Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2015 Acura MDX VS 2015 Mazda CX-9 Near Scottsdale, AZ

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2015 Acura MDX

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VS

2015 Mazda CX-9

Safety Comparison

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The MDX’s optional front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The CX-9 doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The MDX offers an optional Collision Mitigating Braking System, which uses forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The CX-9 doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

The MDX’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane. The CX-9 doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The MDX offers optional Parking Sensors to help warn the driver about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind or, optionally, in front of the vehicle. The CX-9 doesn’t offer a front parking aid.

Compared to metal, the MDX’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Mazda CX-9 has a metal gas tank.

Both the MDX and the CX-9 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front-wheel drive, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding and available all wheel drive.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Acura MDX is safer than the Mazda CX-9:

MDX

CX-9

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

3 Stars

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

3 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

22%

47%

Neck Stress

244 lbs.

357 lbs.

Neck Compression

34 lbs.

54 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

134/382 lbs.

1333/496 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

3 Stars

Chest Compression

.4 inches

.9 inches

Neck Injury Risk

29%

54%

Neck Stress

177 lbs.

179 lbs.

Neck Compression

113 lbs.

116 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

467/511 lbs.

362/627 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Acura MDX is safer than the CX-9:

MDX

CX-9

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

POOR

Restraints

GOOD

POOR

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

96 G’s

Steering Column Movement Rearward

1 cm

12 cm

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Femur Force R/L

.4/.9 kN

4.1/1.5 kN

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Tibia index R/L

.55/.55

.68/.64

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Acura MDX is safer than the Mazda CX-9:

MDX

CX-9

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

72

103

Chest Movement

.6 inches

1 inches

Abdominal Force

113 G’s

166 G’s

Hip Force

244 lbs.

397 lbs.

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

133

271

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

3 Stars

Max Damage Depth

13 inches

17 inches

HIC

396

457

Spine Acceleration

37 G’s

55 G’s

Hip Force

481 lbs.

1096 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety ( IIHS) performs roof strength tests. In that test the MDX earned the top rating of “Good” because its roof supported over four times the MDX’s weight before being crushed five inches. The CX-9 was rated two rankings lower at “Marginal.”

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates the general design of front seat head restraints for their ability to protect front seat occupants from whiplash injuries. The IIHS also performs a dynamic test on those seats with “good” or “acceptable” geometry. In these ratings, the MDX is safer then the CX-9:

MDX

CX-9

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Head Restraint Design

GOOD

GOOD

Distance from Back of Head

45 mm

60 mm

Distance Below Top of Head

26 mm

26 mm

Dynamic Test Rating

GOOD

MARGINAL

Seat Design

Pass

Fail

Neck Force Rating

Low

Medium

Max Neck Shearing Force

0

132

Max Neck Tension

432

682

(Lower numerical results are better in all tests.)

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the MDX its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2014, a rating granted to only 48 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The CX-9 is not even a standard “Top Pick.”

Warranty Comparison

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The MDX comes with a full 4 year/50,000 mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24 hour roadside assistance. The CX-9’s 3 year/36,000 mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

Acura’s powertrain warranty covers the MDX 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Mazda covers the CX-9. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the CX-9 ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

Reliability Comparison

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The engine in the MDX has a single overhead cam for simplicity. The engine in the CX-9 has dual overhead cams, which add to the number of moving parts and the complexity of the cylinder heads.

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the MDX has a standard 150-amp alternator. The CX-9’s 110-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without their vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports predicts that the MDX’s reliability will be 7% better than the CX-9.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2014 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Acura vehicles are better in initial quality than Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Acura 25th in initial quality. With 8 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 28th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2014 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Acura vehicles are more reliable than Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Acura fourth in reliability, above the industry average. With 23 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 13th.

Engine Comparison

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The MDX’s 3.5 SOHC V6 produces 17 more horsepower (290 vs. 273) than the CX-9’s 3.7 DOHC V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the Acura MDX is faster than the Mazda CX-9:

MDX

CX-9

Zero to 60 MPH

6.4 sec

7.5 sec

Quarter Mile

14.9 sec

15.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

92.9 MPH

88.7 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

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On the EPA test cycle the MDX gets better fuel mileage than the CX-9:

MDX

CX-9

2WD

Auto

20 city/28 hwy

17 city/24 hwy

4WD

Auto

18 city/27 hwy

16 city/22 hwy

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the MDX’s fuel efficiency. The CX-9 doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

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The MDX stops much shorter than the CX-9:

MDX

CX-9

70 to 0 MPH

178 feet

192 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

136 feet

150 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

145 feet

161 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels Comparison

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The MDX offers an optional full size spare tire so your trip isn’t interrupted by a flat. A full size spare isn’t available on the CX-9, it requires you to depend on a temporary spare, which limits mileage and speed before replacement.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

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The MDX has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The CX-9’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the MDX is 1.2 inches wider in the front and 1.6 inches wider in the rear than on the CX-9.

The MDX SH-AWD handles at .85 G’s, while the CX-9 Touring pulls only .78 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The MDX SH-AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.8 seconds quicker than the CX-9 Grand Touring AWD (26.6 seconds @ .67 average G’s vs. 28.4 seconds @ .58 average G’s).

Chassis Comparison

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The Acura MDX may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 250 to 300 pounds less than the Mazda CX-9.

The MDX is 7 inches shorter than the CX-9, making the MDX easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The MDX uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The CX-9 doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space Comparison

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The MDX has .5 inches more front legroom, 1 inch more front hip room, 1.7 inches more front shoulder room, 1.8 inches more rear hip room, .4 inches more rear shoulder room and .2 inches more third row headroom than the CX-9.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

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A standard locking glovebox keeps your small valuables safer in the MDX. The CX-9 doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Ergonomics Comparison

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The MDX’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The CX-9 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The MDX’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The CX-9’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

The MDX’s standard speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The CX-9 Sport/Touring’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Consumer Reports rated the MDX’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the CX-9’s headlights, which were rated “Good.”

The MDX has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The CX-9 has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the Grand Touring.

The MDX’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Mazda charges extra for heated mirrors on the CX-9.

The MDX offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The CX-9 offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The MDX has standard heated front seats. Heated front seats cost extra on the CX-9. The MDX also offers optional heated second row seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated second row seats aren’t available in the CX-9.

The MDX’s optional air conditioned front seats cool the driver and front passenger and help take the sting out of hot leather in Summer. The CX-9 doesn’t offer air conditioned front seats.

On extremely cold Winter days, the MDX’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the vehicle heater warms up. The CX-9 doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the MDX offers an optional Adaptive Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The CX-9 doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

Economic Advantages Comparison

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According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the MDX is less expensive to operate than the CX-9 because it costs $130 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the MDX than the CX-9, including $760 less for a water pump, $33 less for front brake pads, $9 less for fuel injection, $106 less for a fuel pump, $127 less for front struts and $783 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations Comparison

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The Acura MDX has won recognition from these important consumer publications:

MDX

CX-9

Consumer Reports® Recommends

TRUE

TRUE

Kiplinger’s Awards

2

0

The Acura MDX outsold the Mazda CX-9 by almost four to one during the 2014 model year.

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