The 2024 Mazda CX-90 three-row SUV advances the brand’s ambitions

the new Mazda CX-90 2024 with three-row four-wheel drive Small Japanese brand elbows on the luxury table. It can be a pleasure to sit side-by-side with competitors ranging from the Volvo XC90 and Lincoln Aviator to more expensive cars. BMW X5 And the Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class, but such a company also shows how far Mazda has to go to prove itself with its new flagship, let alone dethrone it.

The largest car in the Mazda lineup rises above CX-9 is a three-row crossoverIts interior finishing is of a higher standard. It carries BMW and Mercedes’ turbocharged inline-6s, and embraces the rear-wheel-drive architecture of those vehicles and Lincoln Aviator. The mild hybrid system supplements off-line power and reduces the electrical load on the engine, e.g Volvo XC90Mazda offers a plug-in hybrid powertrain at the top of the lineup.

Over the course of a long road trip, I tested the top model’s turbocharged 3.3-liter inline-6 ​​which suggests that Mazda USA has yet to figure out how to classify its premium status: The 3.3 Turbo S Premium Plus package isn’t something that will roll over from shopper to salesman or Other than that.

The long hood and smooth sides combine for a sleek, sporty look, and the mild-hybrid system helps with fuel economy without compromising on the power of the turbo-6. The interior ditches the simple styling of previous Mazdas for something more luxurious. But there are a few creases that could use ironing out, from the shifter to the third row that, despite its availability, might crowd the Ten Little Pigs. Here’s the takeaway.

Pro: Mazda’s new flagship steps up inside and out

If there was any doubt about Mazda’s intention to climb the class ladder, it’s evident in the design. In profile, it echoes the rear-wheel-drive architecture of the Lincoln Aviator but doesn’t appear as long or wide, thanks in part to its rounded rear overhangs topped by an integrated rear roof spoiler. Chrome trim highlights the winglet grille, front splitter, and rocker panels, as well as the window line, lending it suburban sophistication in a class that has become goofy with soft, rubber-clad roadsters.

The interior makes the table even better, especially with the best premium materials. Quilted nappa leather with prominent cross-stitching blends with suede-like inserts on the doors and dashboards, as if touching with fingertips. The brand’s signature spartan dashboard design may be more minimalist than Volvo’s, with a 12.3-inch touchscreen crowning the dashboard horizontally, and a set of climate buttons with temperature toggle switches running beneath them. Length and lean are the theme here, bookended by vertical air vents. However, the theme is undone in the center console.

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Cons: Mazda’s rotary infotainment dial remains stuck in the past

The center console houses Mazda’s rotary dial to control the infotainment system, serving as an anchor that keeps this flagship car drifting. BMW and Genesis use a rotary dial, but their systems have evolved to be easier to use and have corresponding touchscreens that are close enough to actually touch. The Mazda system will be familiar to anyone who has tested or driven a Mazda in the past half-decade, and it still takes three or four twists and taps to negotiate even your preferred sound settings.

Cons: Apple CarPlay connectivity drops a lot

It’s hard to know if the issues with CarPlay needing to be reconnected or losing connection were due to traveling with questionable connections, but even once we parked it for a few days, the CX-90 would frequently drop CarPlay upon startup. Using Google Maps with CarPlay led to other issues, such as the rotary dial not working to access the arrows and zoom functions. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. This is not unique to Mazda Apple CarPlay connectivity is one of the biggest issues It has been reported by new car owners.

Cons: The CX-90 lacks the power of German competitors

Turbo S models like the one I tested increase power from the 3.3-liter inline-6 ​​to 340 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque, with premium gas (the base Turbo S model makes 280 hp and 332 lb-ft). The mild-hybrid system’s drive is housed in the 8-speed automatic transmission, and it essentially replaces the torque converter for more jump off the line. It’s more like a Volvo than a Lincoln in terms of power, and it can’t keep up with the Germans in terms of propulsion. It’s there, and you’ll never lack enough power to get where you want to go and how, but the 0-60 mph time will likely be in the mid-six-second range.

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Pro: Built-in efficiency-6

In mostly highway driving, about 85% at 75 mph over 400 miles, the trip computer readings of 29.2 mpg exceeded the EPA estimate of 28 mpg highway, and that was driving at speeds higher than that Used by the EPA to certify highway testing. Other ride readings consistently exceeded EPA estimates of 23 mpg city, 28 highway, and 25 combined, making it one of the most efficient three-row SUVs with a mild-hybrid system, especially with an inline-6.

The Volvo The BMW X5 inline-6 ​​with all-wheel drive gets 21/25/23 mpg. It’s 2 mpg combined more efficient than the smaller CX-9 with the 2.5-liter turbo-4.

Cons: Hiccups in low gear

The new 8-speed automatic transmission can bog down between downshifts if the driver isn’t steady on the throttle; It reflects the driver’s hesitation, causing a slight shudder if you’re on and then step off the throttle while pulling out of a subdivision, or turn left at a light and the lead car slows down. It’s a minor complaint.

2024 Mazda CX-90

2024 Mazda CX-90

Cons: Front seat comfort can’t match Volvo or Lincoln

The front seats feature standard 8-way power adjustments with adjustable lumbar support, and heating is included. they are fine. But the Premium Plus upper seats don’t add much functionality or comfort. The seats can’t come close to Volvo’s ergonomic seats with thigh, lumbar, bolster and many other adjustments, or Lincoln’s 30-way power cushions with massage. If Mazda wants to sit in the lap of luxury, it should focus on seat comfort.

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Pro and Con: Larger third row but limited toe room

The largest Mazda is the roomiest, and comes in six-, seven- or eight-seat configurations, unlike most other three-row SUVs. In the six-seat configuration I drove, latches on the seat tops make accessing the third row easier, although pushbutton seats by competitors are easier. Mazda places a center console between the captain’s chairs in the second row to provide more storage space, but it blocks the aisle to access the third row, meaning you can only get in using the latch to move those seats forward.

Once back, head and legroom are more than adequate in the 50/50 split back seat, and sitting next to another adult in the back won’t feel like punishment, depending on the company. But leg space is limited. I had to either weave my feet between the captain’s chair mounting bars, or place one foot in the middle of the bars and one behind the console, and even then it was as if I was pressing the pedal. It will be painful after a while. Also, the floor is higher in the back, as in most three-row SUVs, so the knees sit higher.

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The 2024 Mazda CX-90 is impressive, and like the Toyota Grand Highlander and Jeep Grand Cherokee L, it’s optimizing the smaller dimensions of its relationships to satisfy America’s appetite for size. Its presence at the luxury table is noticeable, but it’s not mature or sophisticated enough to displace a Volvo or Lincoln.


2024 Mazda CX-90 3.3 Turbo S Premium Plus Package AWD

Base price: $40,970, including $1,375 destination

Price as tested: $61,920

payment system: Turbocharged 3.3-liter mild-hybrid inline-6 ​​with 340 hp and 369 lb-ft; 8-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive

EPA fuel economy: 23 mpg city, 28 highway, 25 combined

Positives: Style, sophistication, a third row larger than the CX-9, and efficiency

Negatives: The infotainment system, third-row seating space, and front seat comfort come up short

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