For a few weeks now, Mazda has extolled the merits of its latest vehicle, the CX-90. The Japanese brand promises something powerful yet efficient, based on a rear-wheel-drive platform infused with sporty characteristics. Evoking emotion is also part of the promise, from the way it drives to the curvaceous exterior large enough for three rows of seats within.
Now, the waiting is over. The North American-bound 2024 Mazda CX-90 is revealed and with a maximum of 340 bhp available, it is indeed the company's most powerful production vehicle ever. It's also a hybrid, paring varying degrees of electric propulsion depending on the powertrain chosen. Inside you'll find space for eight people in a cabin combining modern luxury with traditional Japanese aesthetics. And yes, there is a little bit of MX-5 in its underpinnings, offering a bit more sport for this Sport Utility Vehicle.
Two Hybrid Options, One Transmission
By now, Mazda's turbocharged 3.3-litre inline-six engine shouldn't be a surprise. Debuting last year with the European market CX-60, it's the range-topping mill for the CX-90. However, in North America it's considerably more powerful, developing 340 bhp and 369 pound-feet of torque sent to all four wheels. That's not pure combustion power, however, as Mazda nestles a small electric motor between the engine and transmission in a mild hybrid setup. The company doesn't offer individual power ratings, but the motor is gutsy enough to move the CX-90 at slow speeds without needing the I6.
For those seeking a broader application of electric power, the second option is Mazda's PHEV e-Skyactiv powertrain. A 2.5-litre four-cylinder works with an electric motor to generate a combined 323 bhp and 369 lb-ft of twist, once again going to all four wheels. A 17.8 kWh battery feeds the motor, giving the CX-90 the capability for longer electric-only travel. If this all sounds familiar, it's the same setup offered in the CX-60 and as such, the CX-90 likely has a similar all-electric range of around 39 miles. Note we said likely – Mazda hasn't yet announced official CX-90 range figures.
Regardless of the engine, two things always remain the same. AWD is standard, and power reaches the ground through a new eight-speed automatic transmission that ditches the old-school torque converter. With electrification, Mazda says power delivery with this transmission is smooth and direct while also improving efficiency. We'll have to take Mazda's word on that last bit, as mileage stats aren't yet available. Similarly, the automaker isn't ready to share figures for acceleration or top speed.
As for shades of MX-5 being in the CX-90, that's not a reference to its longitudinal powertrain layout. Mazda equips the big SUV with Kinematic Posture Control, which debuted on the 2022 MX-5 to give the sports car better poise and feel in corners. The system applies slight brake pressure to the inside rear wheel during cornering, and according to Mazda, it helps suppress body roll while giving a liner feel to the CX-90's steering.
Three Row Seating, Upscale Japanese Style
While the powertrain seeks a connection with enthusiasts, Mazda hopes the CX-90's posh interior will connect with passengers. A 12.3-inch centre infotainment screen sits atop the dash, complemented with an array of tactile controls for operating common-use features like seats and climate control. Another digital display is available for the driver, and depending on the options chosen, features like third-row air conditioning and USB-C charging ports are available. A full list of options will be available later.
This all contributes to a theme of modern technology fused with a traditional environment. Multiple materials from Nappa leather to wood and chrome are found throughout the interior. The dash features special fabric with traditional Japanese stitching for a distinctive look. As with other details, Mazda doesn't yet offer data on things like headroom, legroom, or cargo space.
More Curves, Fewer Lines
In a world of rugged-looking SUVs with edges and contrasting angles, Mazda gives the CX-90 a more organic look. Its backside is almost disproportionally large, the better to fit three-row seating inside. But the curves are also designed in such a way as to improve reflections coming from the vehicle. Various trim packages will add or subtract chrome, and 21-inch wheels are available. A new exterior shade called Artisan Red makes its debut here, and beneath it all, Mazda's suite of i-Activsense driver assists is offered. Some systems like active cruise control, dynamic braking, and blind-spot monitoring are included as standard equipment.
Gallery: 2024 Mazda CX-90
While the 2024 Mazda CX-90 debut is official, there are still many things we don't know. Some of those items (performance, economy, interior space) we've already mentioned, but you can add price and production to the list. Expect to hear more from Mazda in the coming weeks as we get closer to the CX-90's on-sale date.