Should I buy a Kia Sorento or Mazda CX-9?

Above left: Mazda CX-9. Above right: Kia Sorento

Hi John,

I am looking to buy a new 7 seater SUV. I have read and watched all your videos. Thanks for the frank and honest opinions. I was very inclined to buy Kia Sorento (being the best car in its class with so many awards) but after the introduction of new Mazda CX-9, I am a bit confused.

New Mazda CX-9 looks extremely beautiful both exterior and the interior. I have seen the specs as well. The Mazda new petrol engine acts like a diesel engine with higher torque in low revs and more quieter and efficient. One of the concerns I have with Mazda is it is a brand new engine and not as proven as the Kia engine. Being an expert, can you help me out? Which car is a better buy: Kia Sorento Platinum or Mazda new CX-9?

Thanks, Rajesh

Hello Rajesh,

I agree with you that the new CX-9 seems very impressive. (I am yet to drive it but I am sure - based upon reports I have read from people whose assessments I respect - that it’s quite a good drive.) It’s big, too, with 150mm more wheelbase than the Sorento (meaning 240mm more than Santa Fe). This, of course translates into space for rows 2 & 3 and also better access.

The engine has direct injection (which is what you’re talking about when you say ‘like a diesel’. Strictly speaking there’s a key difference between them: diesels auto-ignite under compression, whereas petrols still need spark plugs to kick the combustion process off.

Really what they’ve done is add a turbo to the existing direct injection 2.5 atmo engine in the Mazda5 SP25, Mazda6 and CX-5 ranges. Adding a turbo + having direct injection does produce a lot of mid-range power. (High torque at low revs = power because torque x revs x some physical constants = power.)

So, in a nutshell the Sorento diesel is still stronger in the mid-rev range (441 Nm from 1750-2750 rpm versus the Mazda at 420 @ 2000). The engineer in me sees them about neck and neck until about 3800-4000rpm, then the Mazda wins (because petrol always makes more peak power).

My strong advice is not to purchase the Mazda for at least six months post-launch because we all don’t know if it is going to experience teething problems in service. Vehicles often do. (CX-5 diesel sure did…) These problems are a pain in the arse for early customers, and they are subsequently fixed in service. Also, demand currently is through the roof for CX-9, so the chance of getting any discount is very slight (nonexistent). Six months will solve both of these problems.

Bear in mind also that the CX-9 hasn’t exactly blown the Kia out of the water - it’s a worthy competitor, not necessarily a new king. And the warranty is still a comparative  joke, at three years compared with the Kia on seven. We get great discounts on Kia Sorento any day of the week, right now. If you're interested in that, you can enquire here >>

Best regards,
John Cadogan

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