Should You Buy the Mazda CX-9 or the Subaru Ascent?

The more competitive the SUV market gets, the harder it becomes for you to choose the “right” model for you. But, having a variety of good options is a problem we will happily take. If you are specifically shopping for a family-friendly SUV, you will definitely want to consider the Mazda CX-9 or the Subura Ascent. Here we will help you go over the key differences between the two.

Style, performance, and capability

Right off the bat, if you are drawn to a sportier, rugged design, the Ascent is the ideal match for that aesthetic. If you are looking for an SUV that looks more sharp and pristine, then the CX-9 will match that vibe. 

Interestingly enough, the 2020 Ascent and the 2020 CX-9 feature turbocharged four-cylinder engines in a class where more powerful V6 engine options rule. Although, the Ascent packs just a little bit more power than the CX-9 does. The Ascent’s turbocharged engine generates a 260 horsepower while the CX-9’s offers a 227 hp. 

Both the Ascent and the CX-9 are fun to drive, dynamic, and offer above-average fuel-efficiency ratings for their class. But as you might have guessed, the Ascent is better for adventures like off-roading while the CX-9 is a city slicker. 

On the inside

Bright, open Subaru Ascent Interior featuring white upholstery
Subaru Ascent Interior

When it comes to interior elements, both the Ascent and the CX-9 shine bright. In general, Subura does a great job of making its models feel sublime and airy on the inside. Mazda does a great job of making its lineup feel upscale. It’s hard to say which SUV’s cabin looks better because both the Ascent and the CX-9 boast high-quality interiors. Because of this, we will have to focus more on available space.

The CX-9 can seat up to seven while the Ascent can seat up to eight. The Ascent also offers more cargo space. Compared to the rest of the midsize SUV class, the CX-9 leaves much to be desired with available space. Overall, the CX-9’s cargo room is disappointing so hauling extra folks in the back, as well as cargo items, would be difficult. 

Infotainment-wise, the Ascent might win out here too, mostly because Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard while these connectivity options are add-ons for the CX-9.


You’ll be happy to know that both the Ascent and the CX-9 earned good crash-test safety scores from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as well as from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. To help avoid crashes altogether, both the Ascent and CX-9 come standard with a ton of advanced safety features.

All Subura models come with its EyeSight driver assistance package which includes automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure warning. A rear-seat reminder feature is now standard on the Ascent too.

With the CX-9, you get Mazda’s i-Activsense safety technology which comes with automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, rear cross-traffic alert, and blind-spot monitoring, just to name a few. A surround-view camera is also available on the CX-9.

The final verdict

The Ascent starts at $31,995 while the CX-9 starts at $33,890. You really can’t go wrong with either SUV, so it will just come down to your personal style and needs. If you are looking for a spacious and family-friendly off-roader, the Ascent is probably the ideal model for you. But, if you want an SUV that’s more fun and agile, go with the CX-9.