If you need more space for your family, a three-row crossover may prove to the perfect vehicle. You can visit Scottsdale area Mazda dealerships to check out the 2020 Mazda CX-9. Not only does the latest CX-9 come loaded with a long list of standard safety features, but it also offers an all-new 9.0-inch touchscreen. The 2020 Toyota Highlander is another good option to consider. In this head-to-head comparison, we’ll find out which one of these three-row crossovers is the better choice.
Scottsdale Mazda shoppers will appreciate the CX-9’s great value. It has an attractive starting Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $33,890. By comparison, Toyota lists the Highlander with a starting MSRP of $34,600.
Every new 2020 Mazda CX-9 comes equipped with a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that develops 227 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque with regular gas, and 250 hp and 320 lb-ft with premium. While the Highlander’s V6 engine produces 295 hp, it only generates 263 lb-ft torque. The CX-9’s extra torque under the hood promotes a more responsive performance.
The CX-9 is among the sportiest three-row crossovers on the market. While the Highlander’s handling has improved, it’s still not as fun to drive as the new CX-9. Only the CX-9 comes equipped with Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control Plus System. When taking corners, it applies lighting braking force to the outer wheels to aid handling. This system also shifts the SUV’s weight forward to improve tire grip.
For 2020, Mazda has transformed the CX-9 into a more adventurous vehicle. All-wheel-drive models now come equipped with an all-new Off-Road Traction Assist feature. It helps you to regain traction when traveling on slippery ground. You won’t find this rugged upgrade on the new Toyota Highlander.
Both of these crossovers have a versatile storage area. However, the Mazda CX-9 provides a bit more room for your family’s belongings. There’s a useful 14.4 cubic feet of cargo space behind its third row, which outclasses the Highlander’s 13.8 cubic feet of cargo space.
Like the 2020 Mazda CX-9, the 2020 Toyota Highlander offers plenty of amenities. Ventilated front seats are available on the higher trim levels. However, none of the Highlander’s trims feel as luxurious as the top-of-the-line CX-9 Signature. Nappa leather upholstery and genuine Santos Rosewood accents give its cabin an upscale feel.
The redesigned Toyota Highlander is more attractive than before. However, it doesn’t have as much style as the Mazda CX-9. Mazda’s “Soul of Motion” design language gives the CX-9 a sleek and athletic look. Even the base CX-9 Sport comes standard with dual chrome exhaust finishers and a nice-looking set of alloy wheels. The CX-9 also offers three premium paint options: Soul Red Crystal Metallic, Snowflake White Pearl Mica and Machine Gray Metallic.
Our Final Word
While the 2020 Toyota Highlander has improved in many ways, it loses this comparison. The 2020 Mazda CX-9 is more engaging to drive, packs more style, and offers a greater sense of luxury. A lower starting MSRP also helps the CX-9 come out ahead.