There are many reasons why you should look into leasing a midsize SUV. If you have a large family, need a lot of cargo space, or just love driving a bigger vehicle, a 3-row SUV may be perfect for you. The realm of the 3-row midsize SUV segment is quite popular, and therefore also competitive. To make the process of choosing which midsize is right for you, we’ve pitted them head-to-head and picked which one we think takes top dog status.
For this vehicle comparison, we’ve chosen to look at the Honda Pilot, Nissan Pathfinder, and Mazda CX-9. We’ll start by looking at the design of each car, then move into cargo capacity/versatility, and lease programs available for these vehicles.
The 2019 Honda Pilot features an aggressive front grille with a commanding stance. Smooth bodylines throughout the length of the vehicle highlight the Pilot’s aerodynamic exterior design. The overall appearance of the Pilot sacrifices some style in favor of more utility. The interior of the pilot is vast and intelligently designed. It is very easy to enter and exit the Pilot as it features huge doors and convenient seat height. Visibility is also a plus in the Pilot as it offers above-average front visibility. Lastly, the quality of the materials in the interior is exceptional for a non-luxury SUV and will be sure to impress.
Next up is the 2019 Nissan Pathfinder, which boasts a look that is both rugged and bold. A rectangular grille with sharp-looking LED headlights ensure that you’ll always be able to tell a Pathfinder in apart from a sea of other SUVs. The interior of the Pathfinder is less spacious than the Pilot as it only seats seven, but does make up for that with a gorgeous available dual panoramic moonroof. Visibility is also limited unlike in the Pilot, as the Pathfinder suffers from a lack of frontal edge visibility. Also of concern is the third-row legroom of this SUV, as it is 33% less than that of the Pilot and CX-9.
As for the 2019 Mazda CX-9, it features a large elongated front grille with small headlight sockets. Minimal bodylines and a sloped rear make this a great vehicle for those that want a somewhat simplistic design with a little less junk in the trunk. Driver visibility is average and third-row seating is large enough for a small adult in a pinch. From the outside, the CX-9 doesn’t look as big as its competition but the interior is intelligently designed to fit all your passengers and cargo with minimal space wasted.
With all of that being said, we think it’s safe to say that the best looking exterior belongs to the Nissan Pathfinder. However, the best overall interior belongs to the Mazda CX-9. The one SUV that does everything very well, both inside and out, is the Honda Pilot.
Winner: 2019 Honda Pilot
Vehicle Measurements and Cargo Room
|Headroom (front/middle/rear)||40.1 in/ 40.2 in/ 38.9 in||42.2 in/ 39.4 in/ 37.8 in||39.3 in/ 38.5 in/ 35.4 in|
|Legroom (front/middle/rear)||40.9 in/ 38.4 in/ 31.9 in||42.2 in/ 41.7 in/ 19.8 in||41.0 in/ 39.4 in/ 29.7 in|
|Shoulder Room (front/middle/rear)||62.0 in/ 62.0 in/ 57.6 in||60.9 in/ 60.4 in/ 57.1 in||57.9 in/ 58.1 in/ 53.1 in|
|Hip room (front/middle/rear)||59.1 in/ 57.3 in/ 44.6 in||56.8 in/ 56.0 in/ 42.0 in||56.7 in/ 57.4 in/ 40.1 in|
|Passenger Volume||152.9 cu ft||154.0 cu ft||135.1 cu ft|
When it comes to having enough space to fit your kids or other cargo, knowing how much room your SUV has is extremely important. Choosing the right one for you also is dependent on how often you plan to utilize the third-row seating. If you have a family of more than 4, you might want to think twice about leasing the Pathfinder as it has considerably less legroom. However, if you don’t plan to use your third row much for passengers, the Pathfinder may be a better option as it does have the most front and middle row leg room. However, the Pilot offers the most all-around space and is the most consistent across all measurement categories.
Winner: 2019 Honda Pilot
The extra features that come with your sweet new ride are usually just icing on the cake. However, there are some people that can’t live without certain amenities and there are others that aren’t too invested in having many excess features that are neither practical or particularly useful. If you’re a part of the former, this section is definitely for you.
Standard features on the LX trim of the Pilot include automatic LED headlights, LED Daytime Running Lights, 60/40-split-folding second and third-row seats, a rearview camera, and a 5-inch touchscreen and seven-speaker sound system. Standard safety features include adaptive cruise control, frontal collision warning with a collision mitigation system, road departure mitigation, lane-keeping assist and automatic high-beam assist through Honda’s standard safety suite, Honda Sensing.
