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Aug 1, 2012 (2:00pm)
The award-winning CX-9 is a three-row, seven-passenger crossover which, like its smaller sibling the CX-7, deftly blends a sporty driving spirit into a crossover utility vehicle (CUV) package. And not only is it a standout on safety but on style and sensibility, too.
- Mazda's Seven-Passenger Mid-Size SUV Offers Bold Sophistication, Styling and Versatility -
May 11, 2012
Since its launch in 2007, the CX-9 mid-size SUV has been the pillar of Mazda's SUV family and one of the brand's most award-winning vehicles, garnering the highly-coveted and much-respected North American Truck of the Year award as well as was named Motor Trend's Sport Utility of the Year during its debut. With its dynamic styling, unprecedented safety, cargo versatility and Mazda-tuned performance, the CX-9 was refreshed for the 2010 model year and continues to impress consumers and automotive critics alike.
"The CX-9 is without a doubt Mazda's flagship SUV, and for 2012 remains as competitive as ever," said Jim O'Sullivan, president and CEO, Mazda North American Operations (MNAO). "As the mid-size SUV market sees new models join the crowd along with the segment standards, CX-9 still outshines the competition with its sophisticated styling, unmatched performance, unparalleled safety and overall refinement."
Deftly blending a sporty driving spirit with seven-passenger mid-size SUV practicality is a challenge the CX-9 achieves, as if naturally. Outfitted with redesigned wheels and improved fuel economy for 2011, the 2012 CX-9 carries over the success of its predecessors as a segment standout in style, sensibility, safety and, of course, Zoom-Zoom.
Stirring Exterior Style
Many SUVs strive for the utilitarian look, almost a get-to-the-point, let's-go mindset of constantly being on the move. Not so with the CX-9. Designed to evoke an emotional connection, a pride in ownership, CX-9 achieves the sophisticated appearance of a vehicle costing at least twice as much, and never sacrifices versatility or efficiency. Its smooth, flowing silhouette and prominent wheels and tires fixed into muscular fenders create a dramatic-but-refined look. The steeply angled windshield further accentuates the vehicle's agile ability.
With an elegantly sculpted sporty five-point grille and wide, bold bumper, the CX-9's front end is unmistakably Mazda. A horizontal streak of chrome floats along the front grille bar, giving the front fascia a distinctive and high-quality appearance. Side windows form a flowing, open and modern greenhouse, allowing a clear vision from all seating positions. The trapezoid dual chrome exhaust pipes remain a unique feature that further accentuates the fine detail put into the vehicle's design.
Refined Interior Craftsmanship
Once inside, the driver is greeted by a neatly organized combination of cylindrical shapes and blacked-out instruments on Mazda's familial T-shaped instrument panel design. Brightly-edged gauges and indirect blue illumination set a mood of calm and cool. Indirect lighting also is embedded in the ceiling for a warm glow. Horizontal elements in areas such as the center panel, door trim and seat design intersect with vertical accents to create the same harmony one would see in fine, hand-crafted furniture.
Interior craftsmanship and a minute attention to detail is evident everywhere. Soft trim is elegantly configured and constructed of high-end materials, and seats are fabricated with an inviting yet sporty look and feel, appropriately matched to the vehicle's exterior sense of style. The intuitive dash panel houses large, clearly marked entertainment and climate controls. The addition of metallic finishes on door trim grips reveals a designer's fine eye for details.
Flexible Space for Friends, Fun
Riding on a 113.2-inch wheelbase, the CX-9 is one of the longer vehicles in the segment, providing easy access to its three rows of passenger seating. There is ample room for adults in every seating position as well as sufficient cargo space to accommodate busy family schedules. Under the sleek exterior is an interior that will impress customers who now expect space, utility, versatility and premium features from their SUV choices.
To create comfort for all drivers, the driver's seat and steering column move quickly and easily over a long range of adjustments. The 60/40-split second row comfortably seats three and offers approximately five inches of fore-and-aft travel as well as a reclining backrest. In the 50/50-split third row, seating position and legroom are among the leaders in the class, both in numbers and in real comfort. Entry into the third row also is effortless with nearly 26 inches of access space between a folded second-row seat and the C-pillar.
Even with occupants in the third row, the CX-9 provides 17.2 cubic feet of cargo space, which eclipses many large sedan trunks. Both second- and third-row seats fold flat to provide up to 100.7 cubic feet of storage space from the lift gate and up toward the back of the front seats.
