Attempt number two. This is about getting acquainted with Mazda’s new “big” platform, which is now embodied in the Mazda CX-90 model. After all, my first attempt was the crossover Mazda CX-60, which left me with mixed impressions, to put it mildly. What will the CX-90 be remembered for?

Design: familiar style, but a new size class

What cannot be taken away from the Mazda CX-60 is a successful attempt to combine the typical image of a crossover with the characteristic features of modern Mazda cars: the classic two-volume silhouette, large hood and rearward-sloping interior, concave side surfaces that refract light in an interesting way – it turned out quite well. In addition, a new solution was found for the front end: a large radiator grille and small headlights with modules mounted one above the other.

This description is fully applicable to the larger Mazda CX-90 model, only with an error for class and size scaling: we have a large 5-meter crossover that looks quite confident and solidly built. At the same time, the Mazda CX-90 is not without its own design features – pay attention to the front bumper and 21-inch wheels, the rear roof pillar with a small protrusion, and the chrome line on the doors.

The crossover Mazda CX-90 demonstrates with all its appearance that it “knows its worth”: a classic silhouette, a confident look through small LED headlights, a strong posture on 21-inch wheels. The dimensions are considerable: length – 5.12 meters; width – 1.99 meters; height – 1.75 meters; wheelbase – 3.12 meters. Of course, all these “meters” are reflected in the interior…

At first glance, the interior of the Mazda CX-90 looks very similar to the Mazda CX-60. And this impression is correct: the front panel, steering wheel and instrument display, center console with an automatic joystick and simple imitation of aluminum, a separately installed touchscreen, the shape and finish of the seats – everything is almost identical. Not completely identical, but “almost”: the climate control unit, which controls the climate of the second row, is different.

And it is there – on the second row seats – that you can best appreciate all the advantages of the Mazda CX-90: a great supply of space, maximum comfort options! There is plenty of legroom and headroom, the seats can be moved forward/backward in a wide range, and the backrest angle can be adjusted. Plus a separate “climate”, heating, window blinds…

And then there’s the worn row of seats in the trunk. As is often the case even with large crossovers, you won’t get the most comfortable seating position. However, the characteristic shape of the roof, which has been specially elongated even at the rear, provides a more or less decent headroom. Finally, there is a place for ventilation deflectors and cup holders: not bad. By the way, even with the third row of seats raised, the trunk offers 257 liters of volume; if you leave only the first/second row seats, you can count on 608 liters of volume; if you fold the second row, the maximum trunk volume reaches 2025 liters.

The front part of the cabin is already familiar, but that doesn’t make it bad: restrained classic design, modern displays, and a wide center console. We would like to add only a few details – for example, real aluminum on the center console or a more interesting version of the seat trim than just a “copper strip in the center”. All the advantages of the Mazda CX-90 crossover begin behind: maximum space and comfort of the second row of seats, the presence of a third row of seats. The trunk is 257-608-2025 liters of useful volume, a variety of niches for small items, connection sockets and hooks for packages.

Technology: a familiar engine, but a new level of power

In general, the design of the Mazda CX-90 is similar to the Mazda CX-60, only with the appropriate scaling of dimensions: the Large Product Group family, a platform for the longitudinal arrangement of the engine and gearbox, the use of an 8-speed automatic, all-wheel drive with an emphasis on the rear axle. Somewhere in the world there is a Mazda CX-90 PHEV hybrid based on a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, but it is not represented in Ukraine, just like the Mazda CX-60 PHEV hybrid. In addition, the Mazda CX-60 model range includes a conventional version with a 2.5-liter 192-horsepower engine, but in the case of the “older” Mazda CX-90 model, this option is not suitable either in terms of status or power.

