2024 Mazda CX-90 3-Row SUV
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First Look: 2024 Mazda CX-90 3-Row SUV

Three-row crossover SUV is the company's biggest ever. We head to California to see what Mazda’s first-ever PHEV AWD 8-passenger premium SUV is all about before it officially goes on sale in Canada – and whether it can compete with the luxury rivals.

Mazda is venturing into the premium vehicle market with the introduction of it CX-series crossovers. The three-row, eight passenger CX-90 is the first of the company’s new Large Product Group vehicles to reach North America. It will be followed in the fall by the CX-70. 

The CX-90 aims to firmly place the Japanese automaker in the luxury segment, going head-to-head with premium brands like the Acura MDX and Volvo XC90. It is roomier, more powerful and more luxurious than anything the company has produced to date. It is available in either a mild hybrid six-cylinder version or a plug-in hybrid (PHEV). 

2024 Mazda CX-90 | Photo: Mazda 

If you’re shopping for a hybrid SUV, check out our best PHEV SUVs in Canada top picks. Or view our used hybrid SUVs here – all our pre-owned vehicles arrive at your door fully certified. And you’ve got a 7 day return policy to ensure you really do love it.

Key Features:

  • Largest and most powerful Mazda in the company’s history 
  • Three-rows seat eight in comfort
  • All-new powertrain, with e-SkyActive turbocharged 3.3-litre inline six or 2.5-litre PHEV. 
  • Rear-wheel drive with AWD-only for Canada 

Direct Competitors:

  • Acura MDX
  • Volvo XC90
  • Kia Telluride
  • Toyota Highlander
  • Subaru Ascent
  • Honda Pilot

Mazda CX-90 Canadian price & competitors

Canadian prices have not been announced, but company officials say its various trim levels will place it in the mid-$40,000s to the low $60,000s. Those prices put it in the hunt against the Acura MDX with an MSRP in Canada of $63,600, plus freight and delivery, and the Volvo CX90, with a list price that starts at $76,700. 

Of course, there are less-expensive competitors out there, like the Kia Telluride (MSRP $50,195), Honda Pilot ($50,650) and Toyota Highlander (MSRP $45,650), but Mazda is aiming at a higher level of luxury. Other three-row competitors, like the new Subaru Ascent we reviewed ($40,995), Buick Enclave ($51,453) and Ford Explorer ($48,340) have less of a luxury focus.

Here are seven other 7-seater SUVs that top our list.

New CX-90 interior and exterior styling

2024 Mazda CX-90 | Photo: Doug Firby 

Designers in Irvine, Calif., worked with the team in Japan to achieve an expansive interior feel, with subtle Japanese accents. Details include a 12.4-inch (31-centimetre) centre display, real burled Maple wood trim on the doors and spacious centre console, Nappa leather seat fronts, and a custom stitching on the horizontally oriented dash inspired by the Japanese weaving technique of Kimihimo. 

Seats have been moved outward to allow for large centre console storage. Interior dimensions were not yet released but rear-seat legroom is generous and cargo space, especially with that third row folded down, is family sized. The rear seat area gets heating and cooling vents and USB-C outlets. 

2024 Mazda CX-90 | Photo: Doug Firby 

On the outside, the CX-90 looks both aggressive and refined, with restrained use of chrome to accentuate the premium feel. Refined 21-inch “diamond-cut” alloy wheels with black finish add to the substantial look. 

Exclusive to the CX-90, the Artisanal red colour is deep and rich and appears to change colour with the sunlight. Tech features include frontal smart brake support, blind-spot monitoring, radar cruise control and USB-C outlets in the third row.

Mazda has gone unconventional in the powertrain, choosing to mount the inline six engine lengthwise, and placing the hybrid’s electric motor between the engine and eight-speed transmission, which drives the rear wheels. Mazda calls it “rear-biased” AWD. 

Performance expectations for this Mazda 3-row SUV

Journalists didn’t get a chance to put the CX-90 through its paces at the unveiling. However, two factors bode well. The first is the robust engine and powertrain: The new 3.3-litre turbocharged e-SkyActive engine gets a mild hybrid boost from a 48-volt system and delivers a claimed 340 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque with premium fuel. 

The PHEV has similar numbers, teaming up a 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine with a 17.8 kWh hybrid system to deliver 322 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. That should be plenty of power for passing.

The second is Mazda’s Kinematic Posture Control, or KPC, which was first seen on the MX-5 Miata. Mazda says KPC applies “a slight brake input to the inner rear wheel during sharp cornering. The braking pulls down on that corner, suppressing body roll, and making steering response feel more linear through tight or rough corners,” according to Mazda. 

Verdict: will Mazda’s largest SUV be worth buying?

2024 Mazda CX-90 | Photo: Doug Firby 

It is impossible to judge a vehicle without driving it, but a first look shows a beautiful, refined-looking vehicle that wouldn’t be out of place at any country club. Mazda also has a long-established reputation for making its vehicles fun to drive in any configuration, and the KPC system could make this more stable than an SUV has any right to be. 

The balance of power and expected fuel efficiency (no official estimates yet) should make it a smooth, safe, roomy and comfortable performer. If it can deliver on its promises, the CX-90 premium-level prices place it well against even the dressiest of its competitors. 

Ready to buy a used SUV?

All our used SUVs arrive at your door with a complete inspection. They’re all certified and you have 7 days to test it out. Not happy? No problem, we’ll give you a full refund – it’s that simple. View all our used SUVs here – from affordable crossovers and large luxury models, to hybrids and all-electric.

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