2024 Mazda CX-90 Reveal: What's New, Photos, Specs, and More
Mazda's move to take itself into premium territory gets a new foundation.
What is the 2024 Mazda CX-90?
The 2024 Mazda CX-90 will replace the automaker's CX-9 model when it goes on sale in spring 2023. Built in Japan, the new 2024 CX-90 is a midsize, three-row, eight-passenger SUV designed to convey a premium look and feel and engineered to have the driving satisfaction Mazdas are known for.
Mazda introduced the CX-90 to journalists in Malibu, California, and invited me to examine the SUV in detail. At the time, the company wasn't letting journalists drive the new model, so a final verdict on the CX-90 will have to wait until a later date.
However, Mazda did provide enough detail to determine that the new CX-90, more than any of the automaker's past or present models, has what it takes to support the brand's desire to move beyond the mainstream and into premium vehicle territory. Especially in its top level of specification, equipped with either of the new electrified engines, the new 2024 Mazda CX-90 competes with three-row SUVs from premium brands like Acura, Buick, GMC, Jeep, and Infiniti.
2024 Mazda CX-90 Styling
With no more than a glance, it’s easy to see that the Mazda CX-90 is different. The front is blunt, the front overhang is short, the hood is long, and the cabin is placed farther back on the all-new platform than is typical for the segment. In addition, Mazda says the CX-90 is wider and longer than the CX-9 and sits on a longer wheelbase. The result is a dramatic appearance — even if the CX-90's sheetmetal isn't as deeply drawn as what’s on other recent Mazdas.
A new paint color also debuts on the CX-90, called Artisan Red. The extra-cost option looks almost black in shadows, but when bathed in sunlight it glows and looks like a darker version of Mazda's classic Soul Red paint. In addition, the available 21-inch aluminum wheels, painted black metallic with a machined finish on the wheel lips and spoke anchors, look terrific on the SUV.
2024 Mazda CX-90 Interior
The CX-90 seats up to eight people. The capacity drops to seven if you get the optional second-row captain's chairs. However, the third-row seat is best left to smaller passengers because it is difficult to enter and exit and is uncomfortable for larger adults.
I had a brief time to sit in and examine the CX-90's interior. The one I assessed had the top trim level and seemingly every available feature. The highlights included digital instrumentation, a widescreen infotainment system, a three-zone automatic climate-control system, premium Nappa leather, and wood trim. A dual-pane glass sunroof bathed the cabin in natural light, and the CX-90 had heated and ventilated front and rear seats and a heated steering wheel with power tilt and telescopic adjustment.
The front seats were quite comfortable, and I found the driving position more agreeable than the old CX-9, which fit me awkwardly, like an oversized suit. The second-row captain's chairs are comfortable, too, and Mazda offers a center storage console between them. Second-row sunshades, rear air-conditioning vents, a climate control panel, and two USB-C charging ports make the second row more accommodating and hospitable.
Official cargo space measurements were not available during the CX-90's reveal. However, as is true of most CX-90 rivals, you'll have a choice to make: You can use the third-row seat or carry more than a few grocery sacks in the cargo area. Mazda provides plastic hooks on both sides of the cargo bay, and the display vehicle had a 120-volt/150-watt AC power outlet in the trunk area.
Fold the third-row seat down, and the CX-90 offers plenty of cargo space for a long-distance road trip for a group of four travelers.
2024 Mazda CX-90 Technology
Mazda did not offer much detail about the CX-90's infotainment system or other technology. However, I can confirm that the SUV has a 12.3-inch infotainment display with the familiar Mazda Connect appearance and layout. Like the smaller Mazda CX-50, it is touch-sensing only when using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. The rest of the time, you'll use the controls on the center console or voice commands to operate the infotainment system. A Bose premium audio system is available.
Unfortunately, the Mazda Connect technology in the display vehicles was inoperative, so I could not go through system menus to see what might be new or to test the voice recognition system. However, Mazda has confirmed that it will offer a new See-Through View monitor to assist with parking and announced a new feature called the Driver Personalization System. This system, when enabled, uses a camera in the car to store driver facial recognition data and will automatically restore various settings for each saved driver on future drives.
