Photo of 2016 CX-9 courtesy of Mazda.

Photo of 2016 CX-9 courtesy of Mazda.

Mazda's 2016 CX-9 three-row mid-size SUV has risen to the top of its category for fuel economy, according to ratings released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The CX-9 is entering its second generation with a refresh that incorporates a collection of SkyActive technologies designed to increase fuel efficiency. The 2016 CX-9 appears to deliver on this promise with a rating for its front-wheel-drive model of 28 mpg on the highway, 22 mpg in the city, and 25 mpg for combined driving cycles. The all-wheel-drive CX-9 has been rated at 27 mpg on the highway, 21 mpg in the city, and 23 mpg combined.

Mazda claims the front-wheel model would now offer the highest non-hybrid fuel efficiency among 2016 mid-size SUVs — a category that includes the Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, Hyundai Santa Fe, Nissan Pathfinder, and Toyota Highlander.

The 2016 CX-9 will go in sale in late spring. Final packaging and pricing will be announced closer to its arrival at the nearly 700 dealerships in the U.S. and Mexico.