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Head to Head: The 2017 Ford Explorer vs. The 2017 Mazda CX-9

September 20th, 2017


See the 2017 Ford Explorer and the 2017 Mazda CX-9 Side-By-Side at Borgman Ford Mazda

Borgman Ford Mazda in Grand Rapids has been driving the difference in West Michigan for three generations.  We owe our success over the years to our policy of being clear and honest with our customers, who in-turn come back to us when it’s time to buy their next Ford or Mazda vehicle. In order to help our customers better explore their Ford or SUV options, we’re putting two of our most popular SUVs Head to Head: The New Ford Explorer and the New Mazda CX-9.

Both of these Full-Size SUVs are capable and spacious, meeting the needs of the average Michigan shopper. Read on below to see how they stack up against each other and feel free to visit our showroom in Grand Rapids to compare them yourself!

Compare Ford Explorer & Mazda CX-9 Powertrains


The 2017 Ford Explorer Powertrain & Performance

The 2017 Ford Explorer features 3 different engine options to choose from. First up, the 3.5L Ti VCT comes standard on the Explorer trim or XLT, and for a base model engine can certainly hold its own. This V6 engine features 290 horsepower and 255 pounds per feet of torque, which will be plenty for exploring Michigan.

Next up is the 2.3L EcoBoost I4 engine, which trades displacement for extra torque and fuel economy -all thanks to its advanced turbocharger. Outputting 280 hp, 310 lb/ft. of torque, drivers will enjoy an EPA-estimated 27 mpg with improved responsiveness. This engine is available on the base model and XLT, and standard with the Limited trim.

For the boldest West Michigan adventurers and winter warriors alike, Explorer Sport and Platinum models come equipped with the beefy 3.5L EcoBoost V6 Engine – boasting a best-in-class 365 horsepower and 350 lb/ft. of torque.

All Ford Explorers come equipped with Ford’s dependable 6-Speed SelectShift Automatic Transmission, with paddle shifters mounted on the steering wheel. Standard on Sport and Platinum, but available on all trim levels is Ford’s Intelligent 4WD with Terrain Management System and Hill-Descent Control.


The 2017 Mazda CX-9 Powertrain & Performance

In contrast to Ford’s suite of engine options, Mazda has equipped all models of the 2017 Mazda CX-9 with their highly-capable and efficient 2.5L SKYACTIV-G engine. This allowed Mazda to focus on making the best engine they possibly could for the chassis and democratize it across the trim levels, rather than tailoring different engines to fill different roles.

The turbocharged 2.5L SKYACTIV-G is capable of 250 hp, 310 lb/ft. of torque, and through some clever engineering, Mazda has nearly-eliminated turbo lag on the 2017 Mazda CX-9. Featuring an innovative “Dynamic Pressure Turbocharger,” the response between pedal and power is nearly instantaneous. With “Turbo Lag” being something many drivers complain about, Mazda put a lot of extra effort into making sure that you get all of the benefits of a turbocharger – increased fuel-economy and torque – without the drawbacks.

The 2017 Mazda CX-9 also comes equipped with the SKYACTIV-Drive 6-Speed Automatic Transmission with manual shift and Sport Mode, and the All-Wheel Drive options is available on every trim level.

Compare Ford Explorer & Mazda CX-9 Interiors


The 2017 Ford Explorer Interior Styling & Cargo Space

The New Ford Explorer’s capable lineup of engine options speak to its capability, but just because you’re looking for a performance-driven SUV doesn’t mean you have to settle for a plain, uninteresting interior. The 2017 Explorer features a number of amenities for traveling in comfort, whether it’s the available 10-way power drivers seats and leather-wrapped steering wheel, which are both standard on XLT, or the heated steering wheel and cooled front-row seats, which are standard on Limited and Platinum models. A 500-Watt Sony Sound System is also available on Platinum and Sport trims.

The 2017 Ford Explorer also features an optional Twin-Panel Moonroof, available 2nd-row heated seats, and more help your passengers enjoy the trip too. If you need to travel with a fair amount of gear, the Explorer has plenty of space. With the 3rd-row seats folded up, it can carry 21 cu/ft. of cargo, 43.8 with them folded down, and 81.7 cu/ft. 2nd and 3rd-row seats folded down.


