2020 Mazda CX-9 vs. 2020 Subaru Ascent

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 2020/01/19

The CX-9 Grand Touring/Signature has a standard 360° View Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Ascent only offers a rear monitor and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the front or sides.

Both the CX-9 and the Ascent have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, 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 and available all-wheel drive.

Reliability

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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 Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mazda 12th in initial quality. With 19 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 25th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Mazda vehicles are more reliable than Subaru vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mazda second in reliability. Subaru is ranked 7th.

Engine

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The CX-9’s 2.5 turbo 4 cyl. produces 43 lbs.-ft. more torque (320 vs. 277) than the Ascent’s 2.4 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the Mazda CX-9 is faster than the Subaru Ascent:

CX-9

Ascent

Zero to 30 MPH

2.3 sec

2.7 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

6.8 sec

6.9 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

19 sec

19.4 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

7.5 sec

7.8 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

3.4 sec

3.9 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

4.7 sec

5.1 sec

Quarter Mile

15.4 sec

15.5 sec

Top Speed

132 MPH

130 MPH

Brakes and Stopping

© 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 2020/01/19

The CX-9 stops shorter than the Ascent:

CX-9

Ascent

60 to 0 MPH

123 feet

125 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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

Suspension and Handling

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The CX-9 has variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Ascent doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the CX-9’s wheelbase is 1.5 inches longer than on the Ascent (115.3 inches vs. 113.8 inches).

The CX-9 Signature AWD handles at .85 G’s, while the Ascent Limited pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The CX-9 Signature AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Ascent Touring (26.7 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 27.4 seconds @ .63 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the CX-9 has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Ascent (8.8 vs. 8.7 inches), allowing the CX-9 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

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The Mazda CX-9 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 200 pounds less than the Subaru Ascent.

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

CX-9

Ascent

At idle

37 dB

40 dB

Full-Throttle

71 dB

73 dB

70 MPH Cruising

66 dB

67 dB

Cargo Capacity

© 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 2020/01/19

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

CX-9

Ascent

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

21.4”/49.7”/84.5”

19.9”/47.6”/82.5”

Max Width

57.2”

50.5”

Min Width

40”

45.9”

Height

30.3”

33.9”

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 Ascent 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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The CX-9’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Ascent’s (3500 vs. 2000 pounds).

Ergonomics

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The CX-9 Grand Touring/Signature has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Ascent doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The CX-9’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Ascent’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

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 Ascent’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The CX-9’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Subaru only offers heated mirrors on the Ascent Premium/Limited/Touring.

Model Availability

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The CX-9 is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The Ascent doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the CX-9 owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the CX-9 will cost $655 less than the Ascent over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the CX-9 is less expensive to operate than the Ascent because it costs $273 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the CX-9 than the Ascent, including $267 less for a starter and $234 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 2020/01/19

Car and Driver performed a comparison test in its September 2018 issue and the Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD won out over the Subaru Ascent Touring.

The CX-9 was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Five/10Best Trucks” for 4 of the last 12 years. The Ascent has never been a Car and Driver “Top Five/10Best Truck” pick.

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

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