Hyundai Palisade vs Mazda CX-9 – The fight for Malaysia’s best large SUV starts now

CY Foong · Dec 19, 2021 10:00 AM

Hyundai Palisade vs Mazda CX-9 – The fight for Malaysia’s best large SUV starts now 01

  • Hyundai Palisade looks grand with a price that match.
  • Mazda CX-9 is the safer choice for many but it is aged.
  • Which would you choose?

Recently, Hyundai-Sime Darby Motors (HSDM) launched its largest SUV, the 2022 Hyundai Palisade, in Malaysia. Though it looks grand up close, many of our readers expressed shock at the equally grand price tag which starts from RM 328,888.

Hyundai Palisade vs Mazda CX-9 – The fight for Malaysia’s best large SUV starts now 02

Unsurprisingly, many started comparing the Palisade with the Mazda CX-9 seeing that both SUVs are similar in size and stature. However, the CX-9 starts from RM 319,847, which is around RM 9,000 less than the Palisade.

Hyundai Palisade vs Mazda CX-9 – The fight for Malaysia’s best large SUV starts now 01

That being said, the RM 329k price tag for the base Palisade is an 8-seater. Like for like, the base 7-seater Palisade starts from RM 348,888 which in turn is pricier than the most expensive CX-9 variant, the AWD version that starts from RM 336,215.

Hyundai Palisade vs Mazda CX-9 – The fight for Malaysia’s best large SUV starts now 02

Sounds like game over for Hyundai then? Let’s not jump straight to conclusions just yet as we go a little deeper in this comparison between the Palisade and the CX-9.

Which is the fastest?

Hyundai Palisade vs Mazda CX-9 – The fight for Malaysia’s best large SUV starts now 03

We start off the comparison between the two large SUVs with their powertrains. The Palisade comes with a choice of either a 2.2-litre turbodiesel CRDi engine (200 PS/440 Nm) or a naturally-aspirated 3.8-litre Lambda II V6 petrol engine (295 PS/355 Nm). Both engines are paired to an 8-speed automatic transmission.

Hyundai Palisade vs Mazda CX-9 – The fight for Malaysia’s best large SUV starts now 04

Meanwhile, the CX-9 comes with only one engine option for the two variants which is a 2.5-litre turbocharged SkyActiv-G 4-cylinder unit (230 PS/420 Nm). This is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission.

Hyundai Palisade vs Mazda CX-9 – The fight for Malaysia’s best large SUV starts now 05

The highest variant of the CX-9 sends power to all 4 wheels via an all-wheel-drive (AWD) system while the highest variant of the Palisade is front-wheel-driven.

Hyundai Palisade vs Mazda CX-9 – The fight for Malaysia’s best large SUV starts now 06

Still, the Palisade offers better performance than the CX-9 on paper thanks to the bigger V6 engine, so for this round the Palisade wins.

Which is better-looking?

Hyundai Palisade vs Mazda CX-9 – The fight for Malaysia’s best large SUV starts now 07

It's not dark blue, Hyundai calls it "Moonlight Cloud"

Now, this can be quite subjective but personally, I prefer the design of the Palisade over the CX-9. For one, the Palisade is quite distinctive to look at and the overall shape is close to an American SUV.

Hyundai Palisade vs Mazda CX-9 – The fight for Malaysia’s best large SUV starts now 08

The large grille, the massive rear, and the blocky shape combined make it close to a Chris Pratt-voiced American than some heartthrob from a K-drama. Remove the Hyundai badge and some might mistake this for a Cadillac or a GMC. Good job, Hyundai.

Also read: 27 photos why the 2022 Hyundai Palisade is a Cadillac with better interior than a BMW

Hyundai Palisade vs Mazda CX-9 – The fight for Malaysia’s best large SUV starts now 09

On the other hand, the CX-9’s design is too similar to its SUV brethren. Mind you, I love Mazda’s design language but having most of its SUVs bearing a similar face can be quite confusing for some.

Hyundai Palisade vs Mazda CX-9 – The fight for Malaysia’s best large SUV starts now 10

Frankly, the CX-9 is a CX-8 with one less seat and a higher price tag so there needs to be some family resemblance. Unfortunately, the CX-9 just doesn’t tug my heart much like a Mazda 3 or even the CX-30.

Also read: 2020 Mazda CX-30 is officially Japan’s most beautiful car

Which looks better inside?

Hyundai Palisade vs Mazda CX-9 – The fight for Malaysia’s best large SUV starts now 11

Palisade interior shown

For RM 300 grand, both SUVs offer a striking-looking interior when you step inside. However, Hyundai offers a bit more customisation options for the Palisade’s interior.

