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Mazda adds standard features, available equipment as it repackages CX-9 for 2020

The 2020 Mazda CX-9 has gotten significant upgrades including available captain's chairs and a long list of standard features.

Photo courtesy of Mazda North America Operations

Mazda has give the CX-9 a midcycle refresh that elevates the model to a premium offering in its highest grades and boosts the oomph coming from its turbocharged 2.5-liter engine. The automaker has also loaded the base model with more standard equipment.

The three-row SUV's plush interior now features available captain's chairs in the second row, which decreases the seating capacity from eight to seven.

Mazda is giving the SUV a hands-free power liftgate in Grand Touring and Signature trim levels.

Though the 2019 Mazda CX-9 has a competent powertrain, the automaker is upping its torque for the 2020 model year. The SUV's turbocharged 2.5-liter engine now delivers 250 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque when the CX-9 is filled up with 93 octane fuel and 227 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque when running on 87 octane. This is up 10 pound-feet over the 2019 model.

 G-Vectoring Control Mazda diagram how it works Mazda's G-Vectoring Control helps keep the SUV planted through the corners.Photo courtesy of Mazda North America Operations

The CX-9 is Mazda's first vehicle to offer off-road traction assist, which replaces the traditional traction control button and allows for automatic torque vectoring management. G-Vectoring Control Plus is also standard for 2020.

The base model CX-9, the CX-9 Sport, will now come standard with heated front cloth seats, power driver's seat with lumbar support, Gray Metallic 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels, rain-sensing windshield wipers, heated outside mirrors, automatic on/off headlights and automatic high beams.

A 7-inch infotainment scree, LED head- and taillights, one-touch rear and front power windows, tri-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth, rearview camera, keyless entry, and push-button start are also standard.

The CX-9 Touring trim adds Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, leather-trimmed seats, a power-adjustable passenger seat, second-row center armrest with storage, two USB charging ports. A 9-inch infotainment touch screen is available in this grade. Mazda's next-gen key fob design and keyless entry system are standard on this trim, as are second-row power slide and tilt capabilities.

Adding the CX-9 Touring Premium Package gives the model two USB charging ports in the third row, a power moonroof, 12-speaker Bost premium audio system, SiriusXM, LED fog lamps, front and rear parking sensors, and second-row retractable sunshades.

The CX-9 Grand Touring the features and equipment from lower trims and the available Touring Premium Package and adds 20-inch aluminum ally wheels, 360-degree monitor, Active Driving Display with traffic sign recognition, ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, automatic folding mirrors, power moonroof, LED door-pocket, LED front door handle and switch, Adaptive Front-lighting System, chrome exterior accents, satin chrome roof rails, windshield wipers de-icer, and overhead front center console illumination.

Second-row captain's chairs are available in models with the CX-9 Touring Premium Package and the Grand Touring trim level. Grand Touring models also get heated second-row seats.

The top-tier Mazda CX-9 Signature model comes standard with second-row captain's chairs. A second-row center console, similar to the one up front, also comes in the model and provides additional storage, USB ports, and cup holders. It comes upholstered in either Deep Chestnut or Parchment Nappa leather. The CX-9 Signature's steering wheel features a unique darker silver finish. It is available with a unique Soul Red Crystal premium exterior paint job. This model also includes a hand-stitched, leather-wrapped steering wheel, LED grille accent lighting, and supplemental interior lighting near the shifter.

Each CX-9 also comes standard with a suite of safety features include adaptive cruise control with stop and go, Advanced Smart City Brake Support with pedestrian detection, active brake assist with collision warning, lane departure alert, lake keep assist, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert.

The 2019 Mazda CX-9 starts at $33,790 and tops out near $46,000, not including destination and delivery charges.

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The 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness is coming to a dealership near you.

Photo courtesy of Subaru of America Inc.

The first member of Subaru's new Wilderness family of vehicles has arrived. The 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness broke cover this morning delivering more ground clearance, a freshly tuned drivetrain, and recalibrated safety features.

Buyers will be able to tell their Wilderness model apart from the other Outbacks on the lot by its hexagonal front grille, larger wheel arch cladding, front skid plate, unique hex-designed LED fog lights, and an anti-glare hood decal in matte-black finish. Window trim and exterior badges have a black finish and Subaru Wilderness badges are featured on the front fenders and rear gate.

The exterior is highlighted with high-contrast Anodized Copper accents. Up top is a fixed ladder-type roof rack system with a 700-pound load limit.

Subaru back end Wilderness is a new brand from Subaru.Photo courtesy of Subaru of America Inc.

Subaru back end

A new paint color, Geyser Blue, is available exclusively on the wagon. It's inspired by Subaru's rally heritage and the scenery found in the U.S. National Parks.

The 2022 Outback Wilderness offers 9.5 inches of ground clearance, a 0.8-inch upgrade over the 2021 Outback. Redesigned front and rear bumpers give the wagon better approach angles than its traditional Outback counterpart extending from 18.6 degrees to 20.0, with ramp breakover angle shifts up from 19.4 degrees to 21.2 degrees, and departure angle extends from 21.7 degrees to 23.6 degrees.

Its suspension has been tuned to improve stability over rough terrain while still delivering traditional Subaru comfort and handling on the open road. Front and rear shock absorbers have been lengthened to allow for more suspension travel.

2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness: Exterior

Photo courtesy of Subaru of America Inc.

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The wagon's revised rear differential has a final drive ration of 4.44:1 and works with the car's continuously variable transmission (CVT) to deliver equivalent ratios at the front and rear wheels. The combination allows for more low-end torque at the wheels allowing the car to climb grades of up to 40 percent on a gravel surface.