For the Nissan Pathfinder, the S trim has standard features that include roof rails, tri-zone automatic climate control, a rearview camera, keyless ignition and entry, a 60/40-split-folding second-row seat, an 8-inch touchscreen interface, and a six-speaker sound system. Automatic emergency braking and reverse parking sensors also come standard for all new Nissan models.
Standard features on the Sport trim of the Mazda CX-9 include LED headlights and taillights, tri-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, 60/40-split folding second-row seats, 50/50-split folding third-row seats, Mazda’s Connect infotainment system with a 7-inch display, and a six-speaker audio system. Also included are blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and a low-speed automatic emergency braking system.
With the Pathfinder clearly in last, especially when it comes to safety features, this boils down to a two-car race. Ultimately, we give the slight edge to the Mazda CX-9 because it does have a larger infotainment screen and a bit more advanced interior comforts.
Winner: 2019 Mazda CX-9
Since all of these vehicles are seven-passenger SUVs, you shouldn’t expect too much performance out of them. The Honda Pilot is fitted with a 3.5-liter V6 engine with 280 horsepower. The Pilot also offers above average handling and smooth acceleration for its size. Nearly identical to the Pilot, the Pathfinder has a 3.5-liter V6 engine with 284 horsepower. However, the Pathfinder doesn’t exhibit the fluid handling and steering prowess that the Pilot does. Lastly, the CX-9 comes equipped with a 2.5L turbocharged inline-4 engine that outputs a swift 250 horsepower. Don’t let the lack of horsepower fool you, the CX-9 is still a great daily driver as it has exemplary handling and acceleration, and a very smooth transmission.
We’re going to have to give the edge to the 2019 Honda Pilot as it definitely consists of the best combination of acceleration, torque, and handling. The Pilot certainly does not feel like a large SUV when you’re driving it, which makes it a winner in our book.
Winner: 2019 Honda Pilot LX
2019 Honda Pilot: 19/27 mpg
2019 Nissan Pathfinder: 20/27 mpg
2019 Mazda CX-9: 22/28 mpg
The obvious edge here will have to go to the CX-9. The real difference here was between the city MPG estimates for each vehicle since all three are all pretty efficient on the highway. So the CX-9 is the right choice for you if you’re a fuel-conscious urban dweller.
Winner: 2019 Mazda CX-9
Now comes the section that may make or break most buyers’ decisions. Since our prices change monthly, this section will not always apply as it does currently. With that being said, here are the numbers for each of these SUVs for September 2019.
2019 Honda Pilot LX: $327/month for 36 months, 10k mi/yr. $2,107 Taxes & fees due at signing. Must qualify for eligible rebates. >> GET DEAL
2019 Nissan Pathfinder S: $281/month for 36 months, 12k mi/yr. $2,238 Taxes & fees due at signing. Must qualify for eligible rebates. >> GET DEAL
2019 Mazda CX-9 Sport: $314/month for 36 months, 10k mi/yr. $2,150 Taxes & fees due at signing. Must qualify for eligible rebates. >> GET DEAL
Winner: 2019 Nissan Pathfinder S
As you can see, the Pathfinder is about 40 dollars cheaper this month and is a great value. However, the Pathfinder did not win out on any of the other sections above when compared to the Pilot and CX-9. So if you’re on a tight budget the Pathfinder is a no brainer and is still a solid SUV overall. If your budget is a bit more flexible and you’re seriously deciding between all of these vehicles, we would go with the 2019 Honda Pilot LX. Having a slight edge over the CX-9 in multiple categories, the Pilot narrowly takes the crown for best overall midsize SUV in this comparison. If you’re into a more classic SUV look, the Pilot is definitely the SUV you want to lease, although, we think the CX-9’s exterior is perfect for those wanting to stand out from the crowd.
Overall Winner: 2019 Honda Pilot LX
Regardless of which of these SUVs you choose, be sure to lease it right here at Capital Motor Cars! We offer instant online quotes for the vehicle of your dreams with our online lease payment calculator, Ignite. Also be sure to check out our other blog posts for leasing tips and tricks so you can car shop confidently. Ready to ride off in a new car? Contact us now!