New generation of the CX-9 is coming, we could see it at the 2015 La Auto Show and we are quite happy to say that redesigned 2016 Mazda CX-9 brings very nice improvements. Almost immediately after introduction in LA we were able to see few reports about capabilities of this vehicle on road and what we can expect from it.
We have heavy battle for every customer in all market segments and it is the same in three-row SUV market to which CX-9 comes. Previous generation offered a lot but with changes we are now getting this vehicle becomes one of the best choices on the market. Biggest changes are noticeable in powertrain segment where we are getting significant shift and for the first time Mazda is offering turbocharged unit in the Skyactive lineup. Already proven engine family goes turbo, it has to be good.
Let’s immediately start with changes in the engine lineup. Previous generation was offered with 3.7 liter V6 that produced 273 hp and was a good choice for this SUV, it was able to return 16/22 mpg in city/highway. Instead of this V6 we are getting smaller I4 2.5 liter turbocharged gasoline unit from Skyactive lineup and as we said this is the first one with turbo. Power has been reduced but we received perfectly good explanation from Mazda why this will not be a bad thing.
When you use regular gasoline this engine is capable of returning 227 hp while when you supply it with 93 octane premium fuel it will pump out 250 hp. No matter what you decide to put in your tank it will offer 310 lb-ft of torque from about 2000 rpm. This was done basically because most drivers of SUV’s like 2016 Mazda CX-9 are not pushing their engines far past 3000 to 4000 rpm and with these changes we are getting almost identical performances but with significantly lower fuel economy. As a result you can expect to see 21/29 mpg with front wheel drive and 20/28 mpg with all-wheel drive, quite an improvement. One of the things that allows this engine to be a great replacement for the naturally aspirated V6 is the fact that it is offered with Dynamic Pressure Turbo, this tech uses two paths to feed turbine. At lower rpm’s it will use narrower path which will result in faster spool times and when you pass about 1700 rpm it will produce enough pressure to open other valve and magic continues.
2016 Mazda CX-9 Review
When it comes to changes to the exterior we are quite pleased. Front segment benefits from additional chrome details while the headlights are nicely combined with larger grille. LED technology has been applied to both front and rear segment and now it looks more refined but also more aggressive. When we take a look from the side we can say that there are only small differences between this and previous generation and this is not a bad thing simply because previous generation also offered great looks. Stronger lines certainly help out new 2016 Mazda CX-9 to look fantastic and we can say that this will be one of the best looking SUV’s in segment.
Interior has been upgraded and now even the base version comes with significantly quitter cabin which was a big problem for previous generation. Amount of sound-deadening material in the floor has been significantly increased and thankfully to the usage of the acoustic-laminated glass for front side windows we could hear claims from Mazda that this will be one fo the quietest vehicles in class. Changes in the 2016 Mazda CX-9 lineup include new trim, top of the range now will be the Signature trim and it will come beside Sport, Touring and Grand Touring trims. Since about 60 percent of CX-9 models were sold in Grand Touring trim we think that many customers will go to higher Signature trim. Features like Nappa leather, real aluminum details, rosewood and similar are standard and gives this model premium feel.
The 2016 Mazda CX-9 comes with body that is 1.2 inches shorter but new model offers about 2.2 inch longer wheelbase. With this change Mazda is able to offer slightly more interior room while still keeping cargo space at high level. One of the things that come quite handy is the fact that passenger side of the second row seat can be now folded even when the child seat is in place allowing access to third row of seats. It is clear that we are getting huge number of mobile devices and because of that Mazda provided two USB port for second row of seats plus we get two for front seats as standard. Things that surprised us a bit are availability of head-up display that will deliver all the most important ride details to the windshield.
Even we are delivering report from only a short test drive we can say that we are quite pleased with how this car performs. Thankfully to lower weight (200 pounds lighter in front wheel drive and almost 300 pounds lighter in four-wheel drive setup) less powerful turbocharged engine with few tweaks can offer great performances and significantly better fuel economy. It was clear that suspension will need little bit more of tuning but it is almost production ready, there were no unpleasant noises and noise level in cabin has been significantly reduced. Ride was firm but not unpleasant while the level of body roll was significantly lower than it is the case with many other models in this category, we certainly hope that Mazda will give few more tweaks to this prototype and that we will be getting even better results.
2016 Mazda CX-9 Release Date
There are still things that we do not know about new generation and 2016 Mazda CX-9 model. We are waiting for the prices to be announced but we know that Mazda will need to stay in range that is similar to previous generation. If this happens we can expect to see base model offered with price tag of about $30,000 or slightly higher. Another thing that is still not known is the release date. Since Mazda offered prototype that is pretty much production ready we can only assume that it will be coming during the 2016th and beginning of the next year might be ideal. Some rumors and speculation say that even it has been already introduced at LA Auto Show and even prototype has been pretty much fully tested we will be getting new generation with 2017 Mazda CX-9 model.