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Thread: Cross shopping cx-9 with Lexus rx350l and Acura MDX

  1. #1
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    Cross shopping cx-9 with Lexus rx350l and Acura MDX

    I know itís not necessarily a fair comparison but hereís what I have for pros and cons of the cx9 compared to the others. I test drove a 2019 today.

    Pros
    Price, price, price, price, price.
    Nice heads up display
    3rd row access even with car seats in second row
    Carplay/android auto
    Nice torque
    Interior colour on signature is beautiful
    Great space even with third row up
    Real leather in 3rd row
    Really made in Japan

    Cons
    Brand recognition
    Doors were solid but felt like hard plastic on door where it meets window
    Engine sounds whiny when accelerating
    Birdseye cameras are really low quality
    Low HP makes the top end not as fun.
    Interesting vibration when the engine is cold(not sure they all do this)
    Door handle doesnít auto open when you put your hand in. You have to press button.

    Really not trying to start any flaming, just trying to see everyoneís opinion. Also understand itís a Mazda forum but happy to hear why you all chose this car over others.

    I will agree that it felt more premium than a Pilot and Highlander.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Registered Member JPL's Avatar

    2018 Mazda6, CX-9

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    I'd buy the CX-9 even if the Lexus and Acura were the same price.

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  3. #3
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    All CX9 built and shipped from Japan. This new CX9 gen is a step up from the rest of Mazda, and SUV market. Everything is good. The only bad is infotainment and low quality 360 camera these are built by American part from Johnson Control with 80s technology.

  4. #4
    Registered Member colnago1331's Avatar


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    Quote Originally Posted by vtecman View Post
    *snip*

    Cons
    Brand recognition
    Doors were solid but felt like hard plastic on door where it meets window
    Engine sounds whiny when accelerating
    Birdseye cameras are really low quality
    Low HP makes the top end not as fun.
    Interesting vibration when the engine is cold(not sure they all do this)
    Door handle doesn*t auto open when you put your hand in. You have to press button.

    *snip*

    Thoughts?
    I'm not sure what you mean by "Brand recognition" and it being a con. Does it have the cachet of Acura or Lexus? No, of course not. But it's not designed to compete with those vehicles. Is it as well-known as Honda or Toyota? Well, it depends on what you're talking about. The MX-5 Miata is the quintessential Japanese roadster . . . certainly better than the MR-S and, dollar for dollar, the S2000. But yeah - the CX-9 isn't on the mind of every Tom, Dick, and Harry who's looking at the Pilot or the Highlander. Personally, I think Mazda has strong brand recognition among those who favor driving dynamics and style above overall practicality/utility.

    The whine you're hearing is, I believe, just the turbo. I kinda like it, but I'll be the first to tell you I'm a bit weird. The MDX and RX won't have that being normally aspirated sixers.

    As for the "low" HP, I find that I'm very rarely at the top end, whatever that is. Mazda's goal with all of its cars has never been for them to be the most powerful in their respective class; it's been for their cars to be the most fun to drive in their class. For me, 0-60 in 7.x isn't that much different than 0-60 in 6.x when in a 3-row CUV; I'm not trying to beat a Pilot (or any other vehicle for that matter) from stoplight to stoplight. I like being able to keep up with an A5 on the cloverleaf or punch it on the freeway entrance ramp so I can merge into traffic at speed. Incidentally, the CX-9 bests both the MDX and RX in 30-50 acceleration and edges the RX in 50-70 acceleration (the MDX beats it handily in this second category though).

    FWIW - my wife has an MDX, and I don't like to drive it nearly as much as my CX-9. Don't get me wrong - the MDX is a great vehicle. It's very comfortable over long trips, has upgrades and conveniences not available on the CX-9, and I even find the torque vectoring system of Acura's SH-AWD system preferable to the G-Vectoring Control that Mazda has developed. (And yes, I know my '17 CX-9 doesn't have GVC). But even though the CX-9 is larger, it drives smaller . . . at least to me.


    Last edited by colnago1331; 01-12-2019 at 09:43 PM.
    CURRENT MAZDA:
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    GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN MAZDAS:

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  5. #5
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    I just went with a CX-9 after looking at most in the "segment" and driving several (Highlander, Pilot). The only "luxury" brands I drove were the new MDX AWD Hybrid and a top trim Audi Q7. I did not drive the Lexus but I can bet it's a great ride and reliability and resale will be very good. To me the CX-9 compete's with the Audi and the MDX on many levels and is only missing a few luxury whistles and bells. I do not like the current interior of the MDX. It's dated and will be replaced soon. I do not like the push button transmission. Give me a shift lever I'm old school. The power in the MDX Hybrid is very good and very different. The CX-9 was more felt more engaging to drive to me than the Audi. Again it's a great rig and a bit higher on the luxury tip but is it 20-25k better? Not to me and I've had a few Audi's through the years and they are great cars but in this case the difference is minimal. Same with the MDX. I'm not in love with Lexus's current styling so I never took a hard look at the RX. It would have been close to 20k more than what I paid for my 2018 CX-9 GT AWD and to me it doesn't make sense.

