Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2016 GMC Acadia VS 2015 Mazda CX-9 Near Phoenix, AZ

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2016 GMC Acadia

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2015 Mazda CX-9

Safety Comparison

For enhanced safety, the front shoulder belts of the GMC Acadia are height-adjustable, and the middle and rear seat shoulder belts have child comfort guides to move the belt to properly fit children. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages children to buckle up. The Mazda CX-9 doesn’t offer comfort guides on its middle or rear seat belts.

The Acadia offers an optional front seat center airbag, which deploys between the driver and front passenger, protecting them from injuries caused by striking each other in serious side impacts. The CX-9 doesn’t offer front seat center airbags.

The Acadia (except SL/SLE) offers an optional collision warning system, which detects an impending crash through forward mounted sensors and flashes a bright light and sounds a loud, distinctive tone to warn the driver to brake or maneuver immediately to avoid a collision. The CX-9 doesn't offer a collision warning system.

The Acadia (except SL/SLE)’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.

Compared to metal, the Acadia’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 Acadia 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, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

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




5 Stars

3 Stars



5 Stars

3 Stars

Neck Injury Risk



Leg Forces (l/r)

641/393 lbs.

1333/496 lbs.



5 Stars

3 Stars

Chest Compression

.5 inches

.9 inches

Neck Injury Risk



Neck Compression

51 lbs.

116 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

221/280 lbs.

362/627 lbs.

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

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 GMC Acadia is safer than the Mazda CX-9:



Front Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars




Chest Movement

.4 inches

.6 inches

Abdominal Force

129 G’s

214 G’s

Hip Force

318 lbs.

455 lbs.

Rear Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars




Spine Acceleration

34 G’s

43 G’s

Hip Force

704 lbs.

816 lbs.

Into Pole


5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

13 inches

18 inches




Hip Force

677 lbs.

829 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 Acadia earned the top rating of “Good” because its roof supported over four times the Acadia’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 Acadia with standard seats is safer then the CX-9:



Overall Evaluation



Head Restraint Design



Distance from Back of Head

6 mm

60 mm

Distance Below Top of Head

14 mm

26 mm

Dynamic Test Rating



Seat Design



Torso Acceleration

7.9 g’s

12.9 g’s

Neck Force Rating



Max Neck Shearing Force



Max Neck Tension



(Lower numerical results are better in all tests.)

Warranty Comparison

The Acadia’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the CX-9’s (6 vs. 5 years).

GMC pays for scheduled maintenance on the Acadia for 2 years and 24,000 miles. GMC will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Mazda doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the CX-9.

There are over 3 times as many GMC dealers as there are Mazda dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Acadia’s warranty.

Reliability Comparison

The Acadia has a standard “limp home system” to keep drivers from being stranded if most or all of the engine’s coolant is lost. The engine will run on only half of its cylinders at a time, reduce its power and light a warning lamp on the dashboard so the driver can get to a service station for repairs. The CX-9 doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the truck’s engine.

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Acadia has a standard 170-amp alternator. The CX-9’s 110-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

The battery on the Acadia is under the floor, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures which can degrade battery life. By keeping the Acadia’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The CX-9’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2015 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that GMC vehicles are better in initial quality than Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks GMC 16th in initial quality. With 8 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 23rd.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2015 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that GMC vehicles are more reliable than Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks GMC 9th in reliability, above the industry average. With 17 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 15th.

Engine Comparison

The Acadia SLE/SLT’s standard 3.6 DOHC V6 produces 8 more horsepower (281 vs. 273) than the CX-9’s 3.7 DOHC V6. The Acadia Denali’s standard 3.6 DOHC V6 produces 15 more horsepower (288 vs. 273) than the CX-9’s 3.7 DOHC V6.

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

The Acadia has 1.9 gallons more fuel capacity than the CX-9 (22 vs. 20.1 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the Acadia’s brake rotors are larger than those on the CX-9:



Front Rotors

12.8 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

12.8 inches

The Acadia stops much shorter than the CX-9:



70 to 0 MPH

167 feet

192 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the Acadia has larger tires than the CX-9 (255/65R18 vs. 245/60R18).

The GMC Acadia’s wheels have 6 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Mazda CX-9 only has 5 wheel lugs per wheel.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Acadia’s wheelbase is 5.7 inches longer than on the CX-9 (118.9 inches vs. 113.2 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Acadia is 2.2 inches wider in the front and 2.4 inches wider in the rear than on the CX-9.

The Acadia SLT AWD handles at .79 G’s, while the CX-9 Grand Touring AWD pulls only .77 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

Chassis Comparison

As tested by Car and Driver while cruising at 70 MPH, the interior of the Acadia SLT AWD is quieter than the CX-9 Grand Touring AWD (67 vs. 73 dB).

Passenger Space Comparison

The Acadia has standard seating for 8 passengers; the CX-9 can only carry 7.

The Acadia has 12.4 cubic feet more passenger volume than the CX-9 (151.8 vs. 139.4).

The Acadia has .7 inches more front headroom, .4 inches more front legroom, 1.5 inches more front hip room, 2.2 inches more front shoulder room, .6 inches more rear headroom, 1.8 inches more rear hip room, 2.3 inches more rear shoulder room, 3 inches more third row headroom, .8 inches more third row legroom, 4.6 inches more third row hip room and .9 inches more third row shoulder room than the CX-9.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The Acadia’s cargo area provides more volume than the CX-9.



Behind Third Seat

24.1 cubic feet

17.2 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

70.1 cubic feet

48.3 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

116.1 cubic feet

100.7 cubic feet

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

Ergonomics Comparison

The Acadia (except SL/SLE)’s optional easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The CX-9 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Acadia (except SL/SLE) offers an available heads-up display which projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The CX-9 doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The power windows standard on both the Acadia and the CX-9 have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Acadia is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The CX-9 prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The Acadia has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. When the ignition turns off, the headlights turn off after a delay timed to allow you to securely get to your front door. The CX-9 has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the Grand Touring.

The Acadia 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.

Optional air conditioned seats in the Acadia (except SL/SLE) keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in Summer. The CX-9 doesn’t offer air conditioned seats.

On extremely cold Winter days, the Acadia’s optional (except SL/SLE) 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.

Economic Advantages Comparison

Insurance will cost less for the Acadia owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Acadia will cost $100 to $1185 less than the CX-9 over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Acadia is less expensive to operate than the CX-9 because typical repairs cost much less on the Acadia than the CX-9, including $634 less for a water pump, $9 less for a fuel pump and $132 less for front struts.

Recommendations Comparison

Consumer Reports® recommends the GMC Acadia, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Mazda CX-9 isn't recommended.

The GMC Acadia outsold the Mazda CX-9 by over five to one during the 2015 model year.

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