2024 Mazda CX-90: A Three-Row Luxury SUV With the Right Hardware

Mazda has finally found a home for its long-anticipated turbocharged 3.3-liter inline-six drivetrain, and it’s a three-row crossover.

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2024 Mazda CX-90: A Three-Row Luxury SUV With the Right Hardware © 2024 Mazda CX-90: A Three-Row Luxury SUV With the Right Hardware

Mazda’s new large crossover SUV is here, and it’s the inline-six powered 2024 Mazda CX-90. It’s a three-row, all-new vehicle that spearheads the Japanese automaker’s engineering and design efforts, and it’s taking a brave swing at being unique in a crowded market.

It’s built on a new vehicle platform that can accommodate a longitudinal drivetrain and rear-biased all-wheel-drive system, which is standard for all trims of CX-90. Most importantly, it's a clean slate for Mazda to move away from the front-wheel-drive platform that underpins all of its current cars, save for the MX-5 Miata. It’s wider and longer than before and intends to be more upscale than previous Mazda SUVs. It finally has the base ingredients to fight with actual luxury brands.

Chris Rosales

The design was a focus of the CX-90, with interesting material choices for the interior and a continuation of the Kodo design language for the exterior. Body panels are shaped to manipulate reflections, very much like the current Mazda 3. Inside, the top-trim CX-90 uses flamed maple wood that looks like it belongs on a guitar and coarse cloth bisected by a unique stitching pattern called Kumihimo. The effect is very bright in white, but the interior is impressive. 

Mazda

It is a three-row SUV that can seat up to eight people. Mazda didn’t let slip any details about the price or specification of the three trims at the debut for the CX-90, but there were two seating arrangements: six- and eight-passenger configurations. The eight-passenger CX90s had a traditional second-row bench seat while the six-passenger models had second-row captains chairs that were heated, cooled, reclining, and mounted on sliders for legroom adjustment. 

Chris Rosales

The CX-90 uses two drivetrains: the long-anticipated 3.3-liter turbocharged inline-six with a 48-volt mild hybrid assist, or a plug-in hybrid with the workhorse 2.5-liter naturally aspirated inline-four engine. Mazda claims that the 2.5-liter has been reworked for extra torque and that the total system output is 323 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque, indicating a big assist from the electric motor. The inline-six is a powerhouse at 340 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque, with some assist off-boost from the 48-volt system. 

Gritty technical details of the drivetrain, including photos, were not provided by Mazda at the reveal event. Try as I might, I couldn’t even pop the hood at the reveal. A full analysis of the surely intriguing new inline-six will have to wait. But I did spy some details of Mazda’s new SUV platform, like a new dual wishbone front suspension, hefty-looking rear differential, and reworked rear suspension.

It’s a convincing step toward luxury for Mazda. The CX-90 has the ingredients, but it’s ultimately how Mazda blends them together that will make or break the serious investment it made into a new vehicle. More details will trickle out until the full launch in early April.

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