If you’re shopping for a three-row SUV, then you might have a tough time deciding on which one works best for you and your family. While the rising starts like the Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride are easy to gravitate to and somewhat hard to get, there are more common choices to choose from like the Mazda CX-9 and, of course, the Honda Pilot.
We were able to spend some time recently in the 2021 Mazda CX-9 and found that it actually bests the Honda Pilot in a few different areas. Every car has its strengths and weakness, but if you ended up going with a Mazda CX-9, here are a few reasons that you will glad that you picked over an SUV like the Honda Pilot.
When it comes to styling, it’s hard to beat Mazda’s KODO Design philosophy in which all the vehicles in the automaker’s lineup “embody the dynamic beauty of life.” While that might sound a little “woo woo,” we think it actually does well to describe the emotion that the CX-9’s design exhibits.
Love it or hate it, the Mazda CX-9 elicits a sensual and subtle emotion no matter which angle you look at it, which is due in part to the car’s rounded edges and smoothed-out panels. We feel that the CX-9’s overall look is a step away from the typical boxy SUV shape and provides a timeless execution that you will likely tire of in 10 years, or at least until your lease is up. The Honda Pilot, on the other hand, might start to look dated pretty soon.
Exciting driving dynamics
Mazda vehicles have always been known for their sporty driving dynamics and the flagship CX-9 is no exception. We were impressed with how sharp the steering is in a car with this much heft, it felt like we driving a smaller car. Additionally, the CX-9 handles well as it takes turns quickly and confidently, unlike the Honda Pilot, which can wallow and feel larger when taking tight corners.
RELATED: The Most Fuel-Efficient Mazda SUVs
While we know that no one would ever buy a three-row SUV based on its driving dynamics, it’s nice to know that there is an SUV on the market that can still cater to your inner racecar driver while taking care of family daily duties.
Under the hood is a turbocharged 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine that pumps out 250 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque when premium fuel is used. That’s more torque than the Honda Pilot’s 3.5-liter V6 puts out, and you’ll be glad that it’s there for you for years to come.
Better fuel economy
Although the CX-9’s engine is smaller than the Pilot’s, it’s able to achieve better fuel economy numbers. According to the EPA, the Mazda CX-9 can get up to 22 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway in front-wheel-drive form, while opting for all-wheel-drive will equate to one less mpg for each stat.
Again, you technically wouldn’t buy a CX-9, or any SUV, based on its gas mileage, but considering fuel costs can add up over time, you’ll end up spending less on gas with the CX-9 compared to the Pilot. And that’s something that you likely wouldn’t mind in the long run.