Review: First Ever Mazda CX-90
The all-new CX-90 luxury SUV is Mazda's biggest model release of 2023, in more ways than one.
In union with its smaller sibling - the CX-60 - also released this year, the CX-90 reflects Mazda's next step up the luxury ladder with refined styling inside and out, punchy powertrain options and a slew of high-tech features. It's also the largest Mazda model to date in terms of physical size exhibiting a foreboding presence on the road.
We recently spent the weekend with the CX-90 ferrying the family around in the petrol-powered model of the top-of-the-range Azami that was fitted with the Takumi Pack that swaps the seven seats for a roomier six-seat layout.
The CX-90 makes a big first impression with its prominent size with its overall dimensions coming in both longer and wider than its predecessor, the CX-9. However, the new model is a touch shorter, which, in combination with its aggrandized front and rear bumpers, exhibits a sleek and muscular silhouette with a strong and stable road stance.
Stepping inside, you get a sense of where Mazda has put in the work to make the CX-90 fit its new premium status. The Azami trim with the Takumi Pack makes this obvious with white Nappa Leather across all three rows, centre console and door trims adorned with gleaming white Maple wood, and unique Kakenui stitching across the dash.
The six-seat layout means the second-row features two captain's chairs which are a real standout and include their own centre console and seat ventilation. On top of this, extra touches like built-in window shades, chrome door accents, and the power sliding-glass panoramic moonroof fill out the cabin with both practical and aesthetic elements.
You have the choice of powering your CX-90 with either a turbocharged 3.3-litre, 6-cylinder mild-hybrid petrol engine (G50e), or a diesel powerplant (D50e) with the same size figures, induction and electric motor assistance. Both powertrains drive the CX-90 through Mazda's i-Activ All-Wheel Drive system and its 8-speed Skyactiv-Drive sports automatic transmission. The M Hybrid Boost (mild hybrid) 48-volt technology utilising regenerative braking and providing extra assistance to the engine leading to some great fuel consumption figures for a car of this size.
The diesel option sips an exceptional 5.4 litres per 100 km with a power output of 187kW and torque of 550Nm. The petrol model consumes 8.1 litres per 100 km combined which, for a car and engine of this size, is a highly respectable fuel consumption figure (though you'll have to stick to ULP 95 or higher when filling up). The major benefactor of the turbocharged petrol 6-cylinder is that it pushes out a whopping 254kW of power and 500Nm of torque which sends the CX-90 from 0 to 100km/h in just 6.9 seconds.
The CX-90 driving experience is both dynamic and sturdy. Unlike various other luxury SUVs on the market that feature overly plush suspension and ride mechanics, the CX-90's suspension offers a comfortable yet stable ride. Steering is smooth and accurate thanks to Mazda's G-Vectoring Control technology which removes the lumbering feel often associated with larger cars. The CX-90's turning circle is also relievingly smaller than the average for a large SUV at just 10.8 metres allowing it to conquer tight city streets without skipping a beat.
Although we didn't get the opportunity to test it out, the CX-90 also features Mazda's Mi-Drive off-road traction assist.
Some drivers get intimidated when maneuvering bigger cars around car parks however Mazda has quelled these apprehensions in the CX-90 with the inclusion of both a reversing camera and 360-degree monitor across the three available trim levels. An extra little touch in the realm of thinking is the useful tilt-down function of the side mirrors when the car is in reverse - this helps line up those reverse parks with absolute precision.
The perimeter cameras aren't the only high-tech feature you'll find across the complete CX-90 range as every model also features blind spot monitoring, driver attention alert & monitoring, intelligent speed assistance, front & rear cross-traffic alert, smart brake support, lane departure warning and lane-keep assist, amongst others. The commitment to feature-packed trims across the complete range reflects Mazda's focus on that step forward into the domain of premium SUVs.
In terms of passenger comfort, the Mazda CX-90 is amongst the leaders, especially in the six-seat layout courtesy of the luxe Takumi Pack addition. The optimum position for occupants in this model is, by far, the second row with its captain seats that boast stellar comfort, legroom and convenience. It features plush and cozy bolstering, several options for seat adjustments, feature-rich climate control settings, and a dedicated second-row centre console packing an extra-deep storage bin and soft, leather upholstering.
However, the part that our second-row passengers loved the most was the ventilated seating only available in the Takumi Pack - especially appreciated after some time out in the sun on a warm Brisbane weekend. This feature added an extra level of indulgence not often available to second-row passengers.
What's nice about the CX-90 is that you don't need to stretch yourself to the Azami trim with the Takumi Pack to get some of the luxury comforts and conveniences. All trims feature heated front seats, a leather steering wheel, wireless Apple CarPlay & Android Auto, and a hands-free remote-operated power tailgate. On top of this, the GT (middle trim) and Azami add a 12-speaker Bose premium sound system, panoramic sunroof, second-row heating, a 12.3-inch digital dash (upgraded from 7-inches), as well as steering wheel heating, electric adjustment and position memory.
We should also mention the advanced high-beam technology present in the CX-90 as it works seamlessly in the background that you might forget you even have it switched on. In basic terms, the High Beam Control technology detects other cars on the road - both preceding and oncoming - and adjusts between high and low beams depending on their presence. The system can also detect the brightness of your surroundings and determine whether high beams are necessary. We found this system quite intuitive and could rely on it to not blind any of our fellow night-time travellers.
Across the standard CX-90 range, there are three trims to choose from - Touring, GT and Azami. Both diesel and petrol drivetrains are available in all three trims with the whole range starting at $79,936 drive away for the G50e Touring - or $82,006 for the D50e. In the GT and Azami, you find that the diesel is more affordable than its petrol counterpart with the D50e GT available from $91,321 drive away and the G50e just $525 more.
The top-of-the-range Azami is where the CX-90 eclipses the six-figure mark with the D50e Azami available at a drive-away price of $100,107 and the G50e at $101, 264. The Azami has two optional packs that can be added for $5,000 each including the Takumi Pack from the model we tested. The other option is the SP Pack which adorns the interior with tan elements including Tan nappa leather seat trim, a tan suede finish across the dashboard and a two-tone tan and black steering wheel. Both the SP and Takumi Packs introduce the six-seat layout into the Azami.
Overall, the CX-90 offered a satisfying experience in terms of comfort, convenience and luxury. You're never left wanting for more as there are just so many features packed into the model across the whole range. It certainly fits the intended premium status although it almost carves out a niche of its own that's unique to Mazda (CX-60 included). Second-row comfort from the Takumi Pack is especially a stand-out and is undoubtedly the most luxurious element of the CX-90.
We also can't forget to mention that, on top of the two current drivetrains, the CX-90 Plug-In Hybrid EV will be arriving at Browns Plains Mazda in 2024.
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