2020 Mazda CX-9 vs. Toyota Highlander: Which SUV Is Right for You?

Choosing the right vehicle is a tough job. You do all the research, check out all the ratings, and still, you can’t decide. Many times, you’ll narrow it down to two choices that are fairly similar. The 2020 Mazda CX-9 and the 2020 Toyota Highlander are two excellent SUVs that received similarly high marks across the board with Consumer Reports. They do have minor differences that make it easier to decide which one is most suitable for you, though. 

The 2020 Mazda CX-9 is a driver’s dream

The 2020 Mazda CX-9 received an overall score of 86 from Consumer Reports. This midsize SUV is a lot of fun for drivers, with excellent agility and a responsive, turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It lives up to Mazda’s tagline “Driving Matters.”

The Mazda CX-9 has a more sleek and stylish design than most SUVs. The interior is also a bit more plush and upscale than its competitors, but the sleek exterior design takes away from cabin space. Unfortunately, it also limits cargo space and visibility. While the ride in the CX-9 might not be great for a whole family, it’s a pleasing experience for the driver. 

The Mazda CX-9’s 2.5-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine gives its V6 competitors a run for their money. In the road test, it only took eight seconds to make it to 60 mph. The ride is smooth and enjoyable, and the engine is fairly quiet. The only time it gets a bit noisy is when it’s really pushed, and then it’s noticeably raspier than its V6 counterparts. 

The 2020 Toyota Highlander is great for the whole family

The 2020 Toyota Highlander also received an overall score of 86 from Consumer Reports. The fourth-generation Highlander retains all the positive characteristics that Toyota fans have loved in the past. It’s a reliable, comfortable ride for families, but its design is rather humdrum, despite having been redesigned. 

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The powerful midsize SUV accelerates smoothly and quickly, thanks to the V6 engine. It can pass, merge, enter highways, and climb hills without hesitation, and the transmission changes gears smoothly. Although it has great power, the Highlander’s handling isn’t even close to the Mazda CX-9. 

The exterior may not be as sleek as the Mazda CX-9, but the interior is far roomier. The elevated driver’s seat provides excellent visibility. There’s plenty of elbow room for larger drivers, but perhaps too much for someone smaller. The spacious interior has lots of cabin storage, including a large center console bin and a multi-tier storage bin under the armrests in the front seat. 

How do I know which vehicle suits me better?

Both the Mazda CX-9 and the Toyota Highlander received the same exact overall score from Consumer Reports, which is a good indicator that they are fairly comparable. Deciding which vehicle to purchase all depends on your personal needs. Do you drive a lot? If so, you might prefer something that’s a little more fun behind the wheel. Do you have a large family? Then comfort and space might be more important. 

The Mazda CX-9 is an excellent choice if you’re looking for an SUV with a stylish, sporty feel. This SUV has speedy acceleration with awesome handling. 

The Toyota Highlander is a great choice if you’re looking for a family vehicle. The spacious interior and powerful V6 engine is great for road trips with the whole family. 

According to The Car Connection, both vehicles are reliable options that keep drivers coming back for more. They both have loads of important standard safety features, including forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, and lane departure warning. The Mazda CX-9 includes two additional standard safety features that are optional in the Highlander–blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic warning.