Turbocharged to Move Closer to Premium Territory
At the 2015 L.A. Auto Show, Mazda finally unveiled the second-generation CX-9, nearly 10 years after the first generation debuted in 2006. As the last vehicle to receive the full suite of Skyactiv technologies, the CX-9 has been redesigned from the ground up, lost a bunch of weight, and now sports the attractive Kodo—Soul of Motion design language. Along with the CX-9’s transformation came a new engine, a new interior, and a host of new tech features. After we took a closer look at the car at the L.A. Auto Show, here are 10 notable features on the second-generation CX-9 that sets it apart from the competition.
Machine Gray Exterior Color
Mazda’s newest signature exterior color is Machine Gray, and it looks classy and sophisticated. Like Soul Red, Machine Gray is vibrant yet restrained and makes the CX-9 look like a single slab of polished metal; a CX-9 in Machine Gray has an upscale look (read: more expensive than it actually is). In addition to Machine Gray, the CX-9 will be available with Mazda’s other signature color, Soul Red.
First introduced in the compact CX-5, the i-Activ AWD system predicts the road ahead by using 27 sensors to channel information such as ambient temperature, steering wheel angle, longitudinal grip, brake fluid pressure, and windshield wiper movement. The system measures road conditions 200 times per second to adjust power distribution and account for wheel slip even when it’s dry. Another key feature of i-Activ AWD is its ability to send as much as 50 percent of power to the rear wheels if needed for improved traction.
Auburn and Black Nappa Leather Upholstery
On the new range-topping Signature trim of the 2016 CX-9, buyers can opt for an available auburn and black two-tone Nappa leather upholstery. Mazda says that this color scheme is supposed to evoke bespoke horse saddles and pays tribute to their jinba-ittaiâhorse and rider as oneâdriving philosophy.
Rosewood and Aluminum interior accents
Inside the range-topping CX-9 Signature are aluminum and rosewood accents that wrap around the center console. The aluminum accents are inspired by Japan’s famous handmade knives and exude the quality of Japanese craftsmanship to occupants. Complementing the aluminum trim are rosewood accents that are supplied by a premium guitar manufacturer.
53 Pounds of Sound Deadening
Mazda made the CX-9 lighter by 198 pounds in front-drive configuration and as much as 287 pounds with AWD, and they did so while making it quieter. Dropping mass was key, and the car lost so much weight that they could put back 53 pounds in extra sound-deadening material. As a result, Mazda touts that the second-generation CX-9 will be one of the quietest in its segment.
Skyactiv-G 2.5T Four Cylinder Engine
As the most powerful member of the Skyactiv-G engine family, Mazda’s new 2.5-liter, turbo I-4 is a powerhouse. Generating 250 hp and a whopping 310 lb-ft of torque at 2,000 rpm on premium fuel, the CX-9 should offer the most twist in its class. Like every member of the Skyactiv-G family, this new turbo I-4 has a compression ratio of 10.5:1, which is one of the highest for a forced-induction engine. Compared to the outgoing Ford-sourced V-6 in the first-generation CX-9, the new 2.5-liter, turbo I-4 is around 150 pounds (68 kg) lighter than the engine it replaces. Cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) lowers the combustion temperature in the engine to prevent knocking, and a compact 4-3-1 exhaust manifold helps maximize turbo efficiency.
i-Activesense Safety Suite
Mazda’s suite of safety features, known as i-Activesense, is available in the CX-9 and includes active blind-spot warning, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, high-beam control, automatic emergency braking, and forward collision warning. Some new additions to the safety suite include a distance recognition support system to assist the forward collision warning system. In some trim levels the available automatic emergency braking system can bring the CX-9 to a stop from 19 mph (30 km/h).
Mazda Connect Infotainment System
First appearing in the third-generation Mazda3, the Mazda Connect infotainment system has been updated in the second-generation CX-9 and now offers an optional 8.0-inch touchscreen in place of the standard 7.0-inch unit. Designed to ensure the driver isn’t distracted, the Mazda Connect system can be used via the commander knob, the touchscreen, and voice commands. A 4.6-inch TFT is positioned in between the gauges and features the same readouts found in the main infotainment screen. There are two main USB ports located up front for playing media and two rear 2.1-amp USB charging ports for the second row.
Active Driving Display
Unlike the Mazda3, Mazda6, and CX-3, the new CX-9 comes with a head-up display that’s projected into the windshield instead of a glass panel that flips up above the gauges. Additionally, the unit in the CX-9 is a full-color head-up display that can show everything you need: navigation, cruise control, your current speed, and more.
12-Speaker Bose Premium Audio System
Designed with the ability to take compressed audio formats and simulate how music would sound at concerts, the new 12-speaker Bose premium audio system in the 2016 CX-9 was benchmarked against high-end units found in the most luxurious SUVs on the market. The entire system was also designed to be lightweight and ditches heavy magnets for some of the larger speakers used.