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2024 Mazda CX-90 Review on Everyman Driver

The Mazda CX-90 is an all-new model for 2024. It’s the automaker’s first three-row plug-in hybrid SUV. The 2024 Mazda CX-90 offers seating for six, seven, or eight depending on configuration, with an upscale interior that wouldn’t look out of place in a luxury car, especially on the top trims. No matter which trim you choose, the CX-90 is roomy and comfortable, with premium materials and a clean, elegant design. Powertrain options include two turbocharged gas engines and a plug-in hybrid. All are powerful enough to provide the responsive, engaging drive for which Mazda is so well known. That performance is paired with sporty handling that’s unusual in the three-row SUV segment. All-wheel drive is standard across the lineup to ensure surefootedness in inclement weather.

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All CX-90s have large infotainment display screens, but instead of full touchscreen functionality, there’s a rotary dial controller on the center console. It takes time to master and isn’t as intuitive as a touchscreen. But it’s not a dealbreaker since the Mazda has plenty of positive attributes, including good fuel economy and a full list of standard and optional safety features.

The new CX-90’s rivals include the Kia Telluride and Honda Pilot. The Telluride costs less and has more off-road-focused trims, but its interior, while attractive, is not as elegant as the Mazda’s. Redesigned for 2023, the Pilot has a more modest interior and more affordable pricing. But neither is available as a hybrid. The upscale Lincoln Aviator provides a plug-in hybrid model, but it costs nearly $10K more than the CX-90 PHEV’s highest trim.

The base engine in the 2024 Mazda CX-90 is a 3.3-liter turbocharged inline six-cylinder with 280 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. There’s also a high-performance version of this engine that boosts output to 340 hp with 369 lb-ft of torque. Both are paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode and standard all-wheel drive. The larger engine provides aggressive acceleration that makes highway merging effortless and still has plenty of power for passing slower vehicles. Sporty handling makes this large SUV surprisingly fun to drive on winding roads. Our test drive took place during a torrential rainstorm, and the all-wheel-drive system did a fantastic job of helping maintain traction on water-soaked roads.

The third engine option is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder plug-in hybrid with 323 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque in addition to standard all-wheel drive. It delivers strong acceleration and good handling, but feels slightly heavier thanks to the weight of the hybrid battery. But the added heft doesn’t compromise handling, as the CX-90 delivers a spirited drive that enthusiasts can appreciate with any of the three powertrain options.

The Mazda CX-90 is rated to tow 3,500-5,000 pounds, depending on trim level.

Comparatively, the Kia Telluride and Honda Pilot each offer only one gas engine option and no hybrid version. The Kia makes 291 hp and the Honda 285. The Lincoln Aviator is the performance leader with a 400-hp six-cylinder as its base engine and an available plug-in hybrid with 494 hp.

The Environmental Protection Agency has not released official ratings for the 2024 Mazda CX-90, but we do have estimated figures from Mazda. The automaker says the base gas engine will deliver 24 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. The more powerful engine sees a drop of 1 mpg in city driving. Plug-in hybrid figures, including all-electric range, are not yet available.

The Kia TellurideHonda Pilot, and Lincoln Aviator all post lower fuel economy figures than the Mazda CX-90 with their gas engines. Only the Aviator offers a plug-in hybrid option and even that isn’t especially impressive, with 23 mpg combined fuel economy and an all-electric range of just 21 miles on a full charge.

The Mazda CX-90 is an all-new three-row SUV with a comfortable, elegant interior, and an impressive slate of standard features, including large infotainment screens across the lineup. It offers three powertrain options, including a plug-in hybrid, but this premium offering comes with a premium price.

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