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A burgundy 2024 Mazda CX-90 is shown parked in a parking garage after visiting a Mazda dealer.

Upscale and Upmarket: How the 2024 Mazda CX-90 Is Upping the Ante

As you browse around for a Mazda dealer, think about how high-end you are looking to go. If you want a more premium feel from your new vehicle, you might want to think about investing in the 2024 Mazda CX-90. Just a quick glance inside this three-row SUV lets you know that Mazda is really going all-out on taking its vehicles upmarket.

Here to replace the CX-9, the CX-90 is the most upscale Mazda model you will find. Why is Mazda making this move? Well, it seems as though the automaker is trying to position itself between all the mainstream manufacturers and the high-end luxury brands. Making this bold move means that a lot of changes are coming in the near future for other Mazda models.

The CX-90 will serve as Mazda’s flagship model as the brand moves into this new niche it is carving out for itself. With multiple trim levels and powertrains available––including the ultra-powerful Turbo S––the CX-90 gives buyers no shortage of options to choose from. But that also entails a wide range of price tags. On the low end, the base trim starts at $39,595, which is only $845 more than the 2023 CX-9. However, at the opposite end of the spectrum, the Turbo S Premium Plus will set you back $59,950.

Before you jump to any conclusions about Mazda’s upmarket moves, it’s time to learn what Mazda has to say about this decision and how it impacts what you will get if you do decide to sink your money into the all-new CX-90. Overall, this new model is a promising addition to the Mazda fleet and makes a solid foundation for the brand’s luxury aspirations.

The light gray interior and dash of a 2024 Mazda CX-90 is shown.

What Mazda Says About Its Decision to Go Premium

Mazda makes no bones about it––the brand is gunning for the luxury automakers. In an interview with Autocar, Mazda’s UK managing director, Jeremy Thomson, stated that Mazda’s priorities are to “become a credible alternative to the traditional mainstream premium.” However, he added that Mazda is “not looking to mimic German premium.” In other words, it wants to be Japanese premium. But what exactly does that entail?

Mazda is focused on refining its vehicles, which are already known for their reliability, user-friendliness, and fun-to-drive nature. Mazda is also finding ways to manufacture premium low or zero-emission vehicles, which is reflected by the fact that the CX-90 has a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrain option. It delivers an EPA-estimated 56 MPGe and gets 26 miles of electric-only range while supplying 323 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. Even the standard engine in the CX-90 uses a mild-hybrid system for an efficient electric boost.

The “Feel Alive” Philosophy

Mazda wants the people who drive its vehicles to feel alive. Japanese craftsmanship goes into every model, and that means the CX-90 gets a finely tuned turbocharged six-cylinder engine that is all new and rather complex in its design. Is this a risky move for Mazda? Absolutely. Yet it seems like one that could pay off for the brand––and for its buyers.

Mazda literally put its ducks in a row by lining the turbocharged engine’s six cylinders in a row instead of a V. This straight-six design is slimmer than a V6, which leaves room for the control-arm front suspension. Mazda believes this will result in sharper handling, continuing the brand’s tradition of building fun vehicles. The other benefit of using a straight-six is that it typically offers a smoother performance than a V6. A premium feel is dependent on a vehicle’s mannerisms, not just its pretty face; hence Mazda’s “feel alive” mechanical design.

A white 2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV is shown towing a trailer on a bridge.

The Japanese Influence

Mazda is, of course, a Japanese automobile manufacturer. Japanese aesthetics tend to revolve around a “less is more” approach, which Mazda emphasizes in the CX-90’s design. The focus is on the beauty of empty space, which we have already seen in models like the Mazda3 and CX-50.

As the Mazda3 is engineered to a feeling, so is the CX-90. The CX-90’s interior, for example, is simple yet effective. The materials used are luxurious, and the details are refined. The upholstery features stunningly chic Japanese kakenui stitching. Soft-touch leatherette is placed in all the right spots, and you can even opt for high-end quilted Nappa leather-trimmed seats. If you’d like, you can add a massive panoramic sunroof to let more natural light into the vehicle during the daytime.

A Brief Glimpse at In-Vehicle Technology

Mazda outfits the new CX-90 with a slew of advanced technological features, which should come as no surprise. An eight-speaker sound system is standard, but you have the option of upgrading to a 12-speaker Bose Centerpoint Surround Sound System with AudioPilot. A wireless phone charger, Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free phone calls and audio streaming, and SiriusXM compatibility are also all on the docket.

A 10.25-inch full-color center display is equipped on the base trim, but a larger 12.3-inch version comes on most other trim levels. The base seven-inch LCD Meter Display can also be upgraded to a fully digital 12.3-inch LCD Meter Display that integrates nicely into the cockpit’s overall design. The latter system comes with an Active Driving Display with Traffic Sign Recognition built into it. The graphics read clearly, and the menus look incredibly logical and uncomplicated, embracing the concept of Japanese minimalism.

A burgundy 2024 Mazda CX-90 is shown driving on an on-ramp.

Justifying the Cost Is Easier Than You Might Think

You might be wondering if the cost of owning a premium Mazda is worth it. Buyers who’ve purchased Mazdas in the past have seen affordable price tags, and Mazda’s jump toward luxury status might put some potential buyers off. But when it comes right down to it, Mazda seems to be making the right decision. Moving in this direction gives Mazda the opportunity to stay focused on building automobiles that buyers love while advancing toward an all-electric future (which is what virtually all automakers are doing).

There are a lot of consumers out there who want more luxury but cannot afford the price tag accompanying a BMW or Mercedes-Benz. Mazda is trying to provide the solution to that problem by taking its vehicles up a notch while keeping pricing attainable. The CX-90 is just the beginning of that changeover, and it could very well have buyers of both mass-market and luxury brands coming in for the purchase. Given how nice the materials are, how much technology is included, and how potent the powertrain options are, the CX-90 has a price tag that many folks will find justifiable.

The Final Verdict

Buying a Mazda used to be all about getting something affordable but not necessarily upscale. That is all changing. Mazda’s move up to premium status is well executed, and the debut of the CX-90 serves as proof. With its excellent Japanese craftsmanship and focus on the experience of riding in a Mazda, the CX-90 gives buyers a chance to own a luxurious three-row SUV without the hefty price tag found on traditional luxury vehicles. The 2024 Mazda CX-90 is a vehicle worth test driving, at the very least. It serves as a downright plush and posh people hauler with the brand’s reliability backing it up. This Mazda is for the people, by the people.

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