Mazda’s new flagship CX-90 three-row SUV will offer a choice of petrol and diesel engines when it arrives in Australia in the second half of 2023, shortly after the CX-60.

    The Australian-market 2024 Mazda CX-90 will be offered with a turbocharged 3.3-litre inline-six petrol with 254kW of power and 500Nm of torque, and a 3.3-litre turbo-diesel inline-six with 187kW and 550Nm – the latter unique to Australia.

    They’re mated with a new eight-speed automatic transmission specifically designed for vehicles on this platform, with drive sent to all four wheels via a standard i-Activ all-wheel drive system.

    Mazda says the petrol model is the most powerful mass-production petrol car it has ever developed.

    The M-Hybrid Boost 48V mild-hybrid system on both engines features an electric motor between the engine and the transmission, which can directly power the CX-90 at low speeds.

    Mazda made no mention, however, of a plug-in hybrid CX-90 for Australia despite such a powertrain set to be offered in the US.

    Update: We’ve since learned the CX-90 PHEV will come to Australia a bit later than the others, in 2024. More on that here.

    As in the smaller CX-60, the CX-90’s PHEV powertrain mates a 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine with an electric motor and a 17.8kWh battery, for total system outputs of 241kW and 500Nm.

    The CX-90 follows the MX-5 convertible in offering Kinematic Posture Control, designed to suppress body lift on tight corners and enhance grip. As the name suggests, it’s also designed to allow occupants to maintain a natural posture.

    The flagship SUV uses the rear-biased all-wheel drive Large Architecture debuted on the CX-60, but features a wider body and up to seven seats.

    We’ll get both, even though the two-row CX-60 has been developed for markets like Europe alongside an as-yet unrevealed, three-row CX-80, and the CX-90 has been designed with North America in mind and will feature a two-row CX-70 stablemate.

    “Our second entrant into the new large platform family brings with it even more of everything – more power and performance, greater versatility and heightened luxury,” said Mazda Australia managing director Vinesh Bhindi.

    “The First-Ever Mazda CX-90 is the absolute pinnacle of Mazda premium; our most advanced model ever with exceptional levels of sophistication throughout that can be enjoyed not just by the driver, but the whole family.”

    The flagship SUV has a similar look up front to the smaller CX-60, but it’s longer and wider and has a distinctive rear-end with a curved tailgate, plus new 21-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels with a black metallic finish.

    These photos also depict the CX-60 in one of Mazda’s signature Takuminuri colours, Artisan Red, which is also available on the 20th Anniversary edition of the Mazda 6.

    Inside, there’s a look Mazda says is “inspired by traditional Japanese aesthetics” with swathes of Nappa leather, Maple wood, and tone-on-tone fabrics.

    The fabric on the dash is connected using hanging stitches, which Mazda says was inspired by hand-bookbinding and an intricate Japanese weaving technique known as Kakenui.

    A new 12.3-inch infotainment display takes pride of place on the dashboard.

    Third-row occupants haven’t been forgotten, with USB-C charging outlets and air vents back there.

    The CX-90 will come standard with autonomous emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control, while a surround-view camera with a transparent vehicle mode is also available.

    Mazda has previously said its new premium SUVs will co-exist with its existing, mainstream models, at least in Australia.

    With the CX-90, Mazda appears to be pushing further upmarket than the current CX-9 – suggesting a competitive set including the Audi Q7 and Land Rover Discovery more so than the Toyota Kluger.

    It remains to be seen how the CX-90 will be priced in Australia, and just where it’ll sit relative to the Klugers and Q7s of the world.

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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