Mazda will unveil a new version of its largest vehicle at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show. Over the past few years, nearly all of Mazda’s other models received complete overhauls, but the three-row CX-9 crossover only got a facelift. Now, to keep up with a very competitive segment, Mazda is giving it a full redesign.
A teaser sketch shows styling based on Mazda’s current “Kodo” design language, employed on every recent Mazda production model and concept. Distinguishing features include a prominent shield-like grille joined to wispy headlights, and some curves in the side surfacing. The CX-9 may ultimately resemble the Koeru crossover concept shown back in September at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show.
The powertrain will likely share “SkyActiv” branding with the rest of Mazda’s current engine lineup, although its unclear exactly what will be under the CX-9’s hood. As is conventional for such a large vehicle, the current CX-9 uses a V6 engine, but potential fuel-economy gains could tempt Mazda to downsize to a turbocharged four-cylinder. That would be a pretty bold step for a three-row crossover.
With the launch of the next-generation CX-9, Mazda will have finished replacing its entire lineup. The company may also revive the subcompact 2 hatchback, which is already on sale in sedan form as the Scion iA. Of course, what most car fans are really interested in is a potential new rotary-engined sports car, previewed by the RX-Vision concept from the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show.
Going from the sleek and swoopy RX-Vision to the production CX-9 is a bit of a downer, but the crossover is ultimately more relevant to the average consumer, and to Mazda’s continued financial success. Still, expect Mazda reps to be fielding a lot of sports-car questions when the CX-9 debuts in L.A. a couple of weeks from now. Watch this space for more details.