Stylish Sophistication: 2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV Premium Plus Review

The Mazda CX-90 PHEV has a sporty drive, a sophisticated and stylish interior and its plug-in hybrid electric motor lets you run around town on electric power. How great is that?

Hybrid Suvs 3-Row Suvs
The Mazda CX-90 hybrid SUV is perfect for admirers of style and sophistication. Credit: Jana Askeland

A Plug-in Hybrid Electric Makes this SUV Stand Out

The 3-row SUV field has become really hot. Every car maker has one, and they are top sellers that turn a tidy profit. So it’s no surprise that the field has grown and the competition has created many more choices for drivers.

But one place that has been slow to grow is among hybrid and plug-in hybrid–or PHEV– SUVs. So it was savvy of Mazda to introduce the Mazda CX-90 PHEV, which starts at $49,945. It’s stylish, sophisticated, and designed to cater to the needs of female drivers, especially those who aren’t a fan of getting gas.

With its blend of easy-to-use technology, safety features, and sleek design, the CX-90 PHEV represents a remarkable leap forward in the world of luxury vehicles for Mazda. And after driving it for a week, here’s why I think it should be on your short list of new family vehicles.

Related: These Are Some of Our Favorite Electric and PHEV Cars 

Charging The Battery At Home Was Easy! -Jana Askeland

Charging the battery of the Mazda CX-90 at home was easy! Photo: Jana Askeland

A Mazda CX-90 PHEV Means Fewer Trips to the Gas Station

The 2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV is a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle that combines the best of both worlds. On a full charge, you get 26 miles of electric range. It’s perfect for short commutes or errands, making it a great choice for eco-conscious drivers who aren’t quite ready to go “all-electric.” When the battery runs low, the efficient gasoline engine seamlessly takes over for longer journeys. I plugged it in every night and only used the electric mode for everyday errands and carpooling. When I drove from Raleigh to Wilmington (140 highway miles), I reverted to Normal mode and averaged 25 mpg. Which I think is good, considering my driving style is pretty, um, sporty.

Related: Goodbye Mazda CX-9; Hello Mazda CX-90

The Mazda Cx-90 Is Loved By All Kinds Of Drivers

The Mazda CX-90 is loved by all kinds of drivers. Photo: Jana Askeland

The Mazda CX-90 is Fun to Drive

Speaking of sporty driving, the CX-90 PHEV doesn’t compromise on performance. Equipped with Mazda’s Skyactiv technology, this SUV delivers a fun driving experience. I appreciated the control options it offers on various road conditions; after all, it is an AWD. The engine is peppy and responsive and surprisingly has plenty of get-up-and-go. The handling is smooth, and the turning radius is awesome. This means it’s easy to park and isn’t “jerky” when turning and changing lanes. Also, the transmission isn’t loud or clumsy. Accelerating feels seamless.

Related: 11 Fun SUVs for Adventure on the Road 

Everything Is At Your Finger Tips In The Driver Seat. Jana Askeland

Everything is at your fingertips in the driver’s seat of the Mazda CX-90. Photo: Jana Askeland

The Sophisticated Interior Just Feels Good

Slide into the driver’s seat of the CX-90 PHEV, and you may wonder if you’re actually in a much more expensive luxury SUV. The cabin is spacious and inviting. The Nappa leather heated AND ventilated seats, 12.3″ center screen, and 3-zone climate control all add to the refined environment.

Women will appreciate the thoughtful touches that make daily life more convenient, like ample cup holders, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a 12-speaker Bose sound system so you can bump your beats in the carpool. After spending hours in the driver’s seat, I never felt fatigued, and my back didn’t ache. I found the seats to be very comfortable in all three rows

Side Profile Of The 2023 Mazda Cx-90 - Jana Askeland

Side Profile of the 2023 Mazda CX-90, Photo: Jana Askeland

Safety Features are Standard

Safety is paramount, and the CX-90 PHEV comes equipped with Mazda’s suite of advanced safety features, from adaptive cruise control to lane-keeping assist, emergency lane-keeping assist, and automatic emergency braking, you can feel confident in the vehicle’s ability to protect you and your precious cargo.

Even running errands feels safer with features like front and rear parking sensors and rear cross-traffic alert. The tech also has traffic sign recognition which is visible on your head-up display.

The rear seat alert is a feature born out of necessity and helps drivers know who is in the back and who is buckled. This came in very handy since it was my week to carpool with the neighbors. I had five boys strapped in and was happy to look up and see who was buckled before I put the car in drive.

I should mention that while it’s become standard on family vehicles, you do have a plethora of airbags including front, knee, curtain and side impact.

Led Lights And Chrome Trim Add To The Premium Feel.

LED lights and chrome trim add to the premium feel. Photo: Jana Askeland

Sexy Styling Inside the Mazda CX-90

My neighbors said it best. “That car looks expensive.” While parked in my driveway, the 2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV became a conversation topic.  “I can’t believe it’s a Mazda!”  Other neighbors thought it was a BMW X7 or an Audi SUV. That’s because the lines are classic, sleek, and sophisticated. From the chrome trim with Mazda badging to the distinctive front grille, its striking design is turning heads and appealing to women who value style and aesthetics.

My Best Friend'S Dog Jumped Right In While I Was Filming. He Approves! Photo: Jana Askeland

My best friend’s dog jumped right in while I was filming. He approves! Photo: Jana Askeland

What You Need to Know

There are only a few things I consider drawbacks to this vehicle.

  1. The price of the Mazda CX-90 PHEV is about $4,500 higher than the same gas model. With 26 miles of electric driving but similar fuel economy otherwise, buyers should consider whether or not the convenience is worth the difference in price.
  2. The wireless charging pad takes some finesse, and it says “unavailable to charge” more than it’s actually charging. Possibly a user error, but I tried it with and without an iPhone case and still didn’t have much luck.
  3. The center screen is only a touchscreen if you have Apple CarPlay connected. Otherwise, it’s monochromatic and controlled by the wheel in the center by the cupholders and gear shifter. I found this to be a bit outdated and cumbersome, preferring to be able to use the touchscreen on the fly.
  4. To use keyless entry and unlock all the doors, you have to change the door lock setting under the vehicle setting. Some drivers don’t want the rear doors to unlock every time they use keyless entry. But with two kids, it really helps to be able to unlock all the doors at once.
  5. With an MSRP right at $60K as tested, it’s at the top of the segment for the price compared to the fully loaded Honda Pilot, Hyundai Palisade, and Kia Telluride but comes in below the luxury offerings of Acura, Audi, and BMW.

Even with these five critiques, I still believe you should put the 2024 Mazda CX-90 on your shortlist if you’re car shopping for a 3-row SUV.

Sleek Lines Make This Look Like A High End Luxury Vehicle. - Jana Askeland

Sleek lines make this look like a high-end luxury vehicle. Photo: Jana Askeland

This SUV Has it All

The 2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV offers female drivers a harmonious blend of efficiency, performance, safety, and style. Whether you’re seeking an eco-friendly daily driver or a family-friendly SUV that doesn’t compromise on luxury. With the sexy styling and advanced safety features, I truly believe the 2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV deserves a spot in the Executive Lot and first place in the car line.

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Jana Askeland is a Carolina girl who grew up around cars. Her dad was in the car business, and... More about Jana Askeland

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