New Model News

2021 Mazda CX-9 gets a larger infotainment screen, fresh exterior, and a $70 price bump

The 2021 Mazda CX-9 is a three-row SUV that features premium appointments for a less-than-luxury price.

Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

In the world of price hikes, a $70 price bump in the 2021 Mazda CX-9 over the 2020 model is just about nothing. Even in the top trim, the price goes up just $315. Besides the price, there's a few other enhancements to the CX-9 for the new model year.

Buyers are getting a new, standard 10.25-inch infotainment touch screen screen. This screen replaces the standard 7.0-inch touch screen in every trim level of the 2020 CX-9 except the top-tier Signature, which had a 9.0-inch screen. Apple Car and Android Auto are standard, as is a Wi-Fi hot spot.

Mazda is also offering the model with a three-year Trial subscription to Mazda Connected Services.

Mazda has given its CX-9 Signature trim level quilted Nappa leather seats, real wood trim, and other fine appointments.Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

Fresh exterior enhancements to the model are paired with new seat patterns. Mazda is also offering the CX-9 with the company’s new Carbon Edition treatment.

The three-row SUV will continue to be powered by Mazda’s turbocharged 2.5-liter engine that delivers 250 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque. Those numbers dip considerably To 310 and 227, respectively, if you opt for 87 octane gasoline rather than 93 octane in the gas tank. The engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.

The Top-tier CX-9 Signature comes standard with all-wheel drive. Front-wheel drive is standard on all other CX-9 models and all-wheel drive is available for $1,900.

The roster of standard features on the CX-9 includes heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, tri-zone automatic climate control, a six-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support, Bluetooth, two USB ports up from, a rearview camera, keyless entry, and push-button start.

Mazda's suite of i-Activsense safety features are standard, including Mazda Radar Cruise Control with stop and go function, Advanced Smart City Brake Support with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Warning with Lane-Keep Assist and Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert.

Getting the CX-9 Sport adds automatic on/off LED headlights with auto-leveling, LED taillights and daytime running lights, heated and power door mirrors, automatic high beams, body-colored rear roof spoiler, 18-inch gray metallic finish aluminum alloy wheels, rain-sensing windshield wipers and rear privacy glass.

One step higher, the CX-9 Touring has leather-trimmed first and second-row seats, six-way power passenger's seat, Upgraded second-row slide and tilt functionality, two USB charging ports in the second row, a power lift gate, keyless entry, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror with Homelink.

Buyers can add the Touring Premium Package, which includes a Bose 12-speaker premium audio system, wireless phone charger, power moonroof, front and rear parking sensors, two USB charging ports in the third row, LED fog lights, a second-row retractable sunshade, and satellite radio. With this package, buyers can choose from captain’s chairs or a bench seat in the second row for no additional charge.

Next up is the CX-9 Grand Touring, which adds Smart City Brake Support Reverse and Driver Attention Alert, front and rear parking sensors, Active Driving Display with Traffic Sign Recognition, navigation, ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, heated steering wheel, 7.0-inch driver information display, eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support, a heated steering wheel, traffic sign recognition technology, and a frameless rearview mirror. The exterior of the model gets 20-inch silver metallic aluminum alloy wheels, a hands-free power lift gate, Satin Chrome roof rails, automatic power-folding door mirrors, adaptive front lighting, chrome lower accents, and windshield wiper de-iced.

Opting for the CX-9 Signature will add titanium gray metallic finish aluminum alloy wheels, larger dual tailpipes, quilted and piped first-and second-row Nappa leather seats, Santos Rosewood interior trim, and patterned aluminum on the dashboard, door handles, and bezels.

Mazda has priced the CX-9 to start at $33,960. The top CX-9 Signature comes in at $46,605.

The 2021 Mazda CX-9 will arrive at dealerships later this month.

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A new Texas-themed version of the Jeep Gladiator is on the way.

