Mazda has revealed an all-new CX-9 at the Los Angeles motor show. The crossover is expected to go on sale in New Zealand later next year.
The seven-seater, all-wheel drive has moved away from a people-mover persona and into the medium SUV segment, gaining an all-new SkyActiv engine.
The CX-9 not only contains many of the Japanese company’s Kodo design features seen in the CX-3 and CX-5 crossovers but, more importantly for Mazda, the 2.5-litre turbo petrol engine.
It replaces Mazda’s 3.7-litre V6 petrol engine and promises a 20 per cent increase in fuel efficiency while producing 420Nm of torque at 2000rpm.
Mazda claims that’s as much as a conventional 4-litre V8.
The CX-9 goes on sale in the US, the company’s largest market, in the first quarter of 2016. Kiwis won’t see a right-hand-drive until at least the middle of the year.
Mazda NZ’s managing director Andrew Clearwater said the company now sells about 20 CX-9s a month, but would look to double that number with the new model. The run-out model in New Zealand is priced at $45,990 to $51,990 for the Limited CX-9.
Mazda NZ says the specs and pricing of the all-new CX-9 are yet to be finalised but “would start at in the early $50,000s and mid to high $50,000s for the high-grade Limited”.
Mazda focused on the day-to-day use of the CX-9 in the US, where it sells 80 per cent of its models, and realised its buyers needed low-end revs, not extensive power at high speed.
So the 2.5-litre SkyActiv engine was created to produce power in the lower range of gears for use in stop-start traffic and city driving.
The CX-9’s exterior design is also in line with recent successes from Mazda, such as the CX-5 and CX-3, with a new and prominent grille, giving it a more aggressive stance on the road.
Mazda’s chief engineer for the CX-9, Masahi Otsuka, told journalists this week the crossover “must have an X-factor. You can’t explain it but it must appeal to your emotions”.
Launched in 2006, the second-generation CX-9 is 5065mm long, 30mm shorter than its predecessor but its wheelbase has been increased 55mm.
The car was revealed at the show on Wednesday local time, but four hand-built prototypes were used for press drives earlier in the week.
Driven was one of the first in the world to drive the camouflaged vehicle around Los Angeles but details have been embargoed.