Being somewhat low-key, Mazda is quietly promoting its next-gen 2016 CX-9. Scheduled to go on sale next spring, this midsize 7-passenger crossover will sport a totally new palette of exterior color choices, brand new flagship trim, a new turbocharged engine, a redesigned front fascia, a bunch of upgraded interior accents, and an improved cabin soundproofing. Standard safety equipment aboard the 2016 CX-9 includes 4-wheel ABS, traction and stability control, 3-row head curtain airbags and front side-mounted airbags. For the Grand Touring and Signature trims you also obtain: daytime running lights, standard turn-signal-integrated mirrors, HID headlights, a remote antitheft alarm and front fog/driving lights to the list of standard safety features. The higher CX-9 trims are eligible for upgraded and optional safety features as adaptive cruise control, enhanced blind-spot monitoring, and a brand new head-up windshield display. The NHTSA gives the current CX-9 4/5 stars for overall crashworthiness, while the IIHS awards the 2015 model its worst score of Poor for the small-overlap frontal offset tests. It gives a next-to-worst Marginal score for roof strength. A significant amount of current CX-9 owners complain of issues with the Mazda infotainment technology, as well as an unexpectedly harsh ride. However, they also tend to complement this midsized crossover’s practicality and wealth of standard features. Styling features that complement the expected upgrades for the 2016 CX-9 include reverse-tilt and heated power-adjustable mirrors,18- or 20-inch alloy wheels, and a rear spoiler. For the cabin inside, look for tri-zone automatic climate control, cloth or leather upholstery, reclining rear seats, full power accessories, cruise control, and telescoping tilt-wheel steering. Touring and higher trims also come with a standard rear-view camera and enhanced cabin accent materials. The Dodge Durango and Ford Flex which are segment rivals of the CX-9, each offer more potent engine choices than the current Mazda crossover. Moreover, the Chevy Traverse and its GMC Acadia cousin offer a larger cargo area and 8-passenger seating. The CX-9 must also stand up to the Toyota Highlander, which reviewers tout as the most well-rounded crossover of the bunch.