A pressure sensor improves low speed control. Standard dual-function X-Mode includes Snow/Dirt and Deep Snow/Mud modes. Exclusive to the model, a new feature allows X-Mode to switch from low speed to managed speeds over 25 mph without the interruption of power or performance.

The car rides on exclusive 17-inch alloy wheels that feature a matte black finish and are wrapped in Yokohama Geolander all-terrain tires. The tires are embossed with raised white letters as a nod to the original Outback. A full-size spare tire is stored under the cargo area.

Each Outback Wilderness has Subaru's turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine under the hood that produces 260 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque. There's an eight-speed manual mode shifter with steering wheel paddle shifters for convenience. The turbo gets an EPA-rated 22 mpg int he city and and 26 mpg on the highway. The car is rated to tow up to 3,500 pounds.

2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness: Interior

Photo courtesy of Subaru of America Inc.

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The Outback Wilderness also offers features from other Outback grades including a front view camera, LED rear gate light, and a hands-free power liftgate.

Like the Outback Onyx Edition, the interior of the Outback Wilderness features Subaru StarTex water-replant upholstery that's designed to be easy to clean and wear hard. Anodized Copper-finish accents make their way into the cabin as well. Touch points usually finished in chrome have been switched over to Gunmetal Gray in the new model.

Under the driver's feet are brushed aluminum pedals and all-weather floor mats with the Subaru Wilderness logo. In the cargo area, the rear seatback is wrapped in a waterproof material, and a waterproof rear cargo tray protects the load floor.

Each model comes standard with the largest infotainment touch screen available in a Subaru today. The 11.6-inch screen features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, multimedia and climate control functionalities, the ability to control X-Mode settings, a rearview camera, satellite radio, and more. Navigation is available, along with a power moonroof and reverse automatic braking tech as part of an add-on package.

A variety of accessories have been added to the Subaru catalogue for the Outback Wilderness including aluminum or steel skid plates, a rear differential protector, and roof racks.

Pricing for the 2022 Outback Wilderness will be announced later this year.

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The Honda Odyssey took top honors in the Minivan category.

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co. Inc.

Families use cars, trucks, minivans, and SUVs to get around. Some vehicles do it better than others. U.S. News & World Report has released its latest list of the best new vehicles for families.

To come up with the winners of the 2021 U.S. News Best Cars for Families awards the company evaluated 86 new 2021 model year. vehicles. To come up with the winners, the company looked at a combination of the vehicles's reviews, safety and reliability ratings, seating and cargo volume, and family-friendly feature availability.

"Families come in many forms, and with nine different categories to choose from, there's a Best Cars for Families award winner that will work for any family," said Jamie Page Deaton, executive editor of U.S. News Best Cars. "The award winners have the space, safety and features to satisfy any family, from new parents to parents with new drivers to households that may be welcoming grandparents."

The awards are distributed in nine classes with the winner being the Best Car for Families in that category. Scroll down to see all nine and click here to see 2020's results.

Best Large SUV: 2021 Chevrolet Suburban

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet
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The Chevrolet Suburban has been reborn for the 2021 model year alongside its GMC Yukon, Chevrolet Tahoe, and Cadillac Escalade brothers. The famously spacious SUV has gotten even more roomy as part of the complete overhaul. It's also filled with the new tech and safety features you'd expect.

Best 3-Row SUV for Families: 2021 Kia Telluride

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors


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The three-row 2020 Kia Telluride has family-friendly design front and center. It has a number of features that will make families fall in love with it from its easy-access third row to its USB ports.

Best 2-Row SUV for Families: 2021 Honda Passport

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc
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The Honda Passport isn't for large families in the way the Odyssey or Pilot are, but it's a great two-row SUV that is suitable for empty nesters and families of four. How do we know? AutomotiveMap recently took the model on a trip to Yosemite National Park, testing out its on-road prowess and family-hauling capability. We've also put a rooftop tent on it and tested it on a family camping weekend.

Best Compact SUV for Families: 2021 Toyota RAV4

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.
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Toyota completely redesigned the RAV4 for the 2019 model year and added a new trim level for the 2020 model year, the 2020 Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road. It remains the most popular SUV sold in the U.S. For the 2021 model year, Toyota is adding a plug-in hybrid version of the RAV4 called the RAV4 Prime.

Best Hybrid and Electric SUV for Families: 2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

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The redesigned Toyota Highlander Hybrid is the most fuel-efficient model ever. It also has some of the most family-friendly features ever shown in a three-row ToyotaSUV. For the 2021 model year, Toyota will be adding a new model, the Highlander XSE, to its lineup.

Best Minivan for Families: 2021 Honda Odyssey

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co. Inc.
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The Honda Odyssey isn't just America's top-selling minivan. It's also one of the most reliable. Recent studies revealed that its one of the top 15 vehicles that owners keep for 15 years or more and one of the few models that frequently reaches 200,000 mileson its odometer. Honda recently announced a host of updates to the van for the 2021 model year.

Best Midsize Car for Families: 2021 Honda Accord

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co. Inc.

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Best Large Car for Families: 2021 Toyota Avalon

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.


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The Toyota Avalon doesn't get much publicity but that doesn't mean that it's not a good car. The large Toyota is comfortable and capable. It comes in a traditional internal combustion engine model and a hybrid variant. The Avalon Hybrid is a fuel-efficient model that still delivers the space a family needs, and it's one of the most reliable cars on the road today.

Best Hybrid and Electric Car for Families: 2021 Toyota Avalon Hybrid

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

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