Extra thought was invested in all the finer functionality details, such as how the CX-9's seat releases are configured. For example, releasing the second row seat in order to enter the third row requires only one simple hand motion to unlatch the seat and move it forward. Likewise, a clever strap attached behind the third row seat's backrest serves as both a release for folding the seat down and a means of pulling it back up.
Bold, Powerful Powertrain
The 2012 CX-9 is powered by a 3.7-liter V-6 engine, which makes even the most complex pursuits as easy and as pleasurable as possible. Its power peak of 273 horsepower at 6,250 rpm offers explosive acceleration and passing performance. The torque curve keeps 250 lb-ft at 3,000 to 6,000 rpm and peaks at 270 lb-ft at 4,250 rpm.
The 60-degree short-stroke V-6 is state-of-the-art throughout, and advanced features include a die-cast aluminum block with cast-in iron cylinder liners and aluminum cylinder heads for minimizing vehicle weight. The valve train includes chain-drive dual overhead camshafts for minimal maintenance, four valves-per-cylinder with direct acting bucket-type actuators and variable intake valve timing. A high 10.3:1 compression ratio maximizes engine efficiency and power output. The throttle is electronically controlled for instantaneous response.
Two close-coupled catalytic converters clean the exhaust without hindering power. Computer-aided-engineering analysis was used extensively to configure the cylinder block casting, to shape intake and exhaust ports and to design the high-volume exhaust system fitted with three large mufflers. Very low back pressure is one of the reasons why the power curve is still ascending at the 6,500-rpm redline. In addition, the forged-steel crankshaft is fitted with induction-hardened journals, a full complement of counterweights. Engineering details even extend to a roller-chain cam-drive sprocket lined with rubber for added noise reduction.
The CX-9 utilizes an Aisin-supplied six-speed Sport AT automatic transmission with a manual mode as standard equipment. Broad ratios maximize flexibility by providing enthusiastic launching with quiet cruising speeds. The top two gears are both overdrive ratios. This is how the vehicle is able to offer both excellent acceleration and high fuel efficiency.
Front-wheel drive is standard with Mazda's Active Torque All-Wheel-Drive as an available option. Also available in the smaller CX-7 SUV, this AWD system rapidly adjusts to changing traction needs by monitoring wheel slippage, steering angle, yaw rate, lateral acceleration and available driveline torque. In normal driving situations, 100 percent of the driving torque is delivered to the front wheels. During aggressive acceleration or when one front wheel is on the verge of slipping, a controlled percentage of the available torque is directed to the rear axle.
A power take-off device integrated with the CX-9's transaxle spins a drive shaft attached to an active coupling built into the rear differential. Commanded by a control module, the servo-controlled multi-plate coupling can route from zero and up to 50 percent of the available torque to the rear wheels.
Fuel economy for the front-wheel drive model is EPA-rated at 17 city/24 highway. All-wheel drive models have an estimate EPA rating of 16 city/22 highway.
Engineered for Safety, Performance
The CX-9 offers every available safety device, and all as standard equipment. Guiding development principles are:
- Front frame rails that are large in section and as straight as possible.
- A front subframe (supporting the powertrain, suspension and steering equipment) attached to the unibody at six widely separated points. A forward extension integral to the subframe helps it to more effectively absorb collision.
- B-pillars securely anchored to members in the floor and rocker areas with increased cross-section for all load-bearing members.
- Rear frame rails positioned higher and configured as straight as possible.
- Bumper reinforcement manufactured using a hot-stamping technique.
- More than a dozen structural members in the floor and roof pillar made of high-tensile steel. Multiple steel reinforcements in the roof and the "Triple-H"-shaped floor structure help absorb side-impact energy.
- A fuel tank positioned near the middle of the vehicle and surrounded by multiple torque box crossmembers.
- Maximum overlap between the doors and unibody to minimize side-impact intrusions. Energy absorbing material on front and rear door trim diminishes the transfer of impact loads to occupants.
- Spot welds, laser welding in high-stress areas and weld bonding (combination of welding and structural adhesives) to improve unibody stiffness.
- Acoustical foam filler applied to internal cavities to block noise transmission from underbody into cabin areas.
- Highly rigid damping sheet applied to large expanses of the floor pan to eliminate resonance and to block road noise.
The 2012 CX-9 is more than just another mid-size SUV. To embody the company's "Soul of a Sports Car" philosophy, engineers determined that the CX-9 had to have an independent suspension on all four corners.
