The Differences Between Mazda CX-90 and Mazda CX-9
When it comes to Mazda’s third-row SUV offerings, it’s out with the old and in with the new with the 2024 models. Mazda is retiring the CX-9, the long-standing third-row contender, and replacing it with the brand-new CX-90. This isn’t the first time in recent history that Mazda has upgraded and revamped its SUV lineup, with the CX-5 getting replaced by the CX-50 in 2023. This upgrade, however, does much more than elevate the aesthetic and add a few new features. The conversion of the CX-9 to the CX-90 includes substantial changes, warranting the complete rebranding of the model name.
At Capistrano Mazda, located in Orange County, California, we like to help prepare our drivers for the latest additions to the market. Anytime a carmaker replaces a model, it’s common to wonder exactly what’s different between the two. We break it down for you so you can see exactly what to expect with the all-new CX-90.
The CX-90 is bigger than the CX-9, and it also differs structurally. The chassis of the CX-90 features a longitudinal engine layout that represents a detour from the CX-9’s transverse positioning. This switch will allow for better handling of the newer vehicle. The CX-90 also comes standard with kinematic posture control, a feature seen on Mazda’s MX-5 Miata, which should improve mid-corner stability by applying some braking power to the inside rear wheel.
The dimensions of the CX-90 are larger in all directions. The overall length of the CX-90 extends by about two inches, the wheelbase is seven inches longer, and the height is almost an inch taller. This translates nicely in terms of passenger volume and cargo capacity. Passenger volume sees an increase from 135.8 cubic feet in the CX-9 to 141.6 cubic feet in the CX-90, while cargo volume increases from 71.2 cubic feet to 74.2 cubic feet.
The differences in powertrain options between the CX-9 and the CX-90 are almost monumental. While the exterior styling and feel of the two vehicles might seem similar, a look under the hood will reveal that the CX-90 has taken a large step to stand apart from its predecessor. The CX-90 includes three brand-new powertrains, all of which are hybrids. The first, called the 3.3 Turbo, is a 280-horsepower turbocharged 3.3L inline six-cylinder that pairs with a 48-volt hybrid system to perform mild hybrid assist. The mild hybrid system helps boost acceleration and improve fuel efficiency.
The second engine option is an upgraded version called the 3.3 Turbo S, which increases horsepower output to 340. Finally, the third engine option is Mazda’s first-ever American plug-in hybrid — a 323-horsepower 2.5L naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine that pairs with an electric motor. The 7.8 kWh battery pack powers the motor and will provide approximately 26 miles of all-electric driving range.
This is a stark contrast to the CX-9, which offered two options, neither of which was a hybrid. The CX-9 had a single powertrain option — a turbocharged 2.5L inline-four that produced 227 horsepower, increasing to 250 horsepower if you opted for the upgraded version. While the CX-9 paired its engine with all-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic transmission, the CX-9 will include all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The upgraded powertrain means a difference in fuel economy between the two models, as well. Given the fact that the CX-90 relies solely on hybrid powertrains, it’s no surprise that fuel economy improves over the CX-9. For the 3.3 Turbo and 3.3 Turbo S engines, drivers can expect to reach 24 mpg in the city, 28 mpg on the highway, and 25 mpg combined — an improvement of over the 20 mpg for city driving and 26 mpg on the highway offered with the CX-9. The plug-in hybrid will see 25 mpg combined or 56 mpge when going fully electric.
The CX-90 will continue in the CX-9’s footsteps by offering third-row seating. The good news here is that the overall seating capacity will increase due to the second-row seating arrangements. While the CX-9 offered room for either six or seven passengers, the CX-90 will increase seating capacity to either seven or eight, depending on whether you choose second-row captain’s chairs or a bench seat. This is big news for Mazda, as the CX-90 will officially hold the place as the vehicle with the highest seating capacity in its lineup.
The technology in the CX-9 is controlled by a 10.3-inch infotainment screen that uses the last generation’s controls. The CX-90 sees an upgrade to a 10.3- or 12.3-inch infotainment touch screen that features an intuitive and easy-to-navigate system. As for the digital display cluster, the CX-9 came standard with either a 4.6-inch or a 7.0-inch LCD screen, while the CX-90 will have either a 7.0-inch or 12.3-inch option.
The CX-90 continues the CX-9’s tradition of offering a host of driver-assistance technology features to put your mind at ease while on the road. Standard features in the CX-90 include blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keep assist, a lane departure warning system, vehicle exit warning, and driver attention alert. Meanwhile, optional features include a 360-degree view monitor, front and rear parking sensors, and cruising and traffic support.
Surprisingly, all the upgrades to the CX-9 don’t necessarily translate to a higher price on the window sticker. The base model of the 2023 CX-9 had a starting MSRP of $40,125, and the base model for the new 2024 CX-90 is just $40,970. Given the completely new hybrid engine and extensive upgrades throughout, the price increase is reasonable. It should be noted, however, that the CX-90 comes with more trim options, with the MSRP of the highest trim level reaching $61,325.
Bigger and Better
The introduction of the CX-90 means saying goodbye to an old favorite, the CX-9. However, before you shed any tears, rest assured the CX-90 improves on the CX-9 in almost every way, most notably in its powertrain options, which are now all hybrids. Be sure to check out our latest inventory of CX-90s or browse for any remaining CX-9s before they’re all gone.