December 5, 2023

The 2024 Mazda CX-90 is a new 3-row, 8-passenger crossover SUV that replaces the CX-9 at the top of the automaker’s lineup. It is larger inside and out, and Mazda builds it on a new platform equipped with available electrified powertrains and a standard all-wheel-drive (AWD) system.

2024 Mazda CX-90 Artisan Red Front Quarter View

Photo: Christian Wardlaw

Mazda calls the 2024 CX-90 a “breakthrough vehicle in its segment.” Like the company’s other cars and SUVs, the all-new CX-90 promises a rewarding driving character and offers upscale design and materials. In addition, the CX-90 introduces new technologies from the automaker.

For years, Mazda has worked to reposition itself as a premium brand. However, more than previous efforts, the new 2024 CX-90 should provide a strong foundation upon which the automaker can firmly justify a shift into entry-luxury territory.

What’s New for the 2024 Mazda CX-90?

  • New platform providing larger dimensions
  • Three rows of seats for up to eight passengers
  • Available upscale materials and amenities
  • Drivetrain upgrades, including mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid options
  • Standard performance-oriented AWD
  • New displays and driver-assist systems
  • The 2024 Mazda CX-90 release date is in the spring of 2023
  • Expect prices to rise

2024 Mazda CX-90 Exterior

2024 Mazda CX-90 Design Sketches

Photo: Christian Wardlaw

Mazda styled the new CX-90 to reflect its familiar “Kodo” design philosophy. Still, the SUV’s larger size and more upscale positioning appear to dictate shallower sculpting than you might find on Mazda’s smaller models.

Nevertheless, the new CX-90 has a dramatic appearance. Wider and longer than the CX-9 it replaces, it has a longer wheelbase and available 21-inch wheels. A blunt nose and short overhang lead into robust fenders decorated with an emblem denoting the powertrain beneath the long hood. The cabin sits back on the platform, putting more of the SUV’s visual weight over the rear wheels.

A highlight of the 2024 CX-90 is Mazda’s new Artisan Red paint color. Mazda says it looks almost black in shadows, but it glows with a deeper, richer red when sunlight hits the surface than the automaker’s current Soul Red color.

2024 Mazda CX-90 Interior

2024 Mazda CX-90 Interior Dashboard

Photo: Christian Wardlaw

Mazda says traditional Japanese aesthetics inspired the CX-90’s interior design. For example, the automaker patterned the fabric dashboard trim after historical hand-bookbinding techniques. I asked a Mazda spokesperson about the exposed thread sewn between the pieces of fabric, and he assured me that it had passed all the automaker’s durability tests.

Trim levels, standard features, optional equipment, and many specifications remain undefined as I write this article. However, Mazda says it will offer more clarity closer to the SUV’s on-sale date.

At the CX-90’s reveal in Malibu, California, I assessed a top-trim vehicle with digital instrumentation showing Mazda’s classic, exceptionally legible analog gauge appearance. Every CX-90 also has a larger infotainment display than the CX-9 offered, and the vehicle at the reveal included a triple-zone automatic climate control system.

The new CX-90 provides three rows of seats for up to eight passengers. In addition, second-row captain’s chairs are available, as well as a large center storage console between them. Additional upgrades include heated and ventilated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel with power tilt/telescopic adjustment, premium Nappa leather upholstery, genuine wood trim, a two-panel oversized sunroof, and rear side window sunshades.

2024 Mazda CX-90 Interior Second Row Captains Chairs with Console

Photo: Christian Wardlaw

Brief seat time suggests the driver’s seat will provide plenty of comfort, though the side bolsters are stiffer and more prominent than you’ll find in some of the Mazda’s rivals. The second-row captain’s chairs offer good leg support and plenty of legroom, but if you plan to use the third-row seat to shuttle grown-ups, anyone sitting in the second row will need to slide forward a bit.

Mazda says it improved the third-row seating area to be more hospitable to passengers. The updates include enhanced materials and lighting, new air conditioning vents, and USB charging ports. Comfort for adults, however, remains elusive. The third-row seat is also difficult to enter and exit, especially when the SUV has a second-row center console. In my opinion, it remains a kids-only seating location.

With the third-row seat in use, the CX-90 doesn’t offer much cargo space. However, fold it down, and the cargo area volume appears competitive among midsize 3-row crossover SUVs. At this writing, Mazda has not finalized official measurements, but spokespeople say it offers more cargo room than the outgoing CX-9.

2024 Mazda CX-90 Specs

2024 Mazda CX-90 Fender Badge Inline 6

Photo: Christian Wardlaw

Mazda builds the 2024 CX-90 on a new platform, and if the SUV didn’t have standard AWD, it would have rear-wheel drive (RWD). At the reveal, Mazda spoke about the CX-90’s two available electrified powertrains but did not offer details about what might come standard in the SUV. I bet that it will have Mazda’s turbocharged 2.5-liter 4-cylinder.

