Son's Automotive Group Compares 2017 Honda Pilot VS 2017 Mazda CX-9 Near Braselton, GA

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2017 Honda Pilot

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2017 Honda Pilot

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2017 Mazda CX-9

Safety Comparison

The Pilot Touring/Elite has standard Parking Sensors to help warn the driver about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind or in front of their vehicle. The CX-9 doesn’t offer a front parking aid.

Compared to metal, the Pilot’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 Pilot 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, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Pilot its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2017, a rating granted to only 53 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The CX-9 has not been tested, yet.

Warranty Comparison

There are over 72 percent more Honda dealers than there are Mazda dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Pilot’s warranty.

Reliability Comparison

The engine in the Pilot 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 Pilot has a standard 130-amp alternator. The CX-9’s 110-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2016 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Honda vehicles are better in initial quality than Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Honda 23rd in initial quality. With 8 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 26th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2016 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Honda vehicles are more reliable than Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Honda 7th in reliability, above the industry average. With 37 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 21st.

Engine Comparison

The Pilot’s 3.5 SOHC V6 produces 30 more horsepower (280 vs. 250) than the CX-9’s 2.5 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the Honda Pilot is faster than the Mazda CX-9:




Zero to 60 MPH

6.1 sec

7.2 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

17.1 sec

21.3 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.3 sec

7.7 sec

Quarter Mile

14.8 sec

15.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

94 MPH

88 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

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

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Pilot Touring/Elite’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The CX-9 doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Honda Pilot uses regular unleaded gasoline. The CX-9 requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Pilot has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The CX-9 doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

The Pilot stops shorter than the CX-9:





60 to 0 MPH

128 feet

130 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

The Pilot has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The CX-9 doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The Pilot (except LX)’s optional drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The CX-9 doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Pilot is 1 inch wider in the front and 1.1 inches wider in the rear than on the CX-9.

The Pilot Elite 4WD handles at .83 G’s, while the CX-9 Touring pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

Chassis Comparison

The Pilot is 4.9 inches shorter than the CX-9, making the Pilot easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The Pilot 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

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

The Pilot has 17.8 cubic feet more passenger volume than the CX-9 (152.9 vs. 135.1).

The Pilot has .8 inches more front headroom, 2.4 inches more front hip room, 4.1 inches more front shoulder room, 1.7 inches more rear headroom, 3.9 inches more rear shoulder room, 3.5 inches more third row headroom, 2.2 inches more third row legroom, 4.5 inches more third row hip room and 4.5 inches more third row shoulder room than the CX-9.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Pilot’s middle and third row seats recline. The CX-9’s third row seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

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




Behind Third Seat

18.5 cubic feet

14.4 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

55.9 cubic feet

38.2 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

109 cubic feet

71.2 cubic feet

The Pilot has a standard third row seat which folds flat into the floor. This completely clears a very large cargo area quickly. The CX-9 doesn’t offer seats that fold into the floor.

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

Ergonomics Comparison

The Pilot Touring/Elite’s standard 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.

If the windows are left down on the Pilot the driver can raise them all using the key in the outside lock cylinder. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from outside the vehicle using the key in the outside lock cylinder or the keyless remote. The driver of the CX-9 can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Pilot’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’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

When the Pilot Touring/Elite is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The CX-9’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

Both the Pilot and the CX-9 offer available heated front seats. The Pilot Elite also has standard heated second row seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated second row seats aren’t available in the CX-9.

Standard air-conditioned seats in the Pilot Elite 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 Pilot Elite’s standard 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.

The Pilot (except LX/EX) offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The CX-9 doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Economic Advantages Comparison

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Pilot is less expensive to operate than the CX-9 because it costs $270 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Pilot than the CX-9, including $69 less for front brake pads, $55 less for a starter, $99 less for fuel injection, $606 less for a fuel pump, $887 less for front struts, $223 less for a timing belt/chain and $40 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations Comparison

The Honda Pilot has won recognition from these important consumer publications:




Consumer Reports® Recommends



Car Book “Best Bet”



The Honda Pilot outsold the Mazda CX-9 by over 9 to one during the 2016 model year.

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