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2024 Mazda CX-90 Pros vs Cons, & Competitor Insights

2024 Mazda CX-90 Pros, Cons, and Competitor Comparison
By Norman Ruckpaul
Reviewed & fact checked by
James Murdoch
Published: Feb 5, 2024

So, you're in the market for a new SUV and have your eyes set on something that blends luxury with performance? Welcome to the new 2024 Mazda CX-90. This fancy three-row SUV mixes performance, luxury, and great gas mileage in a way no other ride can. In this review, we'll break down the 2024 Mazda CX-90 pros and cons to help you figure out if these three-row SUVs are right for you. Along the way we will do a a deep dive on its competitive edge over behemoths such as the Kia Telluride, Toyota Highlander and Honda pilot - and look at its weaknesses.

Diving into the 2024 Mazda CX-90, we'll scrutinize its robust straight-six engine that delivers both vigor and economy, alongside an interior masterfully designed to infuse luxury into daily commutes.

But it's not all smooth sailing; we also dive into areas where the CX-90 might fall short for some families. Whether it’s cargo space or tech hiccups, we've got you covered. After finishing this piece, you'll be equipped with a more defined understanding of how well the newest Mazda aligns with your aspirations for the perfect driveway addition.

Key Takeaways

  • The CX-90 brings the zoom with performance that impresses. Inside, it's downright luxurious. And the fuel economy is efficient for its class.

  • But space is tight for a 3-row SUV, the tech feels dated, and the ride may be stiff for some.

  • Overall, it leads on power, plush interior and MPG versus rivals. But look into the cramped cabin, clunky tech and firm ride before deciding.

  • The CX-90 shines in key areas but has flaws too. Check out all the options to see if it's the right 3-row SUV for your family 

Advantages of the 2024 Mazda CX-90 

The CX-90 brings some serious zoom-zoom! Its turbo 3.3-liter inline-six engine pumps out up to 340 horsepower in the top S trim. That means engaging performance whether you're merging onto the highway or just zipping around town.

Inside, it's downright luxurious for a family SUV. Plush seats, upscale materials, and slick tech treats like a 12.3-inch infotainment screen. Every drive feels like you're riding first class.

And the fuel economy impresses too. It earns up to 24 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. Go hybrid and save even more gas money.

The CX-90 takes performance and luxury to new heights in this class. All that power keeps driving exciting, while the premium interior pampers passengers. And it delivers on MPG without sacrificing punch. For families wanting a 3-row SUV that's as fun as it is functional, the CX-90 brings the best of all worlds!

1. Performance Prowess

The 2024 Mazda CX-90 offers three engine options for customers to choose from. These engine options provide different levels of power and performance to suit individual preferences.

Standard Engine:

The standard engine option for the 2024 Mazda CX-90 is a 3.3-liter turbocharged inline six cylinder engine. This engine delivers a robust performance with 280 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque on non-S trims.

High-Output Engine:

For those seeking even more power, Mazda offers a high-output version of the 3.3-liter turbocharged inline-six engine. This high-output engine is Mazda's most powerful production engine to date, delivering up to 340 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque on turbo S trims. It has an eight-speed automatic transmission with All-wheel drive. (It uses premium fuel).

The Plug-In Hybrid

The plug-in hybrid version (PHEV models) of the 2024 Mazda CX-90 mixes performance with great gas mileage. Here's what you need to know:

  • It combines a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with a plug-in hybrid system

  • Together they crank out 323 horsepower

  • An electric motor runs off a 17.8 kWh lithium-ion battery

  • It can drive on just electricity for up to 26 miles

According to Motor Week, behind the wheel is where the CX-90 really shines. This SUV hits the sweet spot between power and poise. Here are some key features:

  • On the test track, it accelerates from 0-60 in just 6.4 seconds - perfect for merging and passing with confidence. The engine feels responsive whenever you tap into the power. The smooth-shifting eight speed automatic transmission keeps you in the right gear at the right time. Switch to Sport mode and things get even livelier!

  • Steering is tight and precise too. The CX-90 reacts quickly to driver inputs, staying nimble through sharp turns.

  • Add strong brakes that bring it to a stop from highway speeds in about 120 feet, and you've got serious performance chops.

In the end, it's just plain satisfying to drive. Whether carving up curvy backroads or cruising highways in any weather, the CX-90 brings fun and capability together in one family-friendly package. It's an SUV that connects you to the journey.

