2019 Mazda CX-9 vs. 2019 Volkswagen Atlas

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Both the CX-9 and the Atlas have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, 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, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning, 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 Volkswagen Atlas:







4 Stars

4 Stars




Neck Injury Risk



Neck Stress

309 lbs.

441 lbs.

Neck Compression

51 lbs.

51 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 Volkswagen Atlas:





Front Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

.4 inches

.5 inches

Hip Force

195 lbs.

345 lbs.


Into Pole


5 Stars

5 Stars




Spine Acceleration

35 G’s

51 G’s

Hip Force

553 lbs.

800 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 Atlas was last qualified as a “Top Pick” in 2017.


The CX-9 comes with free roadside assistance for 3 years 36,000 miles. Mazda will send help if you run out of gas, need a jump-start, lock your keys in or need any assistance on the road. Volkswagen doesn’t give free roadside assistance for the Atlas.


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 55 points higher than the Atlas.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Mazda vehicles are better in initial quality than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mazda 22nd in initial quality. With 3 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 24th.

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 Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mazda 14th in reliability. With 13 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 19th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Mazda vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mazda third in reliability. Volkswagen is ranked 16th.


The CX-9’s 2.5 turbo 4 cyl. produces 15 more horsepower (250 vs. 235) and 52 lbs.-ft. more torque (310 vs. 258) than the Atlas’ standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The CX-9’s 2.5 turbo 4 cyl. produces 44 lbs.-ft. more torque (310 vs. 266) than the Atlas’ optional 3.6 DOHC V6.

As tested in Car and Driver the Mazda CX-9 is faster than the Volkswagen Atlas V6:




Zero to 30 MPH

2.3 sec

2.9 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

6.8 sec

7.9 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

19 sec

20.2 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

7.5 sec

8.2 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

3.4 sec

3.9 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

4.7 sec

5.2 sec

Quarter Mile

15.4 sec

16 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

91 MPH

89 MPH

Top Speed

132 MPH

116 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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








2.5 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/28 hwy



2.5 turbo 4 cyl.

20 city/26 hwy




2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/26 hwy



3.6 DOHC V6

17 city/24 hwy



3.6 DOHC V6

17 city/23 hwy

The CX-9 AWD’s standard fuel tank has almost a gallon more fuel capacity than the Atlas (19.5 vs. 18.6 gallons).

Brakes and Stopping

The CX-9 stops much shorter than the Atlas:





60 to 0 MPH

123 feet

139 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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

Suspension and Handling

The CX-9 has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the CX-9 flat and controlled during cornering. The Atlas’ suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The CX-9 Signature AWD handles at .85 G’s, while the Atlas SEL Premium 4Motion pulls only .84 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The CX-9 Signature AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.2 seconds quicker than the Atlas SEL 4Motion (26.7 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 27.9 seconds @ .61 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the CX-9 has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Atlas (8.8 vs. 8 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 Atlas SEL Premium 4Motion:




At idle

37 dB

41 dB


71 dB

76 dB

70 MPH Cruising

66 dB

68 dB


The CX-9’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Atlas’ (3500 vs. 2000 pounds).


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 Atlas doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the CX-9 has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the Atlas only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

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 Atlas’ headlights are rated “Marginal” to “Poor.”

The Atlas’ optional cornering lamps activate a lamp on the front corner when the turn signal is activated. The CX-9 Grand Touring/Signature’s standard adaptive cornering lights turn the actual headlight unit up to several degrees, depending on steering wheel angle and vehicle speed. This lights a significant distance into corners at any speed.

The CX-9 has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the Atlas SE/SEL/SEL Premium.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the CX-9 owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the CX-9 will cost $180 to $2515 less than the Atlas over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the CX-9 is less expensive to operate than the Atlas because it costs $288 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the CX-9 than the Atlas, including $303 less for a muffler, $45 less for front brake pads, $407 less for a starter, $286 less for fuel injection, $167 less for front struts, $287 less for a timing belt/chain and $431 less for a power steering pump.


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

Car and Driver performed a comparison test in its August 2017 issue and the Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD won out over the Volkswagen Atlas SEL Premium 4Motion.

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