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The 2024 Mazda CX-90 Makes its Entrance

2024 Mazda CX-90 | Photo: D.Rufiange
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Daniel Rufiange
The upcoming CX-90 SUV is getting a new inline 6-cylinder engine
2024 Mazda CX-90 - Logo
2024 Mazda CX-90 - Logo | Photo: D.Rufiange

•    Mazda has unveiled its new 2024 CX-90.

•    The SUV comes with a turbocharged inline 6-cylinder engine good for up to 340 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque.

•    A plug-in hybrid variant is also planned, with a 2.5L 4-cylinder engine and 17.8-kWh battery.

It's been quiet at Mazda for a few years now, with new models making themselves rather rare. That's going to change over the next few months and years. New blood is expected, not to mention the renewal of several existing models as they reach the end of their lifecycle. 

There will also be changes in the way the company presents its vehicles. As we've known for a long time, Mazda wants to get a foothold in the high-end market. Unlike Honda, Toyota or Nissan, it does not have a luxury division. The Amati brand in the early 90s was an attempt to establish one, but with no success.

In recent years, the company has offered a more upscale version of its models with the Signature trim level. With the new CX-90, they're taking it a step further. 

Mazda Canada invited us to Los Angeles to take a closer look at the vehicle. In a few months, we’ll have the opportunity to drive it for a more complete and detailed analysis. For the moment, we've been content with a few brief details and we were able to discover the interior to get a feel for it. 

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2024 Mazda CX-90 - Profile
2024 Mazda CX-90 - Profile | Photo: D.Rufiange

Design: differences and similarities
Mazda promised a new approach to design with this vehicle. And so there is, but within a style that remains very recognizable. The big change is the model's proportions. Built on a new structure identified with little creativity as the Large Platform, the CX-90 has a rear-wheel drive configuration and an in-line 6-cylinder engine, offering designers new possibilities. 

The result is a sleeker-looking SUV with a longer hood, but also a wider stance and an increased wheelbase compared to the model the CX-90 is replacing, the CX-9. On board, you get a sense of this more welcoming space. Note that the CX-90 will be able to accommodate up to eight occupants, but that configurations for six or seven will also be possible. More on the interior in a bit.

2024 Mazda CX-90 - Front
2024 Mazda CX-90 - Front | Photo: D.Rufiange
2024 Mazda CX-90 - Badging for engine
2024 Mazda CX-90 - Badging for engine | Photo: D.Rufiange

The mechanics
The big news is under the hood... which we were not allowed to open at the event. Buyers will have two options. First, a plug-in hybrid approach with a 2.5L 4-cylinder engine and a 17.8 kWh battery. Second, a brand-new turbocharged engine, a 3.3L inline 6-cylinder. To play the luxury card, this is the kind of refinement Mazda needed. 

As for the capabilities of each, note that torque is identical at 369 lb-ft. With the plug-in hybrid block, power is at 322 hp, while the 6-cylinder takes that to 340. Note that in both cases, those numbers apply when using high-octane (91) gasoline. Mazda did not provide power figures with regular or intermediate fuel (87 and 89). 

Beyond that, the company is remaining tight-lipped about the rest of the things we want to know. 

For example, what will be the range of the CX-90 plug-in hybrid? To get an idea, you have to look at what the CX-60 is offering in Europe. On the WLTP cycle, delivers 68 km of range. Though the CX-90 benefits from the electric power unit, it's also bigger and heavier, so we expect less range than that. That's all the designers could confirm, which is a given. So we can only speculate. Let's say we can imagine 40 km in a pessimistic scenario, 50 in a more optimistic one.

2024 Mazda CX-90 - At the charging station
2024 Mazda CX-90 - At the charging station | Photo: D.Rufiange

We'll see when the model is launched. The same goes for the fuel consumption of the 6-cylinder engine, which should be better – though again, no figures are available at this time. 

Note that both engines will be paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission. In the case of the 6-cylinder e-Skyactiv, it gets M-Hybrid Boost technology, a light hybrid system. Here, an electric motor is placed between the 6-cylinder and the transmission to ensure smooth starts and also allow the vehicle to run in full electric mode at low speeds. 

The i-Activ all-wheel drive will be part of the package, as expected. 

The luxury level
With this model, Mazda is making its intentions known. It wants to play the luxury card like never before. From the outside, in addition to the richer design, there are two elements that speak for themselves: a moulding on the lower part of the body with the word Mazda on it, and a logo on the front flanks to indicate an inline 6-cylinder engine housed under the hood. 

2024 Mazda CX-90 - Interior
2024 Mazda CX-90 - Interior | Photo: D.Rufiange

Inside, our brief contact with the CX-90 revealed a more refined approach with interesting, if not different, materials. The dashboard lining, for example, is made from a traditional Japanese textile, Nishijin, used throughout the history of the country. The visible seams are very rich and distinctive. Overall, the presentation is uncluttered. The other surfaces used blend in very well and the chrome accents discreetly help, define the different elements of the presentation. 

We’re some ways from the current approach of the CX-9 Signature model, in other words. You can see it as Mazda moving from the minor leagues to the majors. Another small detail. The new platform and design of the vehicle allowed for moving the speakers, normally found inside at the bottom of the doors, to the front, behind the legroom. We’re promised a richer sound as a result. 

The final word
Mazda is giving itself the tools to make a successful transition to a more upscale market with this CX-90. 

Of course, the price tag will be something to watch, and Mazda provided no information on that front. One thing we can assume is that the price gap between the base version of a model and the one at the top of the hierarchy will be bigger than ever. 

More details at the official launch.

2024 Mazda CX-90 - Back
2024 Mazda CX-90 - Back | Photo: D.Rufiange
2024 Mazda CX-90 pictures
Daniel Rufiange
Daniel Rufiange
Automotive expert
  • Over 17 years' experience as an automotive journalist
  • More than 75 test drives in the past year
  • Participation in over 250 new vehicle launches in the presence of the brand's technical specialists