MAZDA CX-9 vs Toyota Highlander


The Mazda CX-9 and the Toyota Highlander are both 3-row SUVs with versatile skillsets. So, which one is the better fit for your trips through Denton, Carrollton, or Flower Mound, Texas?

Read this 2022 Mazda CX-9 vs. 2022 Toyota Highlander comparison prepared by the team at Denton Mazda to find out which SUV is right for you.   

MAZDA CX-9 vs Toyota Highlander

2022 MAZDA CX-9


2022 Toyota Highlander

320 lb-ft

Maximum Torque

263 lb-ft


All-Wheel Drive


12-speaker Bose®

Premium Audio System

11-speaker JBL


SiriusXM® Traffic and Travel Link Subscription

Not Available

Which SUV Has the Most Available Power?

You can opt for more power in the Mazda CX-9 than in the Toyota Highlander. This advantage provides drivers with sharper acceleration and greater ability to handle inclines with ease.

The Mazda CX-9 can be powered by the available Skyactiv®-G 2.5 Dynamic Pressure Turbo 4-cylinder engine with VVT. It can generate up to 320 lb-ft of torque. You’ll find it also delivers a smooth ride. This SUV’s transmission is an automatic transmission with manual-shift and Sport Mode that adds agility to the SUV’s steering.

What about the Toyota Highlander? The most power available with the SUV is 263 lb-ft of torque. This SUV also uses an automatic transmission, so you’ll have access to similar handling possibilities as the Mazda CX-9—but less torque.

The end result: The Mazda CX-9 has difference-making power at its disposal. This can help you travel through Texas with swagger.

MAZDA CX-9 All-Wheel Drive

Does the MAZDA CX-9 Or Toyota Highlander Have All-Wheel Drive?

When you are search for the right trim level, you’ll be more confident when you test drive a Mazda CX-9. i-Activ AWD® (All-Wheel Drive) with Off-road Traction Assist is standard in the Mazda CX-9. The system’s Off-road Traction Assist can free tires that are stuck in Mother Nature’s web.

All-Wheel Drive is only an available feature of the Toyota Highlander. What does that mean for you? An AWD system sends power to all four wheels. This distribution provides greater traction and a firmer grip of the road. If you’re traveling on slippery roads or uneven terrain, you’ll have greater stability with an AWD system.

The Highlander’s standard drivetrain is a FWD (Front-Wheel Drive) system. This only sends power to the front wheels. FWD is more suited to the highway than the diverse types of roads that AWD can handle.

If you enjoy conquering off the beaten paths of Texas, you’ll find AWD empowers more off-road romps than FWD.

MAZDA CX-9 Technology

Which SUV Has Better Infotainment?

When it’s time to crank up the volume, you’ll enjoy a more soothing groove in Mazda’s SUV. The Mazda CX-9 has a better premium sound system than the Toyota Highlander. Its available Bose® sound system has:

  • 12 speakers
  • Centerpoint® 2
  • AudioPilot® 2

Centerpoint® 2 and AudioPilot® 2 create an optimal surround sound throughout every corner of the cabin. While the Highlander does have an 11-speaker JBL system, it does not use the Bose® technology to curate the audio levels that feel “just right.”

Mazda’s SUV offers an additional edge. The Mazda CX-9 can come with an available 3-year subscription to SiriusXM® Traffic and Travel Link. This system provides updated information on:

  • Traffic
  • Weather
  • Sports scores
  • Fuel prices
  • Nearby parking

The Toyota Highlander does not have an available 3-year SiriusXM® Traffic and Travel Link subscription. That means, if you value the best blend of infotainment, you’ll find a better mix in the Mazda CX-9 than in the Toyota Highlander.

Final Ruling: The MAZDA CX-9 Comes Out On Top

Our Mazda CX-9 vs. Toyota Highlander comparison has shown Mazda’s SUV comes out on top. It wields more available power and has a more dynamic infotainment system.

To see how the Mazda CX-9 handles the roads of Denton, Carrollton, and Flower Mound, TX, schedule a test drive at Denton Mazda. You’ll be able to see and experience firsthand all the many advantages the Mazda CX-9 has to offer.

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