Mazda just potentially leapfrogged Toyota, which as of yet has no Highlander Prime in sight.
On Monday, the Japanese automaker unveiled the 2024 Mazda CX-90 lineup, consisting of a plug-in hybrid, mild hybrid, and three rows of seats with three different seating configurations.
Mazda said all variants of the 2024 CX-90 will arrive in dealerships this spring but as of yet it’s light on details.
2024 Mazda CX-90
PHEV or MHEV is the question
Buyers walking into the Mazda showroom will have a choice between two engines under the hood of the CX-90. Both will be electrified, and every model is a hybrid.
Plug-in hybrid models pair a 2.5-liter inline-4 with an electric motor sandwiched in the 8-speed automatic transmission. The electric motor, which is powered by a 17.8-kwh lithium-ion battery pack, replaces the transmission’s torque converter. Total system output is 323 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque.
Mild-hybrid models pair a new 3.3-liter turbocharged inline-6 with a less powerful electric motor, fed by a much smaller battery pack. The motor is sandwiched in the 8-speed automatic transmission. Total system output is 340 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque.
EPA ratings aren’t in yet and Mazda wouldn’t comment on electric-only range. The automaker told Green Car Reports that at low speeds the mild-hybrid powertrain is capable of running on electric-only power while the plug-in hybrid will have sufficient electric-only range for day-to-day driving. Mazda noted the gas engine is helpful for longer drives or when maximum acceleration is needed, such as merging on a highway. We take this to mean that even in electric-only mode pushing the accelerator to the floor will engage the gas engine, as it does in the Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe—and the recently detailed MX-30 R-EV that’s intriguing but not likely U.S.-bound.
2024 Mazda CX-90
Pretty proportions with seating for eight
The CX-90 pulls no punches when it comes to design, with a longer and wider stance than the CX-9 it will quickly replace. The front features a short overhang that leads into a long hood, a long dash-to-axle ratio, a long wheelbase, and a short rear end.
Inside the CX-90 sits on the luxury bubble in top-spec signature models. White nappa leather, linen-like cloth, and open-pore curly maple wood give the interior a warm and lounge-like vibe. A darker interior color scheme and mesh-like patterned plastic trim will be available in lower trims.
The CX-90 can be configured as a six-, seven-, or eight-seater, with the availability of a second-row bench seat or captain’s chairs along with a two- or three-seat third-row. Mazda hasn’t detailed which seating configurations can be had with which powertrains and trims. The lithium-ion battery pack sits underneath the second and third row, creating stadium-style seating. At 5-foot-10 I was able to sit in all three rows behind myself, but the third row had narrow footroom, a low seat bottom with knees-up seating position, and about an inch of extra headroom. Those checking in at 6 feet will likely touch the headliner and be uncomfortable.
2024 Mazda CX-90
A 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster is augmented by a 12.3-inch infotainment system. The latter is controlled by a rotary dial and some hard buttons, but the screen is touch-enabled only when using Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Mazda said it will detail active-safety technology at a later date, but we spotted what appeared to be a rearview camera system within the rearview mirror.