2020 GMC Acadia 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 2020/06/05

The Acadia Denali’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.

For enhanced safety, the front shoulder belts of the GMC Acadia are height-adjustable, and the 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 Acadia 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 Acadia 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.

When descending a steep, off-road slope, the Acadia AT4’s standard Hill Descent Control allows you to creep down safely. The CX-9 doesn’t offer Hill Descent Control.

Compared to metal, the Acadia’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 Acadia 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, daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning, available all wheel drive, crash mitigating brakes, 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 GMC Acadia is safer than the Mazda CX-9:

Acadia

CX-9

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

138

212

Neck Injury Risk

22%

26%

Neck Stress

162 lbs.

309 lbs.

Neck Compression

16 lbs.

51 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

112/392 lbs.

107/424 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

Chest Compression

.6 inches

.6 inches

Neck Injury Risk

37%

40%

Neck Stress

152 lbs.

183 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

10/95 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 GMC Acadia is safer than the Mazda CX-9:

Acadia

CX-9

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

42 G’s

54 G’s

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

14 inches

15 inches

Spine Acceleration

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

There are over 3 times as many GMC dealers as there are Mazda dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Acadia’s warranty.

Reliability

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To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Acadia has a standard 150-amp alternator (220-amp - Acadia 2.0 Turbo). The CX-9’s 110-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

Engine

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

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the Acadia AWD turbo 4 cyl. gets better fuel mileage than the CX-9 AWD (21 city/27 hwy vs. 20 city/26 hwy).

Regenerative brakes improve the Acadia 2.0 Turbo’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 Acadia’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 Acadia 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 Acadia 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 GMC Acadia higher (5 to 6 out of 10) than the Mazda CX-9 (3). This means the Acadia 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 GMC Acadia, 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 Acadia’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 Acadia stops much shorter than the CX-9:

Acadia

CX-9

70 to 0 MPH

173 feet

183 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

126 feet

130 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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The GMC Acadia’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 Acadia 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 Acadia 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.

The Acadia Denali AWD handles at .85 G’s, while the CX-9 Signature AWD pulls only .80 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Acadia SLT AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the CX-9 Touring (26.9 seconds @ .67 average G’s vs. 27.6 seconds @ .62 average G’s).

Chassis

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The GMC Acadia may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs up to about 300 pounds less than the Mazda CX-9.

The Acadia is 6 inches shorter than the CX-9, making the Acadia easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The front grille of the Acadia FWD 4 cyl. 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 Acadia 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 Acadia has 8.7 cubic feet more passenger volume than the CX-9 (143.8 vs. 135.1).

Cargo Capacity

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The Acadia has a larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the CX-9 with its rear seat folded (79 vs. 71.2 cubic feet).

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Acadia’s second row seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo 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 Acadia offers up to a 4000 lbs. towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

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The Acadia 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 Acadia 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 Acadia (except SL/SLE/AT4)’s optional easy entry system 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 Acadia and the CX-9 have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Acadia 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.

The Acadia’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.

When the Acadia 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 Acadia SLT/AT4/Denali’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.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the GMC Acadia Denali has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The CX-9 doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

The Acadia (except SL) 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 Acadia is less expensive to operate than the CX-9 because typical repairs cost much less on the Acadia than the CX-9, including $615 less for a water pump, $62 less for a fuel pump and $134 less for front struts.

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 2020/06/05

The GMC Acadia outsold the Mazda CX-9 by almost four to one during 2019.

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

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