A first look at Mazda’s updated CX-9

On Sunday in the Touchdown City area at CenturyLink Field Event Center, Mazda brought in a 2013 CX-9 fresh off the transcontinental delivery boat for a local media preview. Tetsu Nakazawa, from the Product Strategy and Development division of Mazda North American Operations, gave us an overview of what’s new about the company’s three-row, seven-passenger crossover utility vehicle.

For 2013, CX-9’s model lineup is unchanged. It’s available in Sport, Touring, and Grand Touring versions, and all three are offered with front-wheel or all-wheel drive.

Exterior design changes aren’t significant enough to qualify as a momentous makeover, but you’ll notice a whole new look for the nose and tail. Up front, the grille, fascia, headlamps, bumper and fog lamps are redesigned to reflect the “KODO Soul of Motion” design language Mazda adopted in 2010. At the rear, taillamps and bumper are changed, and the tailpipe is now round. For the wheels, the 20-inchers have been given a premium plating.

On the inside, white illumination replaces red on the gauges, perforation has been added to leather seats, the automatic transmission shift knob is updated, and there’s Bluetooth audio, 5.8-inch LCD multi-information display, USB audio input and HD radio.

Touring and Grand Touring versions receive rear backup sensors, a rearview camera and a blind spot monitoring system. In addition to that, the Grand Touring now has bi-xenon headlamps (replacing the previous year’s xenon lamps), memory for the door mirrors, and a door mirror tilt-in-reverse feature that aims the mirrors at the ground alongside the vehicle when the driver is backing up. Tilt-in-reverse is driver-selectable, so if you’d rather keep the mirrors in their normal position while backing up, you can.

The CX-9’s standard powertrain, a 3.7-liter V6 paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, is carried over from the previous model year. It generates 273 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque, and has an EPA fuel economy rating of 16 mpg city and 22 mpg highway.

Base prices for the 2013 Mazda CX-9, including destination charge, are as follows:

• Sport with front-wheel drive: $30,580

• Sport with all-wheel drive: $32,170

• Touring FWD: $33,025

• Touring AWD: $34,615

• Grand Touring FWD: $35,580

• Grand Touring AWD: $37,170

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