2019 Mazda CX-9 vs. 2019 Acura MDX

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Both the CX-9 and the MDX 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 Acura dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the CX-9’s warranty.


The camshafts in the CX-9’s engine are driven by a hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs. The MDX’s camshafts are driven by a rubber belt that needs periodic replacement. If the MDX’s cam drive belt breaks the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Mazda vehicles are more reliable than Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mazda 14th in reliability. With 15 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 20th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ April 2018 Auto Issue reports that Mazda vehicles are more reliable than Acura vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mazda 7 places higher in reliability than Acura.


The CX-9’s 2.5 turbo 4 cyl. produces 43 lbs.-ft. more torque (310 vs. 267) than the MDX’s standard 3.5 SOHC V6. The CX-9’s 2.5 turbo 4 cyl. produces 21 lbs.-ft. more torque (310 vs. 289) than the MDX Sport Hybrid’s standard 3.0 SOHC V6 hybrid.

Fuel Economy and Range

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







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



19 city/25 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 MDX requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Brakes and Stopping

The CX-9 stops shorter than the MDX:





70 to 0 MPH

178 feet

185 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the CX-9 has larger tires than the MDX (255/60R18 vs. 245/60R18).

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the CX-9’s wheelbase is 4.3 inches longer than on the MDX (115.3 inches vs. 111 inches).

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

The CX-9 Signature AWD handles at .85 G’s, while the MDX SH-AWD pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For greater off-road capability the CX-9 has a 1.5 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the MDX (8.8 vs. 7.3 inches), allowing the CX-9 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.


As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the CX-9 Signature AWD is quieter than the MDX SH-AWD:





71 dB

76 dB

70 MPH Cruising

66 dB

68 dB

Passenger Space

The CX-9 has 2.4 cubic feet more passenger volume than the MDX (135.1 vs. 132.7).

The CX-9 has 1.2 inches more front headroom, .2 inches more rear headroom, 2.8 inches more rear legroom and 1.6 inches more third row legroom than the MDX.

Cargo Capacity

The CX-9’s cargo area is larger than the MDX’s in almost every dimension:




Length to seat (3rd/2nd/1st)



Max Width







While the MDX SH-AWD Sport Hybrid is not recommended to tow, any CX-9 can tow a minimum of 3500 pounds.


To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the CX-9 Grand Touring/Signature has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The MDX doesn’t offer cornering lights.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the CX-9 has standard extendable sun visors. The MDX doesn’t offer extendable visors.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the CX-9 is less expensive to operate than the MDX because it costs $144 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the CX-9 than the MDX, including $119 less for a muffler, $122 less for front brake pads, $254 less for a starter, $1100 less for fuel injection, $113 less for a fuel pump and $329 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 MDX hasn’t been picked since 2001.

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

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