2020 Acura MDX vs. 2020 Mazda CX-9

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/05/30

The MDX’s optional pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The CX-9 doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

Compared to metal, the MDX’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Mazda CX-9 has a metal gas tank.

Both the MDX and the CX-9 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, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

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

MDX

CX-9

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

22%

26%

Neck Stress

244 lbs.

309 lbs.

Neck Compression

34 lbs.

51 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

134/382 lbs.

107/424 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

283

337

Chest Compression

.4 inches

.6 inches

Neck Injury Risk

29%

40%

Neck Stress

177 lbs.

183 lbs.

Neck Compression

113 lbs.

165 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 Acura MDX is safer than the Mazda CX-9:

MDX

CX-9

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

72

88

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

133

208

Spine Acceleration

52 G’s

54 G’s

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

13 inches

15 inches

Hip Force

481 lbs.

553 lbs.

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

Warranty

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The MDX comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The CX-9’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

Acura’s powertrain warranty covers the MDX 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Mazda covers the CX-9. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the CX-9 ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

Reliability

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The engines in the MDX have a single overhead cam for simplicity. The engine in the CX-9 has dual overhead cams, which add to the number of moving parts and the complexity of the cylinder heads.

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the MDX has a standard 150-amp alternator. The CX-9’s 110-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

Engine

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The MDX’s standard 3.5 SOHC V6 produces 40 more horsepower (290 vs. 250) than the CX-9’s 2.5 turbo 4-cylinder. The MDX Sport Hybrid’s standard 3.0 SOHC V6 hybrid produces 71 more horsepower (321 vs. 250) than the CX-9’s 2.5 turbo 4-cylinder.

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

MDX

CX-9

Zero to 30 MPH

2.1 sec

2.5 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

5.9 sec

7.3 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

16.4 sec

20.6 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.2 sec

8.1 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

3.5 sec

3.6 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

4.6 sec

5 sec

Quarter Mile

14.6 sec

15.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

95 MPH

88 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/05/30

On the EPA test cycle the MDX Sport Hybrid gets better fuel mileage than the CX-9 AWD (26 city/27 hwy vs. 20 city/26 hwy).

An engine control system that can shut down some of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the MDX’s fuel efficiency. The CX-9 doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

Regenerative brakes improve the MDX Sport Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The CX-9 doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the MDX’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The CX-9 doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The MDX has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The CX-9 doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

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A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Acura MDX, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the CX-9.

The MDX offers an available sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The CX-9 doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the MDX Sport Hybrid’s brake rotors are larger than those on the CX-9:

MDX Sport Hybrid

CX-9

Front Rotors

13 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

12.8 inches

The MDX stops shorter than the CX-9:

MDX

CX-9

60 to 0 MPH

121 feet

130 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

140 feet

143 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the MDX A-Spec’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the CX-9 (265/45R20 vs. 255/60R18).

The MDX A-Spec’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the CX-9 Grand Touring/Signature’s 50 series tires.

The MDX has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The CX-9 doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

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The MDX offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The CX-9’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the MDX is 1 inch wider in the front and 1.1 inches wider in the rear than on the CX-9.

The MDX SH-AWD handles at .82 G’s, while the CX-9 Signature AWD pulls only .80 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The MDX SH-AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the CX-9 Touring (27 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 27.6 seconds @ .62 average G’s).

Chassis

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The MDX is 3.2 inches shorter than the CX-9, making the MDX easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The MDX uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The CX-9 doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

As tested by Car and Driver while at idle, the interior of the MDX SH-AWD is quieter than the CX-9 Signature AWD (36 vs. 38 dB).

Passenger Space

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The MDX has .4 inches more front legroom, .8 inches more front hip room, 3.2 inches more front shoulder room, .4 inches more rear hip room, 1 inch more rear shoulder room, .2 inches more third row headroom, .5 inches more third row hip room and 1.6 inches more third row shoulder room than the CX-9.

The rear step up height for the MDX is 1.4 inches lower than the CX-9 (17.4” vs. 18.8”).

Cargo Capacity

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

MDX

CX-9

Behind Third Seat

15.8 cubic feet

14.4 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

43.4 cubic feet

38.2 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

90.9 cubic feet

71.2 cubic feet

A standard locking glovebox keeps your small valuables safer in the MDX. The CX-9 doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Towing

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Maximum trailer towing in the Mazda CX-9 is limited to 3500 pounds. The MDX SH-AWD offers up to a 5000 lbs. towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

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The MDX uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The CX-9 uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Acura service is better than Mazda. J.D. Power ranks Acura 6th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 55% lower rating, Mazda is ranked 25th.

Ergonomics

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The MDX’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The CX-9 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

If the windows are left open on the MDX the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the CX-9 can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

Consumer Reports rated the MDX’s headlight performance “Good,” a higher rating than the CX-9’s headlights, which were rated “Fair.”

When the MDX is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The CX-9’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The MDX’s standard rear view mirror and optional side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. These mirrors can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The CX-9 offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The MDX SH-AWD offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The CX-9 doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Economic Advantages

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According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the MDX is less expensive to operate than the CX-9 because typical repairs cost much less on the MDX than the CX-9, including $571 less for a water pump, $29 less for front struts and $732 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/05/30

The Acura MDX outsold the Mazda CX-9 by almost two to one during 2019.

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

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