Photo courtesy of Stellantis

Jeep has brought the Gladiator's off-road chops to the trails of the Lone Star State. The 2021 Jeep Gladiator Texas Trail is another of the the traditional of special edition vehicles for Texans who occupy the nation's largest truck market. It's the first time Jeep has offered a unique-to-Texas truck.

The new model builds on the Gladiator Sport S trim adding 17-inch Mid-Gloss Back Aluminum wheels wrapped in 32-inch mud-terrain tires, four-wheel drive, standard side steps, and the Trailer Tow Group. The Gladiator Texas Trail has a unique hood and decals that feature the year 1836 in the graphic as a nod to the year of the Texas Declaration of Independence. It also wears a black hardtop, black leather seats embossed with the Texas Trail graphic and comes equipped with the Technology Group and Convenience Group packages.

2021 Jeep Gl The vehicle is ready to be fully accessorized to the buyer's wishes.Photo courtesy of Stellantis

2021 Jeep Gl

The Texas-themed model features the buyer's choice of Jeep's new 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 engine that's rated at 260 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque or the tried and true 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 power plant, which achieves 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque.

Jeep has badged each of the models with Trail Rated status. To achieve this status, Jeep vehicles must pass extreme off-road capability challenges.

The Gladiator Texas Trail is available in 10 colors: black, white, Snazzberry, Granite Crystal, Sarge, Nacho, Hydro Blue, Firecracker Red, Billet Silver, and Sting-Gray. Jeep recently introduced a Snazzberry-colored Wrangler.

Each Gladiator comes with the Jeep Wave customer service program, which includes three years of maintenance, 24/7 phone/online support, trip interruption/first-day loaner coverage, and VIP access to Jeep events.

The 2021 Jeep Gladiator Texas Trail has a starting MSRP of $40,435 (plus $1,495 destination) and is currently available at Texas dealers.

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New driver assist technology is coming to the Lexus lineup later this year.

Photo courtesy of Lexus

New Lexus Teammate driver assistance technology will debut on the 2022 Lexus LS 500h later this year. Its availability is constrained to all-wheel drive models.

The technology was developed based on the Mobility Teammate Concept. This automated driving concept is unique to Toyota sough to enhance communication between drivers and cars, "enabling them to reach out to each other for mutual assistance". The concept sees cars and humans interacting and partnering rather than having automation take over for drivers. This approach allows drivers to enjoy the experience of driving but allowing the vehicle to take over some functions of driver's duties at times. In this way, the tech works as both guardian and chauffeur.

2022 Lexus The company's flagship sedan will get the technology first.Photo courtesy of Lexus

2022 Lexus LS 500h

On the 2022 Lexus 500h, Lexus Teammate will offer two functions: Advanced Drive and Advanced Park.

Advanced Drive is design to "accurately detect driving conditions to plan and execute acceleration, braking, and steering commands to maintain the vehicle within the lane, follow other vehicles, change lanes, navigate certain interchanges and traffic jams and overtake slower vehicles." It's a Level 2 functionality that "allows for driving on limited-access highways with partial hands-free, eyes-on-the-road operation".

This description makes it sound a lot like the suite of lane keeping, lane centering, and adaptive cruise control technology that Hyundai offers rather than true Level 3 technology that General Motors's Super Cruise delivers.

Lexus will show operation of the technology on a screen with information displayed like this.Photo courtesy of Lexus

Advanced Park operates similar to how the Genesis GV80's hands-free parking assist technology works. The Lexus tech automatically controls steering, acceleration, braking, and gear changes with parallel parking or backing into a parking space. It uses a combination of 360-degree sensing technologies and a bird's eye view display to perform the task while allowing the driver to monitor progress.

"We are very proud of Lexus Teammate, which is the culmination of five years of close collaboration between our technical centers in Japan and the US. We conducted simultaneous development and rigorous testing in both markets with the goal of achieving industry-leading advanced driver assistance functionality," says Derek Caveney, executive engineer at Toyota Motor North America's Integrated Vehicle Systems team.

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