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Brief Test Drive and Impressions - CX90 Turbo Premium Plus.

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I test-drove the 2024 Mazda CX90 Turbo Premium Plus. That is a mouthful and this is the 280hp version. A few highlights, pros, and cons. This was a brief test drive on suburban roads, back roads, and the freeway.
Highlights
  1. It looks better in person than online. The long hood, dash-to-axle ratio, and huge 21" wheels give it classic rear-wheel-drive proportions.
  2. However, the interior is not the most spacious when compared to the Pilot, Telluride, and Palisade.
  3. White color does not do justice and I feel darker shades will make this look nicer.
  4. The car felt like a tank and is heavy at 4,709 lbs. It rides well and handles well for the size. It reminds me of driving the BMW X5 and Mercedes GLE/M-Class. Definitely not Porsche Cayenne.
Pros
  1. Excellent ride and handling, as one would expect from Mazda and at this price point.
  2. Lexus level quietness on the inside.
  3. Panel gaps are impeccable and it feels more German than Japanese.
  4. Good dashboard layout with easy-to-access touchscreen and gear selector. I liked the digital instrumentation as well which is fully digital and not half-baked as in the Pilot non-Elite versions.
Cons
  1. Power felt adequate for this 280hp version. I feel the Honda Pilot EXL AWD (4,4xx lbs) is quicker. Maybe it is the mild turbo lag and I'm driving a turbocharged car after a long time (did have a WRX that was a dog under 3000 rpm), and I need more driving to get accustomed to the throttle input.
  2. Definitely go for the Turbo S version if you can and that makes this an expensive SUV starting at $53k for the Turbo S versions.
  3. Rear legroom is smaller in the 2nd row and 3rd row compared to Pilot and the Korean twins. The 2nd row felt exactly like the Acura MDX. It is still good enough legroom in the 2nd row for most people. 3rd row is only for kids and adults for short trips.
  4. Rearward visibility is not as good as the Pilot, but good enough. Thank god for standard blindspot and rear cross-traffic alerts.
I am going to test-drive the Turbo S and then decide. Some pictures.
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I test-drove the 2024 Mazda CX90 Turbo Premium Plus. That is a mouthful and this is the 280hp version. A few highlights, pros, and cons. This was a brief test drive on suburban roads, back roads, and the freeway.
Highlights
  1. It looks better in person than online. The long hood, dash-to-axle ratio, and huge 21" wheels give it classic rear-wheel-drive proportions.
  2. However, the interior is not the most spacious when compared to the Pilot, Telluride, and Palisade.
  3. White color does not do justice and I feel darker shades will make this look nicer.
  4. The car felt like a tank and is heavy at 4,709 lbs. It rides well and handles well for the size. It reminds me of driving the BMW X5 and Mercedes GLE/M-Class. Definitely not Porsche Cayenne.
Pros
  1. Excellent ride and handling, as one would expect from Mazda and at this price point.
  2. Lexus level quietness on the inside.
  3. Panel gaps are impeccable and it feels more German than Japanese.
  4. Good dashboard layout with easy-to-access touchscreen and gear selector. I liked the digital instrumentation as well which is fully digital and not half-baked as in the Pilot non-Elite versions.
Cons
  1. Power felt adequate for this 280hp version. I feel the Honda Pilot EXL AWD (4,4xx lbs) is quicker. Maybe it is the mild turbo lag and I'm driving a turbocharged car after a long time (did have a WRX that was a dog under 3000 rpm), and I need more driving to get accustomed to the throttle input.
  2. Definitely go for the Turbo S version if you can and that makes this an expensive SUV starting at $53k for the Turbo S versions.
  3. Rear legroom is smaller in the 2nd row and 3rd row compared to Pilot and the Korean twins. The 2nd row felt exactly like the Acura MDX. It is still good enough legroom in the 2nd row for most people. 3rd row is only for kids and adults for short trips.
  4. Rearward visibility is not as good as the Pilot, but good enough. Thank god for standard blindspot and rear cross-traffic alerts.
I am going to test-drive the Turbo S and then decide. Some pictures.
View attachment 177 View attachment 178 View attachment 179
Thanks for the post. I'm definitely pleased to hear about how quiet it is. How about the interior materials with the cloth dash material and on the doors? One thing I'm really liking about the interior is the lack of gloss black on the center console.
Thanks for the post. I'm definitely pleased to hear about how quiet it is. How about the interior materials with the cloth dash material and on the doors? One thing I'm really liking about the interior is the lack of gloss black on the center console.
