Greene Ford Compares 2018 Ford Flex VS 2017 Mazda CX-9 Near Flowery Branch, GA

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2018 Ford Flex

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2017 Mazda CX-9

Safety Comparison

The middle row seatbelts optional on the Flex inflate when a collision is detected, helping to spread crash forces over a much larger area of the body and limiting head and neck movement. This can help prevent spinal and internal injuries. The CX-9 doesn’t offer inflatable seatbelts.

Compared to metal, the Flex’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Mazda CX-9 has a metal gas tank.

Both the Flex and the CX-9 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras, available collision warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty Comparison

There are over 5 times as many Ford dealers as there are Mazda dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Flex’s warranty.

Reliability Comparison

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2017 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Ford vehicles are better in initial quality than Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford fourth in initial quality, above the industry average. With 39 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 27th, below the industry average.

Engine Comparison

The Flex’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 37 more horsepower (287 vs. 250) than the CX-9’s 2.5 turbo 4 cyl. The Flex Limited’s optional 3.5 turbo V6 produces 115 more horsepower (365 vs. 250) and 40 lbs.-ft. more torque (350 vs. 310) than the CX-9’s 2.5 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the Flex Limited 3.5 turbo V6 is faster than the Mazda CX-9:




Zero to 30 MPH

2.2 sec

2.3 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

6.2 sec

7.2 sec

Zero to 80 MPH

10.1 sec

12.9 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

15.5 sec

21.3 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.5 sec

7.7 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

3.1 sec

3.6 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

4.4 sec

4.9 sec

Quarter Mile

14.7 sec

15.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

97 MPH

88 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

The Flex has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The CX-9 doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the Flex’s brake rotors are larger than those on the CX-9:




Front Rotors

12.8 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

12.8 inches

The Flex’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the CX-9 are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels Comparison

The Flex’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the CX-9 Grand Touring/Signature’s 50 series tires.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The Flex’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The CX-9 doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Flex’s wheelbase is 2.6 inches longer than on the CX-9 (117.9 inches vs. 115.3 inches).

The Flex Limited AWD handles at .81 G’s, while the CX-9 Signature AWD pulls only .80 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Chassis Comparison

As tested by Car and Driver while at idle, the interior of the Flex Limited AWD is quieter than the CX-9 Signature AWD (37 vs. 41 dB).

Passenger Space Comparison

The Flex has 20.7 cubic feet more passenger volume than the CX-9 (155.8 vs. 135.1).

The Flex has 2.5 inches more front headroom, 1.6 inches more front legroom, .5 inches more front shoulder room, 2 inches more rear headroom, 4.9 inches more rear legroom, 3.3 inches more third row headroom, 3.6 inches more third row legroom and 1 inch more third row hip room than the CX-9.

The Flex Limited offers an optional rear tailgate seat that can be flipped rearward and used for tailgate picnics. (Do not use seat reversed while vehicle in motion.) The CX-9 doesn’t offer a rear tailgate seat.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The Flex’s cargo area provides more volume than the CX-9.




Behind Third Seat

20 cubic feet

14.4 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

43.2 cubic feet

38.2 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

83.2 cubic feet

71.2 cubic feet

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the Flex easier. The Flex’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 30.5 inches, while the CX-9’s liftover is 31.6 inches.

The Flex has a standard third row seat which folds flat into the floor. This completely clears a very large cargo area quickly. The CX-9 doesn’t offer seats that fold into the floor.

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Flex’s second and third row seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The CX-9 doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the Flex. The CX-9 doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Ergonomics Comparison

The Flex (except SE)’s optional easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The CX-9 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The power windows standard on both the Flex and the CX-9 have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Flex is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The CX-9 prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Flex’s exterior PIN entry system. The CX-9 doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system.

The Flex SE/SEL’s standard speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The CX-9’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The Flex has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. When the ignition turns off, the headlights turn off after a delay timed to allow you to securely get to your front door. The CX-9 only offers an automatic headlight on/off feature as an extra cost option.

The Flex’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Mazda charges extra for heated mirrors on the CX-9.

Both the Flex and the CX-9 offer available heated front seats. The Flex Limited also offers optional heated second row seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated second row seats aren’t available in the CX-9.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the Flex Limited keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in Summer. The CX-9 doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold Winter days, the Flex Limited’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the vehicle heater warms up. The CX-9 doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The Flex (except SE) offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The CX-9 doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

The Flex Limited’s optional Active Park Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The CX-9 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages Comparison

Insurance will cost less for the Flex owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Flex with a number “5” insurance rate while the CX-9 is rated higher at a number “8” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Flex is less expensive to operate than the CX-9 because typical repairs cost less on the Flex than the CX-9, including $189 less for a water pump, $41 less for front brake pads, $36 less for fuel injection, $138 less for a fuel pump, $109 less for front struts and $4 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations Comparison

Consumer Reports® recommends the Ford Flex, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Flex is ranked first in its class and received the 2015 “Total Quality Award.” The CX-9 is not ranked.

The Flex was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” for 2 of the last 9 years. The CX-9 hasn’t been picked since 2008.

The Ford Flex outsold the Mazda CX-9 by 59% during the 2016 model year.

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