Mazda CX-9 2022 vs Ford Explorer: Which is Better?

The midsize SUV segment is full of competitive players from almost all mainstream car manufacturers. The tried and true Ford F,
The Explorer has been a solid choice in family SUVs for decades, but the Mazda CX-9 gives it money.

Let’s take a closer look at this 3-row SUV and find the right one for you and your family.

Mazda CX-9 2022

Mazda MZDAY,
The CX-9 is an upscale and athletic choice in a midsize 3-row SUV. It upholds its brand reputation for well-crafted interiors and attractive driving dynamics at an affordable price. Prices start at $35,630.

Mazda CX-9 Highlights

Premium interiors: Mazda CX-9 offers a premium interior without the premium price tag. The interior design is beautiful, and the quality of the materials is better than you’d expect at this price point. The Explorer is luxurious on the top trim, but the bottom trim isn’t quite as good as the CX-9.

Agile handling: Mazda’s SUVs have built a reputation for being fun to drive, and the CX-9 is no exception. This midsize SUV has grip like a smaller car. A turbocharged engine mated to a well-tuned chassis makes the CX-9 a pleasure to drive for a family SUV.

Standard AWD: The i-ACTIV all-wheel-drive system comes standard on every Mazda CX-9, giving each CX-9 traction that inspires confidence in inclement road conditions and improves handling on dry pavement. In comparison, the Explorer is available with all-wheel drive, but at an additional cost.

See also: Mazda CX-9 2022 vs Volvo XC90: Which is Better?

2022 Ford Explorer

Ford Explorer

wade through

The Ford Explorer is a trusted name in midsize SUVs for good reason. It has a practical interior, rugged capabilities and plenty of variety in its model range with something for everyone. Prices start at $35,510.

Ford Explorer Highlights

Various models various: From the sporty ST model to the rugged Timberline model to the luxurious Platinum and King Ranch trims, the Explorer model range has something for everyone in the midsize SUV market. If you’re looking for value, the more affordable trim is still well equipped.

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

Hybrid options: 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 lb-ft of torque. It offers a combined fuel economy rating of up to 27 mpg and can tow up to 5,000 pounds. Exclusive hybrid engine for the luxurious Platinum trim.

See also: The Nissan Kicks 2022 is a spacious and fuel-efficient subcompact SUV suitable for city driving


Standard turbo engine, similar size, similar price, same warranty, 3 row seats

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The Mazda CX-9 is suitable for drivers who need a practical 3-row SUV with AWD 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 sporty Explorer ST, off-road-ready Explorer Timberline and hybrid options. It also has more cargo space than the Mazda. Which one is right for you depends on your wants and needs.

Mazda CX-9 2022

2022 Ford Explorer

Initial price



Popular Powertrains


2.5 liter turbo 4 cylinder

2.3 liter turbo 4 cylinder


227 hp @ 5,000 rpm

300 hp @ 5,500 rpm


310 lb-ft @ 2,000 rpm

310 lb-ft @ 3,500 rpm


6 speed auto

10 speed auto

Fuel Economy

20 cities/26 highways/23 combined mpg

21 cities/28 highways/24 combined mpg

Max Puller

3,500 pounds

5,600 pounds

Also available

WD; 3.0 liter turbo V6; 3.3-liter hybrid V6


Basic Warranty

3 years/36,000 miles

3 years/36,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty

5 years/60,000 miles

5 years/60,000 miles

NHTSA Overall Security

5 stars

Not rated

Max Seating Capacity




115.3 inches

119.1 inches

Overall length

199.4 inches

198.8 inches


77.5 inches

78.9 inches


67.6 inches

69.9 inches

Swivel diameter

38.8 feet

39.2 feet

Headroom, Row 1

39.3 inches

40.7 inches

Headroom, 2nd Row

38.5 inches

40.5 inch

Headroom, 3rd Row

35.4 inches

38.9 inches

Legroom, Row 1

41.0 inch

43.0 inch

Legroom, 2nd Row

39.4 inches

39.0 inch

Legroom, 3rd Row

29.7 inches

32.2 inches

Shoulder Room, Row 1

57.9 inches

61.8 inches

Shoulder Room, 2nd Row

58.1 inches

61.9 inches

Shoulder Room, 3rd Row

53.1 inches

54.6 inches

Cargo volume

14.4/38.2/71.2 cubic feet

18.2/47.9/87.8 cubic feet

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