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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All,
I'm new to this forum ... time will tell whether I stick around ... your advice could be a big factor too! Thanks in advance!

I am currently evaluating several options for my new car including the Outlook, Mazda CX-9, Honda Ridgeline, Chevy Avalanche, Lincoln MKX, etc. Since I don't want to put much $$$ down and I need/want AWD and fully loaded (ex-DVD player is fine), some things just don't fit the budget ... monthly payment needs to start with a "5" (or less if possible!). My two most enjoyable test drives (for cars that I can afford) were the Outlook & the CX-9. Next weekend I'd like to do a back-to-back test drive to get my second opinion.

For anyone that looked at the Mazda CX-9 before buying their Saturn, any input for me? All topics are fair game (reliability, looks, drive, electronics, pricing, features/amenities, etc.).

My initial impressions were:
- Outlook looks & drives more like an SUV ... CX-9 more like a car/mini-van
- Both had really nice electronics (NAV, climate controls, etc.) ... CX-9 did have a back-up camera which was nifty & the keyless entry/ignition was cool!
- Outlook's interior plastics & carpet seemed a bit lower grade than the Mazda, as did the storage compartment latches, etc. (although the faux wood-trim was nicely done)
- CX-9 did not feel as "luxurious" in its appointments ... it felt like a stereotypical Mazda (fully functional, practical, nicely appointed Japanese car) ... not sure the Saturn was that much better in this regard but for some reason I just didn't feel as "cool" in the CX-9. Although telling your friends you just bought a "Saturn" has some risk as well … hopefully the tide is turning there!
- sticker prices are comparable but I know that I can get the Mazda down ... not sure about this Saturn "no negotiation policy"???

Notes:
- 90% of the time the third row seats will be folded down ... I have no kids
- I am replacing an Audi A6 which I love to drive but it just spends too much time in the shop and I feel like I want a bigger car for my 6'3" height

Thanks!
Scott
 

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I briefly looked at the CX-9 and mainly dismissed it due to the kiddy third row, and bland styling. Once I saw the XR with 19" rims, remote start, power liftgate, nifty paint job and smartslide seats I was sold.

PS back up camera is available on the Outlook.
 

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Hey Scott -

Just an FYI - the Outlook also has a remote start. My wife uses at least two to three times a day.

If you get a 2008 Outlook you can get it with a back-up camera.

I didn't test drive the CX-9 simply because i preferred the looks of the Outlook. I will tell you though I do enjoy the Outlook - it drives great and I love the looks of it.

I have had a few minor problems - seat belt height adjustment broke, my audio system has a minor high pitch sound that I have had them look at twice and it isn't fixed. Drives me crazy but my wife doesn't even notice it.

Overall i give my Saturn Outlook and 8 out of 10. (we have 10K miles on it)

Here are some other cars I have owned and how i would rate them overall: (to give you a frame of reference)

2003 Audi A4 - 9 of 10 - great car, no complaints
2001 Toyota Highlander - 8 of 10 - great car, boring styling
1999 Honda Civic - 9 of 10 - great car, simple, nothing fancy, completely reliable
1994 Toyota 4Runner - 7 of 10 - put 200K miles on it, but it seems like i was doing repairs at least once a year, should have sold it earlier but couldn't afford it
1991 Jeep Wrangler - 6 of 10 - i looked so cool driving this car ;) , but it always felt like it was going to fall apart
1983 Buick Century - 4 of 10 - i looked like a goofball driving this car, but Mom and Dad gave it to me for college - better than nothing I guess!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the input so far. I should clarify what I meant by "remote start". The CX-9 comes with one of those keys that isn't really a key ... it looks like a thick credit card & it has the buttons for locking doors, power liftgate, & remote start on it ... as long as this key is in your pocket while you're in the car, you don't need to insert a key to start the car ... there is a knob on the ignition that you can just turn and it will start. Also, if you walk away from the car with the "key" in your pocket it will automatically lock the doors once you're ~30 feet away (or something like that).

Didn't know about the backup camera ... thanks. Not a necessity if you have the backup sensors but certainly adds to the "wow" factor!

Another piece of input I'd like ... if I were to buy the Outlook ... go for the bigger tires or not? If I recall that adds ~$1K to the price. Honestly I think I like the burly looking tires that come standard ... but I can't say that I've seen the upgraded tires so I can't compare.

Thanks again!
Scott
 

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If you get the touring package you get the 19" rims, power liftgate and a few other goodies. IMHO I prefer the bigger wheels.
 

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All 3 of the Lambdas beat the pants off the Mazda. I thought I wanted to buy a CX-9 after I read Motor Trend's last nonsensical article where they picked it over an Acadia. Then I went to test drive it, and was completely turned off. The cockpit was tight, all the materials felt cheap, it was noisy on the road, and not very comfortable of a ride. Then I climbed in the 3rd row (or tried). I banged my head on the roof, fell over the seat, and slumped down in the bench seat. Once there, I pulled the 2nd row into place, and almost lost both my kneecaps. It was SOOO tight back there.

On top of that, the Mazda dealer immediately started pressuring me to buy, even after I told him I hated the car.

That experience alone, convinced me to buy GM. Although I bought an Outlook, I like the Acadia and the Enclave about as much, and all 3 are better than the Mazda with 2 hands tied behind their backs!

One more thing. Have you looked at the base XE Outlook? It's about $2000 cheaper than the XR, and is almost as well equipped. The main differences are a single exhaust, which produces less HP (not noticeable to me) and no fog lamps. I bought an XE mainly because of the interior. It DOES NOT have the faux wood which I like. Of the 3 Lambdas, I think the XE Outlook has the nicest interior. Mine is dual tone black rubberized plastic with a lower tan leather/fake leather (not sure which it is but it's nice). Much classier than the CX-9
 

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I'd stay away from the Ford Edge - i was unfortunatley given one as a rental for the dealership (huge dealership - Saturn, Ford, Mazda, Volvo), and it was terrible to drive! All the interior trim was very cheap. The weirdest part was the terrible reflection from the top of the dashboard on the windshield, it was so annoying!

Stay far far away from this car in my opinion.
 

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JF7FSU said:
If you get the touring package you get the 19" rims, power liftgate and a few other goodies. IMHO I prefer the bigger wheels.
What a lot of people don't realize with the Outlook is if you buy it with the factory installed 19 inch tires you also automatically get an upgraded suspension. Most Outlook salesmen don't even know it. The upgraded suspension is the one that comes standard with the Buick Enclave. That's why I went for the 19 inchers.

The one advantage to the 18 inche tires is the tire compound will last longer. A lot longer, aka more tread life. But I wanted the taller tires and upgraded suspension (better ride) even if I had to buy new tires more often.
 

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What comes with the upgraded suspension? If you get the stock 18" wheels, do you get a rear stabilizer bar? Or is this just with the 19" tires?
 

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I wanted to thank this forum as well as others in helping me buy some cars. I recently bought a 2008 Saturn Outlook XR and a 2008 Mazda CX-9 GT. I can't remember all of the options but they both are nicely optioned with most everything except Nav / towing / DVD. For those who are still looking here is my quick take.

Exterior:
Outlook - more suv
CX-9 - more tall wagon

Interior:
Outlook - roomier feel
CX-9 - cockpit feel

Drive:
Outlook - cruiser
CX-9 - sporty

Equipment:
Depends what you like. I find each car has its merits.

MPG:
Both about 18mpg on mostly street driving.

I generally have to agree with professional journals and articles in their assesment of these vehicles. They are both nice and each satisfies a different need.
 
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