2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV review arrives: Feeding the Mazda habit
For years, I had a Mazda habit in my personal garage and wasn’t willing to break it. It started with a gorgeous blue 2004 Mazda 6 with a manual transmission, and I loved every minute of driving it. So did my son. He bought it from me, and after several clutches it was still in his garage until age and lack of use during the pandemic killed it. As part of my minivan phase of life, parked next to the 6 was a red 2008 Mazda 5. And it also had a manual, of course. It was like a unicorn that the dealer resented at trade-in in 2011, where I got a more basic black 2012 Mazda3. Somehow, the keys to that car became my daughter’s until someone took it apart in 2019 and it was a write-off. The shock meant the replacement had to switch to another brand, which meant no more Mazdas in our driveway after decades of ownership.
Why did Mazda change its name to CX-90?
Our seven-passenger CX-90 featured Dark Blue Mica Crystal paint with a white Nappa leather interior, a spoiler, and 21-inch alloy wheels. It’s a Premium Plus plug-in hybrid with standard all-wheel drive and a base price of $58,325. We added a few options: a trailer hitch (allowing us to evaluate the Mazda’s 3,500-pound towing capacity), a Destination Accessory Group (which includes a retractable cargo cover, cargo net, cross bars, and first aid kit), and upgraded carpeting, bringing the total price up To $59,975.
Living with a plug-in hybrid
Our review tool is a plug-in hybrid vehicle, which means my phone isn’t the only thing I need to remember to plug in at night. The E-Skyactiv PHEV consists of a 2.5-liter I-4 engine and a permanent magnet electric motor. Power output: 189 hp from the gas engine and another 173 hp from the engine for a total of 323 hp (with recommended premium gasoline). Torque is 192 lb-ft from the engine and 199 lb-ft from the engine for a total of 369 lb-ft. Power is distributed via an eight-speed automatic transmission developed by Mazda.
Motor Trend Testing got it from 0 to 60 mph in 6.3 seconds, so yes, in true Mazda fashion, this is still a driver’s car.
As for range, the CX-90 can go 26 miles on electricity alone before turning on the gas engine. With the gas engine, the range is 490 miles. I’m looking forward to needing fewer fill-ups on my trips north into the rural countryside, as well as living on electricity locally.
Family friendly features
While the CX-90’s paddle shifters caught my attention the first time I slid behind the wheel, I’m not sure how much they’ll be used in a seven-passenger SUV. Regardless, I’ll definitely enjoy them. More useful in a family car: tri-zone automatic climate control, second-row window sunshades, and air-conditioning vents for second- and third-row passengers, although those in the third row appear oddly low.
Up front, I’ll enjoy standard features like heated front seats with lumbar support, a navigation system displayed on a large 12.3-inch center screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and a wireless phone charger. Everyone will enjoy the Bose stereo with 12 speakers, a power outlet, and six USB ports spread throughout the cabin.
The CX-90’s Premium Plus package adds a host of other features to the new crossover. The second-row captain’s chairs and leather steering wheel are heated, as is the windshield wiper, all of which makes us happy in our northern suburbs. The front seats are also well ventilated, perfect for Detroit’s hot (and dangerous) summers. Adding the Destination Package also gives us a retractable cargo cover, cargo net, cross bars, and a first aid kit.
Our CX-90 seats seven people in a 2-2-3 arrangement, although you can get the SUV designed for six (2-2-2) or bump up to eight passengers with three in each row of Back rows. Regardless of your seating arrangement, the second and third row seats fold flat.
Safety is crucial for family vehicles
On the safety front, the CX-90 comes with blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning with lane keep assist, rear cross-traffic alert, as well as forward cross-traffic alert with braking. There’s also driver attention alert, which I expect will scream at me on some of my longer road trips, traffic sign recognition, and parking sensors front and rear.
On paper, I have a well-equipped family car with AWD and Mazda’s reputation for fun-to-drive cars. But it’s also the debut of new architecture and engines — always a concern for those worried about first-year model-year issues. It’s time to see if the “zoom” I remember is still alive and well in the new CX-90.
|Motor Trend 2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV
|3 months/6866 miles
|Base / According to the tested price
|$58,325 / $59,975
|trailer hitch and wiring harness ($700), and a destination accessory kit with cargo cover, net, cross bars, and first aid kit ($625); Carpeted floor mats ($325)
|EPA City/HWY/CMB Fuel ECON; CMB range
|24/27/25 mpg; 53/61/56 mpg-e; 490 miles
|Average fuel consumption, average miles/kWh
|22.6 mpg, 0.67 mpg/kWh
|Energy cost per mile
|Maintenance and wear
|$810.21 (9/23: Emergency replacement tire, $385.25; 10/23: Correct replacement tire, $270.46; 11/23: Cosmetic repair of damaged wheel, $154.50)
|Days out of service/no loan
|Beautiful interior design, large entertainment screen, spare tire
|Jerky transmission, harsh ride
(marks for translation) Mazda