    As far as reliability and quality Mazda came in second barely to Lexus in Consumer reports 2015 big survey. It amazes me how overlooked this brand is.

  6. #6
    Registered Member JPL's Avatar

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    Yeah, I could care less about the brand. The CX-9 was my first Mazda because the product sold itself. Each time I buy a car, I buy the vehicle that best fits my needs and desires that time around. The only brand quality I look at is the general history of quality/reliability. This generally keeps me away from German brands but otherwise I'm buying what I think is the best vehicle for me. Right now, Mazda is on a roll and is doing so much right. Styling, driving dynamics, upscale interiors, quality/reliability, is all on top of the game.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by vtecman View Post
    I know it*s not necessarily a fair comparison but here*s what I have for pros and cons of the cx9 compared to the others. I test drove a 2019 today.

    Pros
    Price, price, price, price, price.
    Nice heads up display
    3rd row access even with car seats in second row
    Carplay/android auto
    Nice torque
    Interior colour on signature is beautiful
    Great space even with third row up
    Real leather in 3rd row
    Really made in Japan

    Cons
    Brand recognition
    Doors were solid but felt like hard plastic on door where it meets window
    Engine sounds whiny when accelerating
    Birdseye cameras are really low quality
    Low HP makes the top end not as fun.
    Interesting vibration when the engine is cold(not sure they all do this)
    Door handle doesn*t auto open when you put your hand in. You have to press button.

    Really not trying to start any flaming, just trying to see everyone*s opinion. Also understand it*s a Mazda forum but happy to hear why you all chose this car over others.

    I will agree that it felt more premium than a Pilot and Highlander.

    Thoughts?
    I did same thing 2yrs ago...cross shopped the 9 with RX and MDX even XC90...ended up with the *17 CX9 Sig trim and glad I did! Almost bought the RX but glad I waited a few months...saved $10-14K vs the RX that had same specs and pkg. no regrets here...the styling and price alone will justify getting the 9 vs the others for - brand recognition? Badge? Slightly better build/quality? I came from a Volvo and decided mainstream was fine as I got the same features on the 9 if not a bit more vs the luxuries (practicality over brand recognition/badge came out on top). 2yrs ownership and no reliability issues whatsoever...

  8. #8
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    I did not cross shop the CX-9 against the 3 seat version of the 350 (too new and too expensive new) but did test drive the normal rx350 and the MDX. The Lexus to me was incredibly disappointing. The interior was nice and I actually don't mind the looks. The drive was soft and cushy. Really quiet ride as well. But there was no joy in driving it. I am old already and this made me feel 15 years older. The MDX was great and a 2016 MDX Advance with the SW-AWD can be had for 32-40K easily. That car drives much better than you would think and when you push it, it feels nice. Some of the interior stuff is amazing. The center console is the best in the world. It is really well designed. The infotainment system is atrocious. The two screens are stupid (the same as in our Odyssey) and it is impossible to do certain things without clicking a million things. It also requires premium fuel, which was a little bit of a turn off. Also, in the used market, there are only white, black and Silver cars available and while they look fine, there are a million of these around me.

    The CX-9 has an interior that is as nice as those others. Maybe not as nice as the 2019 versions but very similar to the 2016 MDX and rx350. The ride of the Mazda is as good, if not better, then the MDX. With CarPlay, the infotainment system is just as good, if not better. The car also looks better in my mind than either of those. The 2.5T feels just as powerful as the other two and the only gives up the top end to the MDX. The Lexus engine does not feel sporty or powerful in anyway.

    I would say that the CX-9 and MDX are not in the same league as the Highlander, Pilot, etc. Those are trying to be mini-van replacements. Mommy wagons to put it crudely. These are not and should not be thought of as such.

    Where the CX-9 fail short compared to the MDX is 1) interior storage compartments - where the MDX rocks. You could tell that Acura thought about everything and Mazda did not. Where the Acura uses the center cubbie to its fullest with storage for a phone, coins, etc, the Mazda just has a hole. 2) With the MDX, even while there is some torque steer, it is nothing like with the CX-9. Mazda really needs to address this going forward. But otherwise, this is an absolutely fantastic vehicle that deserves tons more sales than it has.
    Last edited by dougal; 01-13-2019 at 09:26 AM.
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  9. #9
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    Really appreciate all of your comments and I tend to agree with most of them.

    Since im leasing itís going to be a tossup between the mdx elite (advance in USA) or the Cx-9 signature. Iíve driven the 9 and the torque was really nice. I havenít had a chance to drive the mdx yet.

