Mazda’s SUV range has taken off in the last decade, and its full SUV line-up of six models – running from the CX-3 up to the CX-9 – now makes up nearly 70 per cent of the carmaker’s total sales.
As we’ve reported, Mazda’s SUV line-up is about to grow significantly with the addition of the CX-60 medium SUV, as well as three models we are yet to see – the CX-70, and larger CX-80 and CX-90.
The other new SUV, the mid-size CX-50, is a North American market only model – for now.
One of the most critical is the CX-90, which will be the second new global model line after the CX-60, and it is expected to be the new flagship SUV for Mazda.
But after the critical and sales success of the CX-9 seven-seat SUV, can lightning strike twice for Mazda in the large SUV segment?
Here is what we know so far about the coming CX-90.
Where will the CX-90 fit in the Mazda line-up?
The CX-90 is expected to be Mazda’s largest SUV yet, and that makes sense because when the Japanese carmaker announced initial details of its SUV rollout, the company confirmed that the key market for the CX-90 will be North America.
That doesn’t mean of course that it’s not coming to Australia – it is. But where the mid-size CX-60 and the CX-80 will be aimed at European and Japanese tastes, the CX-90 is geared for American buyers. So think BIG!
While Mazda Australia has previously committed to keeping all of its existing SUV models – the CX-3, CX-30, MX-30, CX-5, CX-8 and CX-9 – it’s looking more likely that the CX-90 will eventually replace the CX-9 in the longer term.
What platform and engines will the Mazda CX-90 have?
Mazda announced that the CX-60, 70, 80 and 90 will fall under its ‘Large Product Group’ and will all be built on a new rear-wheel drive platform.
Mazda is also developing a separate dedicated electric vehicle platform, but details are scarce on this.
The new large platform will be flexible and can accommodate all-wheel drive systems and a new eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, and as well as utilising existing Mazda engines, it will accommodate some new engines.
Inline six-cylinder turbocharged petrol and diesel engines are confirmed, as well as a 48-volt mild hybrid system, and Mazda’s first plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrain that debuted in the CX-60.
Given the expected size of the CX-90, it’s a fair bet that it will be offered with the freshly developed 3.3-litre turbo-diesel punching out 170kW/500Nm – which increases to 187kW/550Nm when matched with the 48-volt mild hybrid system – and the 3.0-litre six-pot petrol engine, although details on that powertrain are yet to be announced by Mazda.
We know the PHEV uses a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine paired with a 100kW electric motor for a combined output of 241kW/500Nm. The 17.8kWh battery ensures an electric-only range of 63km before requiring a recharge.
What will the Mazda CX-90 look like inside and out?
Mazda hasn’t revealed any sketches or a concept to preview the CX-90, but there are a few clues to what it will look like from what we have seen already.
The CX-60 is a size smaller than the CX-90, but expect to see at least some of the design cues carry over.
Our render (above) shows how the finished product could look, incorporating the front end styling of the CX-60 with a longer and wider body.
The current CX-9 has been praised for its sleek design, especially compared with boxier rivals like the Toyota Kluger. The CX-9 is longer than many of its rivals, but Mazda has designed it in such a way as to not highlight its size.
Given the US market focus of the CX-90, Mazda might go in the other direction and produce a big and bulky model to appeal to American tastes.
It is confirmed to be a seven seater, but there is a chance it could be an eight seater, which has become more common in the US. That would give it more ammunition against the likes of the Hyundai Palisade as well as premium offerings like the BMW X7.
Inside, you can guarantee that Mazda will take its cabin design to the next level. The CX-9’s interior already feels semi-premium, but as we’ve seen with the CX-60, the new 90’s interior will head further upmarket.
As the brand’s flagship, the CX-90 should have the most premium interior of all its models, with more luxurious materials expected throughout.
How much will the Mazda CX-90 cost?
Mazda has made no secret of the fact that it plans to push into premium territory with its future models. The first example of that is the CX-60, which is expected to start from about $55,000 in Australia.
Each of these new models is expected to be more high end than Mazda’s existing line-up of cars.
With that in mind, you can expect that the CX-90 will be pricier than the CX-9.
The move upmarket, new powertrains, and expected uptick in in-car tech, as well as the latest safety gear will push it well beyond the $46,250 (before on-road costs) starting price of the CX-9.
At the moment, the CX-9 tops out at $73,410 for the top-sep Azami LE all-wheel drive. It is the most expensive Mazda money can buy, but the CX-90 is all but certain to top that.
When will the Mazda CX-90 go on sale?
With the Australian launch of the CX-60 looking like it will be pushed out to early 2023, the CX-90 is still a ways off.
The CX-90 was expected to be revealed before the end of 2023, but it’s unclear if that’s still Mazda’s plan. Some reports have suggested that it will begin production before the end of the Japanese financial year, so before the end of March 2023.
If that’s the case, and given the challenges all manufacturers are still facing with parts and supply chain issues, the CX-90 will either go on sale in Australia late next year, or early in 2024.