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2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV Assessment: A Plug-in Hybrid Option Suitable for Families

The first electric vehicle from Mazda, the MX-30, left much to be desired due to its restricted driving range and compact interior. However, Mazda is committed to electrifying its entire range by 2030, and its second electrified model, the CX-90 PHEV, marks a significant improvement. While the MX-30 was primarily developed as a small commuter EV, the CX-90 PHEV is aimed at a broader audience.

The CX-90 now steps in for the CX-9 and acts as Mazda’s primary SUV. Beyond the name change, the CX-90 stands out in the segment of three-row SUVs with its rear-wheel drive platform and longitudinal engine setup.

The standard CX-90 incorporates a turbocharged inline-six engine, while the plug-in hybrid variant integrates a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with an electric motor. In this evaluation, we will concentrate on the CX-90 PHEV, which produces up to 189 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque from its four-cylinder engine, along with 173 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque from the electric motor. Combined, the CX-90 PHEV provides 323 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque, placing it in a similar performance bracket as the turbocharged six-cylinder engine with 340 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission with a wet clutch

Fitted with a 17.8 kWh lithium-ion battery, the CX-90 PHEV can travel up to 26 miles on electric power alone. This implies easy maneuvering through city streets in all-electric mode before resorting to the engine once the battery is depleted. The battery can be completely charged in about two and a half hours using a Level 2 charger. While the CX-90’s electric range is shorter compared to rivals like the Kia Sorento PHEV (32 miles) and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (38 miles), it compensates with more internal space. Furthermore, the CX-90 PHEV provides a driving range of up to 490 miles, permitting extended family trips without concerns about locating charging stations en route.

On the road, the CX-90 PHEV accelerates impressively for a large SUV, achieving a 0-60 mph time in the low six-second range. While EV mode may offer slightly less power, it is adequate for urban driving. Mazda’s concentration on creating a more lavish experience is evident in the interior design of the CX-90, but the four-cylinder engine could produce better sound under intense acceleration. The transition between gas and EV modes may not be as smooth as anticipated. It may also take some time for drivers to acclimate to the shifter’s distinctive pattern, where pushing up and to the left engages Park, and just pushing up may result in reverse gear.

Mazda is renowned for producing enjoyable-to-drive vehicles, and the CX-90 PHEV is no exception. It offers a sportier sensation than competitors such as the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander, with minimal body roll and responsive steering. Overall, the CX-90 maintains the enjoyable-to-drive nature of its forerunner, the CX-9, with a marginally more family-friendly design.

Even though the CX-90 PHEV can accommodate up to eight seats, the legroom and headroom in the third row are restricted compared to its rivals. Accessing the third row can be awkward, and the luggage space behind the third row falls short of competitors as well.

Instead of merely rivaling brands like Honda and Toyota, Mazda has boldly showcased its intent to progress into the high-end market. Mazda’s range stands out with its more opulent and chic designs in contrast to their rivals.

Internally, the interior of the CX-90 is striking. It exudes a more opulent and chic sense compared to the Honda Pilot or Toyota Highlander. Premium materials and a simplistic design contribute to a more sophisticated experience, bringing the CX-90 closer to the domain of entry-level luxury SUVs. Leather seats are included as standard, with Nappa leather seats and a fabric-wrapped dashboard available on higher trims. Depending on the chosen trim level, there is either a 10.25- or 12.3-inch infotainment display, which can be operated using either a rotary dial or touchscreen. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also offered, and the CX-90 PHEV comes standard with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster.

The 2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV commences at $49,415 and is accessible in three trim levels: Preferred, Premium, and Premium Plus.

To sum up, Mazda has taken what appealed to us about the CX-9 and improved it with more elegance, luxury, and performance. The 2024 CX-90 effectively accomplishes Mazda’s objective of moving into the high-end market, as it feels and looks more deluxe than its rivals. The availability of a plug-in hybrid powertrain sets it apart from competitors like the Honda Pilot, Nissan Pathfinder, and Toyota Highlander, positioning it as a superior choice for families.

Image source: motorauthority@Instagram

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