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2025 Mazda CX-70 First Drive: Space and Character

2025 Mazda CX-70 | Photo: M.Crépault
  • EPA Category: Midsize SUV
  • Price: 49750 $ - 62300 $
  • Warranty: 3 years / 80000 km

strong / weak points

  • Modern engines/powertrains
  • Exemplary finish
  • Attractive styling

  • Standard equipment list has several holes
  • Unexceptional range from the PHEV
  • Functionality of multimedia system
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Michel Crépault
When space for stuff matters at least as much as - if not more than - space for people.

•    Auto123 gets in a first drive of the 2025 Mazda CX-70.

Palm Springs, CA - In the sandy setting of Palm Springs, I drove turbocharged and plug-in hybrid versions of the 2025 CX-70, Mazda's new mid-size crossover that provides those who don't need the three rows of seats offered by the also-new CX-90 with a tempting alternative. In other words, in an era when space for stuff matters at least as much as space for people, the 2025 Mazda CX-70 comes at just the right time.

2025 Mazda CX-70: What's new?

Everything and yet, not much. The CX-70 is a new model in the Mazda portfolio, but it carries over many elements from the CX-90, including dimensions, engines, dashboard and finish quality. The major difference is the number of occupants each can accommodate. The CX-90 is the successor to the CX-9 and continues to offer three rows of seating for up to eight, depending on the seating configuration (second-row captain's chairs or bench).

The CX-70 dispenses with the third row, and allows Mazda to target what marketing gurus call the “empty nesters”, parents whose children have grown up and flown away. Free to finally indulge their hobbies, they need a vehicle that can accompany them in their now-hectic lives. They need the 2025 Mazda CX-70. Since it's based on the same platform as the CX-90 and is the same length (to the millimetre), and since the latter is the biggest Mazda in the range, well so is the CX-70 - just with a different layout.

2025 Mazda CX-70, three-quarters front
2025 Mazda CX-70, three-quarters front | Photo: M.Crépault

Design of the 2025 Mazda CX-70 - 8.5/10

Since 2010, Mazda has been designing its vehicles according to the Kodo aesthetic code, a visual approach that means “soul of motion”. In the CX-70, this theme translates into a profusion of soft curves and smooth surfaces that create a highly harmonious look. The CX-70 may measure over 5 meters (exactly 5100 mm), but it doesn't look clumsy. On the contrary, it projects dynamism thanks to bumpers flanked by large air vents and a penchant for black (mirrors, roof rails, spoiler, wheels).

By conceding chrome to the CX-90, the CX-70 makes no secret of its sportier tendencies. Plus there’s the colour palette, a selling point that Mazda masters to perfection. Unsurprisingly, the CX-70 features an exclusive Melting Copper body colour, while other colours continue to honor the - often metallic - paints whose shimmering hues dance in the light.

2025 Mazda CX-70, interior
2025 Mazda CX-70, interior | Photo: M.Crépault

The interior
Inside a budget-conscious model, plastic, vinyl and hard shapes often win out. That won’t do for luxury models, which flaunt senses-dazzling. The CX-70 is not a luxury SUV but somehow its interior evokes wealth rather than tight budget.

Even the leatherette of its entry-level versions exudes quality; and in other variants, the combination of suede, Nappa leather and titanium-colored textured appliqués exert their seductive power. In all cases, there’s great attention to detail, such as the double top-stitching that emphasizes the curvature of the seats while accentuating the cockpit's sporty feel.

Buyers can choose between a sober interior dominated by black, or a contrasting interior where, for example, an almost mustard-coloured hairy suede cozies up to dark beaches. The Garnet Red leather option is a way to further push the adrenaline in the air.

In this respect, I would have liked the sides of the driver’s seat to close on me like a vice when driving becomes aggressive. No complaints though about the spacious front seats, which get increasingly more adjustable as you climb the trim ladder. The 60/40 rear bench seat is firmer.

All in all, Mazda has succeeded in creating an airy space that takes advantage of the generous wheelbase and the horizontal lines of the dashboard that flare out the space.

2025 Mazda CX-70, second row of seats
2025 Mazda CX-70, second row of seats | Photo: M.Crépault
2025 Mazda CX-70, trunk, with seats down
2025 Mazda CX-70, trunk, with seats down | Photo: M.Crépault

We can’t overlook the cargo hold, which obviously benefits from the absence of the CX-90's third row. Once the power-assisted tailgate is raised, 1,122 litres are immediately available behind the second row. Fold down the seats of that row (manually or electrically) and you get 2,132 litres (versus 2,129 in the CX-90's 6-seat Signature model). As an added bonus, there's storage space under the hard floor mat (unlike in the CX-90, which requires that space to stow the rear seats when folded down).

