Automotive

Highlander or CX9

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  • Aug 29th, 2020 7:33 pm
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[OP]
Sr. Member
Jan 22, 2012
647 posts
259 upvotes
Bradford

Highlander or CX9

Looking at a new SUV. Like the option of the extra row of seats.

Any opinions on these 2? We may want to tow a camper at some point so would like it to be able to tow.

Open to other options also.
79 replies
Member
May 4, 2012
243 posts
202 upvotes
I think both are great options. The 2020 Highlander is nice. Have to get Platinum trim to get captains chairs. Not sure about the CX-9. I think the CX-9 looks better.

The Highlander Gas model will Tow 5000 lbs.
The Highlander Hybrid model will Tow 3500 lbs.
The CX-9 as I understand only does 3500 lbs?

If towing is key, the highlander gas model might be the winner.

There are early reports that if you buy the OEM tow hitch from Toyota, you lose the kick activated tailgate on the upper trim levels as it blocks the sensor.
If you use the aftermarket Curt hitch, you can still use the kick sensor. Tough call.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Jan 22, 2012
647 posts
259 upvotes
Bradford
I was surprised the CX9 was only 3500 lbs.
Deal Addict
Jan 12, 2008
1226 posts
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TDot
Topher86 wrote: I was surprised the CX9 was only 3500 lbs.
You mean more like 4500lbs.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Jan 22, 2012
647 posts
259 upvotes
Bradford
IndusVally wrote: You mean more like 4500lbs.
Is there a reason the salesman and the website only says 3500?
Newbie
May 24, 2015
75 posts
61 upvotes
Coquitlam, BC
Topher86 wrote: I was surprised the CX9 was only 3500 lbs.
Why surprised? It's a turbo 4 cylinder vs. a V6.
Member
Oct 24, 2018
384 posts
363 upvotes
Well done to the OP for considering towing requirements in their buying criteria from the beginning. For too many people it is an afterthought given very little consideration.

People always point out that in Europe these types of vehicles (and smaller ones) are used all the time for towing, and that is very true. However, in North America we have a tendency to push the maximum recommended towing weights, and drive for hours at expressway speeds while Europeans tend to tow on back roads, slower and much shorter distances. If drivers knew how a towed camper handles in an emergency stopping situation there is no way most of those people flying down highways at 120 km/h would be doing it.

If the OP plans to tow a camper like most people do here then I would look into a transmission cooler if possible (that and make sure trailer brakes are working, suitable hitch installed and tires inflated correctly).

Both vehicles should suffices light towing duty, as would a Subaru Ascent.

The last time I gave the Highlander a serious look was back in it's 2nd generation when it failed rear impact testing miserably (wasn't a mandatory safety test, therefor was not reported). It was a soul sucking miserable place to spend time, much like the minivans of the period, announcing to people that the owners had given up on the joys of life. Luckily, Toyota seem to have done a much better engineering and design job on the 2019+ edition with their new global architecture, even though that basic platform is still a minivan platform rather than a truck platform.

Still, if I was every made to own one the first thing I would do is rip off the Highlander badge and maybe replace it with the Kluger just so I wouldn't have to admit to driving a Highlander. Just kidding, maybe...
Sr. Member
User avatar
Jul 29, 2019
824 posts
678 upvotes
From what I saw, I think the third row is more practical in the Highlander than the CX-9. Do try it out though for both as, despite the third row being an emergency row, you do want to ensure that children or an adult could use it with okay comfort.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Jan 11, 2004
10118 posts
977 upvotes
Toronto
Have you consider minivans?
"When operating the viewfinder diopter control with your eye to the viewfinder, care should be taken not to put your finger in your eye accidentally."
Member
Dec 6, 2009
210 posts
12 upvotes
Peel
I have a 2017 HL Limited model and reaching about 58k on it. Honestly it's so bloody boring to drive; I test drove a CX9 a few months ago and it had far more kick than my HL.

Also the trunk space in my HL feels quite small when I have 6 passengers. Most of the time I have one side of the 3rd row folded down so that I can fit groceries and other things in.

One thing I absolutely love about my HL is how the rear glass opens separately from the door; so many times I can just pop that piece up and put things in without having to wait for the full door to raise and then lower.
Deal Fanatic
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Mar 29, 2002
5401 posts
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Vancouver
mastereh wrote: I have a 2017 HL Limited model and reaching about 58k on it. Honestly it's so bloody boring to drive; I test drove a CX9 a few months ago and it had far more kick than my HL.

Also the trunk space in my HL feels quite small when I have 6 passengers. Most of the time I have one side of the 3rd row folded down so that I can fit groceries and other things in.

One thing I absolutely love about my HL is how the rear glass opens separately from the door; so many times I can just pop that piece up and put things in without having to wait for the full door to raise and then lower.
i had a 2015 HL and it did get boring to drive after awhile but it was great for road trips as it was very smooth. I second that on the rear glass opening; that was the best feature on the HL but they took it away with the new 20 model.
Newbie
Dec 5, 2009
31 posts
25 upvotes
Toronto
If you are thinking with your brain - Highlander. Toyota reliability, naturally aspirated V6 that has been around since the turn of the Millennium (reliable) and has better towing capacity. Is shorter than the CX 9, but yet has better space inside. The third row is functional, rather than an afterthought. Can seat 8, whereas the CX-9 can seat only 7. Base is cheaper than the CX-9, and as it is a volume seller, dealerships can budge a bit more easily. Sells a ton more than the CX-9, so you will have more parts available.