Hyundai Palisade vs Mazda CX-9 – The fight for Malaysia’s best large SUV starts now 12

If burgundy isn't to your liking, there's also space grey (top) or black for the Palisade

While the most recent update of the CX-9, the Ignite Edition, offers burgundy seats, the Palisade offers customers a choice of full black leather or space grey Nappa leather upholstery on top of the dark red hue.

Also read: Priced from RM 319k in Malaysia, 2021 Mazda CX-9 adds wireless Apple CarPlay

Hyundai Palisade vs Mazda CX-9 – The fight for Malaysia’s best large SUV starts now 13

Granted, both SUVs have a similar quality in terms of materials used for the dash and other trims so there’s not much to compare here for now.

Hyundai Palisade vs Mazda CX-9 – The fight for Malaysia’s best large SUV starts now 14

While the Palisade wins in having a better exterior design, for the interior, I would have to award the CX-9 for its minamilist and cool aesthetic.

Hyundai Palisade vs Mazda CX-9 – The fight for Malaysia’s best large SUV starts now 15

The Palisade might be a bit more modern with its button-style shift-by-wire gear selector but I think most buyers of this sort of SUV would prefer something more familiar with less clutter. This round then belongs to Mazda.

Which has better equipment?

Hyundai Palisade vs Mazda CX-9 – The fight for Malaysia’s best large SUV starts now 16

Both the Palisade and CX-9 offer enough bells and whistles to make the family (or company bigshot) happy. Despite both being 7-seaters, the arrangements are different.

Hyundai Palisade vs Mazda CX-9 – The fight for Malaysia’s best large SUV starts now 17

Middle row shown

Hyundai Palisade vs Mazda CX-9 – The fight for Malaysia’s best large SUV starts now 18

Third row shown

The 7-seater Palisade uses a 2-2-3 seating arrangement while the CX-9 uses a 2-3-2 layout. Hence, the middle row of the Palisade utilises a pair of individual seats instead of a bench.

Hyundai Palisade vs Mazda CX-9 – The fight for Malaysia’s best large SUV starts now 19

Besides, the Palisade also comes with dual sunroofs for the front and middle row as opposed to only one on the CX-9.

Hyundai Palisade vs Mazda CX-9 – The fight for Malaysia’s best large SUV starts now 20

Yet, the CX-9 also gets some better features than the Palisade. These include a larger 9-inch infotainment touchscreen instead of an 8-inch unit and a 12-speaker Bose sound system as opposed to 6.

Hyundai Palisade vs Mazda CX-9 – The fight for Malaysia’s best large SUV starts now 21

360-degree camera on the CX-9 shown

However, there is one obvious omission that makes the CX-9 feel like the winner here. While both SUVs come with sensors located on the front and rear, the Palisade only comes with a reverse camera as opposed to a 360-degree camera which comes standard on the CX-9. Given the SUVs’ massive length at nearly 5 metres, not having a surround-view monitor might be a dealbreaker for some.

Which has better safety features?

Hyundai Palisade vs Mazda CX-9 – The fight for Malaysia’s best large SUV starts now 22

With both the Palisade and CX-9 having two points each, this is the deciding factor then to choose the winner. Both SUVs come standard with 6 airbags, ABS, stability control, and traction control, so it’s all good on the passive safety front.

Hyundai Palisade vs Mazda CX-9 – The fight for Malaysia’s best large SUV starts now 23

Palisade shown and yes, the EPB is located to the right of the steering wheel

But what about ADAS? As we are focusing on the petrol-powered Luxe 7 variant, the Hyundai SmartSense safety suite comes standard which consists of adaptive cruise control, (ACC), AEB, lane-keep assist (LKA), and adaptive high beam (AHB), among others.

Also read: Advanced Driver Assistance Systems ADAS, more harm than good?

Hyundai Palisade vs Mazda CX-9 – The fight for Malaysia’s best large SUV starts now 24

CX-9 shown

Meanwhile, the Mazda i-Activsense safety suite comes standard on the CX-9 and consists of ACC, AEB, LKA, and AHB, among others.

Hyundai Palisade vs Mazda CX-9 – The fight for Malaysia’s best large SUV starts now 25

Given the impressive safety features on both the Palisade and CX-9, It looks like this comparison fight-off ends with a tie. Both SUVs show their pros and cons but if price is the deciding factor, then perhaps the CX-9 is the way to go.

Also read: 35 pics of the 2021 Mazda CX-9 Ignite Edition: New features and more, from RM 319k

Hyundai Palisade vs Mazda CX-9 – The fight for Malaysia’s best large SUV starts now 26

On the other hand, if you want to stand out and look like a baller or a hero from a K-drama, then the Palisade is a better fit.

Also read: Priced from RM 329k, 2022 Hyundai Palisade launched in Malaysia to challenge Mazda CX-9

CY Foong

Writer

Traded advertising for a career that fits his passion for cars. Enjoys spotting cars during his free time and has a soft spot for Japanese Kei cars but drives a thirsty manual sedan.

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