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2016 Mazda CX-9 - Not Your Mother's CUV

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On: Fri, Nov 20, 2015 at 10:07AM | By: Teddy Field


2016 Mazda CX-9 - Not Your Mother's CUV

Normally, 3-row crossovers are about as interesting as a three-hour PBS documentary on The History of PBS. They're made to be functional family transporters, with a mildly stylistic nod to the Target fashionistas who drive them. The Mazda CX-9, on the other hand, was designed to make the driver not feel like a boring suburbanite. It had athletic reflexes, communicative steering, and an exciting V6. But even with all of its charm, sales were never that great. The completely redesigned 2016 Mazda CX-9 aims to change that, and it's going to do it in very unique way...

In the family truckster segment, horsepower isn't a big selling point, but most of them have 270–290hp. The 2016 Mazda CX-9 has just 250hp, which is obviously less than its contemporaries. And it gets that pony-power from an equally smallish 2.5L turbo-4. But moving a big heavy SUV takes more torque than horsepower, and that's where the new CX-9 starts to break away from the competition.

During development, Mazda studied how current CX-9 owners drive in the real world. They discovered that most of them rarely spin their motors past 3000 rpm, which is where the horsepower starts to kick in. So to improve the 'real world' performance of the 2016 Mazda CX-9, engineers developed a series of valves for the turbo which allows it to spool-up faster and mitigate the effects of turbolag, without using a twin-scroll setup. But that's not all they did...

The idea behind Mazda's SkyActiv technology is to improve efficiency and reduce weight. To that end, the curb weight of the FWD 2016 Mazda CX-9 has been reduced by approximately 198lbs, and 287lbs when equipped with AWD. And, that's after adding 53lbs of sound-deadening mats in the floor, and thicker acoustic glass to reduce road/wind noise. Combine this weight savings, with the Dynamic Pressure Turbo that serves up a heady 310 lb-ft of torque at just 2000 rpm, and you'll have one seriously entertaining kiddie wagon.

Car and Driver clocked a 7.6-second 0–60 run in the heavier 2015 Mazda CX-9. So the added torque and reduced weight should yield a sub-7-second 0–60 time, placing the 2016 Mazda CX-9 at the top of its class. They also added lots of new family-friendly/safety features, along with a new top-spec Signature model that has real Rosewood trim, and French-stitched Nappa leather. Mazda says that 60% of the current CX-9s are sold in top-spec Grand Touring trim, so a new ultra-lux model should help bring even more buyers into the fold, which is awesome. Because the CX-9 was always a great family SUV, and now it looks the part.


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