Here's your first look at the upcoming range-topper.
If you want a large, fairly plush three-row SUV with a Mazda badge, the CX-9 is your only option. But that's set to change soon thanks to the upcoming CX-90, which has recently been spied driving around California. First shared to the CX90 Forum, the prototype seen here wears heavy camouflage, but we can still glean some details from the overall shape.
Unlike the current batch of Mazda SUVs, the CX-90 has a sleeker design with flowing lines. Compared to the slab-sided CX-9, it's far more contemporary and the overall profile appears more upmarket. It's clear to see the range-topper draws inspiration from the elegant CX-60, which will not reach American shores.
The CX-60's influence can be seen in the headlight cluster design, as well as in the grille. The CX-90 also appears to have a more imposing and wider stance. The disguise makes it hard to tell, though.
The CX-90 will become the jewel in Mazda's crown, especially as the Japanese brand attempts to reinvent itself as a premium automaker. The CX-60 showed the industry that Mazda wasn't joking, and wants to be taken seriously in the fiercely competitive luxury segment. As such, the interior is filled with tactile delights such as maple wood, Japanese textiles, and Nappa leather.
The even bigger CX-90 will certainly take this to the next level, so we're expecting Mazda to pull out all the stops. While it will compete with rivals such as the Kia Telluride and Hyundai Palisade, Mazda is probably hoping to attract customers looking at smaller Audi, BMW, and Lexus SUVs in the same price range.
If that's the goal, we anticipate the CX-90 will be a cut above other mainstream-badged three-row SUVs - in terms of luxury, at least.
Future buyers can also expect a healthy power bump in comparison to the existing three-row Mazda. As it stands, the CX-9 (pictured below) is available with just one engine - a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-pot with up to 250 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque. It's a decent motor, but the CX-90 will eschew the pedestrian mill in favor of thoroughly modern powertrains.
We anticipate the CX-90 will benefit from the CX-60's advanced engines, which include the company's first-ever plug-in hybrid powertrain. Thanks to the addition of an electric motor, the CX-60's 2.5-liter gasoline engine musters up 322 hp and 369 lb-ft. That should provide the CX-90 with ample motivation (and decent gas mileage) but, sadly, we don't foresee Mazda offering the silky-smooth inline-six diesel in the USA.
There's a good chance the 3.3-liter inline-six gas engine with 280 hp will also be introduced.
While it will sit at the peak of Mazda's lineup, it's not the only new SUV that will hit the states in the coming years. A CX-70 is also expected to debut, and will serve as the sweet spot between the rugged CX-50 and the plush range-topper. While it may not have seven seats, we anticipate the CX-70 will be sportier and aimed at the likes of the Lexus NX.
These vehicles are expected to remain the reserve of the North American market, with Europe, Japan, and other markets receiving the CX-60 and the CX-80. Both these vehicles will be narrower and slightly more compact, to appeal to the needs of different markets. Expect the CX-90 to reach Mazda dealerships in late 2023.