So, for the Mazda CX-90 crossover, the only engine option left on the Ukrainian market is the 3.3-liter 6-cylinder inline 6-cylinder E SkyActiv TURBO MHEV48 gasoline engine. A similar one is also available in the Mazda CX-60 range, but in the case of the Mazda CX-90, a more powerful version of the engine is used, designed for 345 hp and 500 Nm of torque. Plus the MHEV48 mini-hybrid, which works with a 44-volt battery with a capacity of 0.33 kWh. This is not enough to drive at least 1-2 km exclusively on electric drive, but it is enough for periodic quick stops/starts of the engine (even while driving), as well as to provide additional dynamics in the first seconds of acceleration, while the turbo engine reaches medium speed – where there is a sufficient exhaust gas flow for the turbine.

When talking about the Mazda CX-90, it is impossible to avoid mentioning its predecessor Mazda CX-9: also a large 5-meter 7-seater crossover with all-wheel drive; but with completely different technology under the hood – a transversely mounted 4-cylinder turbo engine and a 6-speed automatic. Relative to this starting point, the new Mazda CX-90 crossover has made a revolutionary leap forward: longitudinal engine and gearbox arrangement, a large 6-cylinder turbo engine and 8-speed automatic, and MHEV hybrid technology. Вrst starting point as the Mazda CX-60 6-cylinder crossover gasoline engine, the Mazda CX-90 is not a revolution, but an evolution. Increased overall dimensions, increased wheelbase and wheel track, increased power – the gasoline in-line 6-cylinder 3.3-liter turbo engine produces 345 hp at 5000-6000 rpm and 500 Nm at 2000-4500 rpm.

Behind the wheel: not only more, but actually better

The technical changes seem minimal, but in fact they are perfectly visible in motion. For example, something has clearly been done with the engine sound: it enters the cabin from low revs, is quite quiet and does not put pressure on the ears, but low and filled with bass – as if emphasizing the power of the engine. And this power is really there!

While the 6-cylinder version of the Mazda CX-60 felt a bit “stifled” at low and medium speeds, the larger Mazda CX-90 crossover goes all out: quick pickup at any accelerator pedal press, good acceleration. But the real excitement comes at high revs (4,5-5-6 thousand), when the engine sings and basses, while providing a considerable car with the dynamics of some hot hatch cars. But a family crossover can’t be that dynamic! At this time, Mazda CX-90 confidently answers – it can!

In addition to the improved engine feel, the Mazda CX-90 also demonstrates new suspension characteristics. It seems that it is thanks to the increase in the wheelbase that the unpleasant swaying of the rear end has almost disappeared. At the same time, it was possible to maintain a good average suspension comfort – even if it is not the “king of softness”, but your family will definitely not complain about painful bumps, even despite the 21-inch wheels.

The steering wheel makes about three turns from stop to stop, and it could be made a little lighter. After all, the dynamics of a hot hatch are present here, but the agility is not: you still drive a 5.12-meter 2.1-ton crossover all the time. However, if we say “within the class,” I guarantee that the Mazda CX-90 definitely takes the driver’s sympathy award.

The character of the Mazda CX-90 is mainly shaped by the engine – powerful at medium and high revs, with a gorgeous sound and perfectly combined with a modern 8-speed automatic: fast, timely, almost imperceptible shifts. In addition to normal driving mode, the car also offers a SPORT mode and an off-road option: forced locking of the all-wheel drive clutch, engine tuning for smoother reactions; together with a ground clearance of 203 mm, this should be enough to get out of the snow or overcome a dirt road, and more is not required from the Mazda CX-90. My own measurements give a qualifying “hundred” within 6.9-7 seconds: a good result for cars of this class. As for fuel consumption, the result is, let’s say, expected for cars of this class: in the city, the average is 12-13 liters per 100 km; the minimum can be about 10 liters; the maximum can reach 15+ liters; on the highway, the car consumes about 7.5 liters of fuel. In general, the figures plus or minus correspond to what was promised: acceleration from 0-100 km/h in 6.9 seconds, maximum 210 km/h; in the city – 11.6 liters; on the highway – 7.2 liters.

Cost: how much does a Mazda CX-90 cost?

