Car Buying Strategies
Search Car Buying Strategies Makes & Models Select a Make and Model Makes & Models Select a Make and Model New Cars Prices Buying Advice
Home | New Cars | Toyota | 2021 Toyota Highlander

2021 Toyota Highlander vs Mazda CX-9

2021 Toyota Highlander vs Mazda CX-9

2021 Highlander vs CX-9 - How do they stack up? Which is Better?

Whether you're carpooling the kids to soccer practice or packing up for a family road trip, two of the best vehicles on today's market are Toyota Highlander and Mazda CX-9. Boasting powerful engines and accommodating three rows of seating, these SUVs can provide both long distance reliability in any terrain as well as modern amenities such as high tech features that set them apart from their competitors. If it’s quality transportation your after – look no further than these luxurious rides!


The Powertrain

From traditional to hybrid powertrain, the Highlander offers plenty of options for drivers. Meanwhile, the CX-9 gives you just one engine choice with 250 horses at your command - no questions asked! This turbocharged 2.5L four cylinder is paired up with a six-speed automatic transmission complete with Sport mode and manual shifting capabilities if you're feeling adventurous behind the wheel.

The Toyota Highlander is endowed with two powerful engines that outshine the CX-9's. A traditional 3.5L V6 offers 295HP and 263 lb.-ft of torque, while a hybrid 2.5L option generates 243 net horsepower for maximum performance on winding roads or open highways alike - all powered by slicker shifting transmissions than its competitor.

Both the Highlander and CX-9 present drivers with an exciting opportunity - all terrain power. All-wheel drive is available on several trims, putting traction control at your fingertips even when it's difficult to keep a grip on the road. If you choose to equip your vehicle with this feature, you can take advantage of Multi-Terrain Select which provides three settings – Normal, Mud/Sand or Rock/Dirt -- for optimal performance in any situation.

The Highlander takes off-roading to a whole new level with its Dynamic Torque Vectoring all-wheel drive system, offering unparalleled control and grip in those daring expeditions! Though the CX-9 may not have that exact AWD setup, it does provide an extra layer of confidence deals when going over uneven terrain thanks to Off Road Traction Assist.

When it comes to fuel efficiency, the Toyota Highlander and Mazda CX-9 are competitive players in the game. The standard Highlander can achieve up to 21 miles per gallon city driving and 29 on highways - not too shabby! For an even greater mileage boost, opt for its hybrid powertrain; you'll get a whopping 36 mpg at maximum capacity. As far as the CX-9 goes, it's right on par with 22mpg city/ 28 hwy (all wheel drive not included!). No matter which one you choose though, your wallet will thank you later.

For those looking to haul heavy cargo, SUV models like Mazda's CX-9 and Toyota's Highlander boast impressive hauling power. The CX-9 can tow an incredible 3,500 pounds while the Highlander ups the ante with a max load of 5,000. Whether it be for weekend camping trips or transporting valuable equipment around town - these SUVs are sure to provide plenty of oomph.

Both companies are offering their customers an extensive level of coverage, with a limited powertrain warranty lasting either five years or 60,000 miles - whichever milestone is reached first. Customers can rest assured knowing that they have maximum protection for their SUVs!


Drivers in search of an exciting ride need look no further than the powerhouse that is Toyota's Highlander XSE trim. Boasting a finely tuned, all-wheel drive system and sporty suspension for enhanced cornering capabilities, you'll feel like you're behind the wheel of a high-performance vehicle! Even though it may not have as much power its bigger sister does, Mazda's CX-9 still provides plenty enough thrills - many folks liken its driving experience to one akin to being at the helm of a smaller SUV.

Customers drawn to these vehicles for their three rows of seating will enjoy ample space in the first and second row, with legroom stretching 42 inches (Highlander) or 41 inches (CX-9). But it's not all luxury when you make your way to third row - 27.7inches and 29.7 inch respectively offer cramped conditions ideal for children, who would benefit most from a more comfortable trip.

The Highlander and the CX-9 offer a range of seating options for groups big or small. With its three rows, you can fit up to eight passengers in the Highlander while having seven seats available with either captain's chairs or bench seat configurations. Meanwhile, the two row configuration of the CX-9 offers more intimate family car rides - accommodating six with captains' chair set ups or an extra guest when it comes time for one final party game on those long journeys.

The Toyota Highlander and Mazda CX-9 are two larger models boasting plenty of interior space. Spanning nearly 195 inches long, the Highlander is 76 wide while sitting a solid 8 inches off the ground. Its competitor - also no slouch in size – boasts an even more impressive 199+ inch length but stands just shy of 9 tall when it comes to clearance between wheelbase and ground level.

With these dimensions, one would expect these SUVs to have a considerable amount of cargo space. Maximum cargo space in the Highlander is 84.3 cubic feet, and it's 71.2 cubic feet in the CX-9. Behind the third rows, both models have relatively small cargo areas. These can be ideal for getting groceries or carrying a few pieces of luggage, for example. The rear cargo are in the Highlander has a volume of 16 cubic feet, and the cargo hold in the CX-9 has a volume of 14.4 cubic feet.

Technology has revolutionized the way we experience the joys of driving - Toyota and Mazda are leading pioneers in this movement, having flawlessly intertwined advanced systems into their vehicles for an unparalleled ride.

