2024 Mazda CX-90 plug-in hybrid beats Toyota Highlander to PHEV punch
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 sandwiched in the 8-speed automatic transmission, that is fed by a much smaller battery pack. Total system output is rated at 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 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 for instances 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 8
The CX-90’s holding 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, large dash-to-axle ratio, long wheelbase, and short rear end. Its luxury SUV proportions to a T, that a Highlander could only dream about.
Inside the CX-90 sits on the luxury bubble in top-spec signature models. White nappa leather, linen-like cloth material, and open-pore curly maple wood gives 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 powertrains and trims. The lithium-ion battery pack sits underneath the second and third-row, creating a stadium-style seating arrangement. At 5’10” 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 foot 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 for the rearview mirror at the launch.