2019 Mazda CX-9 vs. 2019 Lexus RX Series

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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.

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

 

CX-9

RX Series

 

Driver

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

212

265

Neck Injury Risk

26%

42%

Neck Stress

309 lbs.

546 lbs.

Neck Compression

51 lbs.

135 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

107/424 lbs.

499/536 lbs.

 

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

40%

53%

Neck Stress

183 lbs.

290 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 flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Mazda CX-9 is safer than the Lexus RX Series:

 

CX-9

RX Series

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

.4 inches

.7 inches

Abdominal Force

98 G’s

110 G’s

Hip Force

195 lbs.

214 lbs.

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

582 lbs.

594 lbs.

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

249

275

Spine Acceleration

35 G’s

44 G’s

Hip Force

553 lbs.

685 lbs.

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

For its top level performance in IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, its “Good” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the CX-9 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2019, a rating granted to only 62 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The RX Series has not been fully tested, yet.

Warranty

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.

Engine

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.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

 

 

 

MPG

CX-9

 

FWD

2.5 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/28 hwy

 

AWD

2.5 turbo 4 cyl.

20 city/26 hwy

RX Series

 

FWD

350 3.5 DOHC V6

20 city/27 hwy

 

AWD

350 3.5 DOHC V6

19 city/26 hwy

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.

 

CX-9

RX Series

Third Seat Folded

38.2 cubic feet

n/a

Third Seat Removed

n/a

18.4 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

71.2 cubic feet

56.3 cubic feet

Towing

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.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Mazda CX-9 and the Lexus RX Series, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The CX-9 was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Five/10Best Trucks” for 4 of the last 12 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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