2025 Mazda CX-70, driver data screen
2025 Mazda CX-70, driver data screen | Photo: M.Crépault

Technology in the 2025 Mazda CX-70 - 8.0/10

In the U.S., all versions of the CX-70 receive the large 12.3-inch central display; in Canada that’s an option, otherwise you get a 10.25-inch screen. The same applies to the screen housing the instrument cluster behind the steering wheel, which can range from 7 to 12.3 inches, depending on the version.

Another Yankee advantage concerns Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which American buyers can connect to wirelessly. In Canada, again, it depends on the version. On the other, Alexa is part of the deal, unlike in the CX-90. Amazon's personal assistant can indeed execute your voice commands... if you have an Amazon account.

Infotainment functions are still controlled by the age-old knob on the centre console. Everything’s already been said about that system, including how it forces more clicking than we’d like.  But the appearance of Alexa also means that voice commands are possible.

Meanwhile, moving the gear selector to the reverse or forward position requires a choreographed movement of the knob. This is undoubtedly to avoid sudden acceleration, but it's also one that can sometimes frustrate your thirst for immediacy.

This caution goes hand in hand with Mazda's i-ActivSense system with its numerous driving aids (standard and optional) designed to prevent accidents or reduce their severity when they are unavoidable. The 2025 CX-70 adds another innovation to its already impressive arsenal: an alert when the driver's gaze wanders too long from the road.

2025 Mazda CX-70, engine
2025 Mazda CX-70, engine | Photo: M.Crépault
2025 Mazda CX-70, PHEV badging
2025 Mazda CX-70, PHEV badging | Photo: M.Crépault

Powertrain of the 2025 Mazda CX-70 - 8.5/10

Like in the CX-90, the plug-in hybrid configuration uses a 2.5L Skyactiv-G 4-cylinder (similar to that of the CX-5) coupled to a 68-kW electric motor, itself powered by a 17.8-kWh lithium-ion battery. However, the optimum combined power of 323 hp will only be available via 93-octane gas. On the other hand, if you stick to regular fuel, you'll lose just 4 horses (for 319) while paying less. What's more, the 369 lb-ft of torque remains the same regardless.

The all-electric range is advertised at 42 km, but I know from having tested it with the CX-90 that you'll only get that score in ideal weather and road conditions. Fortunately, the engine works with a regenerative braking system to regain power, especially in town.

The turbocharged in-line 6-cylinder is the most powerful engine ever developed by Mazda. What's more, it's backed up by a mild hybridization system (Mild Hybrid Boost) consisting of a small 11-kW electric motor and a 0.33-kWh lithium-ion battery. Together, they give the 3.3L a boost during acceleration and to reduce pollutant emissions.

Here again, the type of gasoline has its say. The top-of-the-range models feature what Mazda calls “High Input”, which allows the regular 280 hp to climb to 340 on premium. And torque jumps from 332 to 369 lb-ft (like the PHEVs).

The six versions of the CX-70 sold in Canada use an 8-speed automatic transmission and feature i-Activ AWD, hill descent control and five Mi-Drive driving modes (including off-road). Towing capacity varies from 1,588 kg (3,500 lb) to 2,268 kg (5,000 lb), but the CX-70 innovates with a camera that allows the driver to back the ball of his vehicle just below the trailer’s hitch.

2025 Mazda CX-70, three-quarters rear
2025 Mazda CX-70, three-quarters rear | Photo: M.Crépault

Driving the 2025 Mazda CX-70 - 8/10

Mazda might claim that the CX-70 is sportier than the CX-90, but it has yet to prove it. The manufacturer didn't hesitate to send us to Thomas Mountain, up the side of which the only road undulates like a drunken snake until you reach the summit. I was driving a CX-70 plug-in hybrid at the time.

My previous experience with a CX-90 with the same powertrain had revealed two drawbacks. On the one hand, the transmission sometimes had to search to find the right gear; on the other, at low speeds I noticed a certain “Whose turn is it?” indecision between the electric and the internal combustion engine. Evidently, Mazda's engineers are quick learners, because I can confirm the CX-70's fluidity in both these areas.

Those same engineers also adjusted the independent suspension (double wishbone at the front, multi-link at the rear) and steering in such a way as to infuse more sportiness into the ride, including a slightly bouncy behavior.

In near-hairpin bends, the CX-70 turned without crashing into corners. Like the CX-90, it features Kinematic Posture Control (KPC), which pinches the inside rear wheel in curves to reduce roll and firm up all-wheel drive. The steering wheel is precise without being sharp. It doesn't convey a wealth of information about the road, but it does inspire confidence. The 11.6-metre turning radius is the same as that of the CX-90.

