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The Mazda CX-90 presents itself as your premium family hauler

Starting at P3,680,000 for the eight-seater

The biggest and most premium Mazda SUV has arrived on our shores. PHOTO BY JUSTIN YOUNG

Mazda’s premium onslaught on the Philippine market continues with the introduction of its biggest vehicle yet—the three-row CX-90.

One might perceive it as a blown-up CX-60 (it technically is), but this is the wide-body version allowing up to eight people to comfortably fit inside. It has dimensions of 5,120mm long, 1,994mm wide, and 1,745mm tall, with a wheelbase of 3,120mm.

The Philippine market is in a unique position to be one of the very few markets to receive both the CX-60 and the CX-90. This means that we won’t be seeing the CX-70 (wide two-row) and the CX-80 (narrow three-row), but all are part of the automaker’s Large Product Group.

Minor cosmetic differences distinguish the two variants. PHOTOS BY JUSTIN YOUNG AND SAM SURLA

Compared to the CX-60, there are only minor cosmetic differences aside from seating configurations between the two variants, meaning that both vehicles are still armed to the teeth with features like adaptive LED headlamps, an identical vertical slat grille, and mostly the same amount of chrome brightwork.

Black cladding galore for the family hauler. PHOTOS BY JUSTIN YOUNG

First, we have the eight-seater AWD HEV Turbo that goes for P3,680,000.

This has a smattering of plastic cladding all around, an unsightly all-black “Inline 6” badge, and silver 21-inch alloy wheels.

The Exclusive looks stately with painted body cladding. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA

Next is the six-seater AWD HEV Turbo Exclusive. This goes for P3,780,000.

It’s a little more premium-looking with body-colored cladding, and two-tone 21-inch alloy wheels. This is also finished in the Artisan Red Premium color that was first previewed on the Mazda 6 20th Anniversary Edition.

The CX-90's dashboard layout is identical to the CX-60's. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA

If you’ve seen the CX-60, then the interior layout and the tech features of the CX-90 should be familiar to you.

A 10.25-inch digital gauge cluster, a 12.3-inch infotainment, a heads-up display with smartphone integration, a 12-speaker Bose sound system, wireless smartphone integration with a wireless charging pad, three-zone climate control, a panoramic sunroof, and USB-C ports all around.

Drivers don't get the short end of the stick with either variant. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA

The eight-seater comes with smooth black Nappa leather upholstery with titanium accents and aluminum trim. Meanwhile, the Exclusive comes with a more extroverted-looking tan interior with Leganu suede inserts on the seats and the dashboard. It also has a black stainless steel-effect trim finisher.

If you desire, a white interior can be ordered by indent. It comes with Nappa leather upholstery, a Kakenui textile dashboard, and maple wood trim, which can be seen on this CX-60.

The front row has 10-way ventilated power-adjustable seats. The second and third rows are different between the two variants.

A three-seater bench for the eight-seater. PHOTO BY SAM SURLA
Ventilated captain's seats on the Exclusive. PHOTO BY SAM SURLA

The Exclusive features two ventilated captain’s chairs with a center console in the middle. On the other hand, the eight-seater has a regular bench that is capable of seating three abreast.

Up to three people will be able to sit in comfort with all the amenities needed for a long journey. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA

The second-row seats slide forward to give access to the third row, which now thankfully has two USB-C ports and rear vents, something that previous three-row Mazda crossovers lacked.

With great size comes great cargo capacity. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA

This vehicle’s large size delivers immense cargo capacity. With all three rows up, you have 257L of usable space. Fold the third row down, and that figure grows to 1,163L. With two rows flat, you have a pickup-like 2,025L of cargo space.

There is also a hands-free power tailgate (kick sensor), as well as a flat tailgate opening to make loading long items easier.

There is only one powertrain this time around, and it's an electrified, gasoline-fed mill. PHOTO BY SAM SURLA

Our market is only limited to one powertrain: the longitudinally mounted 3.3-liter turbocharged in-line-six gasoline mill known as the e-Skyactiv-G. We have the standard-output version, with 280hp and 450Nm (on both 91- and 95-octane fuel), while the North American market receives the high-output variant with 340hp and 502Nm.

It’s an electrified powertrain with a 48V system that has an electric motor that manages to output 17hp and 153Nm, integrated within the eight-speed multiplate automatic transmission.

Upon asking why we did not receive the diesel powertrain (like in Australia), we were informed that buyers of the vehicles in this segment would prefer the refinement of a gasoline engine, as most of them will be driven in this vehicle, especially with the six-seater Exclusive variant.

The CX-90 is even more feature-rich than its luxury-brand competitors. PHOTO BY SAM SURLA

But that shouldn’t discourage owners from driving themselves occasionally. A rear-wheel-biased all-wheel drive system, Kinematic Posture Control, and Mazda’s renowned driving dynamics should make the vehicle exciting to drive. With a ground clearance of 203mm, this isn’t an off-roader.

Of course, it comes with driver aids like the Driver Personalization System and i-Activsense safety suite aside from the usual suspects like adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, and a 360° camera with a see-through view mode. There is also Cruising and Traffic Support, allowing the car to follow the lanes on the road to help reduce fatigue on long journeys.

If you aren’t overly brand-conscious, then this is a very compelling alternative. PHOTO BY SAM SURLA

Finally, the CX-90 comes in seven colors: Artisan Red Premium, Rhodium White Premium, Machine Gray, Platinum Quartz, Sonic Silver, Deep Crystal Blue, and Jet Black.

With this SUV’s competitive prices and five-year free service plan, it seriously undercuts European luxury rivals by a large margin and aims to give its fellow three-row Asian SUVs the jitters. Are you eyeing one?

Sam Surla

Sam is the youngest member of our editorial team. And he is our managing editor (believe it or not). He specializes in photography and videography, but he also happens to like writing about cars a lot.