In the Ukrainian market, the Mazda CX-90 crossover is offered only with the aforementioned 6-cylinder 3.3-liter turbo engine and always with a three-row cabin. However, you can choose between two configurations, which affects the number of seats in the cabin – six or seven.

The start is given by the version of the Mazda CX-90 PREMIUM-LINE worth 2.5-2.71 million UAH or $63-69 thousand, depending on the terms of delivery. The equipment is very complete at once: adaptive LED headlights, 21-inch alloy wheels, full-length 12.3-inch instrument panel, NAPPA combined leather interior trim, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, adjustable second-row seats, folding third-row seats, separate three-zone “climate”, Mazda Connect multimedia system with a 12.3-inch color display, Android Auto wireless connectivity and Apple CarPlay connectivity, wireless charging, adaptive cruise control ACC, projection of information on the windshield, front and side airbags, side curtain airbags, driver’s knee airbag, mirror blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic monitoring, safe braking system with additional pedestrian and cyclist recognition, lane control, 360-degree surround view, keyless entry and push-button start, etc.

One level higher is the Mazda CX-90 PREMIUM-SPORT value 2.56-2.78 million UAH or $6570 thousand. depending on the terms of delivery. The general list of equipment is identical, but the interior is different: there are two separate “captain’s” seats in the back (it turns out to be a 6-seater), a rear center console with cup holders and USB-C ports, interior trim made of copper-colored leather, etc.

We have two versions of the Mazda CX-90, but the equipment is actually one – and it is as complete as possible: digital instrument cluster, IACTIVSENSE complex, adaptive headlights, three-zone climate with a separate zone in the second row of seats, heated/ventilated seats in front, heated seats in the back, NAPPA leather, multimedia system with a 12.3-inch display, all-round view and much more. In addition, don’t forget about the engine: the Mazda CX-90 is the most powerful and dynamic among competitors. By the way, who are the competitors?

I will call the crossover Toyota Highlander the first and main rival. It won’t give you emotions while driving, but it will definitely give you a great fuel-efficient hybrid, a fairly spacious 7-seater interior, an energy-intensive suspension, and the ability to choose from several really great packages. And yet – surprisingly – Toyota’s starting price tag is significantly lower than Mazda’s; if you add the traditionally excellent liquidity, you get a perfect choice for a rational buyer.

It seems that this option should have been the Hyundai Palisade: the range includes a turbodiesel engine, plus a great comfortable suspension. But the Hyundai variant turns out to be quite expensive – at the level of Mazda or even more if you add package options. However, it tries to compensate for this with a wonderfully comfortable interior: ample transformation options, a good layout and good interior space, and a wide range of comfort equipment.

Finally, the third rival will be the Jeep Grand Cherokee in the enlarged 7-seater L-version. The car offers an atmospheric V6 with excellent sound, expanded all-wheel drive capabilities with a lowered range, and good interior space. However, be careful with the choice of equipment: if the starting version of the Jeep Grand Cherokee L is still on par with the Mazda CX-90, then any deviation in the direction of “I want more” turns out to be very expensive.

Mazda CX-90 test drive results

There will be two main results at once. That’s because, in my opinion, the Mazda CX-90 crossover offers a “double win-win”.

Firstly, it is an unexpectedly pleasant car for the driver-owner. When any other company makes a large crossover designed for a large family, Mazda does not forget to add attention and emotions for the driver. You can equally well take your children to school, go on long trips with a lot of things – and then stay with the car one on one and enjoy driving. It’s a pleasure.

Secondly, if in the past the Mazda CX-60 seemed like a “specialty dish” but not fully cooked, the Mazda CX-90 crossover is now perceived much better. Finally, all the ingredients of the “high automotive cuisine” have been combined into one great car. Do you want to get the most out of Mazda’s new technologies, multiplied by the brand’s “emotional fanaticism” and attention to detail? Then be sure to pay attention to the Mazda CX-90.

Mazda CX-90 test drive: more size, more power, more benefits

The car was provided by AUTO International