At the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show, Mazda - as we knew they would - have revealed its new CX-9 SUV to replace its near 10-year old predecessor, which also accompanies a brand new turbocharged 2.5-litre entrant to its SkyActiv-G engines. Mazda’s newest, and so far largest, is slated to hit the US market in the spring of 2016.
The car shows off the evolution of Mazda’s KODO design language and, by their own words, a move “toward a more premium design execution” is telling, perhaps indicating at their ambitions set on higher price points. Regardless, this more premium outlook is clearly seen in the CX-9’s interior the most.
On the outside, the new CX-9 rides on a longer wheel base (by 55mm) but is has a shorter body (by 30mm) than its predecessor, achieved through shorter front and rear overhangs - something Mazda is known for engineering into their newer cars to achieve altogether more commanding stance on the road as well as better handling characteristics, the new Mazda2 being a prime example.
The new CX-9 is also between 90kg-130kg lighter than before depending on whether the front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive version is selected. The seven seater indeed does take styling cues from the Koeru concept that was unveil at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show, which can only be a good thing as that was met with near-unanimous praise for its looks.
Inside, the cabin is brought up to scratch with Mazda’s newfound swagger in interior fit, finish, and design. It receives the same centre-mounted infotainment screen displaying the Mazda Connect system and dashboard layout that cossets the driver and front passenger. The new CX-9 will also be offered with Mazda’s advanced i-ACTIVSENSE safety systems and i-ACTIV AWD, as the carmaker calls its intelligent all-wheel-drive system.
The new CX-9 will be the first in Mazda’s line-up to receive their 2.5-litre SkyActiv-G 2.5T petrol engine which replaces the 3.7-litre V6 in the outgoing model, while outclassing it by every metric.
The new turbo petrol unit, based on the naturally aspirated 2.5-litre SkyActiv-G offered in the Mazda CX-5 and Mazda 6, is now their most powerful generating up to 250PS and 420Nm of torque (in the North American version). Mazda is touting their Dynamic Pressure Turbo and cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system as the main advancements behind their new powerplant.
There's just something about cars. It's a conveyance, it's a liability, it's a tool; but it can also be a source of joy, pride, inspiration and passion. It's much like clothes versus fashion. And like the latter, the pursuit of perfection never ends.