Wednesday, 06 December 2023

Brand-new 2024 Mazda CX-90 is a powerful, upscale three-row SUV offering Featured

Posted On Wednesday, 25 October 2023 21:43 Written by
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The 2024 Mazda CX-90 is a contender for best three-row SUV and flirts with luxury-level quality. The 2024 Mazda CX-90 is a contender for best three-row SUV and flirts with luxury-level quality. Photo courtesy of Mazda

Mazda has slowly been revamping the design language of its SUV lineup for the past several years, and those changes have now reached the top of the ladder and its largest offering.

Their previous three-row SUV was the CX-9, but now it’s been replaced for the 2024 model year by a brand new entry called the CX-90 — a three-row SUV that seats 6 to 8 passengers depending on configuration, and comes standard with all-wheel drive.

Competing with category heavyweights such as the Kia Telluride, Hyundai Palisade and Toyota Grand Highlander, it’s got a tough array of opponents.

But for drivers who love to drive and want a ride that’s both family-friendly plus sporty and fun to drive, Mazda has long been a leader in this segment, and the CX-90 holds up tremendously well even in this tough atmosphere.

Mazda also has the benefit of offering some of the more luxurious vehicles you’ll find from a non-luxury brand.

I tested the 2024 Mazda CX-90 3.3 Turbo Premium Plus model, and I’m back with a full report on how this new offering measures up in the SUV landscape.

LOOKS

So how is the CX-90 different from the CX-9 it is replacing? 

For starters, it grows in length, offers more interior space, and gets a stunning new interior design that will make you think you’ve taken home a luxury ride.

My test vehicle featured a sharp Artisan Red premium paint job that was definitely a head-turner. It also offered a beautiful side silhouette and attractive front grille and tire designs. The CX-90 comes out the gate as one of best looking SUVs available today.

21-inch alloy wheels were featured, along with a hands-free power liftgate, rain-sensing windshield wipers, heated power mirrors with turn lamps, a panoramic moonroof, LED headlights, aluminum roof rails, rear privacy glass and more.

Up to 8 passengers can fit in the CX-90, but be aware that the third row is quite tight and meant for children or very small adults. Captain’s Chairs in the center row are offered in the CX-90, but will reduce seating capacity.

The level of luxury and overall design quality inside the CX-90 is stunning, with no elements of the interior looking or feeling cheap.

Unique, classy wood trim can be found on both the doors and center console. A sparse design is used on that same center console, including a unique shifter and dial controls for infotainment.

The seating was white Nappa leather, and the seating is versatile enough to easily allow access to all three rows.

Well-placed buttons allow you to change climate settings, and the rear seat passengers get their own climate controls. The CX-90 features heated front seats, a leather steering wheel, 3-zone automatic climate control, third-row vents, middle-row manual window sunshades, and a frameless auto dimming rearview mirror with Homelink.

Cargo space is one area where the CX-90 is lagging slightly behind its competitors, reaching no higher than 75.2 cubic feet of space with both rear rows down. By contrast, some rivals are averaging about 87 cubic feet.

HOW’S THE RIDE?

Several new engines are offered on the 2024 Mazda CX-90, including:
— A turbocharged 3.3-liter six-cylinder engine (offering 280 horsepower, 332 pound-feet of torque) as the base offering
The 3.3 Turbo S engine with output of 340 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque

Both options are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission, and all-wheel-drive is standard. Paddle shifters are also included.
The engines also incorporate a 48-volt mild hybrid system to boost efficiency.

The third engine option is a plug-in hybrid, which features a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, and an electric motor powered by a 17.8-kWh battery pack, and provides 323 horsepower.

I tested the base engine, and despite its slightly lesser numbers, it still drove powerfully and with sporty tendencies, while also being smooth and quiet when I wanted it to be. Mazda always gives you a vehicle you’ll look forward to driving, so this was no surprise.

The CX-90 offers Sport, Normal and Off-Road drive mode options.

True driving enthusiasts will want to maximize their experience by moving up to the S level engine to get the full experience. Mazda is known for creating the best driving experience possible in all its vehicles, and is more performance-focused than most rivals.

