2021 Mazda CX-9 vs. 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L comparison

The 2021 Mazda CX-9 and 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L are two popular 3-row SUVs that offer plenty of space both inside and out. Here’s how they compare.

2021 Mazda CX-9

2021 Mazda CX-9 Starting Price: $34,160 | Price yours or See listings near you

Above average: Sharp styling; good handling; luxurious interior; standard active safety features.

Below average: Cargo space; the third row is strictly for children; not necessarily an all-terrain vehicle.

Consensus: The 2021 Mazda CX-9 stands out from the 3-row pack with its engaging drive, sleek design, and upscale interior, but cargo space and third-row seating aren’t the most generous.

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Starting Price: $39,220 | Price yours or See listings near you

Above average: Ritzy interior; excellent security suite; V6 or V8 engines; Towing capacity of 7,200 pounds.

Below average: the V8’s fuel economy; the third-row seat is just okay; less cargo space than some competitors.

Consensus: The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L stretches the Grand Cherokee to accommodate the model’s first-ever third-row seat. The redesign also brings a new technical interior and exclusive finishes – along with pricing to match.

CX-9 vs. Jeep Grand Cherokee L: A matter of style

Mazda CX-9

The 2021 Mazda CX-9 is the driver’s choice of 3-row SUVs. The chassis has sharp steering, responsive handling and a composed ride. The sole engine, a 2.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, can be paired with front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD), the latter standard on the upper Signature trim. With up to 250 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque, acceleration is peppy. The towing rating is a bit limited at 3,500 pounds.

The CX-9 is sharply styled on the outside and richly appointed inside. The third row is tight, though, and behind it there’s just 14.4 cubic feet of trunk space, which expands to a relatively modest 71.2 cubic feet for its size with all seats folded.

Mazda’s standard driver assistance features include adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and blind spot monitoring. The infotainment system has a 10.25-inch screen with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and Bluetooth connectivity.

Entry-level Sport models have a second-row bench and seating for seven passengers, while the Carbon Edition and Signature trims have captain’s chairs and seating for six. Touring and Grand Touring models offer a choice of second-row bench or captain’s chairs.

Even the base trim comes with heated seats, tri-zone automatic climate control and a power driver’s seat. The top two sides feature a 360-degree camera and navigation, while the Signature features Nappa leather with quilted stitching and rosewood trim.

Jeep Grand Cherokee L

Jeep has added third-row seating to the Grand Cherokee, creating the new Grand Cherokee L. It’s 15.1 inches longer than the regular Grand Cherokee and rides on a 7-inch longer wheelbase—but is still smaller than the Jeep Wagoneer. The exclusive cabin seats six or seven with the optional second row bench. The second row is spacious, the third is passable. Cargo space is 17.2 cubic feet behind the third row, expanding to 84.6 with all seats folded.

Standard is Chrysler’s 293-horsepower 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission and rear- or 4-wheel drive. A 5.7-liter Hemi V8 with 357 hp is optional only on the top model and increases towing capacity from 6,200 to 7,200 pounds. EPA combined fuel economy is 21 mpg for the V6 and 17 mpg for the V8.

The Grand Cherokee L offers three different 4WD systems. The available Quadra-Lift air suspension can raise the ride height an additional 4.2 inches (for a maximum of 10.2 inches of ground clearance), and an all-terrain package includes an electronic limited-slip differential and skid plates.

Jeep offers the Grand Cherokee L in Laredo, Altitude, Limited, Overland, Summit and Summit Reserve trim levels. A 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster is standard, and the central touchscreen has an 8.4-inch or 10.1-inch display with wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. Leather is available on all but the base model. Heated front seats, a heated steering wheel and a power tailgate are optional on the Laredo and standard elsewhere.


Three rows of seats; available AWD; stylish interiors.

2021 Mazda CX-9 Advantages

Lower base price; fun to drive; fuel economy.

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Advantages

Greater towing capacity; off-road capability; ultra-luxurious furnishings; available V8 power.

Which one is right for me?

The 2021 Mazda CX-9 offers a great mix of upscale styling and some 3-row utility, but most of all, a fun character.

The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L marries its luxury and off-road credibility with the utility of a 3-row SUV. With V8 power as an option, it is well suited to towing heavy trailers.

Are you ready to buy a Mazda CX-9 or a Jeep Grand Cherokee L? Shop for one on sale now near you

2021 Mazda CX-9 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L
Popular powertrains
Engine 2.5-liter turbo I4 3.6-liter V6
Horsepower 227 hp at 5,000 rpm 293 hp at 6,400 rpm
Torque 310 lb-ft @ 2,000 rpm 260 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm
Transfer 6-speed automatic 8-speed automatic
Fuel economy 24 mpg (22 city/28 hwy) 21 mpg (19 city/26 hwy)
Also available AWD 5.7-liter V8; AWD
Guarantee 3 years/36,000 miles 3 years/36,000 miles
Powertrain warranty 5 years/60,000 miles 5 years/60,000 miles
NHTSA overall safety 5 stars n/a
Max seating capacity 7 7
Wheelbase 115.3 inches 121.7 inches
Total length 199.4 inches 204.9 inches
Width 77.2 inches 77.3 inches
Height 67.6 inches 71.5 inches
Twist diameter 38.8 feet 38.3 feet
Standing height, front 39.3 inches 39.8 inches
Standing height, 2nd row 38.5 inches 39.9 inches
Standing height, 3rd row 35.4 inches 37.3 inches
Legroom, front 41.0 inches 41.3 inches
Legroom, 2nd row 39.4 inches 39.4 inches
Legroom, 3rd row 29.7 inches 30.3 inches
Shoulder room, front 57.9 inches 59.2 inches
Shoulder room, 2nd row 58.1 inches 58.0 inches
Shoulder room, 3rd row 53.1 inches 51.9 inches
EPA passenger volume 135.1 cubic feet 159.1 cubic feet
EPA cargo volume 71.1 cubic feet 84.6 cubic feet

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