2020 Lincoln Aviator vs. 2019 Mazda CX-9

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and middle seat shoulder belts of the Lincoln Aviator 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.

Both the Aviator and CX-9 have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The Aviator 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.

The Aviator has standard Post Collision Braking, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The CX-9 doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Aviator (except Base) offers an optional Reverse Brake Assist that use rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The CX-9 doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

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

The Aviator’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 Aviator and the CX-9 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, 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 Aviator 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.

Lincoln’s powertrain warranty covers the Aviator 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.

There are over 46 percent more Lincoln dealers than there are Mazda dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Aviator’s warranty.

Reliability

The Lincoln Aviator’s engines use a cast iron block for durability, while the CX-9’s engine uses an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

The Aviator has a standard “limp home system” to keep drivers from being stranded if most or all of the engine’s coolant is lost. The engine will run on only half of its cylinders at a time, reduce its power and light a warning lamp on the dashboard so the driver can get to a service station for repairs. The CX-9 doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the truck’s engine.

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Aviator has a standard -amp alternator (250-amp - Aviator 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 Lincoln vehicles are better in initial quality than Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lincoln fifth in initial quality, above the industry average. With 10 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 Lincoln vehicles are more reliable than Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lincoln 19th in reliability. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 21st.

Engine

The Aviator’s standard 3.0 turbo V6 produces 150 more horsepower (400 vs. 250) and 105 lbs.-ft. more torque (415 vs. 310) than the CX-9’s 2.5 turbo 4 cyl. The Aviator’s optional 3.0 turbo V6 hybrid produces 244 more horsepower (494 vs. 250) and 320 lbs.-ft. more torque (630 vs. 310) than the CX-9’s 2.5 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

Regenerative brakes improve the Aviator 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 Aviator’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 Aviator 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.

Transmission

A 10-speed automatic is standard on the Lincoln Aviator, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the CX-9.

Tires and Wheels

The Aviator’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the CX-9 Sport/Touring’s standard 60 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Aviator has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the CX-9 Sport/Touring. The Aviator’s optional 22-inch wheels are larger than the 20-inch wheels on the CX-9 Grand Touring/Signature.

Suspension and Handling

The Aviator 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 Aviator has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The Aviator’s height leveling suspension allows the driver to raise ride height for better off-road clearance and then lower it again for easier entering and exiting and better on-road handling. The CX-9 doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Aviator’s wheelbase is 3.8 inches longer than on the CX-9 (119.1 inches vs. 115.3 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Aviator is 1.6 inches wider in the front and 1.7 inches wider in the rear than on the CX-9.

Chassis

The front grille of the Aviator 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 Aviator Grand Touring/Black Label 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

The Aviator has 9.6 cubic feet more passenger volume than the CX-9 (144.7 vs. 135.1).

The Aviator has 2.2 inches more front headroom, 2 inches more front legroom, 1.8 inches more front hip room, 3.6 inches more front shoulder room, 1.2 inches more rear headroom, .7 inches more rear legroom, .9 inches more rear hip room, 3.2 inches more rear shoulder room, 1.5 inches more third row headroom, .8 inches more third row hip room and .9 inches more third row shoulder room than the CX-9.

Cargo Capacity

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

Aviator

CX-9

Behind Third Seat

18.3 cubic feet

14.4 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

41.8 cubic feet

38.2 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

77.7 cubic feet

71.2 cubic feet

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Aviator’s second and third 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 Aviator. The CX-9 doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Aviator’s liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under 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.

Servicing Ease

The Aviator 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 Aviator 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.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Lincoln service is better than Mazda. J.D. Power ranks Lincoln 7th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 54% lower rating, Mazda is ranked 25th.

Ergonomics

The Aviator’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 Aviator and the CX-9 have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Aviator 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 Aviator 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.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Aviator’s exterior PIN entry system. The CX-9 doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Aviator’s exterior PIN entry system. The CX-9 doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system.

The Aviator’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The CX-9’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The Aviator has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. When the ignition turns off, the headlights turn off after a delay timed to allow you to securely get to your front door. The CX-9 only offers an automatic headlight on/off feature as an extra cost option.

The Aviator’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Mazda charges extra for heated mirrors on the CX-9.

The Aviator has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which 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.

Optional air conditioned the front and second row seats keep the Aviator’s passengers comfortable and take the sting out of hot leather in summer. The CX-9 doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats for the second row.

The Aviator has a 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.

The Aviator (except Base)’s optional Active Park Assist Plus can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. The CX-9 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

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

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