If you are thinking with your genital area - CX-9. The CX-9 looks like it was designed, and from a concept. The Toyota looks like it was designed in a board room to offend the least amount of people possible. The interior of the Mazda could likely compete with a luxury car, especially at the Signature trim. The interior of the Toyota looks like it was a high school design study concept. The CX-9 drives like a CX-5, which drives like a Mazda. It feels a lot smaller than it is. The Toyota feels like an unstable boat in comparison.

Test drive both of them. If the drive for the Highlander does not offend you, get the Highlander. My wife test drove the Highlander before the CX-9, and after driving the CX-9, said under no circumstances would be buying a Highlander.
Deal Addict
Jan 12, 2008
1226 posts
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TDot
kleen wrote: If you are thinking with your genital area - CX-9.
I feel sorry for your genitals if that's the best they could come up with.
Deal Addict
Apr 22, 2013
2954 posts
2368 upvotes
Markham
I've now at least driven both, took a while for me to drive a CX-9. They're both not very good in the 3rd row but the Highlander edges it slightly...instead of toddlers like the CX-9 its ok for small children. I wouldn't buy either for that feature, it actually would've been more sensible to never have those seats and provide a giant cargo area instead. Interior amenities, easily the CX-9, the Highlander is very cheap and plasticky. The infotainment, the Highlander's is easy to use but extremely limited, the CX-9 is better in that front but you have to get used to the knob. On the drive, the CX-9 feels ok to drive, it still feels big and heavy but not clumsy. The Highlander...is extremely dull to drive, a lot of people give minivans a bad rap for being uncool cars to drive...the Highlander is worse than any minivan to drive. It was a driving experience that reminded me of the really crappy old minivans of yore...disliked driving it a lot. Engines, definitely prefer the Highlander's V6, nothing wrong with the turbo from Mazda but I much prefer NA.

If the goal is for the vehicle to tow and do truck-like things...I favour an actual truck then. I'd much rather go with the 4Runner in this instance, it will be gas pig and its less comfortable with its stiff suspension, however no question but it was built for work.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Jan 22, 2012
647 posts
259 upvotes
Bradford
JeganV wrote: I've now at least driven both, took a while for me to drive a CX-9. They're both not very good in the 3rd row but the Highlander edges it slightly...instead of toddlers like the CX-9 its ok for small children. I wouldn't buy either for that feature, it actually would've been more sensible to never have those seats and provide a giant cargo area instead. Interior amenities, easily the CX-9, the Highlander is very cheap and plasticky. The infotainment, the Highlander's is easy to use but extremely limited, the CX-9 is better in that front but you have to get used to the knob. On the drive, the CX-9 feels ok to drive, it still feels big and heavy but not clumsy. The Highlander...is extremely dull to drive, a lot of people give minivans a bad rap for being uncool cars to drive...the Highlander is worse than any minivan to drive. It was a driving experience that reminded me of the really crappy old minivans of yore...disliked driving it a lot. Engines, definitely prefer the Highlander's V6, nothing wrong with the turbo from Mazda but I much prefer NA.

If the goal is for the vehicle to tow and do truck-like things...I favour an actual truck then. I'd much rather go with the 4Runner in this instance, it will be gas pig and its less comfortable with its stiff suspension, however no question but it was built for work.
I’ve considered a truck. The Tacoma and the Tundra are nice. My father works for Toyota so I generally lean towards them.
Newbie
Dec 5, 2009
31 posts
25 upvotes
Toronto
IndusVally wrote: I feel sorry for your genitals if that's the best they could come up with.
I could have said Urus, but he was thinking between the Highlander & CX-9.

Let's exercise reading comprehension and keep on topic.
Deal Addict
Apr 22, 2013
2954 posts
2368 upvotes
Markham
Topher86 wrote: I’ve considered a truck. The Tacoma and the Tundra are nice. My father works for Toyota so I generally lean towards them.
If you can make either work for your needs, I'd go with them. I definitely prefer driving a truck over the CUV class of vehicles, again its down the fuel consumption where they're going to be worse. The towing however they will be the best choices, fully designed and purpose built to do such tasks easily. 4Runner is pretty much the bridge between truck and family car as its technically a Tacoma/Hilux with a SUV body, it can do both but it leans heavily on its truck lineage.
Deal Addict
Jan 31, 2011
1135 posts
744 upvotes
Toronto
Topher86 wrote: Looking at a new SUV. Like the option of the extra row of seats.

Any opinions on these 2? We may want to tow a camper at some point so would like it to be able to tow.

Open to other options also.
If third row space is a priority, the Honda Pilot/VW Atlas/Hyundai Palisade/Kia Telluride would be a good choice.

Current incentive available:
Acura MDX all trim (except base) are having a $7500 after tax cash rebate
All trim (except base) 2019 VW Atlas for $6000 cash rebate

Toyota website has a convenient tool to compare vehicle spec side-by-side
https://www.toyota.ca/toyota/en/compare/highlander

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