Zero to 60 times are just above the 6-second level, and the vehicle features hill descent control and anti-lock brakes. AWD comes standard on the CX-90. Towing capacity is a respectable 5,000 pounds.

Be realistic in your expectations, as a larger ride like the CX-90 isn’t going to be quite as nimble as smaller rides like the CX-50 or CX-30, but it can still handle itself quite well in traffic.


TECHNOLOGY, SAFETY

The infotainment setup on the CX-90 is easy to use and controlled by a dial in the center console. It’s also a breeze to connect a phone for streaming calls and audio to the vehicle via Bluetooth.

On small downside is that some controls in the system take a bit longer to access than I would like, such as the list of radio channels. Voice controls on the CX90 were also a bit hit-or-miss for me on both audio and navigation commands. 

On the plus side, the loud, booming Bose sound system offered in the CX-90 is one of the best in the business — delivers bass, midrange and treble all with extreme clarity.

Satellite radio is included on a three-month trial, and the vehicle is compatible with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connections. A wireless phone charger is another helpful feature, and the CX-90 features six USB inputs.

Safety is another strong area on the CX-90, with tons of helpful features via the i-Activsense package that comes standard.

In addition to a sharp rearview camera showing you what’s behind, you can get a birds-eye view completely around the vehicle.

The side mirrors feature blind spot warnings, and other helpful systems include: Lane Departure Warning System, Driver Attention Alert, Anti-theft Engine Immobilizer, Traffic Sign Recognition, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Keep Assist, Emergency Lane Keeping, Adaptive Cruise Control, Tire Pressure Monitoring System and Automatic Emergency Braking with pedestrian detection.

Front, side and curtain airbags are also included to increase safety in a worst-case scenario. This all adds up to the CX-90 being a top safety pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).


MPG

Fuel mileage on the 2024 Mazda CX-90 is excellent for its segment, especially when compared to rival SUVs’ efficiency.

The official numbers listed are 24 city/28 highway/25 combined. In my experience — a good mixture of city and highway driving — I averaged 24 mpg.

And the plug-in hybrid version lets you use even less gas by charging at home to get 26 pure electric miles per charge.

PRICE

The 2024 Mazda CX-90 I tested was priced at $54,920; and its base price starts about $41K. There are many trim levels, ranging from the base Select trim all the way up to S Premium Plus, and the top trim starts around $61K.

These numbers are somewhat expensive for the segment if you compare it to non-luxury offerings, but you have to consider what vehicles the CX-90 is really competing with. Its quality level puts it beyond those non-luxury offerings and into a class with some luxury SUV brands — like Lincoln, Cadillac, Volvo or Acura.

In that perspective, the pricing makes a lot more sense, but I can understand that many people will take some umbrage to spending up to $60K+ on a Mazda vehicle.

Warranties are decent but shorter than some SUV competitors.

You get a 3 year/36,000-mile new vehicle warranty, 5-year/60,000 mile powertrain warranty, but no complimentary schedule maintenance is included.

BOTTOM LINE

The brand-new 2024 Mazda CX-90 is a major upgrade from the CX-9 atop the Mazda SUV lineup. The bold new design, luxury styling and sharp driving characteristics make it fit quite well with the look and feel of Mazda’s excellent new SUV lineup.

The CX-90 is not among the most affordable SUVs, but you'll see why if you test it out.

It’s a worthy successor to the CX-9, and all shoppers looking for a three-row family ride would be wise to include the CX-90 in their testing.

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AutoTechReviews.com can be found on Twitter @AutoTechReview, or stay updated at the AutoTechReviews Facebook page. Follow AutoTechReviews on Instagram at @Autotechreviews. Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu 



Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2024 Mazda CX-90
  • Price as tested: $54,920 (starts around $41K)
  • Best feature: Powerful and sporty ride quality; luxury-level interior; sharp exterior design   
  • Rating: 4.5 out of five stars   
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Drivers wanting a three-row SUV with more power under the hood than most rivals, plus strong fuel efficiency 
Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

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