Compared: 2023 Honda Passport vs. 2023 Mazda CX-9

Pitting active lifestyle against near-luxury sport with these two midsize SUVs.

Honda | Mazda

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The 2023 Honda Passport and 2023 Mazda CX-9 compete in the same midsize SUV segment, yet they have different personalities. The two-row Passport is more utilitarian, while the three-row CX-9 can rival luxury models in its top trim. Here are some other key differentiators between the two SUVs.


2023 Honda Passport vs. 2023 Mazda CX-9: Price

Both the Honda Passport and Mazda CX-9 have a base price around $40,000, with both vehicles making all-wheel drive standard. The CX-9 offers five trims that get increasingly luxurious as you level up. The base Touring trim starts at about $40,000, and the high-end Signature trim starts to climb from $50,000.


The Passport offers just three trims, including the off-road, adventure-ready TrailSport. The base EX-L trim starts at $42,000, while the Passport in Elite trim begins around $48,000.

Neither the Passport nor the CX-9 offer many options aside from trim levels, although dressier paint finishes can run as much as $600 extra for the Mazda.


2023 Honda Passport vs. 2023 Mazda CX-9: Features

Both vehicles come standard with luxury features such as leather seats, heated front seats, tri-zone climate control, and a power liftgate. However, because the CX-9 has three rows, there are some key differences in seating and cargo volume.

The CX-9 comes standard with captain’s chairs in the middle row, making it a six-passenger vehicle. Bench seating, which ups occupant capacity to seven, is available only on specific trims. Cargo capacity behind the third row is 14.4 cu.-ft., and it jumps to 38.2 cu.-ft. behind the second-row seats. As a two-row vehicle, the Passport seats five, and the big benefit is the 41.2 cu.-ft. cargo volume behind the second row.


In terms of amenities, those available on the CX-9 that you won’t find in the Passport include a 10.3-inch infotainment display, a premium Bose Centerpoint Surround Sound System, a 360-degree backup camera, and a digital gauge display. While both vehicles include automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and blind-spot monitors, only the Mazda can be had with reverse automatic emergency braking.

One area the Passport beats the CX-9 is in towing, boasting a 5,000-pound capacity that bests the CX-9’s 3,500-pound limit.


2023 Honda Passport vs. 2023 Mazda CX-9: Fuel Economy

While the CX-9 is equipped with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, the Passport has more power, with a V6 across all trims. This creates a difference in fuel economy ratings. The CX-9 gets 23 mpg in combined driving, whereas the Passport gets 21 mpg — both using regular fuel.


An interesting thing about the CX-9 is that it’s rated at a higher horsepower with premium fuel (250 vs. 227), but the EPA doesn’t evaluate its fuel economy based on the type of gasoline chosen.

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Jill Ciminillo
Jill Ciminillo is a Chicago-based automotive writer, YouTube personality, and podcast host, with her articles and videos appearing in outlets throughout the U.S. Additionally, she co-hosts a weekly radio show on cars for a local Chicago station. Previously, Jill has been the automotive editor for both newspaper and broadcast media conglomerates. She is also a past president for the Midwest Automotive Media Association and has the distinction of being the first female president for that organization.