Road Test: 2024 Mazda CX-90

The all-new 2024 Mazda CX-90 is the automaker’s replacement for the CX-9 and its new three-row SUV.

It is offered in two versions, a mild hybrid or the plug-in hybrid electric version we tested.

2024 Mazda CX-90 (Artisan Red Premium)

There are three available trims for the PHEV, which can drive up to 42 kilometres on electricity alone: GS, GS-L and GT.

The base trim has a starting price of $54,900, while our GS-L tester was priced at $62,545, with fees added in.

The one thing I have always appreciated about Mazda is that when it comes to picking one of their vehicles, you have three – sometimes four – very well-equipped trims to choose from and there’s no need for pricey add-ons.

What that means is the CX-90 is well equipped from the start, with the GS-L adding features like a heated steering wheel, rear seat alert, a panoramic moonroof, leatherette-trimmed upholstery, a power rear liftgate and more.

2024 Mazda CX-90 (Artisan Red Premium)

Powertrain: The CX-90 PHEV is powered by a 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine paired to an electric motor.

Combined, the system delivers 323 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque, which is moved through an 8-speed automatic transmission.

In EV mode, Mazda says the CX-90 can achieve up to 42 kilometres of autonomy, although the on-board trip computer never showed higher than 33 km on a full charge for me.

2024 Mazda CX-90 (Artisan Red Premium)

On a Level 2 charger, the battery can be topped up in less than 90 minutes according to Mazda, while a regular home outlet will do the job in a little more than six hours, so still good for an overnight charge.

The PHEV has a combined energy efficient rating of 4.2 Le per 100 km, while I returned an average of 7.2 L/100 km, but did do two days without any EV driving. The 7.2 figure is better than the 9/1 L/100 km average for the CX-90 when using the gas engine only.

2024 Mazda CX-90 (Artisan Red Premium)

Exterior: The CX-90 is certainly a stylish design, not surprising from Mazda which has several really nice-looking vehicles in its lineup.

The front-end features the signature grille treatment from the automaker, with chrome accents surrounding the lower section. A strip of LED daytime running lights stretches from the headlight assembly toward the middle of the grille, and it’s a nice touch.

And our tester was in what is to me the iconic Mazda colour – Soul Red Crystal Metallic.

With the curvaceous body lines and 19-inch alloy wheels, the CX-90 definitely has a more upscale appearance.

2024 Mazda CX-90 (Artisan Red Premium)

The rear has a more bulbous shape that gives it an elongated feel, but the raked glass does limit the usefulness of the cargo area for taller items.

Another distinguishing feature of the GS-L trim is the satin chrome roof rails.

Interior: The CX-90’s interior is spacious and comfortable, although those in the third row do not benefit from a tremendous amount of legroom. And with all three rows of seats in use, cargo space is also pretty limited.

The CX-90 can seat up to eight, but with the Captain’s Chairs in the second row of the GS-L, it’s limited to seven.

2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV (Soul Red Crystal Metallic)

Up front, the driver benefits from a digital gauge cluster that is bright and colourful, and in the GS-L they also get a heated steering wheel in addition to the heated front seats.

The design of the cabin is nice, with ventilation controls neatly arranged below the infotainment screen, while controls for the audio system and more are through a dial/button combination behind the shift lever.

Overall, this is a nice cabin with a pretty fashionable vibe to it, something I have found more and more with Mazda. The automaker has done an excellent job at not only making their vehicles look good from the outside, but the cabins have a more luxurious feel to them than one would expect.

2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV (Soul Red Crystal Metallic)

The one thing I wasn’t too wild about inside the CX-90 was the shifter setup, with the need to go up and to the left to get it into park, rather than just pushing it all the way forward.

Infotainment: The GS-L trim features a 10.25-inch infotainment screen that sits atop the dashboard. It is controlled through a rotary dial and buttons in the centre console which can take some getting used to. The interface is relatively intuitive once you get the hang of it, however.

Oddly, for the price you pay for the GS-L trim, you have only wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (wireless available only on the GT trim). The tester did offer wireless charging at least and one would think that should include the wireless device connection.

2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV (Soul Red Crystal Metallic)

One thing I did notice was that when making calls using Bluetooth, the sound was not as good as expected. Even at full volume, I had a hard time hearing the person on the other end.

Drive: As great as the CX-90 looks, outside and in, the overall driving experience left me a little disappointed.

First off, a range of 42 kilometres on electricity is nice, but something in the 60 km range would have been better to handle most daily work commutes (at least on my case).

2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV (Soul Red Crystal Metallic)

I also found the transition from EV power to the ICE engine a little rough, and the engine was also on the loud side.

However, the CX-90 is still a comfortable and competent everyday driver, as long as you can live with the fact it can sometimes be less than smooth. Given how well most Mazda vehicles drive, this was a bit disappointing.

The Mazda Mi-Drive system allows drivers to select the drive setting that best suits their needs: Normal, Sport, Off-road, EV and Towing. In the last setting, the CX-90 has a towing capacity of 3,500 pounds.

Conclusion: A great-looking vehicle with a well-appointed cabin, the CX-90 PHEV is surprisingly still a little rough around the edges.

It does provide a reasonable range on EV power alone, and the autonomy provided by the PHEV setup is certainly an attractive quality for those who aren’t quite ready for a fully electric vehicle but need room for up to eight people.

2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV GS-L
Price as tested: $62,545.00
Freight: $1,995.00
Configuration: Front engine/All-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 2.5-litre 4-cylinder PHEV/ 8-speed automatic
Power/torque: 323 horsepower/ 369 lb-ft of torque (engine and EV combined)
Fuel (capacity): Premium (70 L)
EV Range: Up to 42 kilometres
Combined fuel economy ratings (L/100 km): 4.2 Le/100 km
Observed fuel economy (L/100 km): 7.2 L/100 km
Warranties: 3-years/Unlimited km (basic)
Competitors: Honda Pilot, Hyundai Palisade, Kia Telluride, Toyota Highlander, Volkswagen Atlas
Website: Mazda Canada

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