2021 Toyota Highlander or Mazda CX-9: Which SUV Is Bigger?

The 2021 Toyota Highlander and the 2021 Mazda CX-9 are both popular three-row SUVs. Each one has lots to offer, but which should you pick if you’re looking for the one that is bigger? We take a look at how the two measure up and discover that it depends on what you’re measuring.

Which is bigger: the 2021 Toyota Highlander or Mazda CX-9?

Toyota's gray 2021 Highlander XLE is displayed at the 2020 Chicago Auto Show Media Preview
The 2021 Toyota Highlander XLE | Joel Lerner/Xinhua via Getty

The 2021 Mazda CX-9 is longer and wider than the 2021 Toyota Highlander, but the Highlander provides more overall space for passengers and cargo. The Mazda CX-9 has a wheelbase of 115.3 inches and a total length of 199.4 inches. The Toyota Highlander has a wheelbase of 112.2 inches and a total length of 194.9 inches. The CX-9 is about an inch wider too, coming in at 77.2 inches wide as compared to the Highlander’s 76.0 inches, reports Kelley Blue Book.

The Highlander is a tiny bit taller, though, at 68.1 inches as compared to the CX-9’s 67.6 inches. The Highlander also has more room inside. It has 141.3 cubic feet of passenger volume, and the CX-9 has 135.1 cubic feet. The Highlander has room for seven or eight people, while the CX-9 can seat seven.

The Highlander has more headroom than the CX-9, but the difference is less than an inch for each of the three rows. The CX-9 has less than an inch more legroom in the front row (41.0 versus 40.4 inches), but it has two extra inches of legroom in the still small third row (29.7 versus 27.7 inches). The Highlander has more legroom in the second row (41.0 versus 39.4 inches).

The Highlander comes out on top for cargo space, with 16 cubic feet behind the third row, 48.4 cubic feet behind the second row, and 84.3 cubic feet behind the first row. The CX-9 has 14.4 cubic feet behind the third row, 38.2 cubic feet behind the second row, and 71.1 cubic feet behind the first row.

Is the 2021 Toyota Highlander a good SUV?

The 2021 Toyota Highlander has Toyota’s usual reliability and has excellent fuel efficiency with its four-cylinder hybrid option. In addition to the hybrid powertrain, a 295-hp 3.5-liter V6 engine is also available. Both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive are available.

With the V6, the Highlander is rated for 24 MPG overall, with 21 MPG in the city and 29 MPG on the highway. With the hybrid, it can get 35 or 36 MPG. The Highlander also has high resale value.

The third-row seats are snug, though, and the base trim doesn’t have blind-spot monitoring or rear cross-traffic alert. It does come standard with adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and lane tracing assist.

An 8-inch touchscreen is standard, but a 12.3-inch version is an option, says U.S. News. The V6 engine can tow up to 5,000 pounds, but the hybrid powertrain can tow only 3,500 pounds. The 2021 Toyota Highlander has a starting price of $34,910.

How luxurious is the 2021 Mazda CX-9?

The 2021 Mazda CX-9 has excellent style and a luxury interior. All trim levels come with heated seats, a power driver’s seat, and tri-zone automatic climate control. It provides Mazda’s usual great drive and handling. The CX-9 has a 227-hp 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. It has the same overall fuel efficiency as the Toyota Highlander with its V6. The CX-9 is rated for 24 MPG overall, with 22 MPG in the city and 28 MPG on the highway.

It also has plenty of standard advanced safety features, including blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, and lane-departure warning, says U.S. News.

A 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system is standard and includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. However, its third row and cargo room are on the smaller side, and it tows just 3,500 pounds. The 2021 Mazda CX-9 has a starting price of $34,160.

Comparing the sizes of the 2021 Toyota Highlander and Mazda CX-9

While both the 2021 Toyota Highlander and the Mazda CX-9 have smaller third rows and smaller cargo areas, the third row in the CX-9 is a bit bigger than in the Highlander. However, the Highlander has more overall room for passengers and cargo, while the CX-9 is a longer and wider SUV. Deciding which is bigger all depends on what you’re measuring.

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