I test drove all the others in the segment and there is no comparison. The CX-9 handles like a car 1/2 its size. It has brisk acceleration, corners well and has excellent brakes with no fade. It has good space, but for those looking for all the bins to put stuff in (like the Pilot or Acadia), you need to look elsewhere. The AWD system is seamless and we have received many great complements. Thank goodness Mazda made this vehicle- I can finally have fun driving my two (soon to be three) kids around town. I owned a 2007 Pilot and the CX-9 beats that in every facet hands-down.
Crisp handling, excellent transmission and handling, nice info center allows you to see all info without taking eyes off road.
Better plastics quality in the cabin. Better gas mileage (but what can you expect for a 4500 lb. family hauler with a sweet 270 hp engine?).