The 2023 Mazda CX-9 Has 1 Huge Disadvantage Compared to Its Class Rivals

The midsize SUV category is one of the automotive world’s most competitive segments. A vehicle needs many standout features to get noticed, which is no problem for the 2023 Mazda CX-9. This car boasts an elegant exterior design and a best-in-class cabin containing several premium features.

However, there’s one area where the Mazda CX-9 can’t keep up with popular rivals even with all its strengths. If you want an SUV with an above-average towing capacity, you might need to consider other options.

Let’s talk about the 2023 Mazda CX-9

Mazda tells us that every CX-9 SUV comes with a turbo-four engine. It can produce up to 250 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque, paired with a six-speed automatic transmission attached. Like the 2022 model, Mazda says the CX-9 has standard AWD and off-road traction assist.

The base Touring model rides on 18-inch wheels, but you’ll receive 20-inch ones with every other trim. Each model includes a sleek roof spoiler, LED headlights, and black cladding and shiny grille typical of this brand. Inside, the Mazda CX-9 has room for seven riders if you don’t opt for captain’s chairs.

According to Car and Driver, the Mazda CX-9’s cabin could be mistaken for a luxury car with its polished aluminum surfaces and leather-trimmed seats. Testers were also impressed with the quality of the woodgrain accents on more expensive models.

Every trim has standard heated seats and a large assortment of safety features. Infotainment features, accessible through the 10.25-in touchscreen, include smartphone integration and HD radio.

Currently, the Mazda CX-9 is in direct competition with the Kia Telluride and Honda Pilot. The 2023 midsize SUV segment also includes the Chevy Traverse, Subaru Ascent, Volkswagen Atlas, and Jeep Grand Cherokee. That’s just to name a few. You’ve also got the Ford Explorer, Hyundai Santa Fe, and many others to consider.

How much can the 2023 Mazda CX-9 tow?

Edmunds confirms that the 2023 Mazda CX-9 can only tow up to 3.500 lbs. Its payload capacity is just 1,434 lbs. We speculate that this particular weakness is due to the Mazda CX-9’s lack of V6 power. 

Look at the Kia Telluride as an example, one of the CX-9’s many V6-equipped rivals. According to Edmunds, this car can tow up to 5,000 lbs and has a payload capacity of 1,565 lbs. Even though it makes more power than the CX-9 (291 hp), it gets the same fuel economy range of 20 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway.

The Mazda CX-9’s towing capacity compared to its rivals

Edmunds says even without a V6, the Subaru Ascent has the same towing capacity as the Kia Telluride. The base trim is also significantly less expensive than the Mazda CX-9 Touring, though it doesn’t come with as many desirable features.

Still, as we can see from the Honda Pilot, having a V6 doesn’t always promise the best standard towing capacity. Edmunds says this SUV can tow 3,500 lbs, just like the Mazda CX-9. However, with the right options equipped, that capacity rises to 5,000 lbs.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee has the highest maximum towing capacity, up to 6,200 lbs. However, Edmunds points out that this SUV’s payload capacity is slightly lower than some of its competitors. Edmunds says that the base Chevy Traverse can only tow 1,500 lbs, though it has a maximum capacity of 5,000 lbs.

Edmunds highlights that the Volkswagen Atlas has a base towing capacity of 2,000 lbs. That’s with the standard four-cylinder engine: you can tow up to 5,000 lbs with the optional V6. However, it might be difficult to find a rival with the Mazda CX-9’s balance of fancy interior accommodations and sporty performance. 

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