The Highlander is packed with a world of infotainment, offering customers an array of cutting-edge features. At the basic level you get an 8" touchscreen, Android Auto/Apple CarPlay and five USB ports while those who upgrade to premium have access to 11 JBL speakers (including subwoofer), dynamic navigation plus Wi-Fi connectivity as options - ensuring all your audio needs are met whether streaming through BlueTooth or jamming out on SiriusXM. With Amazon Alexa compatibility too it's no wonder this vehicle has been so popular among tech enthusiasts.

In all trims of the Mazda CX-9, there are 10.25-inch full-color center displays. The standard package consists of Bluetooth, two USB ports, HD Radio, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. This doesn't quite compare to what an entry-level Highlander can offer.

Higher trims of the Mazda CX-9 have SiriusXM to broaden the entertainment choices, wireless charging for convenience, and more USB ports. Several trims have two USB ports in each of the three rows so that no one has to compete for access to charging equipment. The CX-9 can be upgraded with a Bose Centerpoint 2 Surround Sound System that has 12 speakers. The top two trims have integrated navigation and SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link. Wi-Fi is available on the CX-9 as well.

Mazda has gone against the grain with its innovative approach to infotainment. Instead of a touchscreen, they have opted for an intuitive center display that can be operated using voice commands, buttons, and their signature Commander control -a large dial conveniently placed near the gear shifter in arm's reach of drivers! With this unique system users are effortlessly able to scroll through lists and make adjustments on-the-go; creating one of the simplest interface experiences yet.


The Toyota Highlander offers a complete package of advanced safety features to help protect you on the road. With its Safety Sense 2.5+ system, it can detect potential collisions and automatically brake if needed; keep track of surrounding pedestrians; manage speed with adaptive cruise control and lane tracing assist; adjust high beams for night visibility; alert drivers when leaving their lanes unexpectedly, plus read road signs along your route - all so that you stay safe no matter where your journey takes you.

An available blind spot monitoring system can be integrated into the outside mirrors. A warning indicator would light up whenever a vehicle in the Highlander's blind spot. This can be very useful because it's sometimes difficult to keep track of other vehicles when on busy roads.

The Toyota Highlander has some truly unique features that can make driving easier and safer. For example, you could get Road Sign Assist to notify drivers of important information on the road or a head-up display for enhanced visibility when behind the wheel. Additionally, an available 360-degree camera makes parking worry free while its automated braking system keeps minor accidents at bay.

The CX-9 offers a plethora of features for your safety and convenience, such as automatic high beams to keep you safe in the dark, lane departure warning that can detect if you're drifting out of line on highways, adaptive cruise control to help with long trips and 360 degree cameras so that no obstacle is unseen. Other available options include blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alerts plus driver attention alert system all making sure your drive remains stress free!

Which Has the Best Value

If you're after a reliable, well-appointed vehicle that won't break the bank then consider Mazda CX-9. Starting at just $34,160 - with five varied trims to choose from including Sport, Touring - $35,950, Carbon Edition Plus - $41,280, Grand Touring Premium - $42,140 and Signature Luxury - $46,805 - there's an option for every budget. With these unique trim packages offering exceptional value compared to other cars in its class; it could be exactly what you need whether your preference is basic or lavish.

Mazda's CX-9 trim options offer vehicle owners a variety of luxurious features. The base Touring model offers amenities such as heated side mirrors, LED headlights and three zone climate control while the Carbon Edition ups the ante with its sporty paddle shifters, moonroof, and black accents. Further up the range are Grand Touring and Signature trims which feature exclusive extras like hands-free lift gates, heated steering wheels & second row seats plus ventilated front seats for added comfort along with full navigation capabilities.

The Highlander offers an impressive ten unique trims to choose from, each with its own set of features and capabilities. For added efficiency and performance, there are several hybrid options available that provide a noticeable boost in power - all at the cost of just around $1,400 extra! The crown jewel is no doubt the Hybrid Platinum trim which comes packed full of amenities for those looking for top-tier luxury without breaking their wallet; it's priced right at 48 grand.

The Highlander and CX-9 offer an impressive selection of interior and exterior features, such as head lights, side mirrors, climate systems - plus the added convenience of a moonroof on the Highlander. And to top it off? A hands-free power liftgate ensures quick access when you need it most.

The Mazda CX-9 and Highlander provide a world of options for seating upholstery: the former can be found with leather in all trims but one, whereas the latter provides drivers three different levels - cloth, SofTex synthetic leather or full-leather - depending on what you choose. To make cool winter days even more bearable, both vehicles offer heated seats (including second row), as well as ventilated front seats and heated steering wheels.

With its superior capabilities, it's no wonder that the Highlander is priced higher than other models. Still, this extra cost may pay off in terms of added value and capability down the line.


Which is Better?

When it comes to comparing the Toyota Highlander and Mazda CX-9, there's certainly no clear winner. Both are strong contenders in the three-row SUV market with plenty of impressive attributes: they're reliable, spacious, versatile and come packed full of great amenities.

That said, if you prioritize ruggedness then going for a Highlander may be your best bet. Its higher capacity for offloading puts it ahead as well as having more cargo space than the CX-9 has available.

At the same time though don't discount what this vehicle can offer either; despite being priced at an attractive rate compared to other luxury models on offer today it still delivers when you take into consideration all those high quality features that have been included.

Save Money on a 2021 Toyota Highlander:
Are you Shopping for a New Vehicle? Find the Best Deals with "Free - No Hassle" Prices Quotes.
Save money on new vehicles

Get up to 4 local dealers to compete for your business by offering free, competitive pricing. Know before you go to the dealer.

Every dealer offers a secret price. Find yours here.