First Look Review: The 2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV is Mazda’s best SUV ever!

  • Mazda's first PHEV in the U.S. available in 7- and 8-seat versions
  • Delivers 26 miles of EPA-est. electric range
  • Priced from USD 49,945 (excl. USD 1,375 destination fee)
  • Competes with the Toyota Grand Highlander Hybrid and Jeep Grand Cherokee L

The 2024 Mazda CX-90 with its RWD platform is a premium model in the mainstream three-row mid-size SUV segment, akin to the 2024 Jeep Grand Cherokee L. However, unlike the locally-built American SUV, the Mazda, which ships from Japan, is available with plug-in hybrid technology. Recently, I had a chance to explore the 2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV in detail. Here are my first impressions:


If I removed the badges from the 2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV, you wouldn’t mistake it for anything but a Mazda. It has a thoroughly sculpted and muscular front bumper with neatly integrated air intakes. The compact but recessed headlamps look particularly striking, with their LED DRLs extending partially into the main grille. Its large radiator grille is finished in gloss black paint but also gets chrome surrounds, with some more chrome found on the lower-lip section of the front bumper.

From the sides, the CX-90 Plug-in Hybrid appears elegant and classy, thanks to its smoothly contoured door panels and sleek, bow-shaped greenhouse. The beltline extends straight behind the rear doors, leading to a wide quarter glass. I think this also allows the third-row occupants to get a better view outside the SUV, which we’ll get to in the next section.

2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV side profile live image

There is a ‘PHEV’ badge, chrome garnish, and a honeycomb-pattern decor element on the front wings. Aluminum roof rails, which will be useful for customers with active lifestyles, and chrome lower molding, chrome window surrounds, and multi-spoke two-tone alloy wheels will attract customers who favor a more polished and shiny look in their SUVs.

The rear-end of the CX-90 appears hunched. The tail lamps extend out to the shoulder area, and in my opinion, their design is actually quite similar to the CX-60‘s design. I also noticed a chrome wing on the lower bumper, which lifts the appeal of the rear.

Manufactured in Hofu, Japan, the CX-90 Plug-in Hybrid consists of 90% locally sourced parts. When I looked closely at its exterior to get a sense of its build quality, I found that the panel gaps were the standards of a luxury vehicle and that the paint was of the highest quality, with the signature ‘swirl’ along the shoulder line.


When I sat inside the 2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV, I liked its wide dashboard, which featured continuous lines running through the side air vents into the door trim, underlining the spaciousness of the cabin. The sleek 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system and the slim climate control panel give a minimalist vibe to the interior.

In my experience, the infotainment operates smoothly. However, I find Mazda’s UI slightly dated, plus it’s inconvenient to use because it accepts touch inputs only when using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. I think European luxury automakers have acknowledged that customers dislike rotary knobs and buttons for using the infotainment system and have adapted themselves, and it’s about time this Japanese brand follows suit.

Mazda equips the 2024 CX-90 PHEV with a 12.3-inch virtual instrument cluster that displays crisp graphics. However, I’m not a fan of its customizable layouts and I think the company needs to come up with classier views that better suit the character of the vehicle. I appreciate the company using buttons and switches for all the heating, cooling, and ventilation functions in the cabin, though.

The physical controls like buttons, switches, and knobs Mazda has used in the CX-90 PHEV provide a tactile experience. On checking the consistency of soft-touch materials in the two rows, I found that it was consistent throughout. Overall, I’d say the interior quality was within touching distance of a luxury brand.

2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV center console live image

Mazda designed and engineered the 2024 CX-90 PHEV for North American customers, so, as a six-foot-tall person, I expected to have no issues with ingress or egress, at least not in the first or second row. From my experience, I can now say that it was relatively easy.

In the first row, Mazda equips the top-end 2024 CX-90 PHEV with an 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with power lumbar support and 2-position memory, heating, and ventilation functions and an 8-way power-adjustable front passenger seat with heating and ventilation functions. The second row comprises two reclining captain’s chairs with armrests, Easy tilt and slide 3rd-row access, and a center walk-through. In the third row, there are 60/40-split seats for three additional passengers.

When I sat in the driver’s seat, I had ample headroom, and I felt that lumbar support was good. As for under-thigh support, I’d say it could have been a little better. I noted that the steering wheel column had tilt and telescopic adjustment, but manually, not electrically like in the gas model. That said, the adjustment range was good. The steering wheel felt grippy to hold. All-around visibility in the plug-in hybrid SUV was good, but there is no getting away from the size of this car, and it’s not going to be as easy to maneuver as a CX-50.

In the second row, the default angle of the backrest was a bit upright for me, so I used the manual lever to recline. Sitting behind the driver’s seat that I had adjusted for my six-foot-tall body, I had enough legroom and comfortable knee room. The under-thigh support was average, while the headroom was adequate.

2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV second-row seat live image

In the third row, the legroom was in short supply, and the knee room was sufficient for me. My knees were high up, which led to an uncomfortable posture, but I have to say this is one of the more comfortable third-row experiences. Again, this is relative. My head was just clear of the headliner, so this section of the vehicle is for shorter people or kids.

Lastly, I noted that there was heavy use of hard plastics, and the air vents were mounted way too low. Getting in and out of the third row is a struggle for tall passengers, but I can see shorter adults and children finding it usable. 

The 2024 CX-90 PHEV features a hands-free power rear liftgate with programmable height adjustment. It offers 14.9 cu. ft. of cargo space, which customers can increase to 40.0 cu. ft. by folding the third-row seats and further to 75.2 cu. ft. by folding even the second-row seats. I like the fact that Mazda equips the plug-in hybrid SUV with a temporary spare tire.

Driving impressions

Early adopters and those who have experienced it from behind the wheel would also tell you that the 2024 CX-90 PHEV is a genuine Mazda, meaning it has been engineered to please driving enthusiasts. Its steering has a confidence-inspiring heft, feels balanced, and is communicative with the driver. The plug-in hybrid SUV offers a dynamic driving experience on winding roads, which doesn’t come as a surprise given the longitudinal mounting of its engine and the rear-wheel bias of its platform.

Needless to say, the 2024 CX-90 PHEV has a firm chassis, but its suspension is tuned to soak up bumps. The SUV feels solid and instills confidence in the driver to drive it with peace of mind despite its heavy weight and large dimensions.

The PHEV powertrain packs enough punch to offer quick acceleration. It doesn’t switch from the motor to the engine smoothly, and the latter doesn’t sound great under heavy load. Moreover, the transmission can get jerky when the vehicle is about to stop. Overall, though, Mazda’s three-row plug-in hybrid SUV is an absolute driver’s delight and, more importantly, a composed people mover.


The prices of the 2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV start at USD 49,945 and go up to USD 57,450 (excl. USD 1,375 destination fee).

TopElectricSUV says

The 2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV impresses on style, driving dynamics, and quality. The interior is classy, exuding some qualities of a luxury vehicle. It has a decent electric driving range, too, but it’s pricey and not eligible for federal tax credit. Moreover, its third row has limited space and is best suited for kids. If space is a top priority, I think the 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Hybrid is a slightly better option.

2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV FAQs

What is the release date of the 2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV?

The CX-90 PHEV is already available at Mazda’s U.S. dealers.

What is the 2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV’s price?

The CX-90 PHEV begins at $49,945 (excl. $1,375 destination fee).

Which models are the 2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV rivals?

Toyota Grand Highlander Hybrid and Jeep Grand Cherokee L.