2020 Kia Telluride vs. 2019 Mazda CX-9

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the Telluride and CX-9 have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The Telluride has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The CX-9’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.

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 Telluride are reminded to check the back seat when a sensor determines the back seat is occupied. The CX-9 doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

The Telluride’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The CX-9 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Compared to metal, the Telluride’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 Telluride 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, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning, available all wheel drive and around view monitors.

Warranty

The Telluride comes with a full 5-year/60,000-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 2 years and 24,000 miles sooner.

Kia’s powertrain warranty covers the Telluride 5 years and 40,000 miles longer than Mazda covers the CX-9. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the CX-9 ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

There are over 32 percent more Kia dealers than there are Mazda dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Telluride’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Kia vehicles are better in initial quality than Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 28 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 22nd, 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 Kia vehicles are more reliable than Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 33 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 21st.

Engine

The Telluride’s 3.8 DOHC V6 produces 41 more horsepower (291 vs. 250) than the CX-9’s 2.5 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the Kia Telluride is faster than the Mazda CX-9:

Telluride

CX-9

Zero to 60 MPH

7.1 sec

7.2 sec

Zero to 80 MPH

11.2 sec

12.9 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

17.3 sec

21.3 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

7.1 sec

7.7 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

4.6 sec

4.9 sec

Quarter Mile

15.4 sec

15.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

94 MPH

88 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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

Transmission

An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Kia Telluride, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the CX-9.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Telluride’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the CX-9:

Telluride

CX-9

Front Rotors

13.4 inches

12.6 inches

The Telluride stops much shorter than the CX-9:

Telluride

CX-9

70 to 0 MPH

162 feet

179 feet

Car and Driver

Suspension and Handling

The Telluride has a standard automatic 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 better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Telluride is 1.9 inches wider in the front and 2.4 inches wider in the rear than on the CX-9.

The Telluride SX 4x4 handles at .81 G’s, while the CX-9 Signature AWD pulls only .80 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Chassis

As tested by Car and Driver while at idle, the interior of the Telluride SX 4x4 is quieter than the CX-9 Signature AWD (36 vs. 38 dB).

Passenger Space

The Telluride has standard seating for 8 passengers; the CX-9 can only carry 7.

The Telluride has 19.9 cubic feet more passenger volume than the CX-9 (155 vs. 135.1).

The Telluride has 1.6 inches more front headroom, 3.1 inches more front legroom, 2.2 inches more front hip room, 3.7 inches more front shoulder room, 1.7 inches more rear headroom, 3 inches more rear legroom, .6 inches more rear hip room, 3.1 inches more rear shoulder room, 2.7 inches more third row headroom, 1.7 inches more third row legroom, 3.6 inches more third row hip room and 2.2 inches more third row shoulder room than the CX-9.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Telluride’s middle and third row seats recline. The CX-9’s third row seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

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

Telluride

CX-9

Behind Third Seat

21 cubic feet

14.4 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

46 cubic feet

38.2 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

87 cubic feet

71.2 cubic feet

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Telluride’s second row seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The CX-9 doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

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

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Telluride’s liftgate can be opened just by waiting momentarily behind the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The CX-9 doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Towing

The Telluride’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the CX-9’s (5000 vs. 3500 pounds).

Servicing Ease

The Telluride 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.

Ergonomics

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

When the Telluride SX 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 Telluride EX/SX has standard front air-conditioned seats and the Telluride SX offers them optionally in the second row. This keeps the passengers comfortable and takes the sting out of hot seats in summer. The CX-9 doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats for the second row.

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

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