2019 Mazda CX-9 vs. 2018 BMW X5

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Mazda CX-9 are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The BMW X5 doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

To help make backing safer, the CX-9’s cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The X5 doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the CX-9 and the X5 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive, lane departure warning systems and around view monitors.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the CX-9 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 86 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The X5 has not been fully tested, yet.


Mazda’s powertrain warranty covers the CX-9 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than BMW covers the X5. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the X5 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are over 69 percent more Mazda dealers than there are BMW dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the CX-9’s warranty.


The CX-9’s 2.5 turbo 4 cyl. produces 10 lbs.-ft. more torque (310 vs. 300) than the X5 s/xDrive35i’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the CX-9 gets better fuel mileage than the X5:







2.5 turbo 4 cyl./6-spd. Auto

22 city/28 hwy

18 city/25 hwy

3.0 turbo 6 cyl./Auto


2.5 turbo 4 cyl./6-spd. Auto

20 city/26 hwy

18 city/24 hwy

3.0 turbo 6 cyl./Auto

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Mazda CX-9 uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The X5 requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Brakes and Stopping

The CX-9 stops shorter than the X5:





60 to 0 MPH

123 feet

129 feet

Motor Trend

Suspension and Handling

The CX-9 Signature AWD handles at .85 G’s, while the X5 xDrive35i xDrive pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the CX-9’s turning circle is 2.9 feet tighter than the X5’s (38.8 feet vs. 41.7 feet).

For greater off-road capability the CX-9 has a greater minimum ground clearance than the X5 (8.8 vs. 8.2 inches), allowing the CX-9 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.


The Mazda CX-9 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 400 to 700 pounds less than the BMW X5.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the CX-9 Signature AWD is quieter than the X5 xDrive35i xDrive:




At idle

37 dB

41 dB


71 dB

73 dB

Passenger Space

The CX-9 has 3.9 cubic feet more passenger volume than the X5 (135.1 vs. 131.2).

The CX-9 has .6 inches more front legroom, .2 inches more rear headroom and 2.8 inches more rear legroom than the X5.

Cargo Capacity

The CX-9’s cargo area provides more volume than the X5.




Behind Third Seat

14.4 cubic feet

12 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

38.2 cubic feet


Third Seat Removed


35.8 cubic feet

The CX-9’s liftgate lifts up in one piece, completely out of the way of loading and unloading, while sheltering the cargo loading area. The X5’s tailgate’s top part raises up, but the bottom part lowers, getting in the way of loading and making an uneven surface for sliding cargo.


The CX-9 offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The X5 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the CX-9 is less expensive to operate than the X5 because it costs $261 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the CX-9 than the X5, including $1451 less for a muffler, $122 less for front brake pads, $376 less for a starter, $303 less for fuel injection, $56 less for a fuel pump, $255 less for front struts, $711 less for a timing belt/chain and $1365 less for a power steering pump.


The CX-9 was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Five/10Best Trucks” for 3 of the last 11 years. The X5 has never been a Car and Driver “Top Five/10Best Truck” pick.

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

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