Definitely top notch interior with great touch and feel. I did wish the driver seat had extended thigh cushion. Seat comfort was good but not great compared to Acura MDX or Volvo XC90.
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I drove a CX-90 last night, a Turbo S. I was expecting the experience to be similar to a 2023 MDX Type S that I test drove a few weeks ago. On paper, the engines have similar output. However, the CX-90 was very disappointing. The MDX has very smooth power delivery without any fuss. The CX-90's transmission was thrashing about under heavy load, the power was no linear and you couldn't tell it was a turbo vehicle. The one I drove had just been driven back to back a few times on test drives so maybe the battery was depleted? It did not feel like a 340hp vehicle with 369 ft-lb torque. I agree with your assessment about the rest of the vehicle, it's gorgeous and large (maybe a bit bloated). I was very exciting, anticipating this vehicle for months and now I am going back to drive a MDX A-spec and 2023 Pilot (the Type S is sick but just too expensive for my taste).
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I test-drove the 2024 Mazda CX90 Turbo Premium Plus. That is a mouthful and this is the 280hp version. A few highlights, pros, and cons. This was a brief test drive on suburban roads, back roads, and the freeway.
Highlights
  1. It looks better in person than online. The long hood, dash-to-axle ratio, and huge 21" wheels give it classic rear-wheel-drive proportions.
  2. However, the interior is not the most spacious when compared to the Pilot, Telluride, and Palisade.
  3. White color does not do justice and I feel darker shades will make this look nicer.
  4. The car felt like a tank and is heavy at 4,709 lbs. It rides well and handles well for the size. It reminds me of driving the BMW X5 and Mercedes GLE/M-Class. Definitely not Porsche Cayenne.
Pros
  1. Excellent ride and handling, as one would expect from Mazda and at this price point.
  2. Lexus level quietness on the inside.
  3. Panel gaps are impeccable and it feels more German than Japanese.
  4. Good dashboard layout with easy-to-access touchscreen and gear selector. I liked the digital instrumentation as well which is fully digital and not half-baked as in the Pilot non-Elite versions.
Cons
  1. Power felt adequate for this 280hp version. I feel the Honda Pilot EXL AWD (4,4xx lbs) is quicker. Maybe it is the mild turbo lag and I'm driving a turbocharged car after a long time (did have a WRX that was a dog under 3000 rpm), and I need more driving to get accustomed to the throttle input.
  2. Definitely go for the Turbo S version if you can and that makes this an expensive SUV starting at $53k for the Turbo S versions.
  3. Rear legroom is smaller in the 2nd row and 3rd row compared to Pilot and the Korean twins. The 2nd row felt exactly like the Acura MDX. It is still good enough legroom in the 2nd row for most people. 3rd row is only for kids and adults for short trips.
  4. Rearward visibility is not as good as the Pilot, but good enough. Thank god for standard blindspot and rear cross-traffic alerts.
I am going to test-drive the Turbo S and then decide. Some pictures.
View attachment 177 View attachment 178 View attachment 179
Great stuff @wrxdev! Thanks for sharing this and welcome to the forum! For #4 in your cons list, are there big blind spots in the CX-90?
I drove a CX-90 last night, a Turbo S. I was expecting the experience to be similar to a 2023 MDX Type S that I test drove a few weeks ago. On paper, the engines have similar output. However, the CX-90 was very disappointing. The MDX has very smooth power delivery without any fuss. The CX-90's transmission was thrashing about under heavy load, the power was no linear and you couldn't tell it was a turbo vehicle. The one I drove had just been driven back to back a few times on test drives so maybe the battery was depleted? It did not feel like a 340hp vehicle with 369 ft-lb torque. I agree with your assessment about the rest of the vehicle, it's gorgeous and large (maybe a bit bloated). I was very exciting, anticipating this vehicle for months and now I am going back to drive a MDX A-spec and 2023 Pilot (the Type S is sick but just too expensive for my taste).
Welcome to the forum @mdepasquale! Are you leaning more towards the MDX and Pilot now over the CX-90?
Welcome to the forum @mdepasquale! Are you leaning more towards the MDX and Pilot now over the CX-90?
At this point, I am. I have not driven the non-turbo MDX or 2023 Pilot but I am currently a 2017 Ridgeline owner.
Great stuff @wrxdev! Thanks for sharing this and welcome to the forum! For #4 in your cons list, are there big blind spots in the CX-90?
Not big and definitely on par with other rivals in the class. It is better than the MDX but not as good as Pilot.

