2024 Mazda CX-90 G50E Azami (car review)

Mazda have come out swinging with their new flagship premium SUV – the CX-90 G50E Azami – a car that comes complete with a mild hybrid powertrain. It’s also the most powerful and most expensive Mazda to go on sale to date.

Priced from $101,030 driveaway for the petrol version we’ve got, about $20,000 more than the outgoing CX-9 Azami LE, it’s available with two optional interior packages for those who want a little more exclusivity.

Tested here in Soul Red Crystal Metallic, it can also be had in Rhodium White Metallic, Sonic Silver Metallic, Machine Grey Metallic, Jet Black Mica, Platinum Quartz Metallic, Artisan Red Metallic and Deep Crystal Blue Mica.

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Pretty colours aside, it’s the price most people will struggle to get their heads around, at least until they learn more about what this car has to offer. Mazda have basically enlarged the CX-60 in creating the CX-90, and we think it really works.

There’s an elegance and purposefulness in its look and stance. With almost no front overhang, the car has a rear slung appearance, which has the benefit of maximising room for the third row of seats and boot space.

2024 Mazda CX-90 G50E Azami
2024 Mazda CX-90 G50E Azami

Staying true to Mazda’s Kodo design philosophy, the front and rear lights are distinctive, while blending into the grille and surrounding panels. There are some nice, but not overdone chrome pieces along the side sills with ‘Mazda’ embossed in them.

A pