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Acura MDX vs Mazda CX-9

mageshmagesh Posts: 33

I have been plagued for the past few weeks as to which one to buy/lease.

FYI, I currently drive a 06 TL with Nav & well conversant with the Acura badge & quality. I love the way my car drives; takes corners; the 'manual' mode; the feel & the luxury of the car.

However I have to give up the sedan to a CUV/SUV due to health reasons (bad back!!!).

I have looked @ the following: Ford Edge/Lincoln MK, Toyota Highlander, Acadia/Enclave, RDX, MDX, CX9, X5, ML350 & tribeca. As can be seen the range is wide; but at the end of the first cycle we decided that we must have the following:
a) Power passenger seat
b) Power liftgate
c) Memory seating
d) Bluetooth

Based on the above, the only ones that remained were MDX, CX9, X5, ML350. The others missed something or another (example: Highlander had everything except the memory seating!!!! RDX did not have a power passenger seat!!! - and they both cost close to $37K.). X5 & MB got rejected due to price - over the $49.9K threshold that we were willing to accept. (We would have ponied that up as well; but did not see any fantastic value add for the extra $10K compared to the MDX imo.)

So we are left with CX9 & MDX. Feature to feature they both rank pretty much the same. MDX has the moonroof + heated seats for the 2nd row; while the CX9 has blind spot system & keyless go. True the SH-AWD is slightly (imho) better than the GTAWD (i drove both the vehicles one after another thru' some very twisty turns @ 45mph & decidely the MDX stuck like glue to the road with almost negligible roll; while the GT took the same but there was a more pronounced roll). Road noise/wind noise, again imo, were similar. But the CX9 had more cargo room than the MDX. (However the wife hated the safety belt that comes across the view for the middle 2nd row passenger in the CX9). Performance wise they line up close. I'm not doing NASCAR now nor plan to in the near future. All I need is torque for passing power & both vehicles give me that - even though the MDX was a bit slower.

Also the $ to $ figure: the CX9 is significantly cheaper. I'm planning to lease the CX9 & the wife wants to buy the MDX. I want to use it & dispose it off; while the wife wants to see if we'll keep it. CX9 lease rates are much lesser than the MDX. (I still can't find a trusted site to help me find the invoice on the MDX and I have always relied on Edmunds.)

So at the end of it; I'm not sure if my comparision of MDX vs CX9 is even right - meaning comparing to apples to apples? The base attributes are the same as I stated before. The wife loves the MDX; I'm not too thrilled. The design/shape is blunt imo. But I love the interior cockpit better than the CX9. (I loved Tribeca even more.) Plus the Acura badge - you cant bring that close to the CX9.

Hence for the folks who bought the MDX - did you compare it to the CX9? If so, why did you choose MDX even though it cost more? What's so special about the MDX? Looks? Cost? Oomph factor? Resale? Etc ..

Any input will always be highly appreciated. Thanks in advance.



  • I am in the same boat. I test drove the MDX but not the CX-9. I like the CX-9's exterior better, more sporty looking, without the hawk-like grill. The MDX's interior quality is definately a step up from the CX-9, except a few areas. The CX-9's 2nd row can slide back and forth a few inches to create more rooms for the 3rd row.

    For me, the MDX has a bit more "prestige" than the CX-9, longer warranty, "free" roadside assistance, much better stereo and navigation and you get a loaner car when you bring it to the dealer for service.

    Good luck with your decision.
  • "However the wife hated the safety belt that comes across the view for the middle 2nd row passenger in the CX9"

