2020 Lexus RXL 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 2020/06/03

For enhanced safety, the front and middle seat shoulder belts of the Lexus RXL have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Mazda CX-9 doesn’t offer pretensioners for the middle seat belts.

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

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The RXL offers optional Auto Brake that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The CX-9 doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The RXL’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.

Both the RXL and the CX-9 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, 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.

Warranty

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The RXL 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.

Lexus’ powertrain warranty covers the RXL 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 RXL’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the CX-9’s (6 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates rated the RXL first among midsize premium SUVs in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The CX-9 isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are better in initial quality than Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 4 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 Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus first in reliability, above the industry average. With 53 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 21st.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Mazda vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. Mazda is ranked second.

Engine

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The RX 350L’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 40 more horsepower (290 vs. 250) than the CX-9’s 2.5 turbo 4-cylinder. The RX 450hL’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 hybrid produces 58 more horsepower (308 vs. 250) than the CX-9’s 2.5 turbo 4-cylinder.

As tested in Consumer Reports the RX 350L is faster than the Mazda CX-9:

RXL

CX-9

Zero to 30 MPH

2.9 sec

3.1 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

7.7 sec

7.9 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

5.3 sec

5.7 sec

Quarter Mile

16 sec

16.3 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

90 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 2020/06/03

On the EPA test cycle the RX 450hL gets better fuel mileage than the CX-9 AWD (29 city/28 hwy vs. 20 city/26 hwy).

Regenerative brakes improve the RXL 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 RXL Hybrid’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.

Transmission

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

The RX 450hL has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The CX-9 doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

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

RXL

CX-9

Front Rotors

12.9 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13.3 inches

12.8 inches

The RXL’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 RXL stops shorter than the CX-9:

RXL

CX-9

60 to 0 MPH

136 feet

139 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

139 feet

143 feet

Consumer Reports

Passenger Space

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The RXL has .5 inches more front headroom, .4 inches more front legroom, .4 inches more front shoulder room and 3.7 inches more third row hip room than the CX-9.

Cargo Capacity

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

RXL

CX-9

Behind Third Seat

16.3 cubic feet

14.4 cubic feet

The RXL has a standard third row seat which folds flat into the floor. This completely clears a very large cargo area quickly. The CX-9 doesn’t offer seats that fold into the floor.

Pressing a switch automatically lowers or raises the RXL’s optional second and third row seats, to make changing between cargo and passengers 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 RXL. The CX-9 doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Servicing Ease

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The RXL 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 Lexus service is better than Mazda. J.D. Power ranks Lexus second in service department satisfaction. With a 70% lower rating, Mazda is ranked 25th.

Ergonomics

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The RXL’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.

The power windows standard on both the RXL and the CX-9 have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the RXL 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 RXL 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 RXL’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the CX-9’s headlights, which were rated “Fair.”

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The RXL offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The CX-9 doesn’t offer headlight washers.

When the RXL 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 RXL’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 RXL 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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Insurance will cost less for the RXL owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the RXL with a number “5” insurance rate while the CX-9 is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the RXL is less expensive to operate than the CX-9 because typical repairs cost less on the RXL than the CX-9, including $108 less for a fuel pump and $180 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 2020/06/03

Both are recommended, but Consumer Reports® chose the Lexus RXL as its “Top Pick,” the highest scoring vehicle in its category, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Lexus RX Series outsold the Mazda CX-9 by over four to one during 2019.

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

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