The engines sound very different under hard acceleration. That of the in-line 6 is rich, that of the 4 is squeaky. In any case, if the buyer opts for a plug-in hybrid, in particular to save a few liters of gas here and there, they won't be wasting those savings by driving aggressively.

With the PHEV, you can expect combined fuel consumption of less than 5.0L/100 km... as long as the electric motor is in the game. Otherwise, expect 9.0L and even 10.0L in the case of a roughly treated 6 High Output.

2025 Mazda CX-70, front
2025 Mazda CX-70, front | Photo: M.Crépault

2025 Mazda CX-70 pricing in Canada

Mazda offers six versions of the 2025 CX-70 in Canada - four with the 6-cylinder and two with the plug-in hybrid powertrain (for comparison, the CX-90 comes in eight versions, including three plug-ins).

2025 Mazda CX-70 GS-L (MSRP: $49,750) - In addition to the 3.3L turbocharged 6-cylinder, the entry-level model includes 19-inch wheels, leatherette, 10.25-inch centre screen, 7-inch instrument cluster, heated front seats and steering wheel, but Apple and Android need a wire. Interestingly, the base CX-90 is slightly less expensive ($49,500) than its CX-70 counterpart.

2025 Mazda CX-70 GT (MSRP: $54,350) - It boasts 21-inch wheels, motorized tailgate, panoramic roof, leather, heated second-row seats, 12-speaker Bose sound system (instead of 8), head-up display, more electronic aids, including a 360-degree camera and Trailer Hitch View to facilitate trailer hitching, and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android connectivity.

2025 Mazda CX-70 GT-P (MSRP: $58,300) - More horsepower and more torque if you take the trouble to feed the 3.3L with higher octane. Towing capacity increases to 5,000 lb. Instead of black, Nappa leather can take on a dramatic red hue. Heated front seats are now ventilated with memory. Additional alerts (which monitor zigzagging and driver fatigue to the point of stopping the vehicle if necessary) are integrated.

2025 Mazda CX-70 Signature (MSRP: $62,300) - The ultimate: the Nappa leather is now sand-coloured and embellished, the two screens go up to 12.3 inches, suede is added and you get other electronic lifesavers, such as one that applies the brakes when someone hits you from behind to avoid the additional damage caused by the domino effect.

2025 Mazda CX-70 GS-L (MSRP: $58,750) - The 2.5L 4-cylinder and electric motor linked to a 17.8-kWh battery provide 323 hp when you're on high-octane. All-electric range on paper of 42 km and combined fuel consumption of 4.2 Le/100 km.

2025 Mazda CX-70 GT PHEV (MSRP: $63,350) – This gains Black or Garnet Red Nappa leather, mass stitching, ventilated seats and a 1500W outlet in the cargo hold. Not to mention, for both plug-ins, federal rebates of $2,500 and provincial rebates of up to $5,000, depending where you are.

See also: Mazda Unveils Price Range for 2025 CX-70

The 2025 Mazda CX-70, and a Mazda CX-5
The 2025 Mazda CX-70, and a Mazda CX-5 | Photo: M.Crépault

Some of your questions about the 2025 Mazda CX-70

Is the CX-70 available with AWD?
All versions of the CX-70 offer all-wheel drive as standard equipment. They also offer a towing capacity of at least 3,500 lb as standard equipment, as well as Hill Descent Control (HDC), which makes it possible to descend a slope on a difficult trail without touching the brake.

If I fuel the less expensive versions of the CX-70 with super, will I get the extra horsepower of the High Input versions?
Good thinking, but no. Engineers have tuned High Input engines to take advantage of high-octane fuel. Ultimately, it's the vehicle's ECU (Engine Control Unit) that calls the shots.

The final word
Mazda, which enjoys a fine reputation in Canada, doesn't have the resources of Toyota or Honda. As a result, the automaker is concentrating on what it does well: nicely crafted bodies, engines that speak the language of both families and consumers looking for fun behind the wheel (one not excluding the other), and a quality of finish that rivals that of Lexus and Infiniti.

The 2025 Mazda CX-70 takes the concept of the CX-90 and gives it a sportier look and feel, while offering practical luggage storage. Once you've decided how many seats your daily routine requires, the biggest shopping challenge is over. As for the rest, this CX-70, whether it uses a mildly electrified internal combustion engine or a plug-in hybrid system, has some serious strengths that merit consideration.

2025 Mazda CX-70, rear
2025 Mazda CX-70, rear | Photo: M.Crépault

Competitors of the 2025 Mazda CX-70

  • - BMW X5
  • - Chevrolet Blazer
  • - Honda Passport
  • - Jeep Grand Cherokee
  • - Lexus RX 350
2025 Mazda CX-70, in profile
2025 Mazda CX-70, in profile | Photo: M.Crépault
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