So I took my CX-9 on a trip...

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Winnipeg Canada
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2017 CX-9 GT
Like I did last year, I drove out to Banff from Winnipeg again. That's around 1450km each way. From Banff we drove into parts of British Columbia and parts of Jasper, Yoho and Kootenay National Parks. The trip was awesome as was the ride, it was really great driving around the mountains in the CX-9. I found myself using all driving modes including the normal Drive, the Sport Drive and manual switching of gears (mostly to make use of engine breaking while going down some of the steep and fairly long declines in the Rockies). For the drive across the prairies we were fully loaded up - I removed the 3rd row seats and packed the rear of the car with all sorts of camping gear. On the trailer hitch I had a bike rack with 3 bikes. I was pleased to see that even on the way out West I was doing under 10L/100km, which I wasn't expecting as going west we get a head wind and it's a gradual incline of a few hundred meters. The total mileage was around 9.4L/100km which all things considered is pretty good (average speed on the hwy was around 118km/hr). But once we got to Banff I took all the gear out and removed the bike rack and the overall performance was great. Passing trucks on the winding roads of the #93 HWY in Alberta/BC was effortless and actually quit fun (although watching other drives pass on blind turns was rather unnerving).

CX9-Banff.jpg



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Anyway, there were a couple of concerns I thought I'd post/ask about. When driving to Takakkaw Falls, just North East of Field BC, the road is very narrow and winding. Speed limit is 50 km/hr and full of up hills and downhills including a fairly steep switch back/hairpin turn. Anyway, one thing I noticed on this drive is that my engine temperature nudged up just slightly from the "normal" temperature. And by slightly I just mean a few pixels past or a few degrees, perhaps 95C instead of 90C. I'm not sure if this is something to worry about as going on long steep inclines at highway speeds the car was able to maintain a rock steady engine temp of around 90C. For those who live in mountain areas, would this worry you if you saw a slight temp increase after about 15km of steep inclines at low speed?

My second issue is that when we got home and I was removing all the gear to take into the house I noticed that my aluminum camera tripod, that was stored on the floor where the 3rd row seats would be if they were still in the car, was very hot. My kids sitting in the 2nd row later mentioned that the floor vents were blowing hot air even though I had the AC on the whole time. That also reminded me that during the drive back I noticed at times a smell that you might associate with plastic that has been warmed up or even burning. At the time I thought that was just external odours coming in, but now I wonder if somehow heat from the exhaust was excessively heating up the floorboards. I think on that last stretch we did at least 600km with just a short pause to fill up with gas in Brandon. So a few hundred Kms of 120km/hr seems to have heated up the 3rd row area quite a bit. Perhaps that's not an issue with the 3rd row seats in place but all that gear stacked up in it's place acted as an insulator? I don't know I buy that as there were still lots of air gaps as that's where I stored some irregular shaped objects like the tripod, axe, etc. Also, the 2nd row seat area vents were blowing hot air so it's not just the 3rd row area. I know that catalytic converters are closer to the front but perhaps the heat was speading backwards due to wind? Not sure what to think of it, I just find it odd that it was that hot, there should be adequate heat shielding in the area that this should never be an issue. Anyone else experience anything like that?
 
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sm1ke

Work In Progress..
Moderator
Contributor
:
Canada
:
'18 CX-9 Signature
Good to hear that your CX-9 did well!

I have noticed that my temp gauge did the same thing once or twice. From what I recall it was a really hot day and I think I may have been pushing the car a bit more than usual. I haven't had any issues with AC so far.
 
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2019 Mazda CX-9 Signature
I drove from Toronto to Banff about a year ago. We had stretches of 14 hour drives. The car was a champ. Its very torquey and quiet. Its smooth over good surfaces, but the seats were terrible on the signature trim. There is not enough padding and its stiff. We had some seat cushions that made the ride so much better. I didnt notice any difference in engine temperature. Its always the same regardless if its 38 degrees C out and I’m climbing a hill. Sometimes the thermostats fluctuate due to incorrect reading so its not always the actual engine temperature. Second row HVAC was good. AC was blowing cold at the rear HVAC controls but all vents under the seats are controlled by HVAC controls at the front. There are no vents for the third row. If it’s super hot out, the floor around the third row does heat up a bit and it gets stuffy back there. The second row passengers need to wear a light coat with the AC cranked so the third row passengers can feel comfortable. It’s not like people ride back there all the time so I guess Mazda didnt see the need to add more features there to keep costs down for the consumers. After the trip I counted about 30 stone chips throughout the car and replaced the windshield. Lots of trucks on the trans canada and a massive rock was thrown at the perfect angle and cracked both the outer and inner layer glass.
 
