The All-New 2024 Mazda CX-90 Is a Powerful, Upscale Three-Row SUV – The Oakland Press
Mazda has slowly revamped the design language of its SUV range over the past several years, and these changes have now reached the top of the ladder and its largest offering.
The previous three-row SUV was the CX-9, but that has now been replaced for the 2024 model year by an all-new entry called the CX-90 – a three-row SUV that seats 6 to 8 passengers depending on configuration, and comes standard with SUV.
It competes with class heavyweights like the Kia Telluride, Hyundai Palisade and Toyota Grand Highlander, and it has a strong group of opponents.
But for drivers who love to drive and want a family-friendly ride that’s also sporty and fun to drive, Mazda has long been a leader in this segment, and the CX-90 holds up very well even in these challenging conditions.
Mazda also has the advantage of offering some of the most luxurious cars you’ll find from a non-luxury brand.
I tested the 2024 Mazda CX-90 3.3 Turbo Premium Plus, and I’m back with a full report on how this new offering measures up in the SUV scene.
For your information
- trolley: 2024 Mazda CX-90
- Price as tested: $54,920 (starts around $41K)
- Best feature: Strong and sporty ride quality; Luxurious interior design; Sharp exterior design
- evaluation: 4.5 out of 5 stars
- Who wants this car?: Drivers want an upscale three-row SUV with more power under the hood than most competitors, as well as strong fuel efficiency.
So how does the CX-90 differ from the CX-9 it replaces?
For starters, it gets longer, offers more interior space, and gets a stunning new interior that makes you think you’ve taken a luxurious ride home.
My test car had a premium Artisan Red paint job that was certainly an eye-catcher. It also introduced a beautiful side silhouette and attractive designs for the front grille and wheels. The CX-90 comes out of the gate as one of the best SUVs available today.
There are 21-inch aluminum wheels featured, along with a hands-free power liftgate, rain-sensing windshield wipers, heated power mirrors with cornering lights, a panoramic sunroof, LED headlights, aluminum roof rails, rear privacy glass and more.
The CX-90 can seat up to 8 passengers, but be aware that the third row is very narrow and intended for children or very small adults. Captain’s chairs are available in the CX-90’s middle row, but will reduce seating capacity.
The level of luxury and overall build quality inside the CX-90 is impressive, with no interior elements that look or feel cheap.
Elegant and unique wood inlays can be found on both the doors and the center console. A sparse design is used in the same center console, including the unique shifter and infotainment system controls.
Made of white Nappa leather, the seats were versatile enough to allow easy access to all three rows.
Well-placed buttons let you change climate settings, and back-seat passengers get their own climate controls. The CX-90 features heated front seats, a leather steering wheel, three-zone automatic climate control, third-row sunroofs, manual middle-row window sunshades, and an auto-dimming frameless rearview mirror with Homelink.
Cargo space is one area where the CX-90 lags slightly behind its competitors, with only 75.2 cubic feet of space with the two back rows down. By contrast, some competitors average around 87 cubic feet.
How is the trip?
Several new engines are available in the 2024 Mazda CX-90, including:
- 3.3-liter turbocharged six-cylinder engine (delivers 280 hp, 332 lb-ft of torque) as standard
- The 3.3 Turbo S makes 340 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque
Both options are coupled to an eight-speed automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive is standard. Paddle shifters are also included.
The engines also include a 48-volt mild hybrid system to enhance efficiency.
The third engine option is the plug-in hybrid, which features a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor powered by a 17.8-kilowatt-hour battery and delivers 323 horsepower.
I tested the base engine, and despite its slightly lower numbers, it still drove strongly and with a sporty edge, while also being smooth and quiet when I wanted it to be. Mazda always gives you a car you look forward to driving, so this was no surprise.
The CX-90 offers options of Sport, Normal, and Off-Road driving modes.
True driving enthusiasts will want to maximize their experience by moving up to the S-level engine to get the full experience. Mazda is known for providing the best possible driving experience in all of its cars, and it also focuses on performance more than most of its competitors.
Zero to 60 times are just above the 6-second mark, and the car features hill descent control and anti-lock brakes. All-wheel drive (AWD) is standard on the CX-90. Towing capacity is a respectable 5,000 pounds.
Be realistic in your expectations, as a larger ride like the CX-90 won’t be quite as nimble as smaller rides like the CX-50 or CX-30, but it can still handle itself well in traffic.
Technology and safety
The CX-90’s infotainment system setup is easy to use and is controlled by a dial on the center console. It’s also easy to connect a phone to stream calls and audio to the car via Bluetooth.
One small downside is that some of the system controls take a little longer to access than I’d like, such as the radio channel list. The CX-90’s voice controls were also a bit of a hit or miss for me in both voice commands and navigation.
On the plus side, the CX-90’s loud and loud Bose sound system is one of the best in the business — delivering bass, midrange, and treble with pinpoint clarity.
Satellite radio is included in a three-month trial, and the vehicle is compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay wireless connections. A wireless phone charger is another useful feature, and the CX-90 features six USB ports.
Safety is another strong area of the CX-90, with plenty of useful features via the i-Activsense package that comes as standard.
Combined with a sharp rearview camera that shows you what’s behind you, you get a comprehensive view around the car.
The side mirrors feature blind spot warnings, and other useful systems include: Lane Departure Warning, Driver Attention Alert, Anti-Theft Engine Immobilizer, Traffic Sign Recognition, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Keep Assist, Emergency Lane Keeping, Adaptive cruise control, tire pressure monitoring system and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection.
Front, side and curtain airbags are also included for increased safety in worst-case scenarios. It all adds up to the CX-90 being an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick.
The 2024 Mazda CX-90’s fuel economy is excellent for its class, especially when compared to the efficiency of competing SUVs.
The official numbers listed are 24 city/28 highway/25 combined. In my experience — a good mix of city and highway driving — I averaged 24 mpg.
And the plug-in hybrid version lets you use less gas by charging at home to get 26 pure electric miles per charge.
The 2024 Mazda CX-90 I tested was priced at $54,920; Its base price starts at about $41,000. There are several trim levels, from the base Select model all the way up to the S Premium Plus, and the top model starts at around $61,000.
These numbers are a bit pricey for this class if you compare them to non-luxury offerings, but you have to consider what vehicles the CX-90 really competes with. Its level of quality puts it outside of those non-luxury offerings and in a class with some luxury SUV brands – like Lincoln, Cadillac, Volvo or Acura.
From that perspective, the price makes more sense, but I can understand that many people would feel a little displeased with spending up to $60,000 on a Mazda.
Warranties are good but shorter than some SUV competitors.
You get a 3-year/36,000-mile new-vehicle warranty and a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty, but no free maintenance schedule.
The all-new 2024 Mazda CX-90 is a major upgrade from the CX-9 at the top of the Mazda SUV lineup. Bold new styling, luxurious styling and sharp driving characteristics make it fit well into the look and feel of Mazda’s new premium SUV range.
The CX-90 isn’t among the most affordable SUVs, but you’ll know why if you test it.
It’s a worthy successor to the CX-9, and all shoppers looking for a three-row family ride would be wise to include the CX-90 in their tests.
Matt Myftiu’s previous reviews can be found online at autotechreviews.com. Follow AutoTechReviews on Instagram at @Autotechreviews.