2020 Mazda CX-9 vs. 2020 Acura MDX

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 2020/01/28

Both the CX-9 and the MDX 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, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive and around view monitors.

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 Mazda CX-9 is safer than the Acura MDX:

CX-9

MDX

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

.4 inches

.6 inches

Abdominal Force

98 G’s

113 G’s

Hip Force

195 lbs.

244 lbs.

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

582 lbs.

757 lbs.

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

249

396

Spine Acceleration

35 G’s

37 G’s

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

For its top level performance in IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, its “Good” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the CX-9 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2019, a rating granted to only 106 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The MDX has not been fully tested, yet.

Warranty

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There are over 2 times as many Mazda dealers as there are Acura dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the CX-9’s warranty.

Reliability

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A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the CX-9’s engine. A rubber cam drive belt that needs periodic replacement drives the MDX’s camshafts. If the MDX’s belt breaks, the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the CX-9’s reliability 31 points higher than the MDX.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Mazda vehicles are better in initial quality than Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mazda 12th in initial quality. With 16 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 24th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Mazda vehicles are more reliable than Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mazda 21st in reliability. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 26th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Mazda vehicles are more reliable than Acura vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mazda second in reliability. Acura is ranked 28th.

Engine

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The CX-9’s 2.5 turbo 4 cyl. produces 53 lbs.-ft. more torque (320 vs. 267) than the MDX’s standard 3.5 SOHC V6. The CX-9’s 2.5 turbo 4 cyl. produces 31 lbs.-ft. more torque (320 vs. 289) than the MDX Sport Hybrid’s standard 3.0 SOHC V6 hybrid.

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 2020/01/28

On the EPA test cycle the CX-9 gets better fuel mileage than the MDX:

CX-9

MDX

2WD

2.5 turbo 4 cyl./Auto

22 city/28 hwy

20 city/27 hwy

3.5 V6/Auto

4WD

2.5 turbo 4 cyl./Auto

20 city/26 hwy

19 city/26 hwy

3.5 V6/Auto

n/a

19 city/25 hwy

3.5 V6/Auto

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Mazda CX-9 uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The MDX requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Brakes and Stopping

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The CX-9 stops shorter than the MDX:

CX-9

MDX

70 to 0 MPH

178 feet

185 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the CX-9 has larger tires than the MDX (255/60R18 vs. 245/60R18).

Suspension and Handling

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For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the CX-9’s wheelbase is 4.3 inches longer than on the MDX (115.3 inches vs. 111 inches).

The CX-9’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (54.7% to 45.3%) than the MDX’s (57% to 43%). This gives the CX-9 more stable handling and braking.

The CX-9 Signature AWD handles at .85 G’s, while the MDX SH-AWD pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For greater off-road capability the CX-9 has a 1.5 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the MDX (8.8 vs. 7.3 inches), allowing the CX-9 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

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As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the CX-9 Signature AWD is quieter than the MDX SH-AWD:

CX-9

MDX

Full-Throttle

71 dB

76 dB

70 MPH Cruising

66 dB

68 dB

Passenger Space

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The CX-9 has 2.4 cubic feet more passenger volume than the MDX (135.1 vs. 132.7).

The CX-9 has 1.2 inches more front headroom, .2 inches more rear headroom, 2.8 inches more rear legroom and 1.6 inches more third row legroom than the MDX.

Cargo Capacity

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The CX-9’s cargo area is larger than the MDX’s in almost every dimension:

CX-9

MDX

Length to seat (3rd/2nd/1st)

21.4”/49.7”/84.5”

21.05”/47.3”/81.7”

Max Width

57.2”

55”

Min Width

40”

45.3”

Height

30.3”

29.5”

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

Towing

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While the MDX SH-AWD Sport Hybrid is not recommended to tow, any CX-9 can tow a minimum of 3500 pounds.

Ergonomics

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The CX-9’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 MDX’s intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the CX-9 Grand Touring/Signature has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The MDX doesn’t offer cornering lights.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the CX-9 has standard extendable sun visors. The MDX doesn’t offer extendable visors.

Economic Advantages

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The CX-9 will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the CX-9 will retain 40.78% to 94.55% of its original price after five years, while the MDX only retains 40.03% to 44.9%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the CX-9 is less expensive to operate than the MDX because it costs $145 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the CX-9 than the MDX, including $124 less for a muffler, $128 less for front brake pads, $271 less for a starter, $1146 less for fuel injection, $119 less for a fuel pump and $332 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Mazda CX-9 will be $7115 to $12736 less than for the Acura MDX.

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 2020/01/28

Consumer Reports® recommends the Mazda CX-9, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Acura MDX isn't recommended.

The CX-9 was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Five/10Best Trucks” for 4 of the last 12 years. The MDX hasn’t been picked since 2001.

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

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