2024 Mazda CX-90: A Premium SUV at a Mainstream Price
With its rear-wheel-drive-based underpinnings and turbocharged inline-six engine, the 2024 Mazda CX-90 is a strong contender in the premium SUV market. While it may rival luxury brands like BMW and Mercedes-Benz in terms of chassis and powertrain, the starting price of $40,970 is more in line with mainstream mid-size three-row SUVs. In a recent comparison test, the CX-90 even outperformed popular options such as the Toyota Grand Highlander, Kia Telluride, Jeep Grand Cherokee L, and Honda Pilot.
To truly determine if the CX-90 is a mainstream SUV with premium features or a genuine premium SUV with a reasonable price tag, we are embarking on a 40,000-mile journey with this vehicle. During this extensive period, we will thoroughly evaluate various aspects of the CX-90 to provide a comprehensive analysis.
Our test vehicle is the top-of-the-line 2024 CX-90 Turbo S Premium Plus, which comes with a price tag of $62,550. This model includes additional features such as faux suede interior bits, ventilated rear bucket seats, a spacious second-row center console, swiveling headlights, and a lane-centering system. The Turbo S variant also boasts a more powerful 3.3-liter inline-six engine, delivering 340 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque when fueled with premium gas. Opting for the Turbo S adds $7,000 to the overall cost compared to a non-S Turbo Premium Plus model.
While the CX-90 Turbo S is indeed the most powerful version of Mazda’s three-row SUV, its acceleration falls slightly short compared to the gas-electric CX-90 PHEV. However, it outperforms many six-cylinder peers from mainstream brands. The CX-90’s powertrain map in Normal drive mode prioritizes fuel efficiency, but it still provides decent performance. The SUV’s 48-volt electrical system, equipped with a stop-start motor and an eight-speed automatic transmission, contributes to its impressive fuel efficiency. On average, our CX-90 is achieving 23 mpg, surpassing the EPA’s combined estimate of 25 mpg.
Despite its weight, the CX-90 handles well thanks to its 21-inch Toyo Open Country A50 all-season tires. In testing, it achieved a respectable 0.86 g on the skidpad and came to a stop from 70 mph in 172 feet. These figures exceeded the performance of our previous long-term 2021 Mazda CX-30. However, in terms of driving experience, the CX-90 doesn’t quite match the dynamic finesse of the CX-9. The steering feels slow and heavy, and there is some understeer. While it offers a more engaging drive compared to other vehicles in its segment, it lacks the special touch that made the CX-9 stand out.
Inside the CX-90 Turbo S Premium Plus, passengers are treated to a premium experience. The cabin features high-quality materials, including soft leather and striking metal accents. The fabric-covered dashboard adds a touch of elegance, complemented by physical climate controls. The digital instrument cluster and infotainment screen measure 12.3 inches each and offer wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Overall, the CX-90’s interior exudes the look and feel of a luxury product.
Mazda has set high expectations for the CX-90 and its aspiration to be a premium brand. Initially, the CX-90 makes a strong impression with its performance and refined interior. However, our 40,000-mile journey will allow us to thoroughly evaluate its long-term reliability and whether it maintains its appeal over time.
– Vehicle Type: front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 6-passenger, four-door wagon
– Price: Base/As Tested: $61,325/$62,550
– Engine: turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve inline-6
– Displacement: 200 in³, 3283 cm³
– Power: 340 hp @ 6000 rpm
– Torque: 369 lb-ft @ 2000 rpm
– Transmission: 8-speed automatic
– Suspension: control arms/multilink
– Brakes: 13.7-in vented disc/13.8-in vented disc
– Tires: Toyo Open Country A50 275/45R-21 107W M+S
– Dimensions: Wheelbase: 122.8 in, Length: 200.8 in, Width: 78.5 in, Height: 68.2 in
– Passenger Volume, F/M/R: 57/51/33 ft³
– Cargo Volume, Behind F/M/R: 75/40/16 ft³
– Curb Weight: 4964 lb
In conclusion, the 2024 Mazda CX-90 Turbo S Premium Plus presents a compelling option for those seeking a premium SUV at a more accessible price point. While it may not match the driving dynamics of its predecessor, the CX-9, it offers impressive performance and a refined interior. Over the course of 40,000 miles, we will delve deeply into the CX-90’s strengths and weaknesses, providing an in-depth analysis of this promising vehicle. Stay tuned for updates on our long-term journey with the Mazda CX-90.