Mazda might have stolen the show in Tokyo with its gorgeous RX-Vision Coupe, but it's back to business as usual for the Japanese brand in Los Angeles. Instead of launching a slinky rotary concept, Mazda has taken the covers off its new CX-9 SUV. Designed to ferry the kids to school in style, the CX-9 will be powered by a 2.5-liter engine debuting new turbo technology that cuts down on lag.
Just like the little CX-3 we reviewed earlier in the year, the new CX-9 is a seriously handsome car. Mazda's Kodo design philosophy has been adapted to look more upmarket, but there's a clear family resemblance in the car's squinting headlamps and big chrome grille.
Under the hood is a 2.5-liter turbocharged petrol engine, which debuts new technology that cuts down on turbo lag by changing the degree of exhaust pulsation across the rev range. A set of valves, which is located before the turbine that drives the turbocharger, reduces the volume of the exhaust ports below 1,620 rpm to reduce interference between exhaust pulses and maximize the energy of each pulse to more effectively drive the turbine.
That's not the only bit of tech Mazda has used to improve engine, there's a cooled gas recirculation system, too. The system takes some of the inert exhaust gas that the engine produces, reducing the temperature and feeding it back into the air intake.
According to Mazda, the system helps to reduce engine temperatures from over 500° C (932° F) to just over 100° C (212° F), allowing the engine to run with a compression ratio of 10.5:1 – high for a petrol-powered turbo engine.
In spite of all this tech, the CX-9 isn't particularly powerful, with 169 kW (227 hp) and 420 Nm of torque from just 2,000 rpm. It's worth keeping in mind, though, that the new CX-9 is 90 kg (198 lb) lighter than its predecessor in all-wheel drive trim and 130 kg (287 lb) lighter in front-wheel drive trim, so that engine has less mass to push.
Because Mazda is aiming upmarket with its new big SUV, the car will be jam-packed with active safety technology. That translates to blind spot monitoring, radar cruise control, lane keeping assist, auto emergency braking and a system that reduces the severity of city crashes.
Mazda has also fitted the CX-9 with an active all-wheel drive system that collates information from 27 different sensors to create an accurate picture of road conditions and shuffles torque between the wheels as necessary.
The CX-9 is on display at the Los Angeles Motor Show.