    Will keep you posted on my decision.

    Thanks again!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by vtecman View Post
    Really appreciate all of your comments and I tend to agree with most of them.

    Since im leasing it*s going to be a tossup between the mdx elite (advance in USA) or the Cx-9 signature. I*ve driven the 9 and the torque was really nice. I haven*t had a chance to drive the mdx yet.

    Will keep you posted on my decision.

    Thanks again!
    You looking at the 2019 MDX or older certified model?
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  11. #11
    Work in Progress sm1ke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tekbis View Post
    I did same thing 2yrs ago...cross shopped the 9 with RX and MDX even XC90...ended up with the *17 CX9 Sig trim and glad I did! Almost bought the RX but glad I waited a few months...saved $10-14K vs the RX that had same specs and pkg. no regrets here...the styling and price alone will justify getting the 9 vs the others for - brand recognition? Badge? Slightly better build/quality? I came from a Volvo and decided mainstream was fine as I got the same features on the 9 if not a bit more vs the luxuries (practicality over brand recognition/badge came out on top). 2yrs ownership and no reliability issues whatsoever...
    That's exactly what I did, only 1 year ago. I came from Lexus and was thoroughly impressed with the interior materials and fit and finish. The brand recognition thing I understand, I had some reservations about Mazda having seen so many 3s and 5s with significant rust issues. But I did a little research and came across this board, where the CX-9 had excellent feedback. It also gets a lot of praise from online reviewers as well.

    Keep us posted with your decision, vtecman!

  12. #12
    Apex? Where?! deepfriedsushi's Avatar

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    I cross shopped the CX9 against the Highlander, Pilot, MDX and Q7. Wife was leaning more towards a "luxury" vehicle.

    Highlander was good, but it seemed like it was getting pretty long in the tooth. Test drove a newer one with the 8spd transmission and it seemed like a decent vehicle, just old and plastic-y interior. Pilot felt like a boat and wife didn't like the looks. Mother in law has a '14 MDX with the 6spd transmission which is nice, but back to back with the CX9, the MDX's suspension felt really crashy. It does not absorb road bumps as solidly as the CX9. I also test drove the newest MDX with the 9 spd transmission and could not get over how clunky the transmission felt. There was always a pronounced clunk/shift between certain gears. Also had to rev the engine pretty high to feel a lot of power, which is generally not how these cars are driven. MDX just didn't seem like it was worth the 13-15k price increase over a CX9. Also test drove a Q7, which was an awesome driving experience, and the interior space and quality seemed similar to the CX9. Driving the CX9 felt closer to the Q7 felt than the MDX. But again...the Q7 was 30k more expensive than the CX9 when configured the way we wanted it and it was hard to justify that price difference (or afford it...haha).

    In the end, the CX9 gave that luxury feel and looks that my wife was looking for, had all the tech, features and driving experience we wanted, but for a great price.

  13. #13
    Grand Poobah tex2670's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by vtecman View Post
    I know it*s not necessarily a fair comparison but here*s what I have for pros and cons of the cx9 compared to the others. I test drove a 2019 today.

    Pros
    Price, price, price, price, price.
    Nice heads up display
    3rd row access even with car seats in second row
    Carplay/android auto
    Nice torque
    Interior colour on signature is beautiful
    Great space even with third row up
    Real leather in 3rd row
    Really made in Japan

    Cons
    Brand recognition
    Doors were solid but felt like hard plastic on door where it meets window
    Engine sounds whiny when accelerating
    Birdseye cameras are really low quality
    Low HP makes the top end not as fun.
    Interesting vibration when the engine is cold(not sure they all do this)
    Door handle doesn*t auto open when you put your hand in. You have to press button.

    Really not trying to start any flaming, just trying to see everyone*s opinion. Also understand it*s a Mazda forum but happy to hear why you all chose this car over others.

    I will agree that it felt more premium than a Pilot and Highlander.

    Thoughts?
    Here's how I always come out--are you getting an extra $10,000 (or whatever the price difference is) worth of value by buying the RX-L or MDX? I usually struggle to find that it's worth it.

    BTW, the 3rd row is not real leather.


    https://www.mazdausa.com/vehicles/cx-9/specs

    Nappa leather-trimmed seats (1st and 2nd-row outboard seating positions)

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by tex2670 View Post
    Here's how I always come out--are you getting an extra $10,000 (or whatever the price difference is) worth of value by buying the RX-L or MDX? I usually struggle to find that it's worth it.

    BTW, the 3rd row is not real leather.
    I stand corrected. So it looks like only the Acura does third row leather. Even Lexus is only the first two rows.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by dougal View Post
    You looking at the 2019 MDX or older certified model?
    2019.

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