I also acknowledge the slight jerkiness in the transmission some folks have felt. I do not think this is an issue but more so how the transmission performs as it does not have a torque convertor and behaves more like the single plate wet clutch systems in some Mercedes AMGs. It is somewhat like driving a manual at low speeds when the car lunge forward as you upshift/downshift in city traffic. Mazda can easily smoothen this via a TSB. I am still in camp CX90 and will be buying it once the order book let us place an order for the Turbo S (base) version as currently only the Turbo S premium and premium plus are available to be shipped.

Mdepasquale, the Pilot and MDX will feel smoother, however they will feel front heavy and the Mazda is more balanced. Honda has had many decades to smooth out the legendary J35.
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Not big and definitely on par with other rivals in the class. It is better than the MDX but not as good as Pilot.

I also acknowledge the slight jerkiness in the transmission some folks have felt. I do not think this is an issue but more so how the transmission performs as it does not have a torque convertor and behaves more like the single plate wet clutch systems in some Mercedes AMGs. It is somewhat like driving a manual at low speeds when the car lunge forward as you upshift/downshift in city traffic. Mazda can easily smoothen this via a TSB. I am still in camp CX90 and will be buying it once the order book let us place an order for the Turbo S (base) version as currently only the Turbo S premium and premium plus are available to be shipped.

Mdepasquale, the Pilot and MDX will feel smoother, however they will feel front heavy and the Mazda is more balanced. Honda has had many decades to smooth out the legendary J35.
Ah ok that's not too bad about the blindspots. Which color your you get your Turbo S in?
Ah ok that's not too bad about the blindspots. Which color your you get your Turbo S in?
Blue or Platinum Quartz or White, anyone with black interior
Thanks for the review. Looks like for a functional family oriented SUV this is not the vehicle. It was the reason we passed up on the last gen CX9, third and 2nd row was weak. All the preview from youtubers made it seem like it was more roomy especially the 3rd row, but I was hesitant because seemed like when in the 3rd row they never put back the 2nd row and if they did, 2nd row was scooted forward. Not one review showed passenger in the 3rd and one in the 2nd to simulate a more realistic experience.

And since you were a WRX owner, I trust your assessement on the power. It truly must be disappointing. I was expecting a nice pull and feeling of being pushed back in your seat, but again since you were/are a WRX owner, I already have an idea based on your experience.

Looks like Mazda really was aiming to compete with Acura or Lexus. Focusing more on quality of the interior and fine details like that. All that means nothing IMO for a growing family with young kids that require usable 2nd and especially 3rd rows. All that fine leather and stuff will be trashed anyways.

Looks like Pilot will take it again for a more functional family SUV. I was at least hoping the CX90 was "fast" and had tons of pull for a satisfying 0-60 or 1/4 mile for some dads out there with only 2 kids already grown up where 3rd row isnt that important.

Was hoping something would be on top of the honda pilot from Asian maker that isnt from a Korean brand. Looks like the Toyota Grand Highlander is the last hope.
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I drove a CX-90 last night, a Turbo S. I was expecting the experience to be similar to a 2023 MDX Type S that I test drove a few weeks ago. On paper, the engines have similar output. However, the CX-90 was very disappointing. The MDX has very smooth power delivery without any fuss. The CX-90's transmission was thrashing about under heavy load, the power was no linear and you couldn't tell it was a turbo vehicle. The one I drove had just been driven back to back a few times on test drives so maybe the battery was depleted? It did not feel like a 340hp vehicle with 369 ft-lb torque. I agree with your assessment about the rest of the vehicle, it's gorgeous and large (maybe a bit bloated). I was very exciting, anticipating this vehicle for months and now I am going back to drive a MDX A-spec and 2023 Pilot (the Type S is sick but just too expensive for my taste).
That isnt encouraging lol

large and bloated would be fine if it translates to roomier 2nd and 3rd row, but from the other review looks like thats not the case. That was the same impression I got with cx9, looked large, but when we went inside it was so tiny compared to how big it looked outside.
Thanks for the review. Looks like for a functional family oriented SUV this is not the vehicle. It was the reason we passed up on the last gen CX9, third and 2nd row was weak. All the preview from youtubers made it seem like it was more roomy especially the 3rd row, but I was hesitant because seemed like when in the 3rd row they never put back the 2nd row and if they did, 2nd row was scooted forward. Not one review showed passenger in the 3rd and one in the 2nd to simulate a more realistic experience.

And since you were a WRX owner, I trust your assessement on the power. It truly must be disappointing. I was expecting a nice pull and feeling of being pushed back in your seat, but again since you were/are a WRX owner, I already have an idea based on your experience.

Looks like Mazda really was aiming to compete with Acura or Lexus. Focusing more on quality of the interior and fine details like that. All that means nothing IMO for a growing family with young kids that require usable 2nd and especially 3rd rows. All that fine leather and stuff will be trashed anyways.

