2019 Mazda CX-9 vs. 2019 Nissan Pathfinder

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The CX-9’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

Both the CX-9 and the Pathfinder 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 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 Nissan Pathfinder:

 

CX-9

Pathfinder

 

Driver

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

212

337

Neck Injury Risk

26%

42%

Neck Stress

309 lbs.

464 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

107/424 lbs.

516/475 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 Nissan Pathfinder:

 

CX-9

Pathfinder

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

88

114

Chest Movement

.4 inches

.9 inches

Abdominal Force

98 G’s

120 G’s

Hip Force

195 lbs.

457 lbs.

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

15 inches

18 inches

HIC

249

338

Spine Acceleration

35 G’s

42 G’s

Hip Force

553 lbs.

661 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 Pathfinder was last qualified as a “Top Pick” in 2017.

Reliability

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the CX-9’s reliability 25 points higher than the Pathfinder.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Mazda vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mazda third in reliability. Nissan is ranked 14th.

Engine

The CX-9’s 2.5 turbo 4 cyl. produces 51 lbs.-ft. more torque (310 vs. 259) than the Pathfinder’s 3.5 DOHC V6.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

 

 

CX-9

Pathfinder

 

2WD

Auto

22 city/28 hwy

20 city/27 hwy

 

4WD

Auto

20 city/26 hwy

19 city/26 hwy

 

Brakes and Stopping

The CX-9 stops shorter than the Pathfinder:

 

CX-9

Pathfinder

 

60 to 0 MPH

123 feet

124 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

143 feet

145 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the CX-9 has larger tires than the Pathfinder (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 Pathfinder S/SV/SL’s standard 65 series tires. The CX-9 Grand Touring/Signature’s tires have a lower 50 series profile than the Pathfinder Platinum’s 55 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the CX-9’s wheelbase is 1.1 inches longer than on the Pathfinder (115.3 inches vs. 114.2 inches).

The CX-9 Signature AWD handles at .85 G’s, while the Pathfinder Platinum 4x4 pulls only .76 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The CX-9 Signature AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.5 seconds quicker than the Pathfinder Platinum 4x4 (26.7 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 29.2 seconds @ .53 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the CX-9 has a 1.8 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Pathfinder (8.8 vs. 7 inches), allowing the CX-9 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Passenger Space

The front step up height for the CX-9 is .7 inches lower than the Pathfinder (18.3” vs. 19”). The CX-9’s rear step up height is 2 inches lower than the Pathfinder’s (18.8” vs. 20.8”).

Cargo Capacity

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

 

CX-9

Pathfinder

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

21.4”/49.7”/84.5”

19.2”/43.7”/78.9”

Max Width

57.2”

45.9”

Min Width

40”

45.4”

Height

30.3”

31.4”

Ergonomics

The CX-9 Grand Touring/Signature has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The CX-9’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Pathfinder’s standard power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully. Only its driver’s window opens automatically. With the Pathfinder SV/SL/Platinum’s power windows, only the front windows open or close automatically.

The CX-9’s optional wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Pathfinder SV/SL/Platinum’s intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The CX-9’s available headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the Pathfinder’s headlights are rated “Poor.”

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the CX-9 detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

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 Pathfinder doesn’t offer cornering lights.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the CX-9 is less expensive to operate than the Pathfinder because it costs $648 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the CX-9 than the Pathfinder, including $67 less for a muffler, $7 less for front brake pads, $300 less for a starter, $192 less for fuel injection and $20 less for a fuel pump.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Mazda CX-9, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Nissan Pathfinder isn't recommended.

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