Don’t Make the Mistake of Choosing the 2021 Volkswagen Atlas Over the 2021 Mazda CX-9

The 2021 Mazda CX-9 has plenty going for it. From its stylish looks to its fuel-efficient engine, this year’s model makes for a pretty great choice among its segment, particularly when compared to the 2021 Volkswagen Atlas. But does that mean the 2021 Mazda CX-9 is the right choice for you? Let’s find out.

2021 Mazda CX-9 driving through the woods
2021 Mazda CX-9 | Mazda

You’ll enjoy driving the 2021 Mazda CX-9 more

The 2021 Mazda CX-9 is known for being enjoyable to drive. In fact, Car and Driver reports that this year’s model is “clearly the driving enthusiast’s family hauler.” It’s light on its feet, boasts a firm suspension and accurate steering. Consumer Reports was equally impressed with the CX-9, adding that it stands out for its agile handling and comfortable ride.

Unfortunately for the Volkswagen Atlas, it’s not quite as enjoyable to drive. While Consumer Reports says that it’s comfortable enough to drive, uneven pavement can elicit “some side-to-side jostle, and an occasional firm jiggle can punch through.” Consumer Reports added that steering takes some effort at low speeds, which isn’t exactly great.

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The 2021 Mazda CX-9 is the more fuel-efficient choice

The 2021 Mazda CX-9 has the edge when it comes to fuel consumption too. According to the EPA, the CX-9 delivers an EPA-estimated 22 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. Opt for an all-wheel drive model, and those numbers dip to an EPA-estimated 20 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway.

As for the Volkswagen Atlas? Turns out this year’s model is pretty thirsty. Per the EPA, you can expect the base Volkswagen Atlas to deliver an EPA-estimated 21 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. Opt for an Atlas with its available V6 under the hood, and those numbers shift to an EPA-estimated 17 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway.

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The 2021 Volkswagen Atlas isn’t all that reliable

If you’re after a reliable SUV, it’s the 2021 Mazda CX-9 that has the edge. Consumer Reports gave it a four out of five predicted reliability rating, which may not be a perfect score but is still pretty impressive. The 2021 Volkswagen Atlas, on the other hand, earned a one out of five predicted reliability rating from Consumer Reports, which isn’t even close to being a perfect score. 

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A fully-loaded model won’t have you breaking the bank

Now, the 2021 Volkswagen Atlas is cheaper than the 2021 Mazda CX-9. While Atlas’s base model will cost you approximately $31,555, the CX-9 will have you spending at least $33,960. But if you’re after a more lavishly outfitted SUV? Well, that’s when the Mazda CX-9 becomes the cheaper option. At its most expensive, the CX-9 will run you about $46,605. Treat yourself to a fully-loaded Atlas, and you’ll be spending at least $47,225 on it.

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Is the Mazda CX-9 the right choice for you?

There’s a lot to like about the Mazda CX-9. From its fuel-sipping powertrain to its impressive reliability ratings, you really can’t go wrong with this year’s model. But does that mean it’s the right choice for you? Not necessarily. Fortunately, taking it out for a test drive is an easy way to find out.