Following in the footsteps of the CX-50—which was a CX-5 with a chunkier, more rugged vibe—Mazda just introduced the CX-90. But things are more than a little different this time. Instead of leaning heavily on its three-row sibling, the CX-9, the 2024 Mazda CX-90 charts new territory, thanks to a raft of changes that may not be apparent at first glance.
Let’s take a look at the CX-90 specifications Mazda has revealed so far and see how it stacks up against the CX-9.
The CX-90 is very different from the CX-9 before you walk from the bumper to the A-pillar. The CX-90’s chassis features a longitudinal engine layout, a 90-degree shift from the CX-9’s transverse setup. Mazda claims this new arrangement will give the CX-90 extra handling chops.
Before you wonder about the CX-90’s rear-wheel drive, let us burst your bubble. While the longitudinal engine layout could allow for such a setup, the CX-90 will come with standard all-wheel drive, just like the CX-9.
Mazda has also borrowed some of the Miata’s MX-5 chassis technology for its latest SUV. The CX-90 will come standard with Kinematic Posture Control, which claims to improve mid-corner stability by applying less braking to the inside rear wheels.
The Mazda CX-9 uses a single engine for the entire lineup, a turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-four making 250 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque on premium fuel—output drops by 23 hp and 10 pound-feet if you opt for the cheap stuff. All-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic transmission are standard.
Meanwhile, the CX-90 will offer two powertrains with varying levels of electrification. The 3.3-liter inline turbocharger is Mazda’s most powerful engine to date, producing 340 horsepower and 369 pound-feet on premium fuel and mated to a 48-volt hybrid system.
Those looking for extra electrons can opt for the CX-90 plug-in-hybrid, which combines a 2.5-liter inline-four and an electric motor to produce 323 horsepower and 369 pound-feet—again, on premium gas. With a 17.8 kilowatt-hour battery in the back, we expect the CX-90 PHEV’s electric range to be under 39 miles, as that’s what the smaller, Europe-only CX-60 PHEV can manage on the European WLTP cycle.
Both CX-90 variants will be paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. It’s also a unique slushbox, with a multi-plate wet clutch in place of a torque converter, and it’s developed entirely in-house.
Mazda won’t give exact dimensions yet, but we do know that the CX-90 is longer and wider than the CX-9.
When it comes to design, the CX-90 keeps it subtle, ditching the sharp character lines of the CX-9 on the sides and replacing them with smoother angles. The front fascia of the CX-90 looks slightly more vertical than the CX-9, which has a sharper grille angle that looks more beaky. The CX-90’s headlights aren’t as slim as the CX-9’s, but at the rear, the newer SUV has sharper, slimmer taillights.
Interior and Cabin Technology
The CX-90 will gain interior versatility compared to the CX-9. While Mazda’s current three-row SUV can be configured for either six or seven, the CX-90 will add the option to seat eight. Mazda has yet to publish actual interior measurements, but the automaker tells us the CX-90 will offer more interior space than the CX-9. We hope so, if Mazda is trying to block ‘other humans out there.
It should come as no surprise that, because it’s so much newer, the CX-90’s interior is easier to see than the CX-9’s. The CX-9 still relies on older hardware, such as a taller gear lever, as well as the last-generation steering wheel and infotainment controls. The CX-90 ditches the climate control dial for toggles, and the new gear lever is more compact. The steering wheel also looks more elegant. And is that fabric we spied on the CX-90’s dashboard? You bet your bottom dollar that.
Every CX-9 comes standard with a 10.3-inch infotainment display that rises from the dashboard, while the gauge cluster comes with either a 4.6-inch or 7.0-inch LCD screen, depending on trim. The CX-90 brings that technology closer to today, with the 12.3-inch infotainment screen we expect to be standard across the lineup. There’s a similarly sized digital gauge display in the binnacle, but that’s likely reserved for fancier variants.
Would you believe us if we said Mazda wouldn’t talk about the CX-90’s price anymore? That said, the automaker told us to look at the price difference between the CX-50 and CX-5 and extrapolate from there. The CX-50 is roughly the same price as the CX-5 at the base level, and that delta increases to nearly $2,000 on the top end. So it’s fair to assume the CX-90 will start in the low $40,000 range, with the top trim easily topping the $50,000 mark.
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