News: 2024 Mazda CX-90
An All-New Three-Row SUV
Mazda brought the automotive media to Malibu, California, this week to reveal the all-new 2024 CX-90 three-row, eight-passenger SUV. Built on an all-new platform, the CX-90 is larger, wider, and longer than the other Mazda SUVs including the incumbent big wagon, the CX-9. Mazda has been repositioning itself into the premium category, and the CX-90 will give it a larger SUV to compete with the Acura MDX, Buick Enclave, Kia Telluride, Hyundai Palisade, Subaru Ascent and Toyota Highlander. It also will mark the first plug-in hybrid from Mazda when it arrives in two months.
Mazda goes big
The 2024 Mazda CX-90 will have two propulsion options. The base power plant is an all-new mild-hybrid e-Skyactiv G turbocharged 3.3-liter inline 6-cylinder engine. This will be the most powerful mass production gasoline engine offered by Mazda, putting out 340 horsepower (hp) and 369 pound-feet (lb.-ft.) of torque. The mild-hybrid will help with efficiency and smooth acceleration from a standing start.
The CX-90 will be Mazda’s first plug-in hybrid
Also new for Mazda and the CX-90 is the optional e-Skyactiv 2.5-liter 4-cylinder PHEV (plug-in hybrid). Performance numbers are 323 hp and 369 lb.-ft. of torque. The engine works in conjunction with an electric motor and a rechargeable 17.8 kilowatt-hour battery.
Both engines, running on 91 octane premium fuel, are mated to a drive-by-wire 8-speed automatic transmission for the i-Activ all-wheel drive system that has a rear wheel bias.
Mazda did not release fuel economy estimates, how fast the plug-in battery charges, or the all-electric driving range for the PHEV. Clean Fleet Report will write a more in-depth story after driving the 2024 CX-90 later in 2023.
The CX-90 exterior, employing the company’s Kodo: Soul of Motion design theme, is Mazda’s most refined SUV. It has a more restrained grille and attractive LED front and rear lighting. The design proportions of the smooth body, meant to accentuate emotion, is without cladding and has tasteful chrome along the lower doors, rear and front lower fascia, roof rails and trimming the grille. Flush door handles and tucking the rear hatch windshield wiper under the visor would have taken the CX-90 closer to premium.
More Kodo looks
At the reveal event we saw the CX-90 in two exterior colors–white and Artisan Red (a $595 option). Artisan Red, which Mazda called a deeply saturated color, was exceptionally attractive, changing colors as the sun played hide-and-seek with the clouds. Jeff Guyton, president and CEO of Mazda North American Operations, said: “We don’t design the shape of the car and then paint it, but the paint and shape are done together.”
As the new largest Mazda SUV, the CX-90 has the most spacious interior of any Mazda vehicle. On the long and low dash, only the 12.3-inch center infotainment display screen rises up, housing the audio, navigation, rear view camera and vehicle controls. The dash has a simple, clean and logical layout with three easy-to-read, round gauges. The black faces and white letters are a multi-information display for the speedometer, odometer, average fuel economy and many other reports.
Interior materials get an upgrade
Ian Hedge, senior manager automotive design at Mazda, explained the dash and door panels are covered in multiple materials and tone-on-tone colors, featuring a woven fabric based on a traditional silk Japanese fabric called Nishi Jin-Ori, that has an accent hanging stitch design. The front and rear door panels and center console have curly maple wood that compliments the fabric.
Seating is for seven, when equipped with the optional second-row Captain’s Chairs, or eight with the second-row bench seat. Both rows of seats fold flat, offering cargo flexibility. The seats are covered in nappa leather, lending to the premium look and feel. The center console is wide and deep, and the rear seat passengers get manually retractable side window shades.
The 2024 CX-90 comes with i-Activesense, which offers an extensive list of standard and optional safety features, including front, side, and curtain airbags, a four-wheel power disc ABS braking system, dynamic stability control, traction control, adaptive cruise control, rear view camera, a tire pressure monitoring system, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, rear cross traffic alert, rear parking sensors, and an anti-theft alarm and engine immobilizer.
Pricing and Availability
The all-new CX-90 is scheduled to be in Mazda dealers in late March 2023. Pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale date.
Observations: 2024 Mazda CX-90
The CX-90 started with a clean sheet of paper
Mazda adding a plug-in hybrid to their SUV line-up is a welcome addition. We hope the highway fuel economy for this midsize SUV will be in the low 30 miles per gallon range, and the all-electric driving range at least 30 miles. Mazda has done impressive technical development on its Skyactiv gasoline engines, so we are hopeful it has done the same with its first plug-in hybrid.
Clean Fleet Report wishes we could tell you more, but like us, you will have to wait for Mazda to let us get behind the wheel and take the 2024 CX-90 for a lengthy test drive.
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Story by John Faulkner. Photos by John Faulkner and Mazda.
Clean Fleet Report is loaned free test vehicles from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle. Because of this we don’t address issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition, we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or technology. As part of these events we may be offered free transportation, lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of vehicles and news irrespective of these inducements.
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John Faulkner is Road Test Editor at Clean Fleet Report. He has more than 30 years’ experience branding, launching and marketing automobiles. He has worked with General Motors (all Divisions), Chrysler (Dodge, Jeep, Eagle), Ford and Lincoln-Mercury, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan and Toyota on consumer events and sales training programs. His interest in automobiles is broad and deep, beginning as a child riding in the back seat of his parent’s 1950 Studebaker. He is a journalist member of the Motor Press Guild.