Mazda CX-5 vs. Mazda CX-9

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Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

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, Automotive Editor - May 30, 2018

Mazda has taken great strides recently by making its crossovers more luxurious and more enjoyable to drive. The Mazda CX-5 is the brand's compact offering, while the CX-9 is its mid-size crossover in the lineup. Both have a fun-to-drive character, upscale interiors, and the high-riding body style that consumers are looking for. The CX-9 may be larger than the CX-5, but are there other differences that'll have you going with one model over the other? Continue reading to see which crossover you should consider.

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

What the CX-5 Gets Right

Since the CX-5 is classified as a compact crossover, the model is the more affordable choice. Pricing for the 2018 CX-5 starts at $25,125 (prices include destination), while the 2018 CX-9 carries a price tag of $33,105. The $7,980 difference means that you can get into the range-topping CX-5 Grand Touring at $30,620 and there's still a $2,485 gap before the entry-level CX-9.

For drivers that reside in urban areas, the CX-5's compact size makes it easier to drive on congested, tight roads. Its compact stature also makes it the more fuel-efficient option. The CX-5 is rated by the EPA to get 25 miles per gallon city, 31 mpg highway, and 28 combined. The CX-9 is larger and has a more powerful engine, which means it's not as fuel efficient. The CX-9 is rated by the EPA to get 22 mpg city, 29 highway, and 24 combined.

Despite being smaller, the CX-5 offers passengers with more front head room, rear head room, and rear leg room for the second row. The CX-5's rear seats are more comfortable than the CX-9's, as well, as getting into the third row in the mid-size crossover can be difficult.

What the CX-9 Gets Right

The most obvious upside to the CX-9 is its available seating. The mid-size crossover has a third row and enough seating for seven passengers – two more than the CX-5. Its larger stature also allows the CX-9 to hold more cargo. With all of the seats in place, the CX-9 has the ability to hold 14.4 cubic feet of cargo. That figure increases to 38.2 cubic feet behind the second row and a massive 71.2 cubic feet with all of the seats down.

The CX-9 also has the upper hand when it comes to performance, featuring a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder that produces 250 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. The smaller CX-5 has a naturally-aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder that generates 187 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque. As a larger vehicle, the CX-9 isn't as zippy or enjoyable to drive as the CX-5, but it's peppy for its size.

Need Room For Seven?

If you need room for seven passengers, the CX-9 is the only viable option of the two. Getting into the third row isn't easy, though, so ferrying seven passengers on a regular basis could prove to be difficult. It's a great vehicle, but its large size is just a little too big for the majority of drivers.

Our Verdict: Mazda CX-5

The CX-5 strikes the middle ground between being the right size, price, and amount of fun to drive. For the average consumer, the CX-5 is a great crossover that ticks all of the right boxes. Its distinct styling is also noteworthy among other compact crossovers, as it's one of the better looking vehicles in its class.

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

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

Follow On: Twitter

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