2023 Ford Explorer vs. 2023 Mazda CX-9

The 2023 Mazda CX-9 has pleasant road manners, a sharp cabin, and dynamic performance. But is it good enough to beat the 2023 Ford Explorer, the latest in a long line of SUVs that are famous for their rugged aesthetic, extensive powertrain options and impressive performance?

Design & Style

The very first Explorer was released in 1990, and its success has allowed Ford to dominate the SUV market over the last thirty years. The 4th generation Explorer has evolved in many ways. It offers 3 row seating with the ability to seat up to seven passengers, and buyers get the option of three different powertrains. Its primary update for 2023 is the addition of the paint color Red Jewel Metallic.

The Mazda CX-9 is an impressive SUV in its own right. While it doesn’t have the esteemed history of the Explorer, it seats up to six passengers in a comfortable cabin. Buyers get the option of a front engine or all-wheel drive, and the latest updates for this year include standardized captain chairs, tan or black leather seats, and fog lamps with a powered sunroof.

Technology & Safety

Mazda has standardized almost every driver assistance feature in the CX-9, including pedestrian detection, emergency automated brakes, adapted cruise control, lane management and airbags. Conveniences within its cabin consist of Bluetooth, HD radio, powered seats, Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, ten inch touch display, telematics, remote start and climate control.

The Ford Explorer comes with all the same driver assistance gear as the Mazda, and all of it is standardized. This includes emergency automated brakes, blind area monitoring, lane management, frontal impact alerts and multiple airbags. Conveniences within its cabin include a B&O sound system with twelve speakers, ten inch touch display, wifi, rotary controller, leather upholstery and climate control.


The Ford Explorer is powered by a 4 cylinder, 2.3 liter engine that is turbocharged and capable of generating 300 horsepower, with the ability to accelerate from zero to sixty in 5.2 seconds and a towing capacity of 5,600 pounds. The Mazda CX-9 is powered by a V6 engine that can generate 250 horsepower with the ability to accelerate from zero to sixty in 7 seconds, and a towing capacity of 3,500 pounds.

The Bottom Line

While both SUVs offer identical safety features, the Ford Explorer seats one extra passenger and has vastly superior performance. And while the Mazda only reserves 14 cubic feet for cargo space, the Ford reserves 18 cubic feet. And this combined with the CX-9’s inferior top speed and tight back seat makes the Ford Explorer the winner.

Ready to Schedule Your 2023 Ford Explorer Test Drive Today?

Are you in the market for a new 2023 Ford Explorer? Hollingsworth Richards Ford is the Ford dealership you can trust! We have an extensive lineup of the latest Ford models on the market for you to test drive. Schedule your appointment now and experience the power and comfort of a Ford. We look forward to serving you!