sea to Sky, and on backroads through the forests of Squamish. What I can safely say after spending 2 days shooting and driving in the CX-9, is that for a 7 seater SUV it sure doesn't drive like other 7 seater SUV's. Mazda prides themselves on their slogan "Driving Matters" and you can tell from your position behind the wheel, that beyond the charms of the Nappa leather, genuine Santos Rosewood, and brushed aluminum, even their biggest SUV holds onto that sentiment.

Jinba ittai. Unity of horse and rider. I don't know at what point Mazda adopted this philosophy officially, but it would seem that it has long been around for the brand, present in many of the Mazdas I have driven, and a dominant trait in others. The feeling of unity with the car is why I love my own Mazda, a first year Miata, so much.

The sporty, turbocharged 2.5 Skyactiv-G equipped SUV wasn't just nice to drive, it was also a pleasure to photograph in the various settings around Vancouver. The Kodo "Soul of Motion" design, under that beautiful Snowflake White Pearl, stands out in the city settings as well as on the streets around UBC and Howe Sound. Simplicity, minimalism, and sharp details give it an overall look that I find more appealing than that of full size SUV's from most other manufactures, including the European brands. Smart, confident characteristics distinguish it from the current, pervasive trend of overly aggressive, rather juvenile feeling designs and also from the bloated, bland designs of others. I love the truly Japanese feeling details like the blade across the lower front end. It makes me think of the katana, the weapon of the Japanese Samurai. I think including these kinds of details that embrace Japanese heritage, tradition, and values will be a good thing for Mazda as their designs evolve.

On-site detailing: J.S AutoMedia