Mazda is targeting US buyers with a cool new feature that is unique in the three-row crossover SUV class: standard LED headlights and tail lights. CX-9 carries a sense of presence usually reserved for much more expensive vehicles. Its LED lighting has the added benefit of greater visibility and more even light distribution than previous-generation systems, too.

CX-9’s low-beam headlights produce 900 lumens per unit—about twice the output of a comparable halogen headlight. Overall, CX-9’s headlights are about 35-percent brighter than a standard halogen unit and can throw light 10-percent farther than a comparable xenon HID unit.

Also, LED headlights run cooler than either halogen or xenon headlights, offering what is expected to be greater long-term durability. 

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LED tail lights work in similar fashion, lighting up quicker than traditional halogen bulbs in emergency situations as to help prevent rear-end collisions.

Not limited to the exterior of CX-9, Grand Touring and Signature models feature all-LED interior lighting, including overhead and accent lights that complement CX-9’s horizontally swept door and dashboard panels.

“From a design perspective, the LED lights allowed for a slim contouring of the lamps demonstrating the appropriate stealth attitude of the front fascia,” said Julien Montousse, director of design, MNAO. “The LED connection to our light-up ‘Signature Wing’ from the grille widens into a five-point shield—a look that clearly signifies CX-9 as taking Mazda upmarket.”

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The 2016 Mazda CX-9 is on sale in the US with a starting price of $31,520.