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2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV Long-Term Review, Part 6: The Conclusion ...

Charging up the 2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV
Photo: M.Crépault
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Michel Crépault
... and our conclusions

Auto123 has spent several weeks behind the wheel of a Mazda CX-90 PHEV, and we needed all of them to properly analyze this new plug-in model from the Japanese brand. Here's the sixth part of our long-term review.

After three months behind the wheel of the Mazda CX-90 and five previous reviews, we can now draw our own conclusions.

At the end of the day, how does the Mazda CX-90 look?

This is an important criterion, since first impressions are often the most important. What consumer buys a car they find ugly? The kind found only in the movies, as they say.

The silhouette of Mazda's biggest product is not flashy. It envelops a spacious cabin without giving the impression of a vehicle that's hard to guide through narrow passages. The reasonable size exudes an organic beauty. The only makeup on it is its high-quality paintwork, which projects vibrant colours.

Throughout my test drive, my surest way of spotting the CX-90 in a crowded parking lot was to look for the most radiant shell. Even when much of it is covered in winter road grime, a glimpse of the bright colour is all it takes to know you've found your ride.

Specifications sheet of 2024 Mazda CX-90 GS PHEV

Specifications sheet of 2024 Mazda CX-90 GS-L PHEV 

"That" third-row middle seat in the Mazda CX-90 PHEV
"That" third-row middle seat in the Mazda CX-90 PHEV
Photo: M.Crépault
"That" rotary knob in the Mazda CX-90 PHEV
"That" rotary knob in the Mazda CX-90 PHEV
Photo: M.Crépault

What improvements should the CX-90 get?

The manufacturer emphasizes the generous interior that graces this successor to the CX-9, to the point of boasting that it can carry up to eight occupants. However, I wouldn't want to be that eighth one. That poor soul inherits a meager seat in the middle of the back bench. In a pinch, you can fit a slim, svelte young person without them hating you for life.

Meanwhile, the knob placed on the lower console, the one that controls the central screen functions, continues to fuel debate. Its location, smartly placed so that fingers can manipulate it effortlessly, proves to be an asset, but the hierarchy of its controls, sometimes dubious and unnecessarily complex, leads to frustration.

Which powertrain would you recommend for the CX-90: the in-line 6 or the plug-in hybrid?

My heart says PHEV model, but my head can't help pointing out the mediocre electric range, which only get worse in winter. The head also reminds me I wasn't loving the transition between electricity and gas; that’s a passage that could use smoothing out.

In contrast, at the wheel of the CX-90 powered by Mazda's new 3.3L engine, I was seduced by its power and flexibility.

If I were to go for a plug-in hybrid, it's because I'd be prepared to overlook the aforementioned imperfections to obtain a more attractive fuel consumption rating. Not to mention the tangible contribution this would make to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Nice-looking surface in the Mazda CX-90 PHEV
Nice-looking surface in the Mazda CX-90 PHEV
Photo: M.Crépault

Whatever my choice, I'd be happy to count on the CX-90's standard all-wheel drive, the exemplary finish that's clearly visible in the cabin and the driving pleasure that Mazda has instilled in its biggest family vehicle.

What is the 2024 Mazda CX-90 pricing like?

The three PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) trims are priced as follows:

  • - GS ($54,900 CAD)
  • - GS-L ($59,950)
  • - GT ($64,350)

The five in-line 6-cylinder models (GS, GS-L, GT, GT-P and Signature), all with turbocharging and mild hybridization, cost between $45,900 and $63,300.

My tester, a 4WD CX-90 PHEV GS-L with Crystal Red Metallic exterior and black interior, had an MSRP of $59,950, plus $2,195 for freight and PDI, plus $100 for the A/C surcharge, plus an extra $500 for metallic paint, for a total bill of $62,745. Plus taxes.

PHEV badging on the Mazda CX-90 PHEV
PHEV badging on the Mazda CX-90 PHEV
Photo: M.Crépault

Is the Mazda CX-90 eligible for government incentives?

Yes, the ones for PHEV models. At the federal level, the purchase subsidy (or 48-month lease) is $2,500. This could have risen to $5,000 if the CX-90 PHEV's electric range had been equal to or greater than 50 km.

In Quebec, the subsidy for the CX-90 PHEV goes to $5,000 (purchase or 48-month lease or more), if the vehicle's battery capacity exceeds 8 kWh.

What do I do if I like the brand but find the CX-90 too big?

Wait for the CX-70 to arrive at Mazda dealerships this year.

The future Mazda CX-70
The future Mazda CX-70
Photo: Mazda

The four largest members of the family - the CX-60, CX-70, CX-80 and CX-90 - not only have different widths and lengths, they also target distinct markets: Europe for the CX-60 and CX-80, North America for the CX-70 and CX-90.

Europeans are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the CX-80, scheduled for mid-2024, to expand the 5-seat CX-60 already on sale to a 7-seater.

In North America, it will be the other way around, as the 5-seat CX-70 will play the role of a more compact SUV than its big brother the CX-90, but still more spacious than the CX-50/CX-5 duo. We suspect that the CX-70 will be powered by both of the CX-90's powertrains: a mildly electrified internal combustion engine and a plug-in hybrid. It will probably be a 2025 model unveiled in the next few months.

Happy zoom-zoom driving!

See also: 2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV Long-Term Review, Part 1: Big and Versatile, Just Like Mr. Clean

See also: 2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV Long-Term Review, Part 2: Refined Simplicity

See also: 2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV Long-Term Review, Part 3: Let’s Talk Millimetres

See also: 2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV Long-Term Review, Part 4: One Road, Two Personalities

See also: 2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV Long-Term Review, Part 5: Ergonomics in Movement

Michel Crépault
Michel Crépault
Automotive expert
  • More than 45 years of experience as an automotive journalist
  • More than 12 test drives last year
  • Attended more than 190 new vehicle launches in the presence of the brand's technical specialists