One of the Honda Pilot’s Biggest Weaknesses Is the Mazda CX-9

The Honda Pilot SUV and the Mazda CX-9 SUV. Both of these three-row crossovers are set up for moving families and their stuff from one place to the next. Both are created by Japanese carmakers. They are easily two of the SUVs consumers are choosing between when it comes to buying a good family toter. It’s hard to make a decision, sometimes. However, this comparison may shed a little light on which crossover SUV holds more success in certain categories.

a gray 2020 Mazda CX-9 SUV driving on a gravel road in the countryside
2020 Mazda CX-9 | Mazda

It’s a tough call. Though the 2020 Honda Pilot holds its own, the 2020 Mazda CX-9 is enough competition to intimidate. In fact, the Mazda three-row family SUV might be one of the Honda’s biggest weaknesses.

2020 Honda Pilot features

The 2020 Honda Pilot SUV sports a nice, powerful V6 engine. For 2020, the only addition is the Black Edition range-topper. This takes the Honda three-row family SUV to a price range topping out at just a hair under $50 grand. According to US News and World Report, the Honda Pilot SUV “delivers a smooth ride.” Compared to others in the segment, the 2020 Pilot has good fuel economy.

2020 honda pilot black edition press photo against a dark backdrop
2020 Honda Pilot Black Edition | Honda

The 2020 Honda Pilot boasts a quality interior, but luxury is the Mazda line-up’s calling card. It does beat the Mazda three-row crossover SUV in terms of space. The Honda Pilot’s capacious cabin is downright cavernous compared to the Mazda CX-9. The Pilot seats up to 8, according to Also, when it comes to brute strength, the 2020 Honda Pilot SUV is our clear winner. It will tow up to 5,000 pounds and highway passing has a feeling of substance.

Standard safety and infotainment include Bluetooth connectivity and two USB ports. You’ll also get push-button start and a 5-inch display paired with a seven-speaker audio system. The driver assistance features that come standard are a rearview camera, forward collision warning, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, a collision mitigation braking system, adaptive cruise control, and road departure warning.

2020 Honda Pilot Elite center console
2020 Honda Pilot Elite center console | Honda

2020 Mazda XC-9 features

The 2020 Mazda CX-9 SUV has the Honda beat on almost every front, however. If the Honda gets good gas mileage, the Mazda has better fuel economy. The 2020 Honda Pilot SUV really only has size and strength over on the Mazda three-row family crossover.

interior Mazda CX-9 cabin is plush and luxurious among the three-row crossover segment
2020 Mazda CX-9 Interior | Mazda

The Mazda CX-9 has a cramped third row. Yet, according to US News and World Report says that “the seats are fairly accommodating for adults.” The 2020 CX-9 has “effortless power” from its little turbo four. It may not have the hauling power or the optional transmission upgrade that the Honda offers. However, its claim to fame is that it is fun to drive. The zip and agility the 2020 Mazda CX-9 SUV possess are some of its most thrilling assets.

The list of standard amenities makes the Honda Pilot look so basic. In terms of standard features, the 2020 CX-9 three-row crossover SUV comes with everything that equips the 2020 Pilot and more. You’ll add zoned climate control, keyless entry, a 7-inch touch screen display, internet radio integration, and voice recognition. The safety suite adds pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert. Also, you’ll get rain-sensing wipers, heated exterior mirrors, and a heated and power-adjustable driver’s seat. Plus the steering wheel and shift knob are wrapped in leather.

the 2020 Mazda CX-9 driving on a scenic forested back road
2020 Mazda CX-9 | Mazda

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The Honda is bigger but is it better?

The Honda Pilot is bigger. Its base price is a couple grand below the Mazda CX-9 three-row crossover SUV. However, the Mazda CX-9 is an IIHS ‘Top Safety Pick.’ For that reason alone, families may turn to the Mazda instead. Additionally, its punchy and stylish with an extremely luxurious range-topper than actually weighs in a little lower than the 2020 Pilot in terms of pricing. The Mazda CX-9 might actually be one of the 2020 Honda Pilot SUV’s biggest weaknesses.