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Second-Gen Mazda CX-9 Prototype Spied in California

The three-row Mazda CX-9 is currently the brand's oldest model, but that's about to change. Recently caught testing in Southern California was this next-generation Mazda CX-9 test mule, and it appears that an Acura MDX was also part of the testing entourage.

The prototype features a few hints of the Mazda Koeru concept sketch unveiled last week. The grille, for example, mimics other Mazda crossovers like the CX-5, as do the narrow headlights. Meanwhile, the taillights also show hints of Mazda's current Kodo design language. The roofline isn't a radical departure from the current model, though the fenders and doors should feature the same dramatic lines as the Mazda6 and CX-3.

The presence of the MDX is a strong indication that Mazda is setting its bar high to improve the CX-9's ride quality and refinement. Expect to see an interior with premium materials, better fit and finish, and updated technology.

The new CX-9 can't come soon enough. The current model has been around since model-year 2007, and while Mazda has tweaked the CX-9 throughout the years, it's slowly losing its edge in the competitive three-row crossover segment that's filled with updated or new players like the Nissan Pathfinder and Honda Pilot.

Speculation suggests Mazda will debut the new CX-9 at the Los Angeles auto show this November, a few months after the Koeru concept is unveiled at the Frankfurt show in September. That said, the CX-9 could go on sale as soon as early next year.

Photo Source: Brian Williams Photography