A new turbocharged 3.3-liter inline 6-cylinder engine debuts in the Mazda CX-90. It has an M-Hybrid Boost 48-volt mild-hybrid electrification system with an electric motor sandwiched between the engine and the new 8-speed automatic transmission. Mazda says this e-Skyactiv G power plant is the most powerful mass-production engine in the automaker’s history.

According to Mazda, running the new turbo six on premium fuel will result in 340 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. In addition, the electric motor can power the SUV without the gas engine at low speeds, and Mazda says it will ensure smooth acceleration from a stop. In addition, Mazda promises that it will deliver a “rewarding exhaust note.”

2024 Mazda CX-90 Plug-in Hybrid White Rear Quarter View

Photo: Christian Wardlaw

A plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version of the 2024 Mazda CX-90 pairs a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine with a larger electric motor and a 17.8-kWh battery pack. This drivetrain provides pure electric driving and then operates as a hybrid vehicle. Mazda did not disclose electric range estimates but did say that the CX-90 plug-in hybrid makes 323 hp and 369 pound-feet of torque when you use premium gas.

Both electrified powertrains use a new 8-speed automatic transmission with an electronic gear selector. Mazda calls it a “multi-speed automatic gearbox” and says it does not have a torque converter. I asked the CX-90’s chief engineer what that meant, and he drew a diagram depicting the following layout:

Engine 🡪 electric motor 🡪 dry clutch 🡪 transmission 🡪 dry clutch 🡪 driveshaft

Mazda’s Mi-Drive technology offers Normal and Sport driving modes, and an i-Activ AWD system is standard. The chief engineer told me that under normal driving conditions, 80 percent of the drivetrain’s power goes to the rear wheels to create what Mazda calls a “performance-focused experience.” When driving on a slippery surface, up to 50 percent of the power can go to the front wheels.

The CX-90 is the second Mazda to get the automaker’s Kinematic Posture Control (KPC) technology. It debuted on the 2022 MX-5 Miata and, according to the automaker, uses subtle braking of the inside rear wheel to reduce body lift, enhance grip, and ensure the SUV’s occupants maintain a natural posture.

2024 Mazda CX-90 Safety

2024 Mazda CX-90 Safety Features

Photo: Christian Wardlaw

Mazda confirms that the new 2024 CX-90 has its i-ActivSense collection of safety features as standard equipment. The company says adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and blind-spot warning are among the safety features of the CX-90.

In addition, Mazda claims the CX-90 will introduce new advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) to the company’s arsenal. Spokespeople would not offer detail during the reveal event, but the top trim level has what appears to be an activation button for assisted driving technology. At the very least, you can expect Mazda to expand its current Traffic Jam Assist functionality to higher speeds, supplying semi-autonomous assist through the adaptive cruise control and lane-centering assistance systems.

Mazda also touched on how well its current product lineup performs in crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). It is a good bet that the automaker engineered the CX-90 to excel in IIHS evaluations.

2024 Mazda CX-90 Technology

2024 Mazda CX-90 Mazda Connect Infotainment System

Photo: Christian Wardlaw

The Mazda CX-90 offers a 12.3-inch Mazda Connect infotainment system, with the display sitting atop the dashboard just behind an awkwardly placed hazard flasher button. It provides a new See-Through View camera system that Mazda says is useful when parking, but the company did not demonstrate the technology.

Company spokespeople confirmed that the screen is touch-sensitive only when using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Otherwise, you can use the controls on the center console or voice commands to operate the static display.

Unfortunately, Mazda had deactivated the infotainment operation during the reveal event, so I could not root around in the various menus to identify what Mazda Connect has and what might be new. In addition, I could not issue voice commands to see how conversational the tech was.

But I can report that the top trim features a Bose premium audio system.

2024 Mazda CX-90 Competitors

2024 Mazda CX-90 Third Row Seat

Photo: Christian Wardlaw

With the 2024 CX-90, Mazda will continue its move into premium-brand territory. Based on my poking and prodding during the SUV’s reveal event and discussions with the designers and engineers, I think the CX-90 is the model Mazda has needed to serve as the foundation for its aspirations.

As such, a well-equipped CX-90 counts the Acura MDX, Buick Enclave, Infiniti QX60, and Jeep Grand Cherokee L as rivals. I think the Cadillac XT6 and Lincoln Aviator belong on that list, too.

However, many Americans won’t perceive Mazda as a premium brand, no matter how hard the company tries to convince them. So, the CX-90’s list of alternatives also includes the Chevrolet Traverse, Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, Hyundai Palisade, Kia Telluride, Nissan Pathfinder, Toyota Highlander, and Volkswagen Atlas.

Mazda is the source of information in this article. It was accurate as of January 27, 2023, but it may have changed since that date. Always confirm product details and availability with the automaker’s website or your local dealership.

Christian Wardlaw is a veteran digital automotive journalist with over 25 years of experience in test-driving vehicles. In addition to, his work has appeared in numerous new- and used-car buying guides, newspapers, and automotive industry trade journals. Google him to learn more.


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