LOS ANGELES -- In the quest of better fuel efficiency to meet upcoming government economy ratings, automakers have been downsizing their engines and making up for the lost displacement with turbochargers. Mazda joins the trend with a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine for the the all-new 2016 CX-9.
While Mazda previously offered a turbo in its more performance oriented cars like the Mazda3 and the Miata, this is a first for the family-oriented CX-9, a large, seven-passenger crossover. Mazda calls its technology the Dynamic Pressure Turbo and claims it will mitigate turbo lag, ensuring the turbo engages quickly and provides instant acceleration and power.
Turbos use the energy of exhaust gases to compress air into the engine, providing more power, but there is often lag as the turbo spools up. The Mazda turbo feeds those gases through small valves when the engine is running at low speed, then opens larger, secondary valves at higher rotations per minute (rpm), building up pressure more quickly.
With its quick-spooling turbo, Mazda's four-cylinder engine produces 310 pound-feet of torque and 250 horsepower, good output for 2.5-liters of displacement and ample for the large CX-9. A six-speed automatic transmission puts that power to either the two front wheels or all four, if Mazda's i-Active all-wheel-drive system is present.
First seen on the smaller CX-5, and then on the even smaller CX-3, this all-wheel-drive technology uses 22 sensors and monitors driving conditions 200 times per second to predict traction levels on both wet and dry pavement. To prevent understeer, the all-wheel drive delivers up to 50 percent of available power to the rear wheels if needed while cornering.
Available safety technology includes lane-keep assist as well as lane-departure warning, while Mazda's adaptive cruise control uses radar to maintain a set following distance from slower traffic ahead. Further enhancing safety, the CX-9 benefits from automated braking to prevent collisions with other cars or pedestrians at low speeds.
A 7- or 8-inch touchscreen with navigation is available, as well as a Bose premium stereo system with 12 speakers.
The new CX-9 will feature a new Machine Gray color, as well as Mazda's classic Soul Red, Snowflake White Pearl, Sonic Silver, Jet Black, Deep Crystal Blue and Titanium Flash. Pricing has not yet been announced, but look for the 2016 Mazda CX-9 at dealers next spring.