(Reference Source: Motor Week)

2. Premium Interior Comfort

According to Road and Track, the inside of the new 2024 Mazda CX-90 is straight up luxurious. We're talking available soft leather seats, fancy materials, and high-tech gadgets for a comfy, classy ride. This three row crossover can fit 6-8 folks depending on how you configure it. (Available second row captain's chairs for six people.) The second-row seats move around to get you more rear passenger and cargo space.

The cabin has an elegant yet functional design so the driver and second row captain's chair riders will be happy campers. It offers top notch ride comfort.

The CX-90's premium interior aims to deliver a high-end, luxurious experience. It uses quality materials like soft surfaces, leather, and wood or metal accents for a sophisticated vibe. The meticulous craftsmanship and attention to detail give it a refined, polished look.

For comfort, you've got heated and ventilated seats, a premium sound system, and advanced climate control to ensure an enjoyable drive. The thoughtful interior layout with intuitive controls and user-friendly infotainment adds to the luxury feel.

Overall, the CX-90's premium interior focuses on comfort, style and luxury to provide a top-of-the-line driving experience.

(Reference Source: Road and Track)

3. Efficient Fuel Economy and Available Plug-In Hybrid

The CX-90 proves you can have both power and efficiency. EPA ratings come in at 24 mpg city, 28 highway and 25 mpg combined - solid for a 3-row performance SUV. (Reference Source: EPA)

The competition falls a bit behind the CX-90 with the following EPA ratings:

(City/Hwy/Combined MPG)

Kia Telluride

  • 18 / 24 / 20 MPG

Honda Pilot

  • 19 / 25 / 21 MPG

Subaru Ascent

  • 20 / 26 / 22 MPG

For maximum savings, go plug-in hybrid. It combines a 2.5L four-cylinder engine with an electric motor for 323 total horses. Plus it offers 26 miles of emission-free electric driving for shorter trips. It gets 56 MPGe combined. In comparison, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid only gets up to 36 MPG combined.

Not only is that great for the planet, but your wallet will thank you too at the pump! No need to choose between zippy acceleration and fuel sipping with the hybrid CX-90.

So if you want to reduce your carbon footprint but still carry the whole crew in style, the CX-90 has you covered. It brings green cred to the family hauler segment without sacrificing thrills. Now that's a winning combo!

4. Mazda packed the CX-90 with advanced safety tech and driver assists to keep you and your passengers safe. Their i-Activsense is like an extra set of eyes on the road.

Let me quickly summarize what key features do across trim levels:

  • Stability Control, Traction Control and Trailer Stability help maintain control

  • Rear View Monitor gives backup guide lines

  • Roll Stability prevents rollovers

  • Hill Launch Assist prevents rolling back

  • Blind Spot Monitoring alerts you to vehicles in blind spots

  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert warns about approaching vehicles when backing up

  • Lane-keep Assist provides steering input to avoid lane drifting

  • Lane Departure Warning alerts if you change lanes without signaling

  • Radar Cruise Control adjusts speed to maintain distance

  • Engine Immobilizer deters thieves

  • Child Safety Locks prevent rear doors from opening

  • Rear Seat Alert reminds you to check the back seat

  • Vehicle Exit Warning alerts you if a car is approaching

  • Driver Attention Alert monitors drowsiness

  • Smart Brake Support applies emergency braking if needed

Higher trims add advanced safety features like:

  • Secondary Collision Reduction brakes after a crash

  • 360 View Monitor for easy parking

  • Parking sensors alert you to close objects

  • Driver Monitoring uses a camera to detect distraction or drowsiness

  • Smart Brake Support brakes automatically to prevent collisions

  • Front Cross Traffic Alert detects and brakes for crossing vehicles

  • Turning Across Path Alert and Brake warns and brakes for oncoming vehicles

These help avoid accidents and give peace of mind. Let me know if you need any clarification!

The CX-90 received the 2024 TOP SAFETY PICK+ by the IIHS.
(Reference Source: IIHS)

5. Classy yet Sporty Exterior Styling

Mazda's newest styling is all over the CX-90's swooping lines and sculpted body. The big grille, slick headlights, and fastback roofline give it a sporty yet classy vibe.

The proportions are athletic with a long hood, pushed back cabin, and short rear. The wheels sit way out at the corners for a wide, planted stance.

Small details add flair, like the chrome window trim, dual exhaust tips, and available 20-inch rims. The paint colors look deep and rich.

The headlights and taillights have Mazda's signature LED designs. The thin lights boost the modern style.

Unlike some competitors, the CX-90 skips the bulky plastic body cladding for a cleaner, premium look.

