2016 Mazda CX-9: A Three Row SUV With A SkyACTIV-G Heart Unveiled

It’s oftentimes an oxymoron to call a three-row SUV sporty, but this second generation 2016 Mazda CX-9 makes a strong case for one.

Close to ten years ago, when the Mazda CX-9 hit the market, it was an epiphany of sorts for 3-row SUV’s. You didn’t need to sacrifice sportiness at the expense of interior space to the relief of a lot of Dad’s who needed something big enough to haul the family and didn’t want a van. Much of the same sporting attitude returns as Mazda has unveiled its second generation Mazda CX-9 at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show. Mazda was keen to highlight its suite of SKYACTIV improvements in the engine and the chassis including all the glorious tech that’s not only helpful, but non-intrusive in the interior.

First, there’s the centerpiece to this entire new generation, that 4-cylinder engine. At first glance, you wouldn’t think a four-cylinder can handle the job, but compared to the V6 it replaces, what it loses in HP it gains in lb-ft. Such is the nature of turbos.  The 2.5 Liter SKYACTIV-G shells out 227 HP and 310 lb-ft (40 lb-ft more than the V6 it replaces.) All this power is paired to a six-speed automatic.

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SKYACTIV-G doesn’t end at the engine as more rigid and lightweight parts have been implemented into the design of the chassis and key suspension components. In FWD trim, you’ll see a weight savings of 198 pounds and in AWD trim, 287 pounds.

Inside, you’ll find a quiet and sophisticated yet ergonomically sporty experience. If you want, you can pair Nappa leather with real Japanese rosewood and aluminium accents to make a truly luxurious interior that would put some interiors to shame. Choice materials have been implemented into the seatbacks of both the driver and passenger seats that transmit road noise but keeps out road-harshness to better communicate what’s happening with the CX-9 to the driver.

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The CX-9 also showcases an impressive suite of safety equipment that comes standard which includes blind spot monitoring, radar cruise control, lane-keep assist, High beam control, smart city braking at speed between 2-19 MPH and SBS (Smart Brake Support) which operates at speeds above 9 MPH to automatically brake for you if a collision is impending.

The 2016 Mazda CX-9 is a clear example of branding done right. Every family man wants to drive something that won’t put them to sleep and Mazda has been delivering some of the most engaging vehicles since they began making cars. A clear commitment to transmit that sporting nature across its entire lineup only bodes well for the company. When EPA MPG numbers are finalized, we’ll get a good look at this trifecta of an SUV. Seats seven, has plenty of power and can carve canyons all the while being super-fuel-efficient when it needs to be. Mazda has a real winner on its hands.