Mazda looks to shake up the premium crossover market with the all-new CX-90, offering an impressive interior and potent new powertrains.
Mazda has pulled back the curtain on their all-new flagship CX-90, and the promise of new powertrains and a decisive move upmarket have stirred up a good bit of buzz surround the new three-row crossover. The new CX-90 will eventually replace the current range-topping CX-9 for Mazda. As part of this transition, the CX-90 rests on Mazda’s new large vehicle platform. Mazda says the CX-90 is the bigger of the two “with wider, larger, and more aggressive proportions.”
The new Mazda CX-90 further evolves the company’s current design language. A new grille and new headlights and taillights are here, but most of the exterior changes are subtle, like the new 21-inch “diamond-cut” wheels and the new “Artisan Red” paint color. Inside, it is clear Mazda intends to take on the likes of Acura and BMW by ratcheting up the level of luxury with premium materials and thoughtful design elements for the CX-90.
Despite being a three-row crossover, Mazda has refused to make concessions in the CX-90’s drivability. To this end, Mazda has granted the CX-90 their Kinetic Posture Control suspension system, borrowing from none other than the Miata MX-5, to mitigate body lean in cornering. Mazda says balance and handling were a top priority in their design of the CX-90.
Even more compelling than the suspension tuning is the CX-90’s set of powertrain offerings. The default will be a turbocharged 3.3L inline-six (Mazda’s first) supplemented by a 48-volt mild-hybrid system for a healthy 340 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque (on premium fuel). The alternative is the new e-Skyactiv plug-in hybrid powertrain that combines a 2.4L four-cylinder with an electric motor and 17.8-kWh battery for 323 horsepower and an identical 369 lb-ft of torque. Mazda has yet to release official numbers, but we expect the PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) version to offer around 30 miles of electric only range. Both engines will pair with an all-new eight-speed automatic, specially designed for Mazda’s new large vehicles.
As we noted above, the new CX-90 will function as Mazda’s new flagship model. And as such, the new crossover represents another step in the carmaker’s incremental transition into a premium/luxury brand. The interior of the CX-90 makes this plane. Not only is it more spacious than the CX-9, material quality has been kicked up a notch with the use of Nappa leather and wood and chrome accenting. A new dash piece features woven fabric that Mazda says is designed after hand-bookbinding and the Japanese weaving techniques of Nishijin-ori and Kumihimo.
The CX-90 coverts some of its additional stature into the interior and Mazda says the new crossover will be offered in six, seven, or eight passenger configurations with a choice of a bench or captains chairs, the latter with or without a center console. Mazda makes the way-way back a bit more livable with the addition of USB ports and AC vents to the roomier third row.
The CX-90 also offers new amenities not seen in the CX-9. These include a new gear selector and steering wheel, new toggle switches for the HVAC controls (thankfully Mazda has seen fit to still provide proper buttons and switches for such things), a panoramic sunroof, and a larger 12.3-inch infotainment screen.
Mazda has yet to release full numbers for the CX-90. We should know more, like fuel economy, dimensions, and pricing when the CX-90 makes its full debut in March. As the current CX-9 starts at just under $40,000, it is likely the new CX-90, with its upgraded powertrains and premium-level interior, will start just above at around $45,000 and range up to $65,000-$70,000.
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