Goodbye, Mazda CX-9, Hello Mazda CX-90: Bigger, Better and More Luxurious

Mazda is getting rid of the CX-9. The only thing easing our stress about it is it's being replaced with the Mazda CX-90 3-row SUV, which is larger, more luxe and has a plug-in option!

Mazda Cx-90 Featured Image

And, pick your 3-row SUV seating: 6, 7 or 8 passengers!

When I heard that Mazda was going to phase out the CX-9, my heart sank. And then I got to spend an afternoon crawling through its replacement, the 2024 Mazda CX-90. I can’t wait to drive it. And I can’t wait for you to drive it, too.

The big news here is two-fold: First, the Mazda CX-90 3-row SUV is bigger and more accommodating for families. Then, no matter the model you choose, it’s faster, more powerful and it will come with an electric driving option in terms of a plug-in-electric hybrid, or PHEV. And, it’s more luxurious.

Related: We took the Mazda CX-90 3-row SUV for a drive and this is what we thought!

The View From The Drivers Seat In The Mazda Cx-90 3 Row Suv

The view from the drivers seat. Photo: Scotty Reiss

The Sporty SUV Designed for American Families 

Mazda has long looked at the US buyer as the inspiration for much they design and build: we like to travel with our crew, we love luxurious interior finishes, we love a sporty and fun drive experience. And we want it all at the same time. 

From that came the Mazda CX-9, a mid-size SUV with third row seats that seat 6, 7 or 8 — yes, you can seat up to 8!— all wheel drive and premium finishes. 

But with Mazda’s commitment to both transitioning its cars and SUVs to electric, and to keeping US buyers happy, it was clear that Mazda needed to re-invent the 3-row SUV from the ground up; so they developed a new platform for the CX-90 that allows more passenger space, two new engine types and an updated more modern and luxurious design.

Related: The 2021 Mazda CX-5 Signature AWD: A Compact SUV For all of Life’s In-Between Moments

The Inline 6 Badge On The Side Of The Mazda Cx-90 3-Row Suv

The Inline 6 badge on the side of the Mazda CX-90. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Two New Engines Define this New SUV

I’ll start with this because the engine type will be a big factor in the price of this SUV, and Mazda has not yet announced pricing, so what price tag this car will carry is still a guessing game.

However, with the PHEV, Mazda enters the sweet spot of SUV driving: your can drive all week on electric by simply plugging in at home; then, you can drive on electric and gas when you have further to go. Mazda didn’t specify how many miles the CX-90 can drive on only electric, but it’s likely at least 30 miles because a) they said you do most daily driving on electric and b) the 17.8 kWh battery is typical of PHEVs with a 30-40 mile range of all-electric driving.

The PHEV is expected to deliver 323 horsepower and 369 torque, a lot more power than the 227-250 HP and 310-320 torque of the Mazda CX-9 (the higher performance numbers reflect use of premium fuel; the lower numbers are based on using regular fuel).

Then, for those who want more power and will forgo a plug, the 6-cylinder turbo gas model is anticipated to deliver 340 HP and 369 torque using premium fuel (Mazda didn’t give us specs based regular fuel, but HP is likely to be in the 315 range). This is 90 more HP than the CX-9’s 4 cylinder turbo model, which is a huge difference and one you’ll notice with the car fully loaded with cargo and people. 

Related: The 2022 Volvo XC90 Recharge Plug-in Hybrid SUV Has Me Saying Yes!

Mazda Cx-90 Third Row

Mazda CX-90 third row. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Let’s Talk Seating in the Second and the Third Row

Speaking of people, the CX-90 promises more room for people. And this is a novelty: Buyers can get a 3 row with all bench seating to seat 8 passengers; a 3 row with center row captains chairs to seat 7 passengers, or a 3 row that seats 2 in each row. 

To access the third row in the center row bench option, there’s a tab on the shoulder of the outboard seat to slide and tilt the seat forward. I was easily able to climb in and pull the seat back into position, and then pull the tab to get out again. 

