2019 Mazda CX-9 vs. 2018 Lexus RX Series

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Both the CX-9 and the RX Series have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front-wheel drive, 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 all-wheel drive, lane departure warning systems and around view monitors.


There are over 2 times as many Mazda dealers as there are Lexus 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 42 lbs.-ft. more torque (310 vs. 268) than the RX 350’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6. The CX-9’s 2.5 turbo 4 cyl. produces 310 lbs.-ft. more torque (310 vs. ) than the RX 450h’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 hybrid.

Fuel Economy and Range

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




RX Series



2.5 turbo 4 cyl./6-spd. Auto

22 city/28 hwy

20 city/27 hwy

3.5 V6/Auto


2.5 turbo 4 cyl./6-spd. Auto

20 city/26 hwy

19 city/26 hwy

3.5 V6/Auto

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Mazda CX-9 uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The RX 450h requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The CX-9 FWD’s standard fuel tank has 1.8 gallons more fuel capacity than the RX Series Hybrid’s standard fuel tank (19 vs. 17.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the CX-9 has larger tires than the RX Series (255/60R18 vs. 235/65R18).

The CX-9 Sport/Touring’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the RX Series’ standard 65 series tires. The CX-9 Grand Touring/Signature’s tires have a lower 50 series profile than the RX Series’ optional 55 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the CX-9’s wheelbase is 5.5 inches longer than on the RX Series (115.3 inches vs. 109.8 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the CX-9 is .9 inches wider in the front and 1.2 inches wider in the rear than on the RX Series.

The CX-9’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (54.7% to 45.3%) than the RX Series’ (57% to 43%). This gives the CX-9 more stable handling and braking.

The CX-9 Signature AWD handles at .82 G’s, while the RX 450h AWD pulls only .78 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The CX-9 Signature AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the RX 450h AWD (26.7 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 27.5 seconds @ .65 average G’s).

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

Passenger Space

The CX-9 has standard seating for 7 passengers; the RX Series can only carry 5.

The CX-9 has .1 inches more front hip room, .1 inches more front shoulder room, 1.4 inches more rear legroom, 1.3 inches more rear hip room and .5 inches more rear shoulder room than the RX Series.

Cargo Capacity

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



RX Series

Third Seat Folded

38.2 cubic feet


Third Seat Removed


18.4 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

71.2 cubic feet

56.3 cubic feet


The CX-9’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the RX Series’ (3500 vs. 0 pounds).

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the CX-9 is less expensive to operate than the RX Series because it costs $108 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the CX-9 than the RX Series, including $59 less for a water pump, $83 less for a muffler, $39 less for front brake pads, $411 less for a starter, $83 less for fuel injection, $892 less for a timing belt/chain and $1393 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 RX Series 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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