Mazda CX-9 vs Toyota Highlander: 3-Row SUVs

Mazda CX-9 vs Toyota Highlander

In this section, I will provide a detailed comparison between the Mazda CX-9 and the Toyota Highlander, two popular 3-row SUVs. Whether you’re in the market for a spacious family vehicle or an SUV with excellent performance and comfort, this comparison will guide you in making an informed decision. Let’s dive into the key aspects of these SUVs and see how they stack up against each other.

Key Takeaways:

  • The Mazda CX-9 and the Toyota Highlander are both highly-rated 3-row SUVs.
  • Performance, comfort, and value are crucial factors to consider when choosing between these two models.
  • By comparing their features, technology, specs, performance, reliability, and safety, you can determine which SUV suits your needs best.
  • Whether you prioritize advanced safety features, spacious interiors, or fuel efficiency, this comparison will help you make the right choice.
  • Stay tuned as we delve into each aspect thoroughly to give you a comprehensive understanding of the Mazda CX-9 and the Toyota Highlander.

Mazda CX-9 vs Toyota Highlander: Features & Technology

In this section, we will compare the features and technology offered by the Mazda CX-9 and the Toyota Highlander. Both SUVs come equipped with a range of amenities and advanced systems, designed to enhance your driving experience.

Standard Amenities

Let’s start by examining the standard amenities in the Mazda CX-9 and the Toyota Highlander:

Mazda CX-9 Toyota Highlander
Tri-zone automatic climate control Tri-zone automatic climate control
Keyless entry and ignition Keyless entry and ignition
Leather-wrapped steering wheel Leather-wrapped steering wheel
Power-adjustable front seats Power-adjustable front seats
Rearview camera Rearview camera

As you can see, both SUVs offer similar standard amenities, ensuring comfort and convenience for both the driver and passengers.

Infotainment Systems

Mazda and Toyota have integrated advanced infotainment systems into their respective SUVs. Here’s a comparison of the infotainment features:

  • Mazda CX-9: The Mazda CX-9 features an 8-inch touchscreen display with Mazda Connect, allowing you to access your favorite apps, phone integration, and audio streaming.
  • Toyota Highlander: The Toyota Highlander comes equipped with an 8-inch touchscreen display featuring Toyota’s Entune infotainment system, providing access to entertainment, navigation, and smartphone connectivity.

Both systems offer user-friendly interfaces and seamless connectivity options, keeping you entertained and informed on your journeys.

Additional Features

In addition to the standard amenities and infotainment systems, the Mazda CX-9 and the Toyota Highlander offer various additional features to enhance your driving experience. Here are a few notable features:

  1. Mazda CX-9:
  • i-Activsense safety suite, including features like blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and adaptive cruise control.
  • Available Bose premium audio system for an immersive sound experience.
  • Optional heated and ventilated front seats for added comfort.
  • Toyota Highlander:
    • Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+, offering advanced safety features such as lane departure alert, pre-collision system, and dynamic radar cruise control.
    • JBL premium audio system for a high-quality audio experience.
    • Available panoramic moonroof for an open and spacious feel.

    With these additional features, both SUVs prioritize safety, entertainment, and comfort on the road.

    Now that we have explored the features and technology of the Mazda CX-9 and the Toyota Highlander, you can get a better understanding of what each SUV has to offer. In the next section, we will delve into the specifications and performance characteristics of these vehicles, helping you make an informed decision for your family’s SUV.

    Mazda CX-9 vs Toyota Highlander: Specs & Performance

    When comparing the Mazda CX-9 and the Toyota Highlander, it is essential to consider their specifications and performance. These factors play a crucial role in determining the overall driving experience and capability of these SUVs. Let’s delve into the engine options, horsepower, torque, towing capacity, fuel efficiency, and cargo space offered by both models.

