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When it comes to new Mazda SUVs, it can be hard to choose. The 2023 Mazda CX-5 and the 2023 Mazda CX-9 are stacked with features, but there are some differences besides how many passengers each sport utility vehicle can fit.

What is the difference between the 2023 Mazda CX-5 and the 2023 Mazda CX-9?

U.S. News says the good news is that the 2023 Mazda CX-5 and the 2023 Mazda CX-9 are reliable potential vehicles. For the CX-5, the range for the base S model starts at $26,700 and goes up to $39,650 for the top-of-the-line Turbo Signature. The CX-5 is a bit smaller than the CX-9 and only has two rows, but it is a good option for those who don’t need a third row. For the CX-9, the based Touring trim starts at $38,750 and goes up to $48,460 for the top-of-the-line Signature model.

When it comes to space, the 2023 Mazda CX-9 is the winner. It has room for up to seven passengers in its three rows, and second-row captain’s chairs are an option. However, the third row isn’t the biggest in the segment. It might be worth testing if you plan to use the third row regularly. Those who only need room for five will appreciate the space in the CX-5, even without the third row.

Speaking of space, the CX-5 has 59.3 cubic feet of cargo space with the seats folded. The cargo room drops to 30.8 cubic feet with the rear seats up. In the CX-9, cargo space sits at 71.2 cubic feet, with both rows folded. With the second row in use, space goes to 38.2 cubic feet, down to 14.4 with all of the rows in use.

2023 Mazda CX-5 vs. 2023 Mazda CX-9

Comparing the interiors of the 2023 Mazda CX-5 and the 2023 Mazda CX-9 is an area where both SUVs shine. The fit and finish of the CX-5 and CX-9 are veering into luxury territory without the high price. Soft-touch materials on the dashboard, center console, and other areas look nice and feel sturdy.

Neither one received a touch screen regarding the infotainment system inside both Mazda SUVs. Regular knobs and buttons are used to control the system. While some people prefer touchscreens, many find that buttons are easier to navigate the systems with. Multiple USB ports, Bluetooth, and a Wi-Fi hotspot are standard on both.

Looking at power for the 2023 Mazda CX-5 and the 2023 Mazda CX-9, the CX-5 gets 187 horsepower from the base engine. A turbocharged four-cylinder is available for an upgrade that gets 256 hp. The CX-9 only gets one engine option that provides 227 hp, which is plenty for most situations.

Both Mazda SUVs deliver on fuel economy and safety

The 2023 Mazda CX-5 seen on top of the 2023 Mazda CX-9
A 2023 Mazda CX-5 and a 2023 Mazda CX-9 | Mazda

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With the non-turbo engine in the CX-5, the fuel economy sits at 24 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. The turbo version returns 22 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. Since the CX-9 only has one engine choice, it gets 20 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. However, the one engine choice gets a towing maximum of 3,500 pounds, beating the 2,000 pounds offered by the CX-5.

On top of that, both Mazdas have a five-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, and lane-departure warning are all standard. Blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and automatic high-beam headlights are also included.

At the end of the day, the 2023 Mazda CX-5 and 2023 Mazda CX-9 have many similar offerings. The seating capacity is one of the most significant differences, but most three-row SUV customers wouldn’t be looking at the CX-5. For now, Mazda has a winner in both of these 2023 SUVs.