2020 Buick Enclave 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 2020/07/06

For enhanced safety, the Buick Enclave’s middle seat shoulder belts have child comfort guides to move the belt to properly fit children. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages children to buckle up. The Mazda CX-9 doesn’t offer comfort guides on its middle seat belts.

In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Enclave are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The CX-9 doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

The Enclave has a standard front seat center airbag, which deploys between the driver and front passenger, protecting them from injuries caused by striking each other in serious side impacts. The CX-9 doesn’t offer front seat center airbags.

Compared to metal, the Enclave’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 Enclave 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, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, 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 Buick Enclave is safer than the Mazda CX-9:

Enclave

CX-9

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

15.6%

26%

Neck Stress

198 lbs.

309 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

53/40 lbs.

107/424 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

333

337

Neck Injury Risk

35.2%

40%

Neck Stress

128 lbs.

183 lbs.

Neck Compression

51 lbs.

165 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

258/133 lbs.

376/375 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 Buick Enclave is safer than the Mazda CX-9:

Enclave

CX-9

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

69

88

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

134

208

Spine Acceleration

39 G’s

54 G’s

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

14 inches

15 inches

Spine Acceleration

34 G’s

35 G’s

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

Warranty

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The Enclave 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.

Buick’s powertrain warranty covers the Enclave 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.

The Enclave’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the CX-9’s (6 vs. 5 years).

There are almost 4 times as many Buick dealers as there are Mazda dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Enclave’s warranty.

Reliability

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To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Enclave has a standard 170-amp alternator. The CX-9’s 110-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Buick vehicles are better in initial quality than Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Buick 11th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 2 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 12th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Buick vehicles are more reliable than Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Buick fifth in reliability, above the industry average. With 41 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 21st.

Engine

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The Enclave’s 3.6 DOHC V6 produces 60 more horsepower (310 vs. 250) than the CX-9’s 2.5 turbo 4-cylinder.

As tested in Car and Driver the Buick Enclave is faster than the Mazda CX-9:

Enclave

CX-9

Zero to 60 MPH

6.6 sec

7.3 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

17.4 sec

20.6 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.8 sec

8.1 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

3.3 sec

3.6 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

4.5 sec

5 sec

Quarter Mile

15.1 sec

15.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

94 MPH

88 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Enclave’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.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Buick Enclave uses regular unleaded gasoline. The CX-9 requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Enclave AWD’s standard fuel tank has 2.2 gallons more fuel capacity than the CX-9 AWD’s standard fuel tank (21.7 vs. 19.5 gallons).

The Enclave 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.

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Buick Enclave higher (6 out of 10) than the Mazda CX-9 (3). This means the Enclave produces up to 23.4 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the CX-9 every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

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

Brakes and Stopping

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The Enclave’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the CX-9 are solid, not vented.

The Enclave stops shorter than the CX-9:

Enclave

CX-9

70 to 0 MPH

179 feet

183 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

130 feet

139 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

141 feet

143 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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The Buick Enclave’s wheels have 6 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Mazda CX-9 only has 5 wheel lugs per wheel.

The Enclave 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 Enclave 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 a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Enclave’s wheelbase is 5.6 inches longer than on the CX-9 (120.9 inches vs. 115.3 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Enclave is 2 inches wider in the front and 1.8 inches wider in the rear than on the CX-9.

The Enclave Essence 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.

Chassis

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The front grille of the Enclave uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The CX-9 doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

The Enclave 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.

Passenger Space

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The Enclave has 1.7 inches more front headroom, .2 inches more front legroom, 2.4 inches more front hip room, 4.5 inches more front shoulder room, 1.4 inches more rear headroom, .3 inches more rear hip room, 3.6 inches more rear shoulder room, 2.2 inches more third row headroom, 3.8 inches more third row legroom, 8.4 inches more third row hip room and 4.2 inches more third row shoulder room than the CX-9.

Cargo Capacity

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

Enclave

CX-9

Behind Third Seat

23.6 cubic feet

14.4 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

58 cubic feet

38.2 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

97.6 cubic feet

71.2 cubic feet

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

Enclave

CX-9

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

23.8”/54”/90”

21.4”/49.7”/84.5”

Max Width

52.7”

57.2”

Min Width

48.6”

40”

Height

30.8”

30.3”

Pressing a switch automatically lowers or raises the Enclave Premium/Avenir’s third row seats, to make changing between cargo and passengers easier. The CX-9 doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

Towing

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

Servicing Ease

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The Enclave 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.

The Enclave has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The CX-9 doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Buick service is better than Mazda. J.D. Power ranks Buick 8th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 46% lower rating, Mazda is ranked 25th.

Ergonomics

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The Enclave Premium/Avenir’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The CX-9 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The power windows standard on both the Enclave and the CX-9 have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Enclave is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The CX-9 prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

If the windows are left open on the Enclave the driver can close them all from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can also lower the windows the same way. The driver of the CX-9 can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Enclave’s power window, power lock, power mirror and cruise control switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The CX-9’s power mirror switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

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

When the Enclave Premium/Avenir 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 Enclave’s standard rear and 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 Enclave Premium/Avenir has standard massaging front seats in order to maximize comfort and eliminate fatigue on long trips. Massaging seats aren’t available in the CX-9.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Buick Enclave Avenir has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) for the front seat. The CX-9 doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

The Enclave (except Preferred) 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 Enclave is less expensive to operate than the CX-9 because typical repairs cost much less on the Enclave than the CX-9, including $395 less for a water pump, $157 less for front struts and $320 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 2020/07/06

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

The Buick Enclave outsold the Mazda CX-9 by almost two to one during 2019.

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