Mazda has replaced the very popular CX-9 three-row crossover-SUV with the new CX-90. This new model is a bit more upscale, a little more comfortable inside, and just as peppy and well-done as its predecessor.
Most notable of the physical changes for the CX-90 compared to its predecessor is its much longer wheelbase. This change adds both dynamics to the SUV’s exterior looks and more room for passengers in its interior. We drove the 2024 Mazda CX-90 in its turbocharged six-cylinder version, but there is a plug-in hybrid model coming later in 2024.
There are three powertrains for the 2024 CX-90, all of which have an automatic transmission and all-wheel drive as standard.
The default engine is a 3.3-liter, 340-horsepower turbo-6 that outputs smoothly to an eight-speed automatic transmission. This combination of nicely turbocharged engine and smooth-shifting transmission goes well with the refined, but peppy nature of the Mazda brand overall and the CX-90 in particular. The engine stop-start, however, is a little rough, but not so bad that it causes panic at the stop light. Fuel economy for the CX-90 is rated at 24 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. We achieved 27.5 mpg on the highway in our testing.
The 3.3L turbo can be upgraded in output to 340 horsepower with the Turbo S package. And coming down the line will be a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder connected to an electric motor and a 17.8 kWh battery pack for 323 total horsepower output. That plug-in hybrid will have about 26 miles of all-electric range.
Where the beautifully-designed 2024 CX-90 really shines, though, is inside. This is a very comfortable and upscale cabin with nicely-trimmed seating and smart ergonomics. It’s quiet on the highway and smooth on rough roads.
Mazda took the cue from most consumers and journalists and kept a push-button, easy-to-use climate control system and audio operation instead of pushing everything onto a touchscreen interface. We appreciate that.
The second row captain’s chairs are a nice place to be in the CX-90 while the third row, though adult-capable, is not as large as it could be. Aerage-sized adults will be OK back there for short trips, but on road trips, that third road is best left to the kids. They will appreciate the built-in cup holders and the USB ports back there. Six to eight passengers (depending on configuration) can fit into the CX-90.
Tech lovers will probably feel underserved by Mazda’s simple, but functional touchscreen interface for infotainment. The graphics are a bit dated and the interface isn’t all that great compared to many other rivals. Audiophiles, though, will love the Bose upgrade option and its sonorous sound. The CX-90 is a large SUV with a lot of interior volume, but the Bose system does a beautiful job of filling it.
Cargo and storage in the 2024 Mazda CX-90 is good, with easy access and plenty of space for small items. There are 15.9 cubic feet of space behind the third row, a respectable 40.1 cubic feet behind the second row, and 75.2 cubic feet when both second- and third-row seats are folded. The seats fold mostly flat, but there is an incline, so long objects will likely need to be lifted from a side door to slide in. the overall storage volume is more than enough for most needs. Plus there’s the option of 3,500 to 5,000 pounds of towing if needed.
Where we spending our money on a CX-90, we’d consider the 3.3 Turbo S to be a good investment. It not only has the upgraded engine power, which is nice, but it also has most of the comfort and convenience goodies we’d want in a three-row family hauler. It includes the 21-inch wheel upgrade, chrome trim, second-row captain’s chairs, 12-speaker Bose audio, and a bunch of driver’s aid systems.
The 2024 CX-90 has a starting price of $40,970 plus delivery. For our preferred Turbo S package, the price would be about $53,000. The plug-in hybrid model will start at $48,820.
This review originally appeared on DriveModeShow.com.