2022 Mazda CX-9 vs 2022 Ford Explorer Comparison

The midsize SUV segment is filled with competing players from nearly every major automaker. The tried-and-true Ford Explorer has been a solid choice in family SUVs for decades, but the Mazda CX-9 gives it a run for its money.

Let’s take a closer look at the three-row SUV and find the right one for you and your family.

2022 Mazda CX-9

The Mazda CX-9 is an upscale, sporty choice of three-row mid-size SUV. It underpins its brand reputation for well-designed interiors and attractive driving dynamics at an affordable price. Pricing starts at $35630.

Mazda CX-9 Highlights

luxury cabin: Mazda CX-9 offers a luxurious cabin without the high price tag. The interior is beautiful and the quality of the materials is better than you might expect at this price point. Explorer gets fancy on the top bezels, but the bottom bezels aren’t quite as nice on the inside as the CX-9.

Agile processing: Mazda SUVs have earned a reputation for being fun to drive, and the CX-9 is no exception. This mid-size SUV handles like smaller cars. The turbocharged engine paired with a well-tuned chassis makes the CX-9 a fun-to-drive family utility vehicle.

Standard All Wheel Drive (AWD): The i-ACTIV (AWD) all-wheel drive system comes standard with every Mazda CX-9, giving every CX-9 confidence-inspiring traction in poor road conditions and improved handling on dry pavement. In comparison, the Explorer is available with all-wheel drive, but at an additional cost.

Check out this week’s fair purchase price or see CX-9 models for sale near you.

2022 Ford Explorer

2022 Ford Explorer

The Ford Explorer is a trusted name in midsize SUVs for good reason. It features a functional interior, powerful capabilities, and plenty of variety in its model range with something for everyone. Pricing starts at $35,510.

Ford Explorer highlights

Variety of models: From the sporty ST model to the tough Timberline to the luxurious Platinum and King Ranch trims, the Explorer model range has something for everyone in the mid-size SUV market. If you’re looking for value, the affordable rims are still well-appointed.

Big Shipping Contract: The Explorer has slightly more cargo space than the CX-9. The Ford has 18.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row of seats, while the Mazda has 14.4 cubic feet. Fold the rear seats down and get a maximum cargo capacity of 87.8 cubic feet in the Explorer versus 71.2 cubic feet in the CX-9.

Hybrid option: The Ford Explorer is available with an efficient hybrid engine. Specifically, the V6 is mated to an electric motor with a total output of 318 horsepower and 322 pound-feet of torque. It features a built-in fuel economy rating of 27 mpg and can tow up to 5,000 pounds. The hybrid motor is exclusive to the premium platinum coating.

Check this week’s fair purchase price or see Ford Explorer models for sale near you.


Standard Turbo Engine, Same Size, Same Prices, Same Warranty, 3 Row Seats


The Mazda CX-9 is good for drivers who need a practical three-row SUV with all-wheel drive but also want something fun to drive with a nice interior. The Explorer has more variety in its model range with offerings such as the Explorer ST Sport, the Timberline off-road-ready Explorer, and a hybrid option. It also has more cargo space than Mazda. Which one is right for you depends on your wants and needs.

2022 Mazda CX-9 2022 Ford Explorer
Initial price $35630 $35510
Popular Powertrains
engine 2.5 liter turbo 4 cylinders 2.3L Turbo 4 Cylinder
horse power 227 HP @ 5000 rpm 300 HP @ 5500 RPM
torque 310 lb-ft @ 2000 rpm 310 lb-ft @ 3500 rpm
Connecting 6-speed automatic 10 speed automatic
fuel economy 20 city / 26 highway / 23 mpg combined 21 city / 28 highway / 24 mpg
Max Twing 3500 pounds 5600 EGP
Also available all wheel drive (AWD); 3.0L Turbo V6; 3.3L Hybrid V6.0
Basic Warranty 3 years / 36000 miles 3 years / 36000 miles
Powertrain Guarantee 5 years / 60,000 miles 5 years / 60,000 miles
NHTSA Public Safety 5 stars unclassified
Maximum Seating Capacity 7 7
wheelbase 115.3 inches 119.1 inches
total length 199.4 inches 198.8 inches
Show 77.5 inches 78.9 inches
to rise 67.6 inches 69.9 inches
turning diameter 38.8 ft 39.2 ft
Headspace, first row 39.3 inches 40.7 inches
Headspace, second row 38.5 inches 40.5 inches
Headspace, third row 35.4 inches 38.9 inches
Legroom, first row 41.0 inches 43.0 inches
Legroom, second row 39.4 inches 39.0 inches
Legroom, third row 29.7 inches 32.2 inches
Shoulder room, first row 57.9 inches 61.8 inches
Shoulder room, second row 58.1 inches 61.9 inches
Shoulder room, third row 53.1 inches 54.6 inches
Shipment size 14.4 / 38.2 / 71.2 cubic feet 18.2 / 47.9 / 87.8 cubic feet

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