Mazda CX-5 vs. Mazda CX-9

By

Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009 and has been published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also hosts a web-series car-review show and dabbles in the world of personal-finance writing.

His specialty is in the high-performance realm, but he has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Before diving into the world of writing, Justin was an automotive technician and manager for six years and spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

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, Automotive Editor - February 24, 2020

Between the subcompact Mazda CX-30, compact Mazda CX-5, and midsize, three-row Mazda CX-9, Mazda has a stable full of crossovers to meet any buyer’s needs. But with so many options, it can be hard to choose the right one for your situation.

We put the CX-5 and the CX-9 head-to-head to see which is the better buy.

See a side-by-side comparison of the CX-5 & CX-9»

What the CX-5 Gets Right

The Mazda CX-5 gets a quick head start on its big brother in base pricing. It costs $26,135 to start, making it $8,700 cheaper than the base CX-9. In fact, you can move all the way up to the midrange CX-5 Grand Touring and still end up cheaper than the base CX-9.

At the Grand Touring level, the CX-5 comes well-equipped with 19-inch alloy wheels, adaptive LED headlights, a 7-inch LCD cluster screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and more. The CX-9 doesn’t include these desirable features until you reach higher trim levels.

The CX-5’s base engine lacks the pop of the CX-9’s standard turbocharged unit, but buyers can get this 2.5-liter turbo four-cylinder in the CX-5 Grand Touring Reserve and Signature models. With up to 250 horsepower on tap, the lighter CX-5 sprints to 60 mph in the mid-7-second range, making it quicker than the CX-9 with the same engine. Plus, the CX-5’s smaller and lighter body makes it nimbler in the corners.

Fuel economy also falls in the CX-5’s win column at up to 25 miles per gallon city, 31 highway, and 28 combined, according to the EPA. These numbers beat the base CX-9 across the board.

Finally, despite being smaller, the CX-5 offers 39.6 inches of second-row legroom, beating the CX-9 by 0.2 inches.

What the CX-9 Gets Right

The CX-9 shows its key advantage the second you step into it, as it features three rows of seats that can handle up to seven passengers. It also hauls cargo like a champ with 21.5 cubic feet behind the third row, 38.2 cubes behind the second row, and 71.2 cubic feet behind the first row. The latter two measurements beat the CX-5 by 7.3 cubic feet and 11.6 cubic feet, respectively.

Under its hood, the CX-9 boasts a standard 2.5-liter turbo four-cylinder engine that pumps out up to 250 hp (227 hp on regular unleaded fuel). This beats the base CX-5’s 2.5-liter by up to 63 horsepower. Also, with 310 pound-feet of torque available at 2,000 rpm, it has tons of low-end power for quick launches.

The Mazda CX-9 can also tow up to 3,500 pounds, beating the CX-5 by 1,500 pounds.

Got a Big Family? Opt for 3 Rows

Buyers with a large family or those who frequently run a carpool need all the room they can get, and the Mazda CX-9’s seven-passenger seating should be plenty.

Our Verdict: Mazda CX-5

There's very little that separates the Mazda CX-5 and Mazda CX-9 other than sheer size and passenger capacity, so unless you need the extra room, there's no need to buy the more expensive CX-9. For most families, the smaller, nimbler, more fuel-efficient, and cheaper CX-5 is the better option.

Take a closer look at the Mazda CX-5 »

Take a closer look at the Mazda CX-9 »

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009 and has been published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also hosts a web-series car-review show and dabbles in the world of personal-finance writing.

His specialty is in the high-performance realm, but he has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Before diving into the world of writing, Justin was an automotive technician and manager for six years and spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

Follow On: Twitter

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