Thanks for the post. I hadn't really thought about the smoothness of the power delivery though I have several friends with Teslas and should have. If I am getting 30+ average I will likely just leave it in normal mode and let it decide what it thinks is best. If I am getting less than 25 I may try switching modes. I had several turbo sports cars 25-30 years ago (MR2, Gen 1 and 2 300ZX, and 3000 GT VR4) and LOVE the turbo surge. Modern turbos have less lag and less noticeable turbo surge and I am sure the CX-90 turbo I6 was designed to have feel more like a larger displacement engine than FI. I was really hoping for the turbo version of the 2.5 with the PHEV. Particularly because I live in CO where all naturally aspirated engine lose signficant power (and turbos don't). At least the electric engine also shares that advantage. Might be getting of subject but my point is it was hard to give up the turbo 6 in favor of the PHEV and was decided primarily on the idea it would get significantly better gas mileage and only lose a little performance. With ratings of 25 mpg combined for both I am a little disappointed but, if driving less than 25 miles daily and solely in EV mode (with solar panels charging it), I think the PHEV makes better sense for me.
Everyone's experience is going to differ, thus the phrase YMMV.
For reference or just entertainment, here's my experience with the 530e PHEV with a similar setup to the CX-90 (ICE engine -> electric motor -> 8 speed transmission). It weighs less, (4300 vs 5100), has a more powerful turbo ICE unit, a smaller and less powerful electric motor, smaller battery, and is RWD. So not apples-to-apples, but close enough to get an idea.
The official combined mpg is 28 (presumably standard hybrid mode), and mpge is 67 (some combination of ev driving followed by hybrid driving when the battery goes below a critical value). The official ev range is 16 miles, which is pretty much what I am getting.
The car is reporting 70mpg after about 350-400 miles. My daily commute is 20 miles round trip in mostly stop and go traffic--so no, I do not make the entire commute on battery. My errands are usually within a 5 mile radius, and I charge pretty much every time I reach home. I've done maybe 80 miles on the highway and goofed around with a WOT here and there, but mostly drive pretty casually. The gas needle is still above half on a 12.x gallon tank, so I've no reason to doubt the 70 mpg figure. And it's the dealer fill so it's probably not even high octane, which the car recommends.
Since the CX-90 has a more powerful electric motor, a bigger battery, and longer range, I expect to use almost no gas at all...if I end up getting one. I really wish I could get the base turbo S seating arrangement, parking sensors, folding/auto tilt mirrors, and the PHEV powertrain.
I think charging and driving habits are probably the biggest factors. Do you have a level 2 charger, or are you considering getting one? The CX-90 has relatively fast charging speed on level 2: 7.5kw, which is a big step up from the BMW PHEV's 3.7kw. That would make it pretty painless to top up each time you reach home.
Another thing worth mentioning. I've found hybrids and evs have a way changing driving style. I actually get a kick out of achieving high efficiency scores, and honestly, it's just as fun and satisfying as high performance numbers: accelerating, cornering. In my case, this was true even with the dual motor 400+ ft-lb EVs that I had.
Bottom line, I think there's a good chance you'll enjoy the PHEV, and it may surprise you if your expectations are somewhere around 25 mpg--provided you can keep it reasonably charged.