    If you are not using the middle seat in the second row, there's a small slot in the seatbelt latch. You can use a key or anything that will fit in the slot to unlatch it, then the seatbelt rolls up into a slot in the roof and is no longer in your view. Have fun shopping!
  • I was in the same boat as you were...looking for a 7 passenger with the luxury feel. I had 3 suv in mind...mdx, highlander, and cx9. I waited for the 08 highlander to come out...but once i saw the body style and the price you get...i nixed it. for about 40k for wasn't worth it. I was set on mdx until i saw that cx9 got suv of the year. It really didn't mean much because a few top luxury suv were not in the test. But nonetheless...i figure i stop by to test drive since Mazda was next door to Acura. I test drove the cx9 and was surprised how great it felt (driving wise). The salesman was really good..he let me do all sorts of stop and go, twist and turn on the road and very quick sharp turn. I was very surprised how great it handled. Yes you are right...all the features were the same on a GT CX-9 and MDX tech/ent. The price was was less on the 8,000 difference for the same type of car. Especially given that the cx9 had more cargo and easier third row access. I wanted my wife to test drive it with me but she didn't want anything to do with a Mazda product. I was a previous RL owner and saw the reliability of it. In the end, i purchased a 08 mdx tech/ent. My main reason is that i am not sure about Mazda's reliability and value. I know they have improved over the last feel years...also i noticed that the CX9 is based on a Ford Edge. So i was terrified. I am happy with my MDX. I could have gone with a MDX tech package but i talked myself into the entertainment package because of the power liftgate. Yes, i know i spent more than i should but hopefully it will last me for a long time. I hope this helps in your decision.
  • bill124bill124 Posts: 242
    I went through this and had 2 Mazda MPVs -- both reliable. Made mistake of thinking about MDX and let wife test drive it and when she compared to CX-9 she said it was night and day. MDX heavier, more solid ride, etc. Don't not go with CX-9 because it's a Mazda and you have quality concerns. Do it for some other reason. CX-9 I think allows reg. gas -- not sure about grand touring but definitely other models. I know it's not that much but it all adds up. I really liked CX-9 but wife wanted MDX and I have mercedes convertible so it was hard to convince her that for her and kids they get Mazda. Acura is simply higher end. Compared to minivan, MDX gave up a lot of space and my mileage per gallon for all local is like 12.5 -- not good but only 750 miles to date.
  • mageshmagesh Posts: 33
    Made the decision: We are buying the MDX.

    As pei4life & bill124 indicated, my 'decision' ( :blush: ) was made by my wife. My wife, a conservative lady, did not want anything to do with Mazda & as previous owners of Acuras & Mazdas, she knows first hand that Acuras are more reliable. And better resale value. Hence the MDX.

    We are getting the black/blacl with roof rails & Xbars and running boards.

    So atleast for the next 2 years, the MDX is 'it'.

    Thanks again to forum members. Always helpful.
  • Congratulations on your decision. I am facing the same decision.

    We are looking for an SUV for our second home in Colorado to replace our Subaru impreza WRX. ( waaaaaay too small and the stick shift is annoying for me and impossible for our sons. Younger son has not yet learned to drive stick shift. Older son, who learned under duress, reckoned he would rather sit at home and starve to death than have to drive the stick shift out to get sustenance.)

    We purchased 2007 MDX with navigation for our primary residence about 6 months ago. I am pretty happy with it. Overall I like it, but there are minor things that annoy me.

    The car in Colorado, while not being used every day, needs to fulfill a lot of different needs and functions. It will be doing a lot of highway driving between Denver and the mountains. It needs to handle well in snow. It needs to be cool enough to fit the image of my son, the CU college student. It needs to be big enough to haul disparate groups of people and baggage, boxes, furniture etc as well as all his college possessions when moving.

    I had not originally wanted to spend over $40 000 on a car which is used only occasionally so had not included the MDX in my research. Looked at Hyundai Veracruz, Subaru Tribeca, Toyota highlander and settled on Mazda Grand Touring CX9. Liked the looks, interior volume, legroom, ease of accessing 3rd row of seats, blue tooth. I LOVED the keyless start and power liftgate trunk. ( That was one of the things I had compromised on when buying the Acura.)

    My husband wanted to revisit our decision regarding the Acura and rightly pointed out that if we forego the nav package ( which I don't want anyway) it brings the cost down to about $37 000, which is still about $5000 more than what we would pay for the GT with the features we want.

    Admittedly, I have only briefly test driven the mazda so I don't know if there will be minor things that annoy me about it.

    I want to buy something this weekend as I can't take another week of having my knees up to my chin while my son's knees poke me in the back in the Subaru.

    Any input will be appreciated.
  • nxs138nxs138 Posts: 481
    if we forego the nav package ( which I don't want anyway) it brings the cost down to about $37 000, which is still about $5000 more than what we would pay for the GT with the features we want.

    The base model Acura MDX, which does not include NAV, starts at $40k. How do you get to $37k--are you talking about invoice price?

    The CX-9 is nice and sporty, and is one of my top choices. You might want to take a look at the GMC Acadia if you want something that is slightly bigger, and is probably a bit more easier to get into the third row if you get captains chairs. The CX-9 feels more nimble than the Acadia, though.
  • Sorry, I was looking at the wrong quote. I was given a price of around $38 500 before taxes and fees.
    Yes, did look at Acadia also before settling on Mazda.
  • mageshmagesh Posts: 33
    The one good thing is the timing of your purchase. This is one of the best times to buy your car.

    My needs were very specific. We looked at a wide range & ended up with the MDX. Plus it was the wife's decision ... :-)

    After driving the MDX for a week, I like it. I still think about the CX9 in relation to the keyless entry & the blind spot monitoring system. I do miss those two things.

    CX9 is a good car; but I doubt if it has the same road handling skills/ability has the MDX.

