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  • Writer's pictureCory Fourniquet

2024 Mazda CX-90 World Premier

Mazda is in the midst of revamping their entire lineup. We have seen this most recently with the new CX-50 crossover we have previously tested here at GT: Garage Talk.

Now we get into the large three-row SUV market that is dominated by the Kia Tellurides and Honda Pilots of the world, both of which are all new or heavily refreshed for the 2023 model year. We have previously tested the Mazda entry into the three-row segment in the CX-9 last year and found it to be very luxurious and fun to drive, albeit a bit on the small side. The 2+2+2 configuration paired with the tight rear seat legroom meant that the CX-9 was really only a three-row SUV if small kids were to ride back there.

Enter the 2024 Mazda CX-90, the largest and most powerful Mazda ever built.

This is a new vehicle from the ground up and is set to replace the CX-9 in the lineup. It rides on a brand new platform for Mazda that is meant for rear-drive bias and longitudinally mounted engines under the hood. I say a rear-drive bias, but in the CX-90, all models will feature standard i-Activ all-wheel drive.

As far as the engines, there are two options. First up is a brand new e-Skyactiv G 3.3L inline-6 turbocharged engine which stakes claim to the highest horsepower and torque from a mass-production gasoline engine developed by Mazda at 340 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque on premium fuel. This inline 6-cylinder is a mild hybrid system with an electric motor sandwiched between the gasoline engine and the transmission for seamless integration of fuel-saving stop/start of the engine in heavy traffic.

The second option is the e-Skyactiv PHEV powertrain, Mazda’s first plug-in hybrid system. Using a 2.5L 4-cylinder gas engine with a tuned intake to improve overall torque and an electric motor powered by a 17.8 kWh high-capacity battery, this PHEV is capable of commuting in all-electric mode for short distances, while still having the long-range afforded by a gasoline engine. This one intrigues us most here at GT as we have loved every hybrid we have tested thus far and have been considering several PHEVs for our own use. They are the best of both worlds with their EV operation and gas-powered range. This PHEV could dethrone the Jeep Wrangler as the best-selling PHEV thanks to all the refinement of this new platform.

Both powertrains are mated to an all-new eight-speed automatic transmission built specifically for this platform using longitudinal powertrains. This gearbox does not have a torque converter and is said to achieve smooth and direct acceleration while improving efficiency.

Unfortunately, this was not a drive event so we cannot tell you any more Than what we have been told by Mazda, but we should get our chance to drive one soon, so be sure you are following us on all platforms so you see this content when we do get behind the wheel.

From a design perspective, this is an evolution of Mazda’s current Kodo Design philosophy of infusing life into the body of the vehicle and is the flagship vehicle of the brand. Longer, wider, and taller than the CX-9 it replaces, this is the largest vehicle Mazda has ever made which translates to the most spacious vehicle as well.

There are subtle lines and curves on the exterior that “give the CX-90 ever-changing expressions created by the reflections of lights and shadows.” That is made even more apparent with the simultaneous launch of the new Artisan Red paint color. This paint was developed specifically to suit the CX-90 and “provides a sophisticated, yet deeply matured color” that really sets the vehicle off. Along with minimal chrome accents and the 21-inch diamond-cut wheels, the CX-90 definitely reads as a premium luxury vehicle.

Inside, you are greeted by many different textures and materials that are unlike any Mazda we have been in, to date. There is light maple wood accenting, chrome trim, and Nappa leather all make a cohesive and welcoming environment. The CX-90 can seat up to 8 passengers with a second and third-row three-person bench, but both models we saw had the optional second-row captain’s chairs. The white PHEV with the dark interior did have a three-person third row, while the Artisan Red model with the lighter interior had 2+2+2 seating all the way back with a 50/50 split-folding third row.

One style element we did want to call out from the Artisan Red model was the hanging stitching on the dashboard. Specifically inspired by hand-bookbinding and an intricate Japanese weaving technique known as Kumihimo, it gives the front seat occupants a unique design across the entire width of the dash. Premium touches like heated and ventilated front seats are to be expected in a luxury vehicle on sale today, as is a heated steering wheel, and that is all present. What was a nice surprise was the heated and ventilated second-row captain’s chairs with the full center console.

Technology plays a part in modern vehicles, and the CX-90 features a fully digital gauge cluster along with a 12.3-inch color infotainment screen. Mazda’s controls for the infotainment are still located on the center console, right in reach for drivers allowing full attention to be placed on piloting this vehicle down the road.

We have not been given any official numbers on fuel economy, electric range, or dimensions on this vehicle yet, but will report on it as soon as we know. We can tell you that the rear cargo area was large enough to hold our biggest suitcase, albeit transversely, while still using both sides of the rear seat for passengers. Folding the seats gave us more than enough room for all our bags.

Speaking of that rear seat, I was able to climb back there easily thanks to the sliding captain’s chairs in the second row, and legroom was definitely a step up from the smaller CX-9. I still would not expect this to rival larger SUVs like the GMC Yukon, but adults can ride back here without much consequence.

We were really pleased with this package and feel that not only Mazda is moving up in the premium vehicle landscape as well. If you are shopping the likes of Lexus RX, Lincoln Aviator, or even Kia Telluride SX Prestige, I would definitely give this a look and consider waiting before buying one of those competing models. This CX-90 really made an impression on us and we cannot wait to drive it later this year.

2024 Mazda CX-90 Specs:

  • All-New Platform for Large SUVs with Emphasis on RWD and Longitudinally Mounted Engines

  • 2 Powertrain Options

    • e-Skyactiv G 3.3L Turbocharged Inline 6-Cylinder Mild Hybrid

      • 340 Horsepower

      • 369 lb-ft of Torque

    • e-Skyactiv 2.5L 4-Cylinder Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV)

      • 323 Horsepower

      • 369 lb-ft of Torque

      • 17.8 kWh Battery

      • Full-electric Mode

    • All-New 8-speed Automatic

    • Standard i-Activ All-wheel Drive

  • Seating for up to 8

  • Available Second Row Captain’s Chairs and Center Console

  • Nappa Leather

  • Heated and Ventilated First and Second Row Captain’s Chairs

  • Real Wood Trim

  • 12.3-inch Infotainment Screen

  • Full Digital Gauge Cluster

  • 21-inch Diamond-cut Wheels

  • Mazda’s Latest Takuminuri Color, Artisan Red


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