For the 2024 model year, Mazda jumps into the three-row crossover game looking to ruffle some feathers in the premium segment. Clean styling, a 3.3L inline-six engine, and a finely crafted cabin are all part of Mazda’s plan to move upmarket. As an aside, know this post only refers to the mild-hybrid CX-90; perhaps we’ll write a Base Camp about the plug-in hybrid another time.
Mazda tends to offer a yaffle of trims for each model, and they’ve continued this trend with the CX-90. The least expensive one shows up for duty in GS guise, priced at an agreeable $45,900 and packing the same 280 horsepower/332 lb.-ft of torque as the pricier GS-L and GT trims. All-wheel drive is included. Safety gear includes active helpers like emergency lane keeping, smart brake support, and radar cruise control with stop & go functions.
The brand’s signature Soul Red Metallic paint is not available on this entry-level CX-90, but the tasty Deep Crystal Blue Mica shown here can be selected at no charge and looks good with those 18-inch gunmetal alloy wheels. LED lamps are present front and rear, while colour-keyed door handles and heated side mirrors don’t give away the fact you’re rolling in the GS trim. We feel there’s more than a bit of BMW in those slick taillamps, by the way.
Three-zone climate control does a good job of quelling complaints from the peanut gallery – even third-row riders get a set of air-conditioning vents. Keyless entry and push-button start are expected and present at this price, as are enough power points and USB ports to keep all devices fully charged. Cloth upholstery is equipped on the GS (the “L” stands for leather-type seats on the next-rung trim), though the front perches are heated and the second row can recline like an airliner for extra comfort. Infotainment shows up as a 10.25-inch colour centre display with wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto but no satellite radio capabilities.
What We'd Choose
It is always easy to spend someone else’s money – just ask Queen’s Park – which is why we are looking heavily at the GS-L and its extra kit. Real leather on touch points like the gear selector and (heated) steering wheel, leatherette on the seats, power-operated access to the third row, and a power rear liftgate are all features most families would appreciate in their next all-wheel drive kid hauler.
An extra $3,400 isn’t exactly chump change, especially in this age of Galen Weston putting his hands in our pockets and inflation remaining stubbornly high, but a few of those extra items add tangible benefits to one’s daily travels. Adding in few extra USB-C ports and zoom-zoom paddle shifters seal the deal for a GS-L in our book.
However, if you’re even thinking about the $55,350 GT and its Bose audio system, you might as well blow sixty grand on a GT-P. Recall how the “-L” suffix denoted leather-type seats? The “-P” stands for performance, cranking the 3.3L inline-six wick to 340 horsepower and 369 lb.-ft of torque when fed a steady diet of premium fuel. Nappa leather, wireless device tools, 360-degree cameras, ventilated seats – all are part and parcel of the GT-P.
But for less than $50,000, we’ll gladly stand the comfortable and good-looking GS-L.
Every week, wheels.ca selects a new vehicle and takes a good look at its entry-level trim. If we find it worthy of your consideration, we'll let you know. If not, we'll recommend one - or the required options - which earns a passing grade.