The Mazda CX-9 Makes You Wonder About the Kia Telluride

The Kia Telluride SUV has been so hyped up. It’s absolutely a great family hauler. It has the option for AWD and the interior only increases in luxury with each trim level. Plus, it’s a great value when compared to other three-row SUVs that can get pretty pricey. However, the Mazda CX-9 SUV can kind of make you wonder what all the fuss is about.

A Mazda CX-9 on display at an auto show.
A Mazda CX-9 on display | Valery SharifulinTASS via Getty Images

“The CX-9 is still the king of premium feel.”

Car and Driver

The Mazda CX-9 easily compares to the Kia Telluride on all fronts. The only notable places it falls short are the touch screen display and a lower measurement of cargo space. Plus, its powertrain––despite less horsepower six-speed transmission––is a fair match for the Telluride. The CX-9 deserves more credit as a versatile crossover SUV for families.

The 2020 Kia Telluride

According to US News and World Report, the 2020 Kia Telluride is priced from $31,890 – 43,790. It’s a great three-row SUV for families. The cabin is nice and comfortable. Luxurious materials and amenities abound. However, it’s lower torque engine leaves a bit to be desired. Maybe a punchy engine isn’t high on your priority list. But if you want a three-row family SUV that also feels a bit like a race car when you’re zipping around city corners, you’re not going to be in love with the 2020 Telluride.

2020 Telluride is on display at the 111th Annual Chicago Auto Show at McCormick Place
The 2020 Kia Telluride | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

It does have an ample 81 cubic feet of cargo, and a more rugged appearance. It also tows up to 5,000 pounds––significantly more than the Mazda’s 3,500-pound capacity. Additionally, it touts a bit of off-road readiness. But despite its boxy exterior, it doesn’t hold a candle to an off-roader like the Toyota 4Runner. Sure, it seats eight and won the World Car of the Year Award. But perhaps it’s been a little overhyped if another family crossover SUV like the 2020 Mazda CX-9 can have you rethinking things.

The 2020 Mazda CX-9

According to US News and World Report, the 2020 Mazda CX-9 SUV is priced for a range between $33,890 – 46,215. It’s an IIHS Top Safety Pick. Additionally, the Mazda CX-9 is the SUV in the segment that is driver-centric. This attribute will prove pleasing for those driving enthusiast moms and dads out there. The little turbo inline 4 packs more heat than some of the other larger engines.

2020 Mazda CX-9 interior rear
2020 Mazda CX-9 interior rear | Mazda

Car and Driver, while still rating it under the Kia Telluride overall, claims that the Mazda CX-9 SUV “remains a class leader when it comes to handling corners and over-the-road confidence.” While the Korean Kia three-row Telluride SUV comes close, the Mazda retains “a smooth richness to the leather and a satisfying click to the switchgear. The paint is flawless, and the wood inside is real.”

The Mazda CX-9 VS the Kia Telluride

“With its lower torque engine, the Kia Telluride doesn’t do as good a job transmitting power to its wheels as the Mazda CX-9.”
A grey 2020 Mazda CX-9 sparked in near a lush green forest.
2020 Mazda CX-9 | Mazda

The Most Reliable 3-Row SUVs on the Market for 2019

All of us in the automotive world have had our turn to rave about the Kia Telluride SUV at one point or another. But unless you just have to have the extra cargo or the extra seat, you may be drawn to the CX-9 for its agility. Even if it does tow a lighter load, it’s fun to drive and that counts for a lot.

They each boast a long list of safety features. Both three-row family SUVs are a great choice. But the Mazda CX-9 is good enough to make you wonder just a bit why critics make the Telluride out to overshadow in such a dominating fashion.