Over the past few weeks, Mazda has praised the advantages of its newest vehicle, the CX-90. The Japanese brand promises something powerful but efficient, based on a rear-wheel drive platform combined with sporty characteristics. Evoking emotion is also part of the promise, from the way it rides to the curvaceous exterior that’s big enough to fit three rows of seats inside.
Now, the wait is over. The 2024 Mazda CX-90 is revealed and with a maximum of 340 available horsepower, it is indeed the company’s most powerful production vehicle ever. It’s also a hybrid, with varying degrees of electric propulsion depending on the powertrain selected. Inside you’ll find space for eight people in a cabin that blends modern luxury with traditional Japanese aesthetics. And yes, there’s a bit of an MX-5 Miata to base it on, offering a little more sport to this Sport Utility Vehicle.
Two Hybrid Options, One Transmission
These days, Mazda’s 3.3-liter turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine shouldn’t come as a surprise. Debuting last year with the CX-60 offered in markets outside the US, this is the range-topping factory for the CX-90. However, it’s much more powerful here, producing 340 hp and 369 pound-feet of torque sent to all four wheels. However, it’s not pure combustion power, as Mazda places a small electric motor between the engine and transmission in a mild hybrid setup. The company doesn’t offer individual power ratings, but the motor is bold enough to drive the CX-90 at slow speeds without needing an I6.
For those seeking broader electric power applications, a second option is Mazda’s PHEV e-Skyactiv powertrain. The 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine works with an electric motor to produce a combined 323 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque, again going to all four wheels. A 17.8 kWh battery feeds the motor, giving the CX-90 the capability for longer electric trips. If this all sounds familiar, it’s the same setup offered in the CX-60 and as such, the CX-90 likely has the same electric range of around 39 miles. Watch us say possible – Mazda hasn’t announced official CX-90 range figures yet.
Regardless of the engine, two things always remain the same. AWD is standard, and power reaches the ground via a new eight-speed automatic transmission that ditches the old-school torque converter. With electrification, Mazda says the power delivery with this transmission is smooth and direct while increasing efficiency. We’ll have to take Mazda’s word for it on that last bit, as mileage stats aren’t available yet. Similarly, automakers aren’t ready to share figures for acceleration or top speed yet.
As for the MX-5 Miata livery found on the CX-90, it’s not a reference to its longitudinal powertrain layout. Mazda outfitted the large SUV with Posture Kinematic Control, which debuted on the 2022 Miata to provide even more poise and a sports car feel in corners. The system applies less brake pressure to the inside rear wheel when cornering, and according to Mazda, this helps suppress body roll while giving the CX-90’s steering a liner feel.
Three Rows of Seating, Upscale Japanese Style
While the powertrain seeks connection with fans, Mazda hopes the CX-90’s luxurious interior will connect with passengers. The central 12.3-inch infotainment screen sits above the dashboard, complemented by a series of tactile controls for operating frequently used features such as seats and climate control. Another digital display is available for the driver, and depending on the option selected, features such as third-row air conditioning and a USB-C charging port are available. A full list of options will be available later.
This all contributes to the theme of modern technology blending into the traditional environment. Materials from Nappa leather to wood and chrome are found throughout the interior. The dashboard features a special cloth with traditional Japanese stitching for a distinctive look. Like the other details, Mazda is yet to offer data on things like headroom, legroom or cargo space.
More Curves, Fewer Lines
In a world of rugged-looking SUVs with contrasting edges and corners, Mazda gave the CX-90 a more organic look. The rear is almost disproportionately large, the better to fit three rows of seats inside. But the curves are also designed in such a way as to increase the reflections coming from the vehicle. Various trim packages will add or take away chrome, and 21-inch wheels are available. A new exterior color called Artisan Red makes its debut here, and underneath it all, Mazda’s i-Activsense driver assistance suite is on offer. Several systems such as active cruise control, dynamic braking and blind spot monitoring are included as standard equipment.
Even though the Mazda CX-90’s 2024 debut is official, there’s still a lot we don’t know. Some of those items (performance, economy, interior space) we have already mentioned, but you can add price and production to the list. Expect to hear more from Mazda in the coming weeks as we move closer to the CX-90’s on-sale date.