2021 Mazda CX-5 vs. CX-9 Do You Really Need the Extra Space?

Two of the most popular SUVs on the market right now come from the Mazda product line. The compact 2021 Mazda CX-5 and midsize CX-9 are both known for their exhilarating capabilities. The Mazda CX-5 stands out among competitors for its fuel efficiency and comfortable interior styling. The Mazda CX-9 impresses with its powerful performance and plethora of standard features.

While both vehicles are great options for those looking to get into an SUV, they each meet very different needs for consumers. U.S. News compared the two models side by side, and here is what they found.

The 2021 Mazda CX-5 and CX-9

The 2021 Mazda CX-5 ranks near the top of its class of compact and crossover SUVs. It offers adept handling with a standard 187 hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. An optional 2.5-liter turbo engine puts out 227 hp for better performance. Fuel economy is 25 mpg city and 31 mpg highway. The 2021 Mazda CX-9 is powered by the same 227 hp 2.5-liter turbo engine and has a fuel economy of 22 mpg city and 28 mpg highway.

Both of these SUVs are fun to drive and offer peace of mind with driver-assist modes and standard safety features. The handling is sporty with sharp steering control and firm suspension. Both models contain their composure around curves and offer reasonably powered performance.

The spacious interior and athletic design help to make these Mazda vehicles top among competitors. Cloth upholstery is standard on the base models, and leather heated seating is available. A power liftgate and adjustable seating upgrades are also optional on the CX-5 and CX-9.

The main difference between these two SUVs

The main difference between these two SUVs is size. The Mazda CX-9 has third-row seating while the Mazda CX-5 does not.

The CX-5 accommodates five passengers comfortably in its spacious cabin. While the legroom is limited in the back seats, there is plenty of cargo space. Despite being less than some of its rivals, the 59.6 cubic feet behind the front row and 30.9 cubic feet behind the second row should provide enough room for most owners.

The CX-9 can handle seven passengers with the standard second-row bench seat or six passengers with the captain’s chairs. There is plenty of room in the first two rows, but the third-row is better suited for kids, as a taller adult would be hard-pressed to get into the back row. There is larger cargo-carrying capacity in the CX-9 with 71.2 cubic feet behind the front row and 38.2 cubic feet behind the second row. The additional 14.4 cubic feet behind the third row gives this model more space than the CX-5.

Another major difference is the price, with the Mazda CX-5 being a much more affordable option. The CX-5 is offered in five trims and has an MSRP of $25,270 for the base model. In comparison, the CX-9, which comes in four trims, starts off at $33,960 for the entry-level model.

Both SUVs have all-wheel drive available and there are many upgrade options to choose from. The fully-loaded CX-5 Signature model tops out at $37,405, while the top-of-the-line Signature trim of the CX-9 has an MSRP of $46,605.

Consumers need to consider whether the extra space is worth the higher price tag.

Which Mazda SUV is a better choice?

RELATED: Mazda Has More IIHS ‘Top Safety Pick+’ Awards Than Any Other Brand in 2020

U.S. News selected the 2021 Mazda CX-5 SUV as the better choice. Although, for families that need more seating, the third-row in the CX-9 may prove to be a better option. If buyers can sacrifice the third-row, the CX-5 has better fuel efficiency, higher safety ratings, and offers an exceptional ride.

You can’t go wrong with either vehicle. Known for its attention to detail and use of quality materials, Mazda provides a comfortable cabin. There is plenty of room in both models, and the new 2021 infotainment system features state-of-the-art technology.