2022 MAZDA CX-9 vs 2022 Kia Telluride: Which Three-Row SUV is Better?

2022 Mazda CX 9

If you’re shopping three-row SUVs, the 2022 MAZDA CX-9 should be high on your list. In a segment typically characterized by vanilla looks and sedate handling, this new Mazda SUV is engaging, luxurious, and stylish. While it appeals as much to the heart as the head, it’s still a smart buy compared to the sensible-but-staid 2022 Kia Telluride.


It pays to look beyond the surface when you’re comparing vehicles’ performance. Case in point: the Kia Telluride boasts higher horsepower than the Mazda CX-9. However, when you look at torque — how that horsepower is sent to the pavement — the Mazda CX-9 has a decisive advantage, coming in at 310 lbs.-ft. compared to 262 lbs.-ft. for the Kia SUV. As a result, both SUVs managed identical times from zero to sixty miles per hour when tested by Car & Driver.

Another advantage: all-wheel drive, which is an option on the Kia Telluride, is a standard Mazda CX-9 feature. Just as important, both SUVs have a much different driving feel, with reviewers calling the Kia SUV “comfortable” (KBB), or “peaceful and quiet” (MotorBiscuit), but praising the new Mazda SUV as “agile” and “fun to drive,” so if an engaging drive is a priority for you, you know which way to turn!


Because three-row SUVs are popular family vehicles, it’s safe to say that safety is a top-of-mind concern for buyers and lessees. Both SUVs earn five-star NHTSA safety ratings. Each also comes with a generous roster of driver-assist aids in every trim. However, even here, the 2022 Mazda CX-9 manages to set itself apart, because its i-ACTIVSENSE™ safety features work just a bit better. That’s not just an opinion from your Mazda dealer serving Birmingham; the IIHS awarded the Mazda CX-9 its Top Safety Pick Plus rating, while the Kia Telluride only earned a Top Safety Pick.

Test Drive the MAZDA CX-9

The Mazda CX-9 also delivers a more upscale cabin than its worthy competitor, as well as standard G-Vectoring Control Plus® (a torque-vectoring feature that you won’t find in the Kia Telluride) and a slight edge in EPA-rated fuel economy (24 combined miles per gallon versus 23 combined miles per gallon). In many ways, it’s simply a more compelling SUV. See for yourself by visiting Med Center Mazda for your test drive, and if you’re as impressed as we expect you’ll be, we’ll help with Mazda financing, too!