Looks like Pilot will take it again for a more functional family SUV. I was at least hoping the CX90 was "fast" and had tons of pull for a satisfying 0-60 or 1/4 mile for some dads out there with only 2 kids already grown up where 3rd row isnt that important.

Was hoping something would be on top of the honda pilot from Asian maker that isnt from a Korean brand. Looks like the Toyota Grand Highlander is the last hope.
I would not say it is disappointing. The base 280hp felt adequate. If you can definitely spring for the Turbo S. I have not driven it yet, so I reserve my judgement until I drive that.
I would not say it is disappointing. The base 280hp felt adequate. If you can definitely spring for the Turbo S. I have not driven it yet, so I reserve my judgement until I drive that.
my apologies, in one of the replies above someone said they drove the Turbo S and was disappointed, with your review on the regular and the other about the S, its not encouraging. More so yours coming from a WRX owners who knows the feel of a good pull on acceleration
my apologies, in one of the replies above someone said they drove the Turbo S and was disappointed, with your review on the regular and the other about the S, its not encouraging. More so yours coming from a WRX owners who knows the feel of a good pull on acceleration
I think it would be fair to compare Turbo S PP directly with MDX Advance - not Type S. In that case CX-90 is slightly better in performance category, but MDX likely more luxury features. Type S is at least $15k more than top CX-90.

PHEV is not bad either - though XC90 T8 has more power, it runs a lot more in cost - about $22k more for equivalent trim models on the high end. But XC90 T8 does have $7500 federal tax credit being passed through (for now) on lease offer and Mazda updated lease/offers on PHEV today but did not include that pass-through - just a similar cap cost as non-PHEV model.
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my apologies, in one of the replies above someone said they drove the Turbo S and was disappointed, with your review on the regular and the other about the S, its not encouraging. More so yours coming from a WRX owners who knows the feel of a good pull on acceleration
Are we really expecting a 3 row SUV that weighs nearly 2.5 tons to pull like a WRX? I drove a Turbo S and liked it a lot.
It's about realistic expectations.
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Are we really expecting a 3 row SUV that weighs nearly 2.5 tons to pull like a WRX? I drove a Turbo S and liked it a lot.
It's about realistic expectations.
If there is a 4,700lb vehicle that pulls like a WRX I would be afraid of driving it. The Turbo S I drove accelerated effortlessly. Not a pin you to the seat from start but strong off the line and power continues to build as RPMs increase. Didn't feel like it drops off at high RPMs like most Turbo engines.

Overall it is just what Mazda wanted it to be. A complete package that all works together.
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My 2011 WRX is a 5-speed and one can hit 60 mph in about 5 seconds in 2nd gear when I dumped the clutch.

I am hoping to test drive the Turbo S tomorrow. The base 280 hp felt totally adequate. My definition of adequate is that it is more than enough for all of our needs.
What really won me over was the ride and handling and it encourages you to drive enthusiastically. Can't say the same for the Highlander or the Korean twins.
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I test-drove the Turbo S Premium in Artisan Red with the black interior (or whatever the dark color is called). The vehicle didn't feel like a sub-6 sec sprinter but I didn't exactly push it all the way, didn't have it fully warmed up, and had only 60 miles on the odometer, so I didn't expect it to produce its fastest 0-60. It's felt faster than my 2018 Odyssey EXL which does 0-60 in ~7sec. If I had to guess, 0-60 when properly broken in and tested will be in the very low 6, possibly slightly below 6 sec but we'll see.

It looks bigger, more beautiful, and more imposing in person, I could see the posture of an animal waiting to pounce in its side profile. The steering wheel looks smaller and even more impressive than online. The trunk area behind 3rd row looked bigger in videos/pics but smaller in person. Definitely adequate, especially given how easy it is to put part or the entire 3rd down. The steering wheel's weight is just perfect. The vehicle felt very quiet and composed, I didn't experience any of the symptoms of not having a torque converter. Ride quality is excellent - I was expecting it to be on the stiffer side with these giant 21" wheels and low profile tires but they've nailed it IMO. I'm 6'4" and was able to fit without any issues upfront with room to spare (my seat could go further back as I had it set). I could sit behind myself in the 2nd row and even in the 3rd (headroom is not an issue anywhere, legroom is obviously limited in the 3rd row but definitely usable even for tall people in a pinch). Kids and smaller adults will find the 3rd row absolutely fine.

I decided to order one after test-driving this one - it will be the Turbo S Premium Plus in Artisan red with tan Nappa leather.
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You ordered the twin to the one I ordered on February 27th. I hope to see it in about 2 weeks.
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