You can still buy a 13-mpg gas-burning V8 super SUV in the USA, even in today's changing world of tightening emissions laws and EVs, but the new 2024 Mazda CX-90 Hybrid shows that it's possible to build an eight-seater SUV that can substantially negate that dismal mpg figure. The CX-90 is all about efficiency, and even in its normal mild-hybrid gas configurations, it can do 25 mpg combined, with the PHEV's figures looking even better - and giving you all-electric driving ability to boot. Combine this with a 323-hp power output, decent performance, and typically Mazda levels of interior quality and refinement, and Mazda's bet on going all-in on a brand-new platform and drivetrains for a non-EV SUV makes a lot of sense. For good measure, it added a radical new double-wishbone front suspension layout that makes this a genuinely fun-to-drive barge as well. It certainly has the features and specifications to compete against other three-row PHEVs like the Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe plug-in hybrid.
The 2024 CX-90 Hybrid is an all-new car, from its platform to its powertrain. Last year's CX-9 SUV didn't have a hybrid derivative, so the CX-90 Hybrid is the first PHEV three-row SUV.
With the price of the 2024 Mazda CX-90 Hybrid Preferred trim starting at $47,445, it's only $4k more expensive than the equivalent gas CX-90 Turbo Preferred trim. The cheapest gas CX-90 is the Turbo Select, but there is no equivalent hybrid. The next hybrid in line is the Premium at $52,900, and the most expensive is the Premium Plus, which will cost you $56,950. These prices are MSRP and exclude the $1,375 destination fee.
See trim levels and configurations:
The old CX-9 used a transversely mounted inline four-cylinder engine, but the brand-new Skyactiv Multi-Solution Architecture of the CX-90 employs longitudinally mounted engines of either inline-four or inline-six format. This has freed up width in the engine bay to install proper sports-car double-wishbone front suspension. The package is completed with fully independent multi-link rear suspension, AWD, and Kinematic Posture Control, which mimics a limited-slip differential by applying a little braking force to the inside rear wheel when going around a corner to improve stability. These features are all standard on every CX-90 and bless it with an uncommon ability to flow on a winding road. It's not a truly staggering achievement such as the Alfa Romeo Stelvio, but then this is a large three-row SUV, and its blend of ride refinement and cornering poise really is an eye-opener and can go toe to toe with the best from Europe, as our first drive review found.
NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.
The Mazda CX-90 is an excellent car in its class and brings a properly engineered new platform with advanced suspension and an efficient new PHEV drivetrain to the table. It's newer and fresher than its Korean Hyundai and Kia rivals, and it feels properly luxurious, especially in upper trims. Performance is not truly scintillating, but it's much more than adequate, and fuel economy is very good. What's more, you can potter around all week on electrical power and charge it every night, thanks to the 26-mile all-electric range. It's really solidly finished and premium inside, with tons of safety and luxury features, even on the base car. It might be expensive for a Mazda, but it feels premium enough to warrant that price. It punches well above its weight at this price point.
The Premium trim makes the most sense at just under $53k. While the base car is well-equipped, the wired smartphone mirroring and the lack of navigation might irk. You get no parking sensors on what's a big SUV to park. The Premium fixes all those problems and adds smart 21-inch wheels, traffic-sign recognition, and a great Bose audio system to boot. It makes this trim our pick of the bunch and we could do without the Premium Plus' added niceties, especially as it's getting pricy.
The most popular competitors of 2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV: