2024 Mazda CX-90: Could Mazda’s Flagship Three-Row SUV Deliver The Goods?

Japanese automaker Mazda recently debuted its CX-90 flagship SUV, a three-row luxury-performance contender to square off with the industry’s best, a who’s who of seven-seat superstardom that includes the Kia Telluride, Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, and Subaru Ascent. Furthermore, the upmarket intent means the 2024 Mazda CX-90 faces stiff competition from ‘le spirited Germans, like the BMW X5, Audi Q7, and Mercedes-Benz GLS.

“With each new vehicle launch, we challenge ourselves to progress through our human-centric approach of design and engineering,” said Jeff Guyton, President and CEO of Mazda North American Operations. “CX-90 offers powerful and responsive performance, alluring design, and intuitive technology.”

2024 Mazda CX-90: What’s New?

The Mazda CX-90 is an all-new vehicle from the ground up. Its Kodo-influenced, slender body rides on top of Mazda’s newly-developed, rear-wheel-bias large platform designed to accommodate a longer wheelbase and a bigger engine. We first heard through the grapevine that the next-generation Mazda6 would be the first to debut a new rear-bias architecture coupled with a new Skyactiv-G inline-six. Mazda has since discontinued the Mazda6 (and the CX-3) as “consumer interests continue to evolve.”

2024 Mazda CX-90
2024 Mazda CX-90. Photo: Mazda North American Operations.

e-Skyactiv Mild Hybrid & PHEV Powertrains

The 2024 Mazda CX-90 will arrive in showrooms with two electrified powertrain choices. The standard powerplant is a 3.3-liter turbocharged inline-six e-Skyactiv unit with an electric motor between the gas engine and gearbox. Mazda calls it the M-Hybrid Boost system that motivates the start-stop mechanism, offers acceleration assist, and could even power the vehicle without help from the gas engine at low speeds and shorter ranges. The powertrain has a combined 340 horsepower and 369 lb-ft. of torque on a diet of premium fuel.

Meanwhile, the CX-90 is also available as a plug-in hybrid (PHEV). The 2.5-liter four-banger and an electric motor draw power from a 17.8 kWh high-capacity battery pack, collectively pumping out 323 horsepower and 369 lb-ft. of torque. Mazda claims the CX-90 PHEV could run purely on electric power, but it didn’t say for how long.

Both electrified powertrains receive an i-Active all-wheel drivetrain and a bespoke eight-speed automatic, ditching the torque converter to deliver smoother acceleration while optimizing efficiency, said Mazda. In addition, Mazda’s Kinematic Posture Control helps improve grip and handling.

2024 Mazda CX-90.
Photo: Mazda North American Operations.

More Chrome

The vast number of shiny chrome pieces on the new Mazda CX-90’s exterior is a telltale sign of the vehicle’s premium upbringing. However, Mazda’s Kodo design language is beginning to show its age, a point we realized when we couldn’t tell the difference between a CX-5, CX-50, or even a CX-90 (at first glance) if not for the apparent differences in size.

We’re not the biggest fans of the CX-90’s recurrent shape, nor do we favor its marginally bulbous rear design that reminds us of the fifth-gen Honda CR-V’s ungainly rump. Then again, we felt the same apprehensions upon laying eyes on the CX-50, whose semi-rugged design has begun to blossom in our eyes. Nitpicking aside, we love Mazda’s new Artisan Red paint, a color developed explicitly for the CX-90.

CX-90 Interior: Posh With a Hint of Sportiness

Mazda interiors have been nothing short of luxurious lately, and this includes the CX-90’s sleek yet purposeful cabin design. The automaker promises luxury and comfort across all three rows of seats with fine materials like Nappa leather, wood, chrome, and tone-on-tone fabrics. Honda can have its honeycomb strip on the dashboard; we prefer Mazda’s fabric dash with Kumihimo-inspired hanging stitches.

The 2024 Mazda CX-90 has a digital instrument cluster and a 12.3-inch center display. The latter operates using a rotary controller, but it turns into a touchscreen when connected to Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. We like how Mazda resisted turning the CX-90’s interior into a screen-heavy, buttonless mess, but it wouldn’t hurt to ditch the rotary controller on the center console in future models.

On the safety front, the CX-90 will come standard with i-Activesense driving aids like blind-spot monitoring, radar cruise control, smart brake support, and lane-changing assist.

2024 Mazda CX-90 interior layout.
2024 Mazda CX-90 interior layout. Photo: Mazda North American Operations.

2024 Mazda CX-90: Pricing & Availability

Production for the 2024 Mazda CX-90 will begin in early 2023, and the first deliveries should arrive at dealerships by April 2023. This comprehensive article on the 2024 CX-90 provides more details on each trim level, including the starting MSRP.

Alvin Reyes is an Automoblog feature columnist and an expert in sports and performance cars. He studied civil aviation, aeronautics, and accountancy in his younger years and is still very much smitten to his former Lancer GSR and Galant SS. He also likes fried chicken, music, and herbal medicine.

Photos & Source: Mazda North American Operations.