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.
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.
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.
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.
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.