2012 Mazda CX-9 vs. Its Competition

2012 Mazda CX-9
Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor

GM's full-size crossovers are definitely the way to go if roominess trumps everything else; the Chevrolet Traverse, Buick Enclave, and GMC Acadia all have more space, especially in the third row, and a heftier, smoother ride, but they don't drive with the same verve as the CX-9.

Subaru’s Tribeca is probably the closest in overall driving feel—it handles very well for a tall crossover—but its odd styling and cramped third row are going to be a turnoff to some shoppers.

Then there’s the Honda Pilot, which breaks from the mold with outrageous chunky styling that embraces boxiness and trucklike looks, though it’s really a road-oriented crossover.

The Pilot performs much like the other vehicles in this group; if you can get past the styling, it’s well worth considering.

The Toyota Highlander, with its base 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine, is somewhat better on fuel, but it's hard to find much love within its drab interior.

2012 Mazda CX-92012 Mazda CX-9
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2012 Chevrolet Traverse2012 Chevrolet Traverse
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2012 Honda Pilot 2WD 4-door EX-L Angular Front Exterior View2012 Honda Pilot
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2012 Subaru Tribeca 4-door 3.6R Limited Angular Front Exterior View2012 Subaru Tribeca
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2012 Toyota Highlander FWD 4-door V6 (SE) Angular Front Exterior View2012 Toyota Highlander
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Quick Specs
8.0
The 2012 Mazda CX-9 is a little more enjoyable to drive than most crossovers its size, while it manages three rows of seating, a plush cabin, and decent comfort.
8.0
One of the best big crossovers for families needing seven-passenger capability, the 2012 Chevy Traverse is spacious and safe, though unexciting.
7.6
Don't let the macho-boxy look intimidate you; the Honda Pilot makes a lot of sense for large families—especially with improved mileage and a most tasteful front-end design for 2012.
8.0
The 2012 Subaru Tribeca has excellent all-weather handling and top-notch safety, though it's fallen behind the curve in features and interior appointments.
7.8
The 2012 Toyota Highlander and Highlander Hybrid to roomy, three-row family crossover wagons what the Camry is to mid-size sedans: comfortable, safe, and full-featured—but more than a little bland.
MSRP From    
$29,725$29,660$28,620$30,595$28,240
Gas Mileage    
16 MPG City / 24 MPG Hwy16 MPG City / 24 MPG Hwy17 MPG City / 25 MPG Hwy16 MPG City / 21 MPG Hwy17 MPG City / 25 MPG Hwy
Engine    
Gas V6Gas V6Gas V6Gas Flat 6Gas I4
EPA Class    
2WD Sport Utility Vehicle2WD Sport Utility Vehicle2WD Sport Utility VehicleSport Utility VehicleSport Utility Vehicle
Style Name    
FWD 4-Door SportFWD 4-Door LS2WD 4-Door LX4-Door 3.6R PremiumFWD 4-Door I4 (Natl)
Drivetrain    
Front Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveAll Wheel DriveFront Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity    
78877
Passenger Doors    
N/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Body Style    
4 Door Sport Utility Vehicle4 Door4 Door Sport Utility4 Door Sport Utility4 Door
Transmission    
AutomaticAutomaticAutomatic w/ODAutomaticAutomatic
Detailed Spec Comparison
 2012 Mazda CX-9 vs. 2012 Chevrolet Traverse2012 Mazda CX-9 vs. 2012 Honda Pilot2012 Mazda CX-9 vs. 2012 Subaru Tribeca2012 Mazda CX-9 vs. 2012 Toyota Highlander