Mazda Enters 3-Row SUV Market with New CX-90 for 2024

Tom Crosby
| February 16, 2024 | 4 Minute Read
2024 blue Kia Seltos SUV subcompact on a green field Mazda

From the best-selling two-seat convertible sports car in history, the MX-5 Miata, Mazda for 2024 has launched the largest vehicle in its history, the three row CX-90 SUV.

The Japanese automaker had its top-selling years in 2021 and 2022 with Mazda’s CX-90, a mid-size SUV, now replaced for 2024 by the larger, pricier but more luxurious premium CX-90, -- their new flagship SUV.

Shoppers seeking a three-row SUV will be impressed with the second row roominess, off-road capability, a well-outfitted cabin, on-road pluses and excellent technology.

Features of the CX-90

It also has a muscular front grille, monochromatic Rhodium white metallic skin and attractive 10-spoke diamond-cut black wheels employing Mazda’s minimalist Kodo design theme.

It’s built on a new platform, wider with a longer wheelbase than the CX-90 making it competitive as a full-size SUV or a really large mid-size.

The CX-90 comes with eleven choices beginning with the base $40,970 to our $61,325 with destination fees. Our sole option was $595 for paint.

Additionally, Maza offers a plug-in hybrid with a 2.5-liter engine and two electric motors with 26 miles electric-only range and it is the only CX-90 not using a turbo-powered gas engine.

All CX-90s use rear-biased all-wheel-drive and an all-new efficient e-SKYACTIV-G 3.3L Turbo Inline 6 using 8-speed automatic transmission augmented with manual paddles and a small 47 kWh battery for a mild hybrid effect.

Mazda’s i-ACTIV AWD reacts to terrain adjusting wheel traction as needed while intelligent drive select includes modes like Sport, Off-road (also good in snow), Towing and Normal.

With premium fuel it generates 340 horses and gets to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds – excellent for its class. Combined EPA says it averages 25 mpg, above normal for the class. Our ride was well-cushioned with Mazda’s Kinematic Posture Control designed to suppress body lift on tight corners to maintain a natural seating posture.

Our test drive

Handling was superb for a nearly three-ton 17-foot-long vehicle using g-vectoring. And with 8.1-inches of ground clearance, mild off-roading was possible in a friend’s working pasture with hill descent control. Towing muscle is rated at 5,000 pounds.

Strong safety features include driver attention monitor and reverse emergency braking. CX-90 is expected earn top crash safety ratings.

The stylishly elegant cabin wrapped all seats in stitched tan Nappa quilted leather, and with captain’s chairs for the second row, we were a six-seater SUV with a roomy second row and a tight third row with somewhat challenging access for two adults but fine for children.

Tan suede on doors and dashboard and other high-quality trim materials created an upscale ambiance, including dashboard hanging stitches weaved in Japan’s Kumihimo style – a conversation starter showing attention to the cabin’s detail and fit and finish.

Highlights of the CX-90 S Premium Plus AWD

The driver’s front digital gauge and dashboard infotainment display - each 12.3-inches in size – were armed with Bose audio, phone apps, vehicle safe driving information, wireless connectivity and more.

A center spine knob aided searches on the infotainment touchscreen and the cargo area expands nicely with third row seats folded down to reveal small side storage cubbies and a shallow tray above a compact spare tire. A neat feature is the car automatically locks walking away without using the key fob.

Visors extend fully, the cabin’s soft materials squelch noise, the sunroof covers the first two rows and there are sunshades for the second row to shield child safety seats.

Overall review

LIKES: Looks, power, mileage, ride comfort, handling, versatility, upscale cabin, improved tech and standard safety features, spare tire

DISLIKES: Tight third row, no complimentary maintenance, pricey at higher trims

BOTTOM LINE: A strong newcomer in profitable and hotly contested three-row SUV niche

Car fact file


        2024 Mazda CX-90 S Premium Plus AWD         

    Base Price                     $61,325 ($61,920 as tested)
    Curb Weight       4,899 lbs. 
    Wheelbase      122.8 inches
    Length       201.6 inches
    Width       84.9 inches (with mirrors)
    Engine Specs      3.3-liter turbo, 6-cylinder SKYACTIV-G                          
    Horsepower      340 hp @ 5,000 to 6,000 rpm
    Torque      369 lb-ft @ 2,000-4,500 rpm
    Transmission      e-SKYACTIV-Drive 8-speed automatic
    EPA Rating       23 mpg city | 28 mpg hwy
    Range       19.6-gallon tank, regular
    Performance       0-60 in just over 6.4 seconds

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