The Mazda CX-90 is a three-row SUV with a premium sport sedan chassis and engaging driving feel
Driving dynamics are top of the class, you’ll need to head to a brand like Porsche to find a real competitor.
|What Could Improve
Space. Even though its larger than the CX-9, competitors offer more room inside.
A clear winner for anyone looking to maintain some driving fun in a family SUV. Looks sharp too.
Mazda went big with the CX-90. Literally, in the sense that it’s the largest vehicle the Japanese brand sells. And figuratively, as Mazda considers the CX-90 its North American flagship product and charges accordingly. The base price for the base CX-90 Select starts above $40k and my top-of-the-line Premium Plus test car costs $61,920.
But Mazda also packed a lot of value in to the price, especially for driving enthusiasts. Everything about the platform layout, engine configuration, suspension geometry, and tuning all points to driving engagement and entertainment. Consider the double wishbone front suspension, multilink rear, and a longitudinally mounted turbocharged inline-six that biases power to the rear axle and better balances the weight across the chassis. Not to mention a bunch of Miata lovers tuning it all.
And it shows at first turn of the wheel. Despite stretching more than 200 inches from the front to rear bumper, you feel good responses to your inputs. Chuck the CX-90 into a corner and the front-end reacts willingly, lunging towards the apex with minimal understeer and body roll. As you apply throttle, power mostly goes to the rear axle and balances the chassis through the corner with respectable speed.
My test car housed the 3.3 Turbo S engine under the hood. The higher output of two inline sixes offered, which supplies 340 horsepower and 369 lb.-ft of torque. That, along with an eight-speed automatic transmission, delivers plenty of thrust to pull out of the corner swiftly and hurry on to the next bend for more shenanigans.
But the beauty of Mazda’s three-row, family sized crossover SUV is that it all settles down nicely and functions perfectly well as a people and/or stuff hauler. The cabin stays quiet at interstate speeds, keeping both wind and road noise to a minimum. Moreover, the CX-90 includes all the requisite touchscreens and connectivity that you’d expect, such as wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and a 12.3-inch center console touchscreen.
The only real downside, aside from the price, is the lack of space inside. Even though the CX-90 beats the CX-9 in every dimension, it’s still less offers less cargo capacity than many of its competitors, especially the new for 2023 Honda Pilot.
For me, that’s a small price to pay for the enjoyment you get when behind the wheel. Thanks to Mazda, you can share that love of driving with your whole family all at once.
Here’s my review of the CX-90 I wrote for Motor1: First Drive 2024 Mazda CX-90
Toyota Grand Highlander
2024 Mazda CX-90 Premium Plus: 5-door, 6-seat, Crossover SUV
Base price: $61,325
Price as Tested: $61,920
Engine: Turbocharged 3.3-liter I-6 mild-hybrid
Power: 340 horsepower at 5000 rpm
Torque: 369 lb-ft at 2000 rpm
Elec. motor power: 17 horsepower at 900 rpm
Elec. motor torque: 113 lb.-ft at 200 rpm
Transmissions: 8-speed automatic transmission
Fuel Economy and Range
23 city mpg
28 highway mpg
25 combined mpg
Length: 200.8 inches
Width: 78.5 inches
Height: 68.2 inches
Wheelbase: 122.8 inches
Weights and Capacities
Curb weight: 4899 lbs.
Interior volume: 142 cu ft
Cargo volume (3rd/2nd/1st rows up): 16/40/75 cu ft
Government classified size: Standard Sport Utility Vehicle 4WD
Calculated weight to power (lbs./HP): 14.4:1
Mfr’s claimed 0-60 mph: NA seconds
Mfr’s claimed Top Speed: NA mph
Test Car Options: Artisan Red Paint, $595