The slide and tilt seats will work with a child passenger car seat installed using the LATCH system; I counted three sets of lower anchors: Two in the center row and one in the passengers side rear seat. All rear seats had tethers on the rear of the seat. 

I was also able to reach the third row using the center row passthrough, though that was actually not as easy as using the slide and tilt seat option. Center row captains chairs also have fold down arm rests and the passthrough area is narrow, so it took a bit of turning and wrangling to get into the rear seat. 

Related: Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid: 8 Reasons to Love It

Seats Easily Slide And Tilt Forward For Third Row Access

Seats easily slide and tilt forward for third row access. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Once in the third row, however I was comfortable. I had plenty of legroom and could adjust the center row seat for more if I needed; but the default position left me comfortable (I’m 5’8”). 

The one feature I appreciated most in the rear seats? The theater style seating in the second and third row: The seats are higher than the front seat, so visibility is great. I felt elevated and my view was really clear in the center row. I look forward to riding in the center row seats and really taking in the view.

Related: BWM x5 45e: Electric Car Fun Without Compromising the Sporty Luxury of BMW

The Elegant Cloth-Covered Front Dashboard

The elegant cloth-covered front dashboard. Photo: Scotty Reiss

There’s More Luxury in the Mazda CX-90

One thing that will make the center row even more luxe is the panoramic sunroof. This is a first for Mazda, and a welcome one. The panoramic sunroof has become a luxury staple, so to compete for premium car buyers, it’s a must. 

Add to this even more premium details like hand-stitched two-tone leather, think Gucci stripes not high- low cabinetry Add to it hand stitched soft touch surfaces, such as the fabric covering the dashboard, and the wood veneer covering the now wider center console with an open cubby for a phone, wireless phone charger and cup holders.

Then, there’s the luxury of a touch screen that can also be controlled via dial controller; more safety features including something called a “see through view monitor” which combines all the exterior cameras for a full view around and even under the CX-90; head up display, which Mazda has been an early adopter of; and of course, and creature comforts like heated and vented seats. 

The Center Console Is Covered In An Elegant Wood Veneer

The center console is covered in an elegant wood veneer. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Design Details Define the New Look of Mazda

The look of the new CX-90 is distinct, with an evolved front grille that is wider, evolved headlights that keep the wide unique stance of Mazda’s headlight signature, but now in a sharpened design; rear tail lights that build on the “light trail” design of other models, and sharp, shiny side badges that show display the powertrain model: PHEV or Inline 6. 

The biggest news on the design front, though is the new paint color called Artisan Red. Mazda upended the world of car paint when Crystal Soul Red was introduced. Its deeply reflective almost foil-like color was eye catching and hugely popular. Now, Mazda has created a color that ranges from deep raisin in shade to bing cherry in the light, and promises this application will show up in other colors too. 

The Cargo Area Behidn The Second Row In The Mazda Cx-90

The cargo area behidn the second row in the Mazda CX-90. Photo: Scotty Reiss

One More Great Bit of News: It’s On Sale Soon! 

Even though the CX-90 is a 2024 model, it goes into production soon and will be on sale at Mazda dealers by April, 2023. Mazda hasn’t announced pricing yet, but the expectation is that pricing will start in the $30,000 range and top out at just over $50,000.

Customers visiting Mazda’s “New Image Stores” will also get a new premium experience, with focus on Mazda, its design and premium feel. The company has invested in the look of the stores, asking their automotive designers to also help design the dealership spaces, and they’ve looked at ways that sales people can better function, from transparent process to open and airy spaces in which to complete a transaction.  

We hope to test drive the Mazda CX-90 in late March and share our experiences with you then. We can’t wait to drive this new luxury 3 row SUV—and we can’t wait for you to drive it, either.

The Plug In Hybrid Electric Version Of The Mazda Cx-90

The plug in hybrid electric version of the Mazda CX-90. Photo: Scotty Reiss

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Journalist, entrepreneur and mom. Expertise includes new cars, family cars, 3-row SUVs, child passenger car seats and automotive careers... More about Scotty Reiss