    Mazda CX-9 Specs

    The Mazda CX-9 comes with a powerful SKYACTIV-G 2.5T engine. This turbocharged engine delivers impressive performance, generating up to 227 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. With its responsive acceleration and smooth power delivery, the CX-9 ensures an exhilarating driving experience. It also offers a maximum towing capacity of 3,500 lbs, allowing you to tow small trailers or recreational equipment effortlessly. In terms of fuel efficiency, this SUV achieves an EPA-estimated 22 MPG in the city and 28 MPG on the highway, making it an efficient choice for daily commuting and long drives. Additionally, the CX-9 provides ample cargo space of up to 71.2 cubic feet when the second and third rows are folded down, giving you plenty of room to transport your belongings.

    Toyota Highlander Specs

    The Toyota Highlander offers a range of engine options to suit different preferences. One of the available engines is a robust 3.5-liter V6 engine. This powertrain delivers 295 horsepower and 263 lb-ft of torque, ensuring smooth acceleration and ample power for highway merging and passing. The Highlander also offers a competitive towing capacity of up to 5,000 lbs, allowing you to haul heavier loads with ease. In terms of fuel efficiency, the Highlander achieves an EPA-estimated 21 MPG in the city and 29 MPG on the highway, making it a fuel-efficient option for daily commutes and road trips. With the second and third rows folded, the Highlander offers up to 84.3 cubic feet of cargo space, providing plenty of room for your gear, groceries, or luggage.

    Comparison Table: Mazda CX-9 vs Toyota Highlander

    Mazda CX-9 Toyota Highlander
    Engine Options SKYACTIV-G 2.5T 3.5-liter V6
    Horsepower 227 295
    Torque 310 lb-ft 263 lb-ft
    Towing Capacity 3,500 lbs 5,000 lbs
    Fuel Efficiency (City/Highway) 22 MPG / 28 MPG 21 MPG / 29 MPG
    Cargo Space (Max) 71.2 cubic feet 84.3 cubic feet

    As shown in the comparison table above, the Mazda CX-9 and the Toyota Highlander offer distinct specifications and performance characteristics. While the CX-9 provides a slightly higher torque output and an efficient engine that strikes a balance between power and fuel economy, the Highlander excels with its higher horsepower and towing capacity, making it a suitable choice for those with heavy hauling needs. Additionally, the Highlander offers a greater cargo space capacity, providing more versatility for carrying larger items. Ultimately, the decision between these SUVs will depend on your specific requirements and preferences.

    SUV Performance

    Mazda CX-9 vs Toyota Highlander: Reliability & Safety

    In this section, we will evaluate the reliability and safety features of the Mazda CX-9 and the Toyota Highlander. When it comes to choosing a family SUV, reliability and safety are paramount considerations. Let’s examine how these two vehicles perform in these areas.

    Mazda Reliability

    Mazda has established a reputation for producing reliable vehicles. With their dedication to quality craftsmanship and engineering, Mazda cars have consistently received high reliability ratings year after year. The same philosophy applies to the Mazda CX-9, ensuring that you can rely on its performance and durability.

    Toyota Reliability

    Toyota has long been known for its reliability, and the Toyota Highlander lives up to that reputation. Toyota has built a legacy of producing dependable vehicles, making it a popular choice among families. The Highlander’s track record for reliability provides peace of mind for drivers and their loved ones.

    SUV Safety Features

    Both the Mazda CX-9 and the Toyota Highlander come equipped with an array of safety features to protect you and your passengers on the road. These features include:

    • Advanced Airbag Systems: Front, side, and curtain airbags offer comprehensive protection in the event of a collision.
    • Anti-lock Braking System (ABS): ABS helps maintain steering control and stability during sudden braking.
    • Electronic Stability Control (ESC): ESC helps prevent skidding and loss of control on slippery roads.
    • Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM): BSM detects vehicles in your blind spots and alerts you to their presence.
    • Rearview Camera: A rearview camera provides a clear view of what’s behind you for safer reversing and parking maneuvers.
    • Forward Collision Warning (FCW) with Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB): FCW uses sensors to detect potential collisions, while AEB automatically applies the brakes to reduce the impact or prevent an accident altogether.

