2019 Audi Q7 vs. 2019 Mazda CX-9

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and middle seat shoulder belts of the Audi Q7 have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Mazda CX-9 doesn’t offer pretensioners for the middle seat belts.

The Q7’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The CX-9 doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

Both the Q7 and CX-9 have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The Q7 has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The CX-9’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.

The Q7 has a standard Secondary Collision Brake Assist, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The CX-9 doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Q7 offers an optional backup collision prevention system which use rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The CX-9 doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All-Wheel Drive is standard on the Q7. But it costs extra on the CX-9.

When descending a steep, off-road slope, the Q7’s standard Hill Descent Assist allows you to creep down safely. The CX-9 doesn’t offer Hill Descent Assist.

A passive infrared night vision system optional on the Q7 Prestige helps the driver to more easily detect people, animals or other objects in front of the vehicle at night. Using an infrared camera to detect heat, the system then displays the image on a monitor in the dashboard. The CX-9 doesn’t offer a night vision system.

Both the Q7 and the CX-9 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Audi Q7 is safer than the Mazda CX-9:

 

Q7

CX-9

 

Driver

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

99

212

Neck Injury Risk

25%

26%

Neck Stress

186 lbs.

309 lbs.

Neck Compression

37 lbs.

51 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

61/46 lbs.

107/424 lbs.

 

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

102

337

Neck Stress

118 lbs.

183 lbs.

Neck Compression

38 lbs.

165 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

46/29 lbs.

376/375 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Audi Q7 is safer than the Mazda CX-9:

 

Q7

CX-9

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

13 inches

15 inches

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty

The Q7 comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The CX-9’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The Q7’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the CX-9’s (12 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Q7 has a standard 120-amp alternator (180-amp - Q7 optional). The CX-9’s 110-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 3 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 14th.

Engine

The Q7 55 TFSI’s standard 3.0 supercharged V6 produces 79 more horsepower (329 vs. 250) and 15 lbs.-ft. more torque (325 vs. 310) than the CX-9’s 2.5 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Q7 55 TFSI 3.0 supercharged V6 is faster than the Mazda CX-9:

 

Q7

CX-9

Zero to 30 MPH

2 sec

2.7 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

5.4 sec

7.5 sec

Zero to 80 MPH

9 sec

13.4 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

14 sec

21.2 sec

Passing 45 to 65 MPH

2.7 sec

4.2 sec

Quarter Mile

14 sec

15.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

100.2 MPH

87.3 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Q7’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The CX-9 doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The Q7 has 3.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the CX-9 FWD’s standard fuel tank (22.5 vs. 19 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Q7 has 3 gallons more fuel capacity than the CX-9 AWD’s standard fuel tank (22.5 vs. 19.5 gallons).

Transmission

An eight-speed automatic is available on the Audi Q7, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the CX-9.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Q7’s brake rotors are larger than those on the CX-9:

 

Q7

CX-9

Front Rotors

14.8 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13.8 inches

12.8 inches

The Q7’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the CX-9 are solid, not vented.

The Q7 stops much shorter than the CX-9:

 

Q7

CX-9

 

70 to 0 MPH

166 feet

179 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

117 feet

130 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

137 feet

143 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Q7’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the CX-9 (285/45R20 vs. 255/60R18).

The Q7’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the CX-9 Grand Touring/Signature’s 50 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Q7 offers optional 21-inch wheels. The CX-9’s largest wheels are only 20-inches.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires available on the Q7 can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The CX-9 doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

The Q7 offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The CX-9’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Q7’s wheelbase is 2.6 inches longer than on the CX-9 (117.9 inches vs. 115.3 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Q7 is .8 inches wider in the front and 1.4 inches wider in the rear than on the CX-9.

The Q7 Prestige handles at .85 G’s, while the CX-9 Signature AWD pulls only .80 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Q7 Premium Plus executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.2 seconds quicker than the CX-9 Touring (26.4 seconds @ .68 average G’s vs. 27.6 seconds @ .62 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the Q7 w/Air Suspension has a greater minimum ground clearance than the CX-9 (9.7 vs. 8.8 inches), allowing the Q7 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

As tested by Car and Driver while under full throttle, the interior of the Q7 Prestige is quieter than the CX-9 Signature AWD (70 vs. 73 dB).

Passenger Space

The Q7 has .7 inches more front legroom, 1.6 inches more front shoulder room, .3 inches more rear headroom, .4 inches more rear shoulder room and .5 inches more third row headroom than the CX-9.

Cargo Capacity

The Q7’s cargo area provides more volume than the CX-9.

 

Q7

CX-9

Behind Third Seat

14.8 cubic feet

14.4 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

71.6 cubic feet

71.2 cubic feet

Pressing a switch automatically lowers or raises the Q7’s third row seats, to make changing between cargo and passengers easier. The CX-9 doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the Q7. The CX-9 doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Q7’s liftgate can be opened and closed just by waving your foot, leaving your hands completely free. The CX-9 doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Towing

The Q7’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the CX-9’s (4400 vs. 3500 pounds). Maximum trailer towing in the Mazda CX-9 is only 3500 pounds. The Q7 offers up to a 7700 lbs. towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

The Q7 uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The CX-9 uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

The engine in the Q7 is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the CX-9. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Mazda. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 85% lower rating, Mazda is ranked 27th.

Ergonomics

Unlike the driver-only memory seat in the CX-9 Grand Touring/Signature, the Q7 Prestige offers an optional passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The Q7 Premium Plus/Prestige’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The CX-9 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The power windows standard on both the Q7 and the CX-9 have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Q7 is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The CX-9 prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

If the windows are left open on the Q7 the driver can close them all at the outside door handle or from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can also lower the windows the same way. The driver of the CX-9 can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Q7’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The CX-9’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Consumer Reports rated the Q7’s headlight performance “Good,” a higher rating than the CX-9’s headlights, which were rated “Fair.”

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The Q7 offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The CX-9 doesn’t offer headlight washers.

The Q7 has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The CX-9 only offers an automatic headlight on/off feature as an extra cost option.

To better shield the driver and front passenger’s vision, the Q7 has standard dual-element sun visors that can block glare from two directions simultaneously. The CX-9 doesn’t offer secondary sun visors.

A manual rear sunshade is optional in the Q7 to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The CX-9 doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

The Q7’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Mazda charges extra for heated mirrors on the CX-9.

When the Q7 is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The CX-9’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Q7 has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The CX-9 offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Q7 owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Q7 with a number “5” insurance rate while the CX-9 is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

The Q7 will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Q7 will retain 4.96% to 83.4% of its original price after five years, while the CX-9 only retains 42.75% to 43.92%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Q7 is less expensive to operate than the CX-9 because typical repairs cost much less on the Q7 than the CX-9, including $678 less for a water pump, $102 less for a fuel pump and $145 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Audi Q7 and the Mazda CX-9, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Audi Q7 outsold the Mazda CX-9 by 34% during the 2018 model year.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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