Mazda has long been climbing the ladder of product respectability, and the 2024 Mazda CX-90 of its aspirations to market products above their current segment.
For while Mazda’s largest vehicle competes against a slew of competing mainstream three-row rug rat wagons, it signals a different intent in a number of ways.
Replacing the 2023 Mazda CX-9, the CX-90 is built using Mazda’s all-new Large Vehicle Platform proves impressive, with a look and demeanor of a premium three-row crossover.
In that regard, it provides the same deceptive quality as one of its key competitors, the Kia Telluride. But the Mazda provides superior driving dynamics. While the Mazda CX-90 is offered in basic models, Turbo Turo S and Plug-In Hybrid models, there are a bewildering array of trim levels, including five for the Turbo, three for the Turbo S and three for the Plug-In Hybrid.
Exchanging the pretense of a life lived off-road, the 2024 Mazda CX-90’s sublime design has a sporting grace that doesn’t hide what it is: all-weather transportation for seven or eight.
The front wears the latest expression of Mazda, while its overall form speaks of a quiet design eloquence that’s rare in an age where Asian automakers are obsessed with garish overdesign, where visual noise takes the place of a well-thought out design identity. The 2024 Mazda CX-90 looks as if there were adults in the room during its design, not a throng of overaged adolescents.
Similarly, the cabin proves to be a refined respite, with interior trim that seems a cut-above the class norm. There’s suede, wood and a number of padded surfaces that elevate the interior’s aura. As you might expect, the second-row bench seat can be swapped out for a pair of Captain’s Chairs.
While the second row proved sufficiently roomy, the first row seems cramped for such a wide vehicle, as the center console hogs a lot of the vehicle’s width, while its height hems in occupants.
The base CX-90 Turbo is powered by a 3.3-liter turbocharged inline 6-cylinder engine that generates 280 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque, while the Turbo S dials up the juiced to 340 hp and 369 lb-ft. of torque.
Mazda is also fielding a Plug-In Hybrid — its first — that pairs a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder gas engine with a 68-kilowatt electric motor and 17.8 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery. The powertrain delivers 232 hp and 30 miles of pure electric range. An 8-speed automatic transmission and rear-biased all-wheel-drive system is standard. Note that the base engine uses 87 octane fuel; others require 91 octane fuel. Towing is rated at 5,000 pounds if you opt for the towing package. Otherwise, it’s 3,500 pounds.
Safety and Technology
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not rated the 2024 Mazda CX-90. But the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has, rating it a “Top Safety Pick+,” its top rating. All 2024 Mazda CX-90s come with Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Keep Assist, Radar Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Driver Attention Alert and a rear-view camera.
A 7-inch digital instrument cluster and a 10.3-inch infotainment screen are standard, but dual 12.3-inch screens are standard on top trim levels and optional elsewhere. But its controlled by a knob, and its software requires too many steps on different parts of the screen to operate safely while driving.
A Bose 12-speaker audio system furnished surprisingly good sound. Wireless Apple CarPlay or Android Auto are standard, and the test vehicle came with wireless smartphone charging in addition to USB-C ports.
For such a massive Mazda, you’ll be surprised by how agile this big beast proves to be. The steering returns enough feel to give you some indication of what’s happening, while proving accurate enough to prove satisfying.
Road motions are well controlled and isolated for all but the worst road craters, while body lean is moderate while cornering, although there’s no hiding this vehicle’s mass. But for a mobile family room, it’s a surprisingly adept dance partner. Fuel economy on our mixed driving loop came in at 21.8 mpg, about what you’d expect.
The seats are wide and comfortable, with good support. The cabin stays fairly quiet. With most of the nosie coming from rear seat occupants, not the road or tires.
2024 Mazda CX-90 Turbo S Premium Plus Specifications
|Dimension||200.8 inches/W: 78.5 inches/H: 68.2 inches/Wheelbase: 122.8 inches|
|Powertrain||3.3-liter inline 6-cylinder engine, 8-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive|
|Fuel Economy||23 mpg city/28 mpg highway/25 mpg combined|
|Performance Specs||340 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque|
|Price||Base price: $59,950; As tested: Not available|
|On-Sale Date||Available now|
The 2024 Mazda CX-90 is far more competitive than the already-good CX-9, and proves worthwhile for this who need its space and all-weather capability. Still, given its inline 6-cylinder engine and rear-wheel-drive bias, it’s apparent that Mazda has the Germans in its site, a comparison that’s not as far-fetched as it might sound. With its improved furnishings and updated drivelines, the Mazda CX-90 is among the top-of-class for those seeking a three-row crossover.
2024 Mazda CX-90 — Frequently Asked Questions
How much is the 2024 Mazda CX-90?
It starts at $39,595, plus options, destination charge and taxes.
Will there be a 2024 Mazda CX-9?
No. It’s being replaced by the all-new 2024 CX-90.
Where is the 2024 Mazda CX-90 built?
It’s manufactured in Hōfu, Japan.