    These safety features are designed to prioritize your well-being and enhance your overall driving experience.

    Comparison Table: Reliability & Safety Features

    Mazda CX-9 Toyota Highlander
    Reliability High High
    Advanced Airbag Systems Yes Yes
    Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) Yes Yes
    Electronic Stability Control (ESC) Yes Yes
    Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM) Yes Yes
    Rearview Camera Yes Yes
    Forward Collision Warning (FCW) with Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) Yes Yes

    As you can see from the comparison table, both the Mazda CX-9 and the Toyota Highlander excel in terms of reliability and safety features. Whichever SUV you choose, you can feel confident in your decision to prioritize the well-being of you and your loved ones.


    After a thorough comparison of the Mazda CX-9 and the Toyota Highlander, it is evident that both SUVs offer a range of impressive features and capabilities. However, when it comes to choosing the best family SUV, my recommendation goes to the Mazda CX-9.

    With its stylish design, luxurious interior, and advanced technology, the CX-9 stands out as a top contender in the market. The spacious cabin provides ample seating for seven passengers, ensuring comfort and convenience during long journeys.

    When considering performance, the Mazda CX-9 boasts a powerful engine that delivers impressive acceleration and smooth handling. Additionally, its fuel efficiency is noteworthy, making it an economical choice for families who prioritize sustainability.

    While the Toyota Highlander offers its own set of advantages, such as a strong reputation for reliability and a wide range of safety features, the Mazda CX-9’s overall package makes it the best choice for those seeking a well-rounded and refined family SUV.


    What are the main differences between the Mazda CX-9 and the Toyota Highlander?

    The Mazda CX-9 and the Toyota Highlander have some key differences. The CX-9 boasts a more stylish and upscale interior, while the Highlander offers more cargo space. The CX-9 is known for its dynamic handling and sporty performance, while the Highlander prioritizes comfort and a smooth ride.

    Which SUV has more advanced technology features?

    Both the Mazda CX-9 and the Toyota Highlander offer a range of advanced technology features. The CX-9 comes standard with the Mazda Connect infotainment system, which includes an 8-inch touchscreen display and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. The Highlander also comes with a touchscreen infotainment system, but it is slightly smaller at 6.1 inches.

    What are the engine options available for the Mazda CX-9 and the Toyota Highlander?

    The Mazda CX-9 comes equipped with a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 227 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque on regular gasoline. However, if you use premium fuel, the horsepower increases to 250. On the other hand, the Toyota Highlander offers a 3.5-liter V6 engine that generates 295 horsepower and 263 pound-feet of torque.

    Which SUV has better fuel efficiency?

    When it comes to fuel efficiency, the Mazda CX-9 has the advantage. It earns an EPA-estimated 22 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway, making it one of the most fuel-efficient options in its class. The Toyota Highlander, on the other hand, has an EPA-estimated 21 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway.

    Are the Mazda CX-9 and the Toyota Highlander reliable?

    Both the Mazda CX-9 and the Toyota Highlander have a reputation for reliability. However, it is worth noting that Toyota has a longstanding reputation for building reliable vehicles, making the Highlander a safe bet in terms of reliability.

    What safety features are available in the Mazda CX-9 and the Toyota Highlander?

    The Mazda CX-9 comes standard with a robust suite of safety features, including blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and low-speed automatic emergency braking. The Toyota Highlander also comes with advanced safety technologies such as pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with steering assist, and adaptive cruise control.

    Which SUV is the best choice for families?

    Both the Mazda CX-9 and the Toyota Highlander are excellent choices for families, with their spacious interiors, comfortable seating, and advanced safety features. However, the Toyota Highlander offers more cargo space, making it a better option for families with larger storage needs.

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