Mazda continues on its path of redesigning its lineup and spreading the Kodo design across all of its models. One of the outliers in this was the midsize CX-9 crossover. At the L.A. Auto Show, Mazda went about revealing the redesigned CX-9, which includes a new look and a new, more fuel-efficient engine.
Sure, it looks great, but let’s talk powertrain first, as this is where Mazda did exactly what I thought it would. Under the CX-9’s hood, Mazda packed in a 2.5-liter turbocharged Skyactiv-G engine that produces up to 250 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 310 pound-feet from 2,000 revs on 93-octane fuel. On 87-octane, the power output drops to 227 horses.
Colleagues of mine argued that Mazda would never release another turbocharged engine, as it supposedly went against everything Skyactiv stood for. Well, here we are and here is the first-ever, turbocharged, non-diesel Skyactiv engine.
This engine takes the place of Mazda’s outgoing 3.7-liter V-6 that produces 273 horses and 270 pound-feet of torque. While some may think that this reduction in power may hurt the new CX-9, please keep in mind that it has 40 extra pound-feet of torque, a more accessible powerband, and the powertrain weighs 198 to 287 pounds less than last year. All of this should add up to equal or better performance.
The engine mates with Mazda’s new i-ACTIV all-wheel drive. This system takes into account on-road speed, rpm, wheel slip, and more when making its 200 adjustments per second to maximize traction. Within these adjustments is the ability to send up to 50 percent of the 2.5-liter engine’s power to the rear wheels.
The body, as you can see, is dramatically different, as Mazda moved the CX-9 to the Kodo design language. On top of the visual changes, the dimensions of the midsize crossover have changed too. The 2017 model is 1.2-inches shorter in length, but its wheelbase is 2.2 inches longer, putting the wheels closer to the corners. These changes shortened the front overhang by 2.3 inches and the rear overhang by 1 inch.
Inside the cabin, Mazda pushes the CX-9 to new levels of comfort. It begins with low-rebound, high-damping urethane on the front seatbacks, giving the automaker the ability to thin the seats without compromising comfort. This material also dampens vibrations to help make for a smoother ride.
Mazda also turned a lot of its focus to safety with the 2017 CX-9. To achieve top safety ratings, the automaker added an i-ACTIVSENSE suite as an optional package. This includes Advanced Blind Spot Monitoring, Mazda Radar Cruise Control, Lane-Keep Assist, High Beam Control, Smart City Brake Support, Distance Recognition Support System, and Smart Brake Support.
The 2017 Mazda CX-9 should roll into dealers in the spring of 2016.