:
Winnipeg Canada
:
2017 CX-9 GT
I drove from Toronto to Banff about a year ago. We had stretches of 14 hour drives. The car was a champ. Its very torquey and quiet. Its smooth over good surfaces, but the seats were terrible on the signature trim. There is not enough padding and its stiff. We had some seat cushions that made the ride so much better. I didnt notice any difference in engine temperature. Its always the same regardless if its 38 degrees C out and I’m climbing a hill. Sometimes the thermostats fluctuate due to incorrect reading so its not always the actual engine temperature. Second row HVAC was good. AC was blowing cold at the rear HVAC controls but all vents under the seats are controlled by HVAC controls at the front. There are no vents for the third row. If it’s super hot out, the floor around the third row does heat up a bit and it gets stuffy back there. The second row passengers need to wear a light coat with the AC cranked so the third row passengers can feel comfortable. It’s not like people ride back there all the time so I guess Mazda didnt see the need to add more features there to keep costs down for the consumers. After the trip I counted about 30 stone chips throughout the car and replaced the windshield. Lots of trucks on the trans canada and a massive rock was thrown at the perfect angle and cracked both the outer and inner layer glass.
Yep, going right now to drop off the car to get the windshield replaced. A semi in Strathmore flicked a stone that took out a chunk of our windshield. Which I'm OK with as it needed replacing and insurance will cover it.

Ya, I'm gonna have to keep an eye on that engine temp. Like I said it only happened in that one place and it was pretty unique. Driving up and down mountains in BC at 110km/hr was just fine.
 
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2018 CX-9 GT
The cx-9 has floor vents under the second row seat to warm the 3rd row. These are controlled by the rear hvac system. My guess is that the rear temperature control where either set to a warmer temperature on auto or just set to heat and warm air was blowing directly on your equipment in the third row.

Note that on Auto: cooling request will automatically switch the vents to dashboard vents only and heating requests will automatically switch to floor vents. If you want cold air at the floor you need to manually set it up.

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jean-luc

2021 CX-9 Signature
@Glaucus The coolant temp gauge slightly fluctuating is NORMAL especially when driving uphill. This means that the turbocharger is working harder than usual which equates to producing more heat. The cooling system is doing its job.

This is why the user manual states never to turn the engine off without letting it idle first for at least 30 seconds (I highly recommend 2-3 minutes) after a long drive to allow the turbocharger's temp to "normalize".

Moreover, the turbocharger works harder at lower rpms which explains why you noticed a slightly higher temp on the gauge going uphill on lower speeds versus going uphill @ highway speeds.

I agree with you that the CX-9 is an awesome machine. Truly a joy to drive on long road trips.
 

sm1ke

Work In Progress..
Moderator
Contributor
:
Canada
:
'18 CX-9 Signature
Letting the car idle for 2-3 minutes is a bit overkill, but it certainly wouldn't hurt. I think that warning is more for situations like driving aggressively or towing on the highway, then pulling into a rest stop and immediately shutting the car down.

Generally I have found that making the few turns to get to my house after coming off the main roads is long enough for the turbocharger temps to cool down to a reasonable level. You don't necessarily have to idle, just driving it normally with the ambient air flowing through the engine bay is enough to cool it down after a few seconds.
 
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Winnipeg Canada
:
2017 CX-9 GT
The cx-9 has floor vents under the second row seat to warm the 3rd row. These are controlled by the rear hvac system. My guess is that the rear temperature control where either set to a warmer temperature on auto or just set to heat and warm air was blowing directly on your equipment in the third row.

Note that on Auto: cooling request will automatically switch the vents to dashboard vents only and heating requests will automatically switch to floor vents. If you want cold air at the floor you need to manually set it up.

View attachment 312899
You know, I didn't even consider this. Those two rascals in the back (10yr and 8yr old) were probably playing with those controls. Don't blame them, it was a very long drive. I'm gonna have to check that. That would be so funny if that's what it is.
 
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18 Mazda CX5 AW
So why do canadians drive to Banff? It looks like it's in the remote wilderness? I'm near the american appalachians but damn that part of Canada looks desolate. Im on the eastern us side near Niagara/Toronto which is the farthest into Canada i've been.
 
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2018 CX-9 GT
Talking about desolate and in the remote wilderness. you obviously have never been through Vermont and the North East of New York state ;)

Just kidding. Banff is the main hub of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. When people go to Banff they go to the Rockies. It is not desolate at all, but yes it is in the middle of a huge National Park and remote wilderness.

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Winnipeg Canada
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2017 CX-9 GT
Banff National Park isn't really that desolate. The town of Banff is an hour away from Calgary, 20 minutes from Canmore and is itself a fully equipped town open for business year round. It's a great base of operations to do day trips to Lake Louise, Moraine Lake, Peyto Lake, Columbia Ice Fields and even places in BC like Radium and Golden. I'm from the prairies, so mountains are a real treat. Other parks like Yoho and Kananaskis are a lot more desolate. So if you're interested in back country camping, those might be better options.

In the past I've driven all the way to Vancouver and it's pretty amazing all the way to the coast. I've also driven all the way to Toronto, which is also pretty nice, compared to the prairies, but doesn't compare to BC.

Anyway, here's a photo I took one early morning. We were staying at an oTentik at Tunnel Mountain and I snuck out while everyone else was still asleep and rode my bike down the Hoodoos trail. Here's what I saw:

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18 Mazda CX5 AW
Thanks all. Looks great. Need to add Banff as a possible future vacation spot. Can fill in for all those locations overseas that have been crossed off since other continent travel has become more and more dangerous over the past several years ( wars, cartels, crime, etc). Sticking to mainland US and Canada. Based on my past experience, even hawaii has become unsafe (due to local crime).
 