2024 Mazda CX-90 Safety
Similarly, Mazda was tight-lipped about the CX-90's safety features, but there was no hiding the button on the steering wheel that seemed to suggest the SUV would have a Level 2 assisted-driving system. After the launch Mazda did confirm that the system, called Cruising & Traffic Support, will combine adaptive cruise control with lane-centering assist for a hands-on highway driving aid.
Mazda will equip every CX-90 with its i-Activsense collection of driving assistance and collision-avoidance systems. In addition, the automaker confirmed it would include adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and blind-spot monitoring. More details about standard and optional safety features will be available closer to the SUV's sale date.
In addition, Mazda has engineered the CX-90 to provide excellent crash protection. At the CX-90 reveal, Jeff Guyton, President and CEO of Mazda North American Operations, explained how well the company's cars and SUVs perform in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests and safety evaluations. He said that he expects the CX-90 to continue the trend, but the institute has yet to release safety ratings for the new model.
2024 Mazda CX-90 Specs
Mazda builds the 2024 CX-90 on its new large vehicle platform, equips it with available electrified powertrains, and includes a rear-biased all-wheel-drive (AWD) system as standard equipment.
With three available electrified drivetrains, Mazda will offer a 48-volt mild-hybrid (e-Skyactiv G) paired with a turbocharged six-cylinder engine and a plug-in hybrid (e-Skyactiv PHEV). All three employ an electric motor sandwiched between the engine and transmission, and it replaces a traditional automatic transmission's torque converter. The result, Mazda says, is a “multi-speed automatic gearbox” with eight forward ratios. In addition, Mazda's Mi-Drive technology adjusts the powertrain to Normal, Sport, and Off-Road modes, and an available Towing mode.
The M-Hybrid Boost mild-hybrid system pairs with a turbocharged 3.3-liter inline six-cylinder engine that Mazda claims is the most powerful mass-production power plant in its history. When burning premium fuel in Turbo S guise, it makes 340 hp and 369 lb.-ft. of torque, and Mazda promises a rewarding exhaust note. The company also says the electric motor is powerful enough to motivate the CX-90 solely on electricity at low speeds and for short distances. Fuel economy for the Turbo S is an EPA estimated 23 mpg city and 28 mpg highway, for a combined rating of 25 mpg.
The same engine is available on the base CX-90 3.3 Turbo, where the powertrain makes 280 hp and 332 lb.-ft. of torque. Though down 60 hp when compared with the Turbo S version, the 3.3 Turbo powertrain is estimated to achieve 24 mpg in city driving and 28 mpg on the highway when filled with regular-octane gas.
Mazda bases the e-Skyactiv PHEV powertrain on a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, a larger electric motor than the e-Skyactiv G drivetrain, and a 17.8 kWh battery pack. Mazda says the CX-90 plug-in hybrid makes 323 hp and 369 lb.-ft. of torque when using premium gas. Fuel economy and range has not been confirmed yet.
Mazda equips every CX-90 with its i-Activ AWD system. Here, to provide what the company characterizes as a “performance-focused experience,” the system is rear biased. Mitsuru Wakiie, the CX-90 Program Manager, explained that under typical driving conditions it delivers 80 percent of its power to the rear wheels and 20 percent to the front wheels. When added traction is necessary, the CX-90's i-Activ system can send up to 50 percent of the drivetrain's power to the front wheels.
Towing capacity for properly-equipped 2024 Mazda CX-90 models is up-to 5,000 lbs.
2024 Mazda CX-90 Price and Competitors
Mazda has confirmed that the 2024 CX-90 will start around $41,000 and will climb to a starting price near $61,000 for loaded models. The CX-90 will be available in 11 different packages, with three different powertrains. To get into a hybrid model buyers will have to start around $49,000, while the 340-hp Turbo S models start above $53,000.
Among mass-market brands, the CX-90 will compete against the Chevrolet Traverse, Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, Hyundai Palisade, Jeep Grand Cherokee L, Kia Telluride, Nissan Pathfinder, Toyota Highlander, and Volkswagen Atlas. However, when fully loaded, the new Mazda CX-90 may count the Acura MDX, Buick Enclave, Cadillac XT6, Infiniti QX60, and Lincoln Aviator as rivals.
Can this Mazda credibly compete with premium and luxury brands? Having spent time inside the 2024 Mazda CX-90, I believe it can. But I'll reserve judgment until I've had a chance to drive it.