    Since you have the MDX, try the CX9. You'll notice that the build quality is not in the same league as the MDX. Plus the CX9 is based on the Ford Edge/Lincoln MK platform.

    On the CX9 the dashboard will look 'cheap' compared to the MDX. ANother thing: you cannot enter destination address in the nav system while driving on the CX9. In the MDX you can.

    Another suggestion: See if there is a rental place that will allow you to rent the CX9 for a week. Compare it.

    Good luck.
  • You raise a lot of good points. Good idea about renting the CX9. However, I have found in the past, that most of the car rental companies seem to have only American products.
  • the mazda dealer here in the Dallas area will actually let you take the cx-9 home for a day to try it out. that's a really good option since you can try it at your own leisure without a salesman behind your back. go see if your dealer will allow this. I recently bought an 08 it very much but still think about the cx9 sometimes because of the low price.
  • I started to search the second car for my family back in September. CX-9, MDX, and 08 Highlander were on my final list. The original first choice was 08 Highlander because my previous car (now is my wife's) was 07 Camry XLE V6, and I love its smart key, touch-screen Nav, powerful/smooth 3.5L V6, and comfort ride, but I dislike Camry's cheap interior design and plastic/leather seat. The Interior design in 08 highlander looks much better in pictures, but when I sat in, the same cheap feeling coming back to me. The cabin feels small and narrow, the cargo space after 3rd row seat is vert limited. Besides, the MSRP full-loaded Limited model is closed to 42K! Even after discount it still costs 38K. HID is not even an option (very important to me) so It is off my list.

    Then I saw CX-9 won Motor Trend SUV of the year, and GT model looks very sharp. It also comes with HID and bigger interior room. Fully loaded GT is probably cheapest (36K) and it also has 0% finance. But it didn't win out because:
    1. Nav is poorly designed.
    2. You can't have moonroof and rear DVD entertainment system at the same time.
    3. 20" Alloy wheel looks nice but ride is bumpy.
    4. Only one button for both the drive and passenger heated seats..

    At last I choice MDX tech/ent for 42.3K (MSRP is 46K). At the first test drive I know it is going to be my car and I didn't even look back. The handling with SH-AWD is the best, and it's suprisingly very comfy and quiet. I feel like driving a sports car! The interior is totally luxury: the leather seats are soft and comfortable, my wife loves 2nd row heated seat and trio-zone climate control. My 10-months old baby falls asleep everytime she gets in it. The ELS 10-speaker surrend-sound system is amazing. Nav is easy to use and voice command system is accurately recognize what I said. However, my only complaints:
    1. Gas mileage is not so great. I get 17 in city/20 hwy (coming from 22/31 V6 Camry)
    2. Bluetooth is not easy to use. Only AT&T Sony Errison fully supports phonebook transfer..Toyota's bluetooth can allow you edit your own phone book and speed dial on touch screen is so much easier for me.

    Even though it's 4K-6K more than CX-9 and Highlander, it's totally worthy it!
  • Yeah, I saw that on the website (DVD or sunroof). That's ridiculous. Honda did that w/ the Pilot for first few years but eventually offered both. I think that's the same w/ the Audi Q7 if I'm not mistaken.
  • Okay, we did it!
    Drumroll please.
    We went with the Acura MDX . No additional packages this time. Up until 2 weeks ago, we had narrowed the choices down to the Highlander and the Mazda CX9 Grand Touring. Would have been happy with either but chose the Mazda because it had more rear cargo room than the Highlander and the rear seat of the highlander can not be split and folded down.LOved the smart key,( While I did like the heated washer fluid and the snow package on the highlander as this car is primarily for a second home in snow country, the Mazda was the best fit overall)
    Then, as I mentioned before, my husband wanted to revisit the Acura as we have, at home, the 2007 model with tech package and he likes it, feels it is a known quantity and has the stability, and solid feel he is looking for. I decided that going with his choice was the best decision. As this car will do very low mileage we will most likely keep it a long time. If the Mazda was found to be lacking in any way, I did not want to have to listen for the next 10 years to his plaintive voice saying, " I TOLD you we should have bought the Acura."
    So everyone is happy.
    We did not go with the Tech package on this one. Again, if we keep the car for 8 to 10 years, the GPS will be obsolete long before then. For the limited times that we need it,I would rather buy a hand held one which can be upgraded every couple of years. I will miss the back up camera. Hopefully, we won't run over any pedestrians. I won't miss the voice command system as it doesn't understand me most of the time and I end up swearing at the car. ( I am so pathetic!)
    The base model has a very good package and had everything we needed.
    Will post what the final price was. Not sure as I walked out and left DH to do the negotiating.
    Thanks to all for all the advice and input.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 39,944
    Will post what the final price was. Not sure as I walked out and left DH to do the negotiating.

