The all-new second generation of Mazda's 3-row midsize crossover SUV was revealed at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show. Mazda understands that just because you need a larger vehicle doesn't mean you have to miss out on a rewarding driving experience or high style. And you should be able enjoy your time behind the wheel without sacrificing practicality, a concept that Mazda infused into the first CX-9.

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Smarter Power Source

While the size is basically the same as before, a lot has changed. The CX-9's new styling is classy and refined, and now bears a more prominent Mazda family nose. Under that nose is an all-new engine, a turbocharged 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, backed by a 6-speed automatic transmission. This engine replaces the 3.7-liter V6 that previously served as the sole engine. The new engine has 227 horsepower (250 with 93-octane fuel) and 310 lb-ft of torque. This change should accomplish a few things: first, while the horsepower is down from the 2015 model, there is significantly more torque (best in the segment) and it's available at a lower rpm, making it more usable on the daily drive. Another plus with the new engine: Mazda expects fuel economy to increase by about 20 percent, putting it near the top of the segment.

The CX-9 is lighter, by about 200 pounds with front-drive models and by nearly 300 pounds with all-wheel-drive CX-9s, even after Mazda added more than 50 pounds of sound deadening material in and around the cabin. The weight loss makes a 4-cylinder engine realistic in a vehicle this size, and should help Mazda continue its emphasis on driving dynamics, as was the case with the previous CX-9. The new 2016 CX-9 is about an inch shorter than it was last year, yet rides on a 2.2-inch-longer wheelbase.

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Premium Interior

The cabin is more upscale for 2016, with materials such as Nappa leather, aluminum and Japanese rosewood. The CX-9 is available with a Bose premium sound system and Mazda Connect, which is Mazda's answer to systems like SYNC and MyLink. The liberal use of sound-deadening material should make the interior significantly quieter than in the previous model. There are a variety of safety features in the new CX-9 as well, including advanced blind-spot monitoring, radar cruise control, lane keep assist and smart city brake support.

The Mazda CX-9 is scheduled to go on sale in spring of 2016 and Mazda looks to sell about 50,000 annually. We expect pricing and fuel economy numbers to be released in the next few months.

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