CARS.COM — Mazda promises that buyers of the redesigned 2016 CX-9 will get a smoother, quieter ride and a more responsive powertrain. But those and other upgrades will come at a price. The second-generation incarnation of the three-row SUV will start at $32,420, including a $900 destination charge, when it arrives in dealerships this spring — a $1,555 price bump over the outgoing model’s entry point.
Related: 2016 Mazda CX-9: First Look
The redesigned CX-9 is now the most expensive among its model-year 2016 competitors: the Ford Explorer starts at $31,995, Honda Pilot at $31,045, Toyota Highlander at $30,890 and Hyundai Santa Fe at $31,295 (all prices include a destination fee). The CX-9 comes in four trim levels — Sport, Touring, Grand Touring and Signature, which tops out at $44,915. Two options packages cost $950 or $1,745 and all-wheel drive adds another $1,800.
All models are powered by a new turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, which replaces the old model’s V-6. The four-cylinder is good for 250 horsepower with premium fuel (227 hp with regular) and 310 pounds-feet of torque. The four-cylinder’s fuel economy improves substantially to an estimated at 22/28/25 mpg city/highway/combined with front-wheel drive compared with the 2015 V-6 version’s 17/24/19 mpg.
The base Sport trim comes with LED headlights and taillights, cloth seats, an electronic parking brake, 18-inch wheels, a backup camera and the Mazda Connect multimedia system with a 7-inch display. The optional Sport Package adds a power driver’s seat and heated front seats and side mirrors for $950.
The Touring level, which starts at $36,870 adds an auto-dimming rearview mirror, blind spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, leather seats, keyless entry, a power liftgate, power front seats and an 8-inch touch-screen. The $1,745 Touring Premium includes automatic on/off headlights, LED fog lights, navigation, a premium 12-speaker Bose audio system, rain-sensing wipers, rear backup sensors, second-row retractable sunshades, SiriusXM satellite radio, low-speed emergency auto braking and a sunroof.
The Grand Touring model, which starts at $41,070, comes with adaptive headlights, 20-inch wheels, aluminum interior trim, a head-up display, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control, roof rails and a driver memory seat. For $44,915, the range-topping Signature trim makes all-wheel drive standard and adds Nappa leather, rosewood trim by Japanese guitar-maker Fujigen, and LED accent lighting inside and out.
Available premium paint colors include Snowflake White Pearl Mica for $200, and Soul Red Metallic and Machine Gray Metallic for $300 each.