South East Automotive Media Organization (SEAMO) recently honored the
2008 Mazda CX-9 with the inaugural “Family Car of the Year Award”
during the group’s sixth annual media ride and drive event, held at
Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia.
“We are honored to receive this inaugural award from journalists in the southeast,” says Dave Sweet, group manager, Product Strategies, Mazda North American Operations. “The CX-9 3.7L is our newest and most exciting vehicle that combines the utility of a family vehicle with seating for seven, and the power and ‘zoom-zoom’ of a sports car. With a new blind spot monitoring system for 2008, we know that families and fun seekers will enjoy the ride while benefiting from the many safety features. Family cars should be a joy to drive and this award demonstrates that fun and functionality make a winning combination.”
Vehicles were judged on family friendliness through eight categories: safety, capacity, accessibility, value, amenities, ergonomics, NVH (noise, vibration, harshness) and styling. A maximum score of 100 points could be awarded for each ballot. The CX-9 scored 91.
Tom Kelley, SEAMO’s Executive Director, said “while there are dozens of
‘Car of the Year’ awards out there, the family car segment has yet to
gain an appropriate level of attention, so the creation of SEAMO’s
‘Family Car of the Year Award’ was long overdue. The 2008 Mazda CX9
stood out from an impressive field of competitors to exemplify what
SEAMO members consider to be the most important attributes of a great
It’s great to see a “Family Car of the Year” award. I would like to see more vehicles rated with families in mind. But I also wonder: can someone else’s idea of a family car really help my family? We all have different needs. I (will soon) have one small child and one grown. My needs are completely different from my girlfriends who have three, four, and even seven children.
And while the family categories are a good place to start, what criteria did the journalists use to decide on safety, accessibility, and value? And isn’t styling pretty subjective, too? As I’ve mentioned before, I can be somewhat of a skeptic. So I wonder about the ratings and how they were made. But even if I’m unsure of how the journalists decided what was important, it does give me a jumping-off point. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
I do appreciate someone looking at autos from a family perspective. It could help me narrow down my choices when I’m ready for a new vehicle. But as a mom and a consumer, I can’t abdicate my decision-making process to someone else. I still have to decide what my family’s needs are and find the best auto for us.
Photos from mazda media
By Becky Scott