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Mazda Cx-9 or Toyota Highlander?

I am planning to replace my Odyssey van with a “crossover” and my priorities are to have a comfortable car for long trips, large enough to haul my college-kids’ stuff around a few times a year. I’m considering the Mazda Cx-9 and the Highlander, will probably spend around $33k. Any thoughts or comments?

I’m partial to Mazda myself. If you’d be willing to take a little cut in size, you could get a brand new CX-7 GT for $33k.

I’m partial to the Hylander if comfort is a priority. A local dealer was selling the hybrid for under $33k this summer. I’m sure the dealer incentive may not still be there, but it does show it’s in the ball park.

I’ve seen the non-hybrid for that price but not the hybrid. My husband doesn’t believe in paying thousands for hybrid options … says we’ll never make up that much money in gas savings, but maybe I can convince him if I can get a good deal on one. I think it’d be great to have a hybrid and not have to go buy gas so often, if only for convenience!

I want a larger car so I’m looking at the CX-9, which is almost exactly the same price as the Highlander. I still haven’t driven a Highlander, so I need to do that, but I LOVED driving the Mazda!

Your husband is right, and I would never recommend buying one for the $38k plus they normally ask. I’m a fan of the standard model but if Toyota has the incentive again, it’s worth the inquiry. If the Prius is any indicator, the hybrid Hylandet could/may be even more reliable than the standard model which is excellent.

Improved reliability certainly is a plus, but Toyotas are pretty reliable already. I’m not sure Toyota will have a lot of incentives this year, I keep hearing that all their parts manufacturing is bogged down in Japan, what a nightmare for that whole country. I feel so badly for them!

Your husband was probably right from a financial point of view. In general, you need to do heavy city driving for a hybrid to make sense financially. Do you?

If you want it for environmental reasons, that could be another story, although you have to also consider the impact of the metals in all of these batteries.

Most of my driving is “around town” but my youngest is going to college this summer, so even that will be fairly minimal soon. With two kids in college, I’m going to need a road-trip car that can haul a fair amount of stuff. I’m sure in the next few years they will be getting apartments, moving a few times a year, yadda yadda.

Plus, at the moment we live in Iowa and they are both in college in Virginia, so I might be driving back and forth a few times a year. Can’t take the cats on the airplane (I can, but it’s a hassle) and I don’t want to leave them home alone for weeks at a time–we have a home in Maryland where we spend all the holidays, summer, etc. Until we can move back East I’m going to be doing some serious driving, I think.

We have never owned a CX9 but we have had mazdas in the past and have loved them. We purchased a USED Toyota Highlander Hybrid last year – great deal, low mileage, love it. If you are open to searching for a used vehicle, you might avoid paying the premium hybrid price but still get a great vehicle. Good luck!

Thanks so much! I don’t know many people who have owned Mazda vehicles, they just aren’t as common as other brands, I realize both vehicles are very, very nice. I’m open to looking for a used/nearly new, but you don’t see that many of either of these on the market. I’m putting the dealers on notice to let me know if something comes up …

I never drove the 9, but I’m sure it’s a nice ride. I only mentioned the 7 because I own one and can attest to the fun factor of it.

I’m ready for a fun car, and although I love vans I’ve driven one for about 20 years now. This will be the first “luxury” vehicle we buy, and possibly the last after 8 (possibly more) years of college to pay for!