The minimalist, upscale interior perfectly matches the fancy exterior.

Overall, the CX-90 exterior stands out with a classy yet sporty personality. Mazda made this SUV look way more premium than its price tag. The attention to detail and consistent styling give it serious curb appeal.

(Reference Source: Mazda USA)

6. Competitive Pricing

The Mazda CX-90 is entering the hotly contested midsize three-row luxury SUVs segment with a very attractive starting price. The base CX-90 comes in at just $40,970 MSRP including destination fees. This positions it below competitors like the Acura MDX, Infiniti QX60, and Volvo XC90 which have starting prices between $51,045 and $57,195.

Mazda has been able to price the CX-90 so competitively for a few reasons. First, it shares a platform and components with the less expensive CX-5 which helps control costs. Second, Mazda intentionally designed the CX-90 to a price point by leaving out some luxury features found in pricier rivals. Things like ventilated seats, a digital gauge cluster, and a surround view camera system are optional upgrades.

Trims and pricing:

  • Select - Starts at $39,220

  • Preferred - Starts at $41,820

  • Preferred Plus - Starts at $44,275

  • Premium - Starts at $47,275

  • Premium Plus - Starts at $50,275

  • S - Starts at $51,225

  • S Premium - Starts at $53,825

  • S Premium Plus - Starts at $57,325

With so many trims and a price range of $39,220 to $57,325, there is a model that should suit most people budgets and tastes.

Disadvantages of the 2024 Mazda CX-90

But it's not all sunshine and zoom-zooms for the CX-90. This SUV has some downsides to look out for too.

  • First up - tight quarters. The cabin and cargo space are on the snug side, especially in that 3rd row. Having the whole crew on board gets cozy.

  • The infotainment also disappoints. The interface lags behind rivals, lacking features and flair. Don't expect the latest whiz-bang tech here.

  • Finally, the ride can be stiff and choppy at times. The sport-tuned suspension doesn't always play nice with potholes.

So for shoppers, weigh the CX-90's performance and luxury highlights against these limitations. Make sure to test the tight fit and tech to see if they're deal breakers for you. While it shines in many ways, this Mazda isn't perfect. Keep the cons in mind when choosing your 3-row champ!

Restricted Interior Space

Now let's talk interior room - or lack thereof. The CX-90 can squeeze in up to eight passengers, but it's tighter than yoga pants back there.

Especially that third row - it's a pinch for both passengers and cargo. Big families or hauling lots of gear may find it too snug.

Sure, the first and second rows give you plenty of stretch-out space. But things get cramped in a hurry when the whole crew's on board.

So if you need lots of room for kids, carpools, or home improvement runs, the CX-90's cozy confines could be a dealbreaker. Make sure to test the tight fit before committing.

Compared to the competition like the Toyota Highlander, Subaru Ascent and Kia Telluride, the CX-90 has less interior space in almost every area.

CX-90 Interior Space

  • Cargo Space: 15.9 cu. ft.
  • Front Head Room: 39.6 in.
  • Front Leg Room: 41.7 in.
  • Front Shoulder Room: 59.2 in.
  • Rear Head Room: 38.4 in.
  • Rear Leg Room: 39.4 in.
  • Rear Shoulder Room: 58.1 in.

Telluride Interior Space

  • Cargo Space: 21.0 cu. ft.
  • Front Head Room: 40.9 in.
  • Front Leg Room: 41.4 in.
  • Front Shoulder Room: 61.6 in.
  • Rear Head Room: 40.2 in.
  • Rear Leg Room: 42.4 in.
  • Rear Shoulder Room: 61.2 in.

Pilot Interior Space

  • Cargo Space: 18.6 cu. ft.
  • Front Head Room: 40.5 in.
  • Front Leg Room: 41.0 in.
  • Front Shoulder Room: 61.9 in.
  • Rear Head Room: 40.2 in.
  • Rear Leg Room: 40.8 in.
  • Rear Shoulder Room: 61.7 in.

Ascent Interior Space

  • Cargo Space: 17.8 cu. ft.
  • Front Head Room: 41.2 in.
  • Front Leg Room: 42.2 in.
  • Front Shoulder Room: 61.1 in.
  • Rear Head Room: 40.0 in.
  • Rear Leg Room: 38.6 in.
  • Rear Shoulder Room: 60.3 in.

Infotainment Frustrations

The CX-90's tech may also bug you. Instead of a touchscreen, it's got a click wheel controller on the center console. And let's just say it ain't so "clicky".

Scrolling through menus and options lacks the friendly tap-and-swipe ease of other systems. The interface can frustrate before you find what you need.