In front, the perimeter frame mounted to the unibody through six rubber isolators supports the powertrain, the engine-speed-sensitive rack-and-pinion power steering and a low friction strut-type suspension system using coil springs. The multilink rear suspension consists of one trailing arm and three lateral locating links per side. To minimize cargo-compartment intrusion and allow a wider load space, the rear coil spring is positioned between the lower lateral links and the unibody. A damper is located as close as possible to each rear wheel in order to provide excellent motion control with minimal friction. Anti-roll bars at each end maximize agility and control during aggressive driving.
The Perfect Package
The 2012 CX-9 is offered in three trim levels: Sport, Touring and Grand Touring. All models include air conditioning with pollen filter, three-zone automatic climate control, anti-pinch power windows with one-touch up/down operation for front windows, power door locks, remote keyless entry with retractable key, a trip computer, a tilt and telescopic steering wheel, cruise control, steering wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls, Bluetooth® hands-free audio and phone connectivity and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.
The Sport model is equipped with 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels outfitted with P245/60R18 all-season tires. An eight-way power-adjustable driver seat with manual lumbar support, heated front cloth seats and heated outside mirrors are available as an optional package. Stepping up to the Touring model adds leather seat trim, an eight-way power-adjustable driver seat with power lumbar support, a power front passenger seat and auto off headlights.
Available packages for Touring models include:
- Moonroof and Bose® Audio Package: moonroof, Bluetooth® audio profile, Bose® Centerpoint® 10-speaker Surround Sound System with AudioPilot® and Sirius Satellite radio with a four-month complimentary subscription
- Six-Disc CD Changer with MID Package: six-disc in-dash CD changer, 4.3-inch full color multi-information LCD audio display, rearview camera and bright-finish lift gate garnish
- Touring Power Lift Gate Package: Mazda Advanced Keyless Entry and Start System and a power open and close rear hatch
The top-of-the-line Grand Touring rolls in on 20-inch aluminum alloy wheels outfitted with V-rated P245/50R20 low-profile radial tires. In addition to the standard features of the Touring model are bright exterior door handles, rain-sensing windshield wipers, an anti-theft alarm system, exterior mirrors with turn indicators, a three-position memory driver's seat, Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM) system, HomeLink® auto-dimming rearview mirror, the Mazda Keyless Entry and Start System, wood-patterned interior trim, indirect blue interior lighting and a silver finish for the side surfaces of the rear console.
Available Grand Touring packages include the Moonroof and Bose® Audio Package, Six-Disc CD Changer and MID Package as well as:
- Rear Seat Entertainment System: Nine-inch DVD screen with 5.1 audio surround sound, Bose® Centerpoint® 11-speaker Surround Sound System with AudioPilot®, Bluetooth® audio profile, A/V input, 115 outlet and Sirius Satellite radio with a four-month complimentary subscription
- Grand Touring Power Lift Gate Package: power open and close rear hatch
- Navigation: DVD-based touch screen navigation system with voice commands and includes real-time traffic updates, rearview camera and a single-disc CD player
- Towing Prep: Offers a 3,500-lb towing capacity, heavy-duty transmission cooler and radiator fan and a revised engine control module. Package requires the towing receiver hitch (TTH) accessory.
Safety is Standard
As mentioned in detail, all CX-9 models are afforded the highest standards in safety, including six airbags (advanced dual front, front-seat mounted and full-length side curtain), active front headrests, anti-lock brakes (ABS), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) with Brake Assist, Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) with a Traction Control System (TCS), tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS), Roll Stability Control (RSC), "Triple H" body construction, front and rear side-impact door beams, a "crushable" brake pedal assembly, front and rear crumple zones, three-point safety belts for all seating positions, front seatbelt pretensioners with force limiters, as well as Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH).
Also, all Mazda vehicles come with the Mazda Certified Roadside Assistance Program. Using either the toll-free number or free Mazda Assist app for iOS- and Android-operated mobile devices, owners and their family members can contact roadside assistance 24 hours a day, 365 days a year throughout the United States and Canada. In addition, the New Vehicle Limited Warranty includes a comprehensive three-year/36,000-mile warranty, which covers every part of the vehicle except those subject to normal wear, a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty and a five-year/unlimited-mileage corrosion warranty.
Mazda North American Operations is headquartered in Irvine, Calif. and oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States, Canada and Mexico through nearly 900 dealers. Operations in Canada are managed by Mazda Canada, Inc., located in Ontario; and in Mexico by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City.