Following in the footsteps of the CX-50—which is a CX-5 with a thicker, rugged vibe—Mazda has just launched the CX-90. But things are more than a little different this time. Instead of leaning on its three-row sibling, the CX-9, the 2024 Mazda CX-90 is charting new territory, thanks to a series of changes that might not seem obvious at first glance.
Let’s take a look at the specifications of the CX-90 that Mazda has revealed so far and see how it compares to the CX-9.
The CX-90 is markedly different from the CX-9 before you even walk from the bumper to the A-pillars. The CX-90’s chassis features a longitudinal engine layout, a 90-degree shift from the CX-9’s transverse arrangement. Mazda claims this new setup will give the CX-90 an extra handling chop.
Before you wonder about the rear-wheel drive CX-90, let us burst your bubble. While the longitudinal engine layout allows such tuning, the CX-90 will come standard all-wheel drive, as will the CX-9.
Mazda also borrowed a bit of the MX-5 Miata chassis technology for its newest SUV. The CX-90 will come standard with Kinematic Posture Control, which claims to improve center-corner stability by applying less braking to the inside rear wheel.
The Mazda CX-9 uses a single engine for its entire range, a turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-four that produces 250 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque on premium fuel—output drops by 23 hp and 10 pound-feet if you choose. cheap stuff. All-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic transmission are standard.
Meanwhile, the CX-90 will offer two powertrains with varying degrees of electrification. The ludicrous turbocharged 3.3-liter inline-six is Mazda’s most powerful engine to date, producing 340 horsepower and 369 pound-feet on premium fuel and mated to a 48-volt hybrid system.
Those seeking extra electrons can opt for the plug-in-hybrid CX-90, which combines a 2.5-liter inline-four and an electric motor to produce 323 horsepower and 369 pound-feet—again, on premium fuel. With a 17.8 kilowatt-hour battery, we expect the CX-90 PHEV’s electric range to be somewhere under 39 miles, since that’s what the smaller, European-only CX-60 PHEV can manage on a European WLTP cycle.
Both CX-90 variants will be paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. It’s also quite a unique slushbox, with a multi-plate wet clutch in place of the torque converter, and was developed completely in-house.
Mazda won’t give out exact dimensions just yet, but we do know that the CX-90 is both longer and wider than the CX-9.
In terms of design, the CX-90 keeps it subtle, ditching the CX-9’s sharp character lines on the sides in favor of smoother angles. The front fascia of the CX-90 looks slightly more vertical than that of the CX-9, which has sharper grille angles that look more like a beak. The CX-90’s headlights aren’t as thin as the CX-9’s, but at the rear, the newer SUV has sharper, thinner taillights.
Interior and Cabin Technology
The CX-90 will get skosh interior versatility over the CX-9. While Mazda’s current three-row SUV can seat six or seven seats, the CX-90 will add the option of eight seats. Mazda hasn’t published the actual interior measurements yet, but the automaker told us that the CX-90 will offer more interior space than the CX-9. We hope so, if Mazda tries to cram a whole ‘other human in there.
It should come as no surprise that, being so much newer, the CX-90’s interior is easier on the eyes than the CX-9’s. The CX-9 still relies on older hardware, such as a higher gear lever, as well as a last-generation steering wheel and infotainment controls. The CX-90 ditched the climate control dial for power-off, and the new gear lever is more compact. The steering wheel also looks a bit more elegant. And what is that fabric we’re staking on the CX-90’s dashboard? You bet your bottom dollar.
Each CX-9 comes with a 10.3-inch infotainment display that emerges from the dash, while the gauge cluster is equipped with a 4.6-inch or 7.0-inch LCD display, depending on trim. The CX-90 brings that technology a little closer to today, with a 12.3-inch infotainment screen that we expect to become standard across the range. There’s a similar-sized digital gauge display in the binnacle, but that’s likely reserved for the more high-end variants.
Would you believe us if we said that Mazda isn’t talking about the price of the CX-90 yet? That said, the automaker told us to look at the price difference between the CX-50 and CX-5 and estimate from there. The CX-50 costs about the same as the CX-5 in the base level, and that delta rises to nearly $2,000 in the top trim. So it’s fair to assume the CX-90 will start in the low $40,000 range, with top trims topping the $50,000 mark easily.