We've done our research but can't decide between Mazda CX-9 Touring or the Mitsubishi Pajero Sports GLS. Both with seven seats. Purpose for the car is to accommodate tall people (5'8" is the shortest) and the family dog (German shepherd). We don't intend to do any 'true' off-road work with the vehicle. Need storage for family holidays and day trips with the dog to the beach. Also, looking into the future, our girls need will need connectivity (USB ports).
Thanks for any advice.
Unless you need hardcore off-road ability or heavy towing capacity, buy the CX-9, every time. The Pajero Sport is a hastily revised Triton Ute. So, as an engineer I can tell you that you can take the tray out of the Triton, but you can’t take the ute-style lack of refinement out of the Pajero Sport >>.
Pajero Sport is ideal for all the stuff you don’t want to do: Driving in extreme off-road situations, towing absurdly heavy trailers (up to 3.1 tonnes), etc. When you design a machine to do this, inevitably, on-road refinement takes a hit - a big one. This is true of all ute-based SUVs (like the Ford Everest, Toyota Fortuner, Isuzu MU-X, Holden Trailblazer, etc.) They're good at the hardcore stuff, but the on-road refinement always takes a significant hit.
Bottom line: CX-9 is designed to specialise in exactly the kind of driving you sound like you plan on doing. Pajero Sport isn’t. CX-9 is also quite large inside - larger than a Kluger, Santa Fe or Sportage.
Just for intellectual kicks, however, you really should do an objective comparison of the Kia Carnival Platinum - which will do what you want infinitely better than the CX-9. It’s brilliant for what you plan on doing. Unfortunately, of course, people get hung up on fashion and embrace the concept of a people mover with about as much enthusiasm as the prospect of three weeks as a guest of the CIA at Guantanamo Bay. The dog and the kids will be far better accommodated in the Carnival.
You probably don’t really need an SUV; you just presume you do by default. There is no doubt people movers are not as sexy, subjectively, as SUVs, but you really should evaluate the Kia Carnival.
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