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HardRightEdg

US 2020 CX-5 Touring AWD Soul Red
So why do canadians drive to Banff? It looks like it's in the remote wilderness? I'm near the american appalachians but damn that part of Canada looks desolate. Im on the eastern us side near Niagara/Toronto which is the farthest into Canada i've been.
I'm not a Canadian but I can attest that the drive from Banff to Jasper provides some stunning scenery. It was part of a 15 day road trip from Chicago to Yellowstone to Jasper and back with parts in between. You can see megafauna at pretty close range--bear, moose, elk, big horn sheep, mountain goats. We saw from a distance two male elk clashing antlers over a doe in the middle of a stream.

A goodly portion of the trip traces a river valley so you're not dealing with a lot of climbing and dropping while going along at sub-expressway speed. It's a comfortable drive and you can actually look at stuff and not be all-focus on the road.

Drive expressways across the Rockies or the Appalachians in West Virginia-Virginia or across the Austrian-Swiss Alps and it is all-focus on the road with climbs, drops and bends in the road. Dropping down 1000's of feet out of the Alps on a two-laner with switchback after switchback driving a rented Lancia stick shift with locals crawling up my back was no fun. My wife tells me the scenery was stunning ;). Ireland--10 days of backroad driving even with speed limits 40 MPH or less is the most stressful road trip I've ever made. The roads are narrow with ancient stone hedgerows instead of shoulders. Driving on the left side of the road is the least of it. Local practice is to drive down the middle of the road and sidle over at the last minute. Take a bus tour. Ireland has more expressways than 30 years ago so there's that option I suppose.

That's a long way of saying I highly recommend road tripping a few days on the Banff-to-Jasper route. ;)
 
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HardRightEdg

US 2020 CX-5 Touring AWD Soul Red
Pictures from 16 years ago: the ever popular photo op at Lake Louise; battling elk; "bus" that will take you onto the Athabasca glacier, if its still there; Big Horn lounging on the road shoulder.
 

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HardRightEdg

US 2020 CX-5 Touring AWD Soul Red
I highly recommend the Banff Upper Hot Springs, open to the public. Pack a swim suit. I believe the price includes a locker and towel but you'd have to confirm that.


 
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18 Mazda CX5 AW
I highly recommend the Banff Upper Hot Springs, open to the public. Pack a swim suit. I believe the price includes a locker and towel but you'd have to confirm that.


Thanks for all the info. Looks great.
 
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18 Mazda CX5 AW
I'm not a Canadian but I can attest that the drive from Banff to Jasper provides some stunning scenery. It was part of a 15 day road trip from Chicago to Yellowstone to Jasper and back with parts in between. You can see megafauna at pretty close range--bear, moose, elk, big horn sheep, mountain goats. We saw from a distance two male elk clashing antlers over a doe in the middle of a stream.

A goodly portion of the trip traces a river valley so you're not dealing with a lot of climbing and dropping while going along at sub-expressway speed. It's a comfortable drive and you can actually look at stuff and not be all-focus on the road.

Drive expressways across the Rockies or the Appalachians in West Virginia-Virginia or across the Austrian-Swiss Alps and it is all-focus on the road with climbs, drops and bends in the road. Dropping down 1000's of feet out of the Alps on a two-laner with switchback after switchback driving a rented Lancia stick shift with locals crawling up my back was no fun. My wife tells me the scenery was stunning ;). Ireland--10 days of backroad driving even with speed limits 40 MPH or less is the most stressful road trip I've ever made. The roads are narrow with ancient stone hedgerows instead of shoulders. Driving on the left side of the road is the least of it. Local practice is to drive down the middle of the road and sidle over at the last minute. Take a bus tour. Ireland has more expressways than 30 years ago so there's that option I suppose.

That's a long way of saying I highly recommend road tripping a few days on the Banff-to-Jasper route. ;)
Nice. Next time fake a leg injury, let the wife drive so you can enjoy the scenery or sleep.

Not just the driving hazards like you pointed out but definitely too many things going on overseas nowadays... Kidnappings, theft, hotel break-ins, and now the russian-ukraine war. Not worth it to vacation out of the American continent.

Banff and the hot springs definitely sounds like s great vacation.
 
:
Winnipeg Canada
:
2017 CX-9 GT
Pictures from 16 years ago: the ever popular photo op at Lake Louise; battling elk; "bus" that will take you onto the Athabasca glacier, if its still there; Big Horn lounging on the road shoulder.
Yep, the "bus", aka Ice Explorers, are still there but they've been upgraded and repainted. These custom built 55,000lbs beasts are powered by a Mercedes engine putting out (depending on model) over 300hp and around 1000ft-lbs torque.

However, the glaciers themselves are receding and it's possible that within our lifetime they will be gone. So if anyone wants to see them, now's the time (or, well, 2023 I guess, they don't run tours in the winter).

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