While the infotainment system serves up Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, overall user experience leaves room for improvement.

So before buying, be sure to poke and prod the finicky infotainment system on a test drive. Make sure it's not a tech turn-off for you. The CX-90 nails the fundamentals but falls short on modern tech convenience for some.

Ride Quality Considerations

Bigger wheels aren't always better on the CX-90. The 21-inch ones can get real bumpy.

They look cool and handle sharper but that sport suspension doesn't absorb potholes well. Bigger wheels can mean a rougher ride.

Before upgrading, test drive both wheel sizes. Make sure the 21s are worth the tradeoff in comfort.

If you get the big ones, be ready for some suspension stiffness on uneven roads. The CX-90 passes more impacts and vibrations to you instead of absorbing them. Ride quality takes a hit compared to cushier suspensions that swallow bumps better. (Reference Source: Car and Driver)

Start - Stop System Needs Improvement

Road and Track mentioned one con about the CX-90 - the start-stop system could use some fine-tuning. Start-stop turns off the engine when you come to a stop, then restarts when you hit the gas to save fuel. Good idea in theory, but the calibration in the CX-90 makes the restart a little jerky at times.

It's not totally smooth - you might feel an abrupt restart transition instead of a seamless one. I know that would bug me if I was driving! It seems like the start-stop tech just needs a bit more refinement and optimization from Mazda's engineers to improve the overall driving experience.

Little things like a perfectly calibrated start-stop make a big difference in how satisfying a ride feels. So while the CX-90 still drives nice, smoothing out that restart would take it to the next level. Just a bit more tuning could make the start-stop top notch and really nail that buttery smooth driving feel we all love!

Comparisons with Other SUVs

In comparison to other SUVs in its class, the 2024 Mazda CX-90 distinguishes itself with superior performance, interior quality, and fuel efficiency. Yet, potential buyers should weigh these strengths against drawbacks like limited cabin space and a challenging infotainment system before deciding.

Some of the CX-90’s primary competitors include:

  • Subaru Ascent
  • Kia Telluride
  • Toyota Highlander

Vs the Ascent

The Ascent's got more cargo space, making it better for families hauling lots of gear. Its symmetrical AWD gives great traction in any weather too. The Ascent is also thousands less than the CX-90, so you can potentially get a higher trim Ascent for a lower trim CX-90 price.

But the Ascent's interior feels more basic versus the CX-90's luxury vibe. It focuses on comfort over sporty handling as well. And there's no plug-in hybrid option for max fuel efficiency.

If premium feel, fun driving dynamics and a hybrid matter most, we think you should test drive a CX-90. But if you need space, Subaru's AWD and value, check out the Ascent.

Vs the Telluride

The Telluride offers more passenger and cargo room, perfect for big families. Its 10 year, 100k mile warranty gives peace of mind for the long haul too. It's usually a bit cheaper than the CX-90 but still has great features.

On the flip side, the Telluride is less thrilling to drive than the CX-90, focusing on smoothness over sportiness. It also gets slightly worse fuel economy, especially without the hybrid powertrains.

If you love a sporty drive and max mpg, the CX-90 is your ride. But if space and warranty are key, we think the Telluride's the one. Test drive both to find the best fit.

Vs the Highlander

The Highlander crushes cargo space, making it more practical for families. Even base models come loaded with nice standard tech and heated seats too. Plus, Toyota's known for bulletproof reliability and resale value.

But the Highlander puts comfort first over sporty handling, which could be less fun. Its engines pack less punch than the CX-90's turbo too. And no plug-in hybrid option here.

Go CX-90 if driving thrills and luxury call you. But if you need roominess, value and peace of mind, the Highlander is your family hauler. Take them both for a spin to know for sure.

Summing it Up

The 2024 CX-90 brings Mazda's signature driving joy to the family SUV scene. It packs a serious punch under the hood while surrounding drivers in luxury. And it sips fuel surprisingly well for its size.

For shoppers wanting performance, premium features, and efficiency all in one package, the CX-90 makes a compelling case. It carves its own lane in the crowded 3-row crossover market.

But it's still not perfection on wheels. Make sure to test the tight cabin and clunky tech before signing on the dotted line.

If you can live with its quirks, the CX-90 rewards you with zoom-zoom versatility. It hauls the whole crew while keeping driving fun, wherever your travels take you.

Overall, Mazda hits a sweet spot for drivers wanting a little spice with their SUV. The CX-90 brings power, poise and premium details together in one suave family-hauler.