2023 Mazda CX-9 Vs. 2023 Toyota Highlander: Technology, Specs, & Safety

Mazda CX-9 vs. Toyota Highlander

Drivers and families shopping for a three-row midsize crossover or SUV will likely look closely at the 2023 Mazda CX-9 vs. 2023 Toyota Highlander comparison. After all, both of these family SUVs offer standard three-row seating, impressive cargo capacity, and family-friendly safety technologies at competitive prices.

But which crossover SUV model would you choose in the Mazda CX-9 vs. Highlander debate? If you're unsure, you'll want to check out our detailed comparison review to see how these two three-row sport-utes stack up in key areas like features, technology, safety, reliability, and specs.

Once you consider all the factors, we think you'll come to the same realization that we did. See our head-to-head comparison of the 2023 Mazda CX-9 vs. 2023 Toyota Highlander below, and contact our team with any questions about how these two SUVs stack up against one another.


Toyota Highlander vs. Mazda CX-9 Features & Technology

2023 Toyota Highlander vs. 2023 Mazda CX-9: Features & Technology

Motorists comparing the 2023 Mazda CX-9 vs. Toyota Highlander will find that the Mazda CX-9 offers premium amenities as standard, while Toyota makes you pay extra to enjoy some similar features on the Highlander. For instance, only the new Mazda CX-9 comes standard with a leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated front seats, and adjustable driver lumbar support.

Like other new Mazda vehicles, the Mazda CX-9 places functionality, driver engagement, and safety above gadgets and gizmos like touch screens. Instead, the Mazda CX-9 infotainment screen is operated by a commander knob between the front seats, giving the driver control of vehicle settings without having to lean forward to reach for a screen to touch. The Highlander utilizes a traditional touch-screen display.

Other Mazda CX-9 features and technologies you won't find on the Toyota Highlander include:

  • Polymetal Gray Metallic paint
  • Red leather interior
  • Mazda Navigation System
  • Smart City Brake Support-Reverse
  • Nappa leather-trimmed seats

As you look through the 2023 Toyota Highlander vs. Mazda CX-9 trim levels and compare them, it will become abundantly clear which model is more luxurious and driver-focused. So step up to a new Mazda CX-9 for sale to experience premium amenities and technologies like a heated leather-trimmed steering wheel with red stitching, ventilated front seating, and Nappa leather upholstery.


Highlander vs. Mazda CX-9 Specs

The new Toyota Highlander and Mazda CX-9 each offer just one engine, making a comparison between these crossover SUV models pretty straightforward. However, only one of these three-row family SUVs comes standard with the enhanced traction, safety, and performance of all-wheel drive (AWD) across all trims, and that's the Mazda CX-9.

The Toyota Highlander features standard front-wheel drive, but AWD is available as an option. Still, why pay extra for something that comes standard on the Mazda CX-9?

These similarly sized SUVs offer similar power output and cargo capacity, but if you're planning on utilizing the third row for seating, you might choose the Mazda SUV. Why? Because the Toyota Highlander falls nearly 2 inches short of the Mazda CX-9 in the all-important third-row legroom figure.

2023 Mazda CX-9 2023 Toyota Highlander
Engine 2.5L Skyactiv®-G 4-Cylinder Turbo 2.4-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged Double Overhead Cam (DOHC) 16-valve
Horsepower 227 hp @ 5,000 rpm 265 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Torque 320 lb-ft @ 2,500 rpm 310 lb-ft @ 1,700-3,600 rpm
Towing Capacity 3,500 lbs1 5,000 lbs2
EPA-estimated MPG (City/Highway/Combined) 20 / 26 / 233 21 / 28 / 244
# of Seats up to 7 up to 8
Max. Cargo Capacity 71.2 cu. ft. 84.3 cu. ft.
Passenger Volume 135.8 cu. ft. 141.8 cu. ft.
Length 199.4 in 194.9 in
Width (without mirrors) 77.5 in 76.0 in
Height 69.0 in 68.1 in

Comparing 2023 Mazda CX-9 vs. 2023 Toyota Highlander Reliability & Safety

Regarding reliability and safety, drivers and families will find that the Toyota Highlander and Mazda CX-9 perform particularly well. Both models provide a comprehensive suite of standard safety technologies and advanced driver-assistance systems that would help you and your crew enjoy on-road peace of mind.

Similarly, both models provide reliable powertrains that are built to last. The automakers that manufacture these three-row family SUVs are known for building dependable and long-lasting automobiles with a low cost of ownership. So, you can't go wrong with either choice on the dependability and safety front.

If you'd like to explore the new Mazda CX-9 in greater detail, why not visit your local Mazda dealer and view the latest lease specials? Your advanced and premium new Mazda SUV awaits.

Comparing Reliability & Safety

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is more reliable, the Mazda CX-9 or the Toyota Highlander?

There is no clear-cut answer regarding which of these three-row crossover SUVs is more reliable. Both models offer dependable powertrain performance and impressive reputations for overall reliability. Each vehicle's reliability will depend on factors like driving style and conditions and whether you follow recommended maintenance schedules. If reliability is a top concern, know that you can't go wrong with either model.

What is the difference between the Mazda CX-9 and the Toyota Highlander?

Some key differences between the new Mazda CX-9 and Toyota Highlander crossover SUVs include their powertrains and standard features. A 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine powers the Mazda CX-9, while the Toyota Highlander utilizes a 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Only the Mazda CX-9 comes standard with AWD, heated front seats, adjustable driver lumbar support, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Toyota charges extra for those features on a Highlander.


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1Towing capacities shown are maximums and must be reduced by the weight of any passenger, cargo hitch or optional equipment in the towing vehicle. Please refer to vehicle Owner's Manual for details regarding towing capacities and other valuable information. Towing a trailer will have an effect on the vehicle's handling, braking, durability, performance and driving economy. For specific information on recommended or required equipment, see your Mazda Dealer. Hitches are available through manufacturers other than Mazda.

2Before towing, confirm your vehicle and trailer are compatible, hooked up and loaded properly and that you have any necessary additional equipment. Do not exceed any Weight Ratings and follow all instructions in your Owner's Manual. The maximum you can tow depends on base curb weight plus the total weight of any cargo, occupants, and added vehicle equipment. "Added vehicle equipment" includes additional standard/optional equipment and accessories added by the manufacturer, dealers, and/or vehicle owners. The only way to be certain of your vehicle's exact curb weight is to weigh your vehicle without passengers or cargo. [Calculated with the new SAE J2807 method.] Installation of a tow hitch receiver or other accessories located near the rear bumper or side-door kick sensors may require disabling or removing the kick sensor, and the sensor operation setting in your vehicle should be turned off. See Owner's Manual for limitations.

3EPA-estimated mileage. Actual results will vary.

4Use for comparison purposes only. Your mileage will vary for many reasons, including your vehicle's condition and how/where you drive. See fueleconomy.gov.