You got a defective vehicle. Mine only beeps when I leave the keys inside the ignition. When I leave the car with the keys in my pocket, my kids can still lock the doors. That feature of not being able to lock the doors is supposed to be working only when you leave the keys in the ignition. That is a safety feature so that you don't lock yourself out of the car.
As for my CX-9, I don't even wash it anymore and I haven't gotten rust on it yet. You should think about getting it fixed, or getting your money back.
I noticed that you stated that you purchased this vehicle from an independent dealer. I am assuming that you meant a non-Mazda dealer. You should have had a Carfax done. Don't be surprised if this car had body work done. I have owned my CX-9 for 4 years and only wash the car once in a while. I live on the east coast where rust would be more common in vehicles, but as of today closing in on 4 years, not one rust spot, just dirt from not washing it. I was once told by a friend when you buy a used car, you are buying someone else's problems. Also you do not know how the previous owner took care of the vehicle. I have seen some people really abuse their cars while I am driving. I wouldn't buy a used car from them.
Original poster back again.
I'm at a little over a year with this car, and not too much has changed. Rust is still rusty, overcomplicated passkey system is still overcomplicated, and it still gets 16 MPG in mixed driving.
I've come to realize that the weight of this car makes for short life of brake components. The pads and rotors are worn after little more than a year of my wife driving the car. I suppose this isn't strange, but certainly something for a prospective buyer to keep in mind. I do my own brake work, so I'm not too worried about the expense of pads and rotors, but if you had to pay a mechanic, you could end up spending a bit.
I'm realizing that as a minivan replacement, this car does not work very well. Access to the third row is difficult to say the least; add some child seats that prevent the seats from folding forward and you have quite the challenge ahead of you. If you think you need a minivan, you probably do -- especially if you want to actually use the third row easily. Also, the seats do not fold flat when you want to haul cargo. Having recently moved, I can say that when you want to load up, the 2nd row folded is an awkward situation, as you can either slide the folded seats all the way back to meet the edge of the 3rd row (which leaves a BIG gap between the back of the 1st row seats), or you can have the gap between the 2nd and 3rd rows. A flat floor you will not have. Also, a lot of the seat leather is still exposed when the seats are folded, so you must take care when loading your cargo. It's not a deal breaker, but compared to my old Volvos in which the seats folded perfectly flat to have a dead flat load floor, this is a bit disappointing.
However, I can say that there is generous cargo room; enough so that I put a piano in this car. Yes, I put a real piano inside of this car, closed the hatch and drove it home (bench too). It was a small (spinet) piano, but if you've ever had to pick one up, you'll find that they really aren't all THAT small. So the cargo space isn't perfect, but it does get the job done.
Regarding the statement that you shouldn't be putting children in the 3rd row of a vehicle, I can't think of a more wrong thing to say. Using that logic, people with more than three children should drive two cars everywhere? There ARE SUVs/minivans with LATCH in the third row, this car just isn't one of them. Why would a manufacturer make a car with three rows if there is the expectation that no passengers should occupy them? If this were truly a dangerous practice, I think there would be some empirical data to back up the assumption. Got facts?
Original poster back again.
Up to about 60,000 miles now with no major issues to report. I took it to a different Mazda dealer, who told me that if I had brought it in to address the rust problem, that they would have fixed it no questions asked. Not sure if he was telling the truth or not, but now that I'm past the 5 year warranty, they'll at least cover half of the repair cost. Once the weather warms up, I'll take them up on their offer.
Winter with this car (although light in Ohio) has proven that it's a competent snow car. As I grew up doing donuts in parking lots as a young hoon, I tried to do the same with this car. It has foiled every attempt to slide out of control that I could muster. The traction control combined with the AWD refused to let me have any fun. It's a bit of a party-pooper when you're attempting to clown around, but it's nice to know that if you ever did get yourself into trouble, that you'd be in good shape to get out of trouble. Every time I would accelerate into a turn and then lift off the gas, I expected the rear to come swinging around -- and it did, but only for a moment until the TC would brake individual wheels and straighten up fast. I presume with enough speed behind you (given the weight), you could break free, but at around-town speeds, the system effectively maintains traction.
I experience an issue with the remote start feature; normally when you remote-start the car, the HVAC system runs. This fall, it ceased to operate until you got in and turned the key/stepped on the brake. I came to find out that there is a fuse that can blow and takes the HVAC with it. The fuse is not in the under hood box, nor is it in the panel behind the glove box. It is located above the pedals up behind the dashboard. To access it, you must remove a plastic shield and then pry the lid off of the remote start module. It's a bit of a pain to get at -- bring a flashlight, a flat head and a mirror. Apparently this is caused by leaving the windshield wipers on in a condition where they might freeze down to the glass. They try to wipe, cannot, and blow the fuse.
I understand that there is a TSB on this, and that you can get a modified wiring harness, but as I'm out of warranty, I'll just keep some spare fuses around.
Original poster back again.
After going through yet another set of brake pads, I realized that brake wear was massively uneven being heavy on the driver's side. It turns up that the caliper was hung and dragging all the time. The passenger side pads still had about a a third left, but the driver's inside pad was down to the backing!
I suppose I'll go find a caliper rebuild kit and pull the (presumably bad) seals. Ought to be fun getting the two pistons out of the caliper, as I'm used to a single piston.
Still drives well, and hopefully resolving the brake problem will allow for better mileage.