By Don Armstrong
Despite what some may say, size does matter. This month, we look at a couple of SUVs at different levels of the size spectrum, one with three rows of seating and another, a new entry, that is smaller than a VW Golf, yet it is labeled as an SUV.
The CX-9 badge from Mazda has been around for 22-years but sales are still strong for this SUV stalwart.
Even though it is considered a mid-size, it’s hard for us to imagine that a third row would ever fit back there, but it does, albeit a tight fit.
The second-generation exterior hasn’t changed much since it’s 2016 debut. Mazda designs its vehicles for a longer run than typical American brands, so, with occasional refreshes, you’ll find a lot of bang for the buck here.
Short front and rear overhangs, new-style lighting and an aggressive grille give the 2021 CX-9 a design edge over many of its competitors.
You’ll find high quality materials in a beautifully designed cabin. A new 10-inch infotainment screen ups the ante from the outgoing system but can still be frustrating to get acquainted with.
The 227-HP 4-cylinder averages 24-MPG.
Ride and handling are so good, we gladly give it two-thumbs up. Like all of the SUV’s that we test, ours are strictly on-road adventures.
Pricing begins at 33,960.
Teeny tiny is the best way to describe Korean automaker Hyundai’s latest SUV entry. But describing the Venue as an SUV might be a misnomer, not just because of its diminutive size but it is only offered with front-wheel drive. We’d like to think of this newcomer as more of a hatchback with an SUV “look.”
The Venue’s front-end styling reminds one of the brand’s new, larger sibling, Palisade, with its larger front light pods below smaller ones – most cars and SUV’s are designed with larger lights above the smaller ones.
The Venue’s interior is very straight forward, with a center-dash mounted infotainment screen sandwiched between two air vents, simple climate controls and a nice console. An elongated storage cubby is conveniently located above the glove box. From the driver’s seat, the oversized C-pillar can hamper a direct rear side view.
Power is delivered to a CVT transmission from a 121-horsepower, naturally aspirated, 4-cylinder engine. That combo gets an average 31-MPG.
The Hyundai Venue starts at $18,750.