The 2017 Mazda CX-9 Interior Styling & Cargo Space

When it comes to the interiors of their vehicles, Mazda does not believe that any detail should be considered “minor.” Even on the base trim – the Sport – there is an air of sophistication throughout the cabin. Whether you’re getting groceries or embarking on a long road trip, the elegant interior and a multitude of cargo configurations equip CX-9 to handle any kind of drive in style.

While all 7 seats share this sense of refinement, special attention was given to the driver’s seat. The shifter and console are positioned slightly higher than in the previous-generation of CX-9, helping the driver experience a greater sense of connection and control.

Even with the sleek, low profile, the CX-9 still offers more volume and more second- and third-row legroom than comparable Japanese SUVs. For making grocery runs or hauling luggage, the Mazda CX-9 can carry 14.4 cu/ft. of cargo with the 3rd-row seats folded up, 38.2 with them folded down, and 71.2 cu/ft. with both the 2nd and 3rd-row seats folded down.

The 2017 Mazda CX-9 Signature Trim is the pinnacle of the CX-9 luxury offerings. All 7 seats are trimmed with Napa leather, with 1st & 2nd row being heated, genuine Rosewood inlays and artfully crafted aluminum accents decorate the cabin, and the steering wheel and shifter knob are wrapped in leather with beautiful stitching.

Compare Ford Explorer & Mazda CX-9 Driving Experience

The 2017 Ford Explorer Tech, Driver Assist Features, and Entertainment Options

To make your driving experience one filled with exciting adventure or comfortable commutes, the 2017 Ford Explorer comes available with a suite of high-tech driver-assist features. Some of these features, like Adaptive Cruise Control with Brake Support or Lane-Keeping Assist help you stay safe out on the open road. Others, like Active Park Assist, Forward & Reverse parking sensors, 180-degree front-mounted camera, backup camera with gridlines, help you navigate the tighter, urban streets of downtown Grand Rapids.

The available SYNC 3 Enhanced Voice Recognition Communications and Entertainment System features an 8″ color LCD capacitive touchscreen in center stack with swiping capability, 911 Assist, AppLink and 2 smart-charging USB ports keep you connected and entertained on short trips and long treks alike. Also, with Ford SYNC, you can make use of the FordPass smartphone app, with allows you to reserve parking, control various functions of your vehicle, contact Ford Guides, and more.


The 2017 Mazda CX-9 Tech, Driver Assist Features, and Entertainment Options

Whether you notice them or not, there is an array of high-tech systems in the Mazda CX-9 that amplify driving performance, keep you and your passengers extra-safe, or keep everyone in the vehicle entertained. The shining star of on the safety features, and of particular interest to West Michigan SUV shoppers is the available iACTIV All-Wheel Drive system, which monitors road conditions and adjusts itself accordingly. It also takes into account steering, speed, and more to keep your drive stable and smooth, whether you’re driving in sunshine or a lake-effect snowstorm.

To really bring the sound system to life on the interior, Mazda’s solution works in tandem with their effort to reduce as much road noise as possible. This was achieved by adding 53 pounds of sound-deadening material to the vehicle, along with the use of special glass and better insulation. The result of this and over 100 other factors is a premium sound experience, using an available 12-speaker Bose Centerpoint 2 Surround Sound System. No matter where you sit, you will hear rich, stunning sound that emulates a live performance.

Capable New Ford & Mazda SUVs For Sale in Grand Rapids, MI

There are so many features in the 2017 Ford Explorer and the 2017 Mazda CX-9 that we couldn’t touch on all of them here. The best place to learn everything about this pair of capable SUVs is Borgman Ford Mazda in Grand Rapids, MI, as our friendly and highly-knowledgeable staff would be more to happy to assist you. Please feel free to check out our selection of 2017 Ford Explorers and 2017 Mazda CX-9s and stop by to take them out for a test drive. Come see why Borgman is the Best in the West!


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