Launched for the 2006 model year, the Mazda CX-9 has soldiered on relatively unchanged until now. The facelifts that Mazda rolled out in 2010 and 2013 brought only minor changes that included new front grilles, updated headlamps, and restyled bumpers. In 2008, Mazda ditched the 3.5-liter V-6 in favor of a 3.7-liter unit, but the larger engine, the only survivor of the brand’s partnership with Ford, has remained unchanged to this day. All told, the current CX-9 is long in the tooth and is long overdue for an overhaul. Fortunately, the much needed redesign has arrived at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show and will hit dealerships for the 2017 model year.
Previewed by the Mazda Koeru concept, the second-generation CX-9 received the company’s Kodo design language and a high-quality interior with premium materials. The engine under the SUV’s long hood is also new. Horsepower is down compared to the previous model, but the new SkyActiv unit pumps significantly more torque to the wheels and returns better fuel economy.
Mazda says that the new CX-9 represents a “capstone for the new generation of Mazda cars and crossovers and a high-end model indicating what is to come.” We’ll find out whether that’s true or not in the second quarter of 2016, when the SUV is scheduled to hit dealerships. U.S. sales will commence next spring. In the meantime, be sure to check the review below for all the important details about the new CX-9.
Updated 02/12/2016: The new Mazda CX-9 went into production at the Ujina Plant No. 1 in Hiroshima. The first units produced will be shipped to the North American market, which is expected to account for 80% of global sales forecast at 50,000 units annually. Sales will begin later in the spring of 2016.
Continue reading for my speculative review of the 2016 Mazda CX-9.