2020 Dodge Durango vs. 2020 Mazda CX-9

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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The Durango has standard Active Head Restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Head Restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The CX-9 doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Compared to metal, the Durango’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 Durango and the CX-9 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, front and rear parking sensors 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 Dodge Durango is safer than the Mazda CX-9:

Durango

CX-9

Driver

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

144

212

Neck Stress

251 lbs.

309 lbs.

Neck Compression

26 lbs.

51 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

24%

40%

Neck Stress

85 lbs.

183 lbs.

Neck Compression

123 lbs.

165 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

404/224 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 Dodge Durango is safer than the Mazda CX-9:

Durango

CX-9

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

28

88

Hip Force

150 lbs.

195 lbs.

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

25

208

Spine Acceleration

33 G’s

54 G’s

Hip Force

542 lbs.

582 lbs.

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

14 inches

15 inches

HIC

129

249

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

Warranty

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

Reliability

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To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Durango has a standard 160-amp alternator (180-amp - Durango optional and 220 optional). 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 Dodge vehicles are better in initial quality than Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Dodge 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 4 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 12th, below the industry average.

Engine

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The Durango’s standard 3.6 DOHC V6 produces 43 more horsepower (293 vs. 250) than the CX-9’s 2.5 turbo 4-cylinder. The Durango Dual Exhaust’s optional 3.6 DOHC V6 produces 45 more horsepower (295 vs. 250) than the CX-9’s 2.5 turbo 4-cylinder. The Durango’s optional 5.7 V8 produces 110 more horsepower (360 vs. 250) and 70 lbs.-ft. more torque (390 vs. 320) than the CX-9’s 2.5 turbo 4-cylinder.

As tested in Motor Trend the Dodge Durango V8 is faster than the Mazda CX-9:

Durango

CX-9

Zero to 30 MPH

2.2 sec

2.7 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

6.4 sec

7.5 sec

Zero to 80 MPH

11 sec

13.4 sec

Passing 45 to 65 MPH

3.5 sec

4.2 sec

Quarter Mile

14.9 sec

15.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

92.9 MPH

87.3 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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An engine control system that can shut down some of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the Durango V8’s fuel efficiency. The CX-9 doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Durango V6’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 Dodge Durango uses regular unleaded gasoline (mid-grade octane recommended with the 5.7 V8 engine for maximum performance). The CX-9 requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 5 to 40 cents more per gallon.

The Durango has 5.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the CX-9 FWD’s standard fuel tank (24.6 vs. 19 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Durango has 5.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the CX-9 AWD’s standard fuel tank (24.6 vs. 19.5 gallons).

Transmission

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An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Dodge Durango, 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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For better stopping power the Durango’s brake rotors are larger than those on the CX-9:

Durango V6

Durango V8

CX-9

Front Rotors

13 inches

13.8 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

13 inches

12.8 inches

The Durango V8’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 Durango stops much shorter than the CX-9:

Durango

CX-9

70 to 0 MPH

176 feet

183 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

120 feet

130 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Durango has larger tires than the CX-9 (265/60R18 vs. 255/60R18).

Suspension and Handling

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The Durango offers an optional automatic rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The CX-9 doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Durango’s wheelbase is 4.5 inches longer than on the CX-9 (119.8 inches vs. 115.3 inches).

The Durango’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (50% to 50%) than the CX-9’s (54.7% to 45.3%). This gives the Durango more stable handling and braking.

The Durango R/T 4x4 handles at .80 G’s, while the CX-9 Touring pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

Passenger Space

© 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 2020/07/03

The Durango has 6.3 cubic feet more passenger volume than the CX-9 (141.4 vs. 135.1).

The Durango has .6 inches more front headroom, .3 inches more front hip room, .6 inches more front shoulder room, 1.3 inches more rear headroom, 2.4 inches more third row headroom, 3.8 inches more third row legroom and 2.3 inches more third row hip room than the CX-9.

Cargo Capacity

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

Durango

CX-9

Behind Third Seat

17.2 cubic feet

14.4 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

43.3 cubic feet

38.2 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

85.1 cubic feet

71.2 cubic feet

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the Durango. The CX-9 doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Towing

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The Durango’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the CX-9’s (6200 vs. 3500 pounds). Maximum trailer towing in the Mazda CX-9 is only 3500 pounds. The Durango offers up to a 7400 lbs. towing capacity.

The Durango V8 4WD can be flat towed on all four wheels (dinghy towed), allowing recreational vehicle owners to bring it with them on the road. When they reach their destination, the Durango can be unhitched and driven around locally. The CX-9 can’t be towed flat on the ground.

Servicing Ease

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The Durango 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 engine in the Durango is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the CX-9. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.

The Durango 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.

Ergonomics

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The Durango GT/R/T/Citadel’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 Durango’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge - which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The CX-9 does not have an oil pressure gauge.

The power windows standard on both the Durango and the CX-9 have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Durango 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.

On a hot day the Durango’s driver can lower the front windows 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 Durango’s headlight performance “Good” to “Very Good” (depending on model and options), a higher rating than the CX-9’s headlights, which were rated “Fair.”

When the Durango with available tilt-down mirrors 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 Durango’s optional 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 Durango (except SXT) 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 Durango is less expensive to operate than the CX-9 because typical repairs cost much less on the Durango than the CX-9, including $788 less for a water pump, $74 less for a muffler, $52 less for a fuel pump, $170 less for a timing belt/chain and $31 less for a power steering pump.

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 2020/07/03

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Durango second among midsize SUVs in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The CX-9 isn’t in the top three.

The Dodge Durango outsold the Mazda CX-9 by almost three to one during 2019.

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