    My wife did that to me one year (she had to get back to work). An hour later I got to tell her I got mad at the dealer and walked out on them. :shades:

    Please rate your dealer experience too:

    Dealer Ratings and Reviews

    Enjoy the new ride!

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  • Please rate your dealer experience too:

    Will do. I have to go back on Friday as I have to get the roof racks installed and give them the regular wheels on my trade-in. ( we have snow tires on now).
    I want to see how the whole transaction goes down before I make my final judgment.
    So far, there were things that irked me but I want to give the benefit of the doubt and see if things improve.
    Once we had agreed to the transaction, our salesman dropped us like week old rotten fish and left us waiting around while he went off to pursue another potential sale. Obviously, we had to wait for the financing and all the other details to be finalised but even after everything was ready to go, we still had to wait around for him because he had other bait on the hook. He was knowledgeable about the car when he finally got around to us, so as I said, I will wait until everything is finalised before I comment.
  • I realize this thread is a few week old now, but I'll share a few thoughts in case anyone else stumbles across it via Google (as I did).

    A few notable corrections to some of the earlier posts:

    (1) As mentioned, the 2nd row seatbelt in the CX-9 *can* be retracted and hidden.

    (2) The CX-9 does share the same platform as the Ford Edge but is substantially longer. There are some other big differences. It uses an Aisin transmission, which is also used by Toyota I believe. The engine is also Japanese-made.

    (3) Like the MDX, Mazda does have Roadside assistance (for the 3-year warranty period).

    (4) There are two buttons for the heated seats, not just one for both seats (?) as wtliao32 suggested. Maybe I misunderstood him? It is true there is only one heat setting (no high/low).

    Our past three vehicles were 2004 Acura TL, 2003 4Runner and 2008 Acura TSX. We were looking mainly at the Highlander and MDX (and Explorer, Acadia and Expedition) before "stumbling" across the CX-9, which we eventually went with. On a 3-year lease, a loaded CX-9 is still about $70 cheaper per month than a base MDX (without Nav/backup camera, etc). This was one factor, among many, in our decision.
  • crfrcrfr Posts: 1
    I found this thread while researching the CX-9, which we just bought. I looked at the MDX as well, and while I think there are some things I liked about the MDX a little better, the fact that the CX-9 is compared to the much more expensive MDX and not a loaded Honda Pilot, which is priced similarly to the CX-9, is a win for the CX-9. We traded in an Infiniti FX45 for the Mazda, very very powerful and sporty, and have no regrets. If you can afford the MDX, want the status of an Acura, need a sunroof and a DVD player, or want the sportiest handling, go for it the MDX. But the CX-9 is truly a beautifully designed and executed vehicle. They are much rarer than the MDX's. If you want the best 3rd row access and comfort, get the CX-9. If you want the most bang for your buck, its the Mazda again. Good Luck.
  • This is a year thread but the topic is still applicable. I have been living with this dilemma for two - three weeks now. Finally pulled the trigger today - Acura MDX. Trust me it wasn't an easy choice.


    33K + TTL (with Navigation package, bose/moonroof) Grand Touring. No special financing ... cash or 6 to 7% 60 months


    38.7 + TTL (Tech package) + some freebies.

    As you can see the difference was about 5.5 grand. I test drove both vehicles on the day of purchase twice each. It basically came to driving and handling --> The MDX was more confident on the road even though it wasn't as smooth as the CX-9.

    CX-9 had some good points- blind spot monitoring, 20 inch wheels. However I guess it was the driving of MDX, Extra Warranty, Reliability and Label / Brand status that drove me to that conclusion. Also I had been at three Mazda dealers before hitting the lowest price ... all 3 were bad experiences in terms of customer service. The same at Acura was more pleasant, even though there were a few unpleasant moments. But overall very courteous at Acura.

    Also the Bose sound system in CX-9 sucked whereas the Acura one is excellent. I do some surround encoding and CX-9 couldn't even recognize the files, but Acura played them!

    Whereas I had initially thought that MDX had 3rd row seats for namesake, I actually found out that they were more comfortable than those of CX-9.

    My wife is only 5 ft 1" and the CX-9 seat didn't go up that much as did the Acura.

    I wish I had money to buy both! It was truly a difficult one. I think you can't go wrong with either. If you don't have that 40K (but have 30K) don't think of MDX, but if you have it, don't think about CX-9.

    Hope this helps someone if in the same quandary!!!
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 39,944
    We'll update the title a little; meanwhile, congrats on the new ride (and thanks for the report)!

    Need help navigating? - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

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