MAZDA CX-9 vs. Toyota Highlander
Toyota Highlander
At a Glance: CX-9 vs. Highlander

Gastonia, Charlotte, and Lincolnton area drivers searching for a 3-row SUV that delivers a premium interior design with a quietly comfortable ride should take a close look at the 2023 Mazda CX-9 and the Toyota Highlander.

At Mazda of Gastonia, our team is dedicated to pairing you with the perfect vehicle to fit your active life. That’s why we’ve created this Mazda CX-9 vs. Toyota Highlander comparison. Explore everything these sporty midsize SUVs have to offer before scheduling a test drive.



Standard | Available
CX-9 vs Highlander


19.5 gals. | 17.9 gals.
CX-9 vs Highlander


10.25" | 8"
CX-9 vs Highlander
See the Difference for Yourself
Select a category below to learn more about how the MAZDA CX-9 compares to the Toyota Highlander.

Do you want to be excited every time you slide behind the wheel? If so, the Mazda CX-9 and the Toyota Highlander will deliver the performance you crave. These large SUVs feature powerhouse engines, stable handling, and impressive fuel economy. Which one will be the better choice for you?

Packed With Power

Delivering smooth acceleration with sharp responsiveness, the 2023 Mazda CX-9 is an SUV that moves with the grace of a performance sedan. Equipped with a Skyactiv®-G 2.5 4-cylinder engine, it quickly produces up to 250 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque.

When it all comes together, the results are a midsize SUV that runs on a 19.5-gallon fuel tank, which is perfect for daily commuting or when the mood strikes for a quick road trip out of town.

By comparison, the Highlander boasts a standard 3.5L 6-cylinder engine that can reach just 310 lb-ft of torque. The Highlander also carries a smaller fuel tank at 17.9 gallons.

Dynamic Driving

Drivers can experience standard i-Activ AWD® (all-wheel drive) that pairs seamlessly with the Mazda CX-9 Skyactiv®-Drive 6-speed automatic transmission with manual-shift and Sport Mode. All your drives will feel effortless, stable, and dynamic. Joyride, anyone?

On the other hand, the Toyota Highlander relies on an 8-speed transmission and comes standard with Front-Wheel Drive. While this drivetrain aids the Highlander’s fuel efficiency, standard all-wheel drive on the Mazda allows you to branch out to more rugged adventures.


Whether navigating the early-morning drive to work or loading up the family for a weekend adventure, the Mazda CX-9 and the Highlander both place your comfort at the forefront. Thanks to their plentiful premium amenities, everyone on board is sure to stay entertained for the long road ahead.

Enjoy the Weather

You’ve got a road trip coming up. How do you set the mood? In either SUV, 3-zone automatic climate control and available power moonroofs create the perfect environment no matter what the weather conditions outside. You and your rear-seat passengers can set individual climates or roll back the moonroof to let in the breeze.

No More Chilly Commutes

The Mazda CX-9 and the Highlander share several interior features as well, including an 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, power-adjustable front passenger seat, and 2nd-row captain’s chairs. Despite their similarities, the Mazda CX-9 elevates your chilly drives with standard 3-level heated front seats—a feature that’s only an available option on the Highlander.


How do you enjoy yourself as you drive? Completing a chapter in your newest audiobook? Solving murders alongside a true crime podcast? Calling your parents to catch up? Discovering new music? No matter how you spend your on-road me-time, the Mazda CX-9 and the Toyota Highlander can help you connect to entertainment and disconnect from the world.

Unwind on the Road

Need to make a dinner reservation from the road? Perhaps you’d like to stream your favorite podcast on your drive home from work? Thanks to the Mazda Connect™ infotainment system, Mazda CX-9 drivers can do all this and more from the comfort of the driver’s seat.

With an available Bose® Centerpoint® 2 Surround Sound System with AudioPilot® 2, the Mazda CX-9 enables drivers and passengers to quickly connect and enjoy a whole host of smart technologies, such as:

  • Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™
  • HD Radio™
  • Available SiriusXM® Satellite Radio, 3-month trial subscription

Likewise, the Highlander offers drivers its own audio display with internet radio and smartphone integration, but there’s a difference in accessibility between these two models.

Meet Your Digital Sidekick

The Highlander’s standard touchscreen display is eight inches, a number that pales in comparison to the one in the Mazda CX-9. A standard 10.25-inch screen rests inside the Mazda CX-9, an added benefit for drivers looking to make the best of their drive, no matter how long or short.

Which SUV Is Better for You?

There’s no denying the Highlander puts up some impressive stats, but when it comes to performance, luxurious design, and tech, the Mazda CX-9 pulls ahead.

If you’re a driver near Gastonia, Charlotte, or Lincolnton interested in taking a closer look at the 2023 Mazda CX-9, visit Mazda of Gastonia or go online to schedule a test drive today!

All of the tools you need to move forward with experiencing a new 2023 CX-9 for yourself are conveniently available right here online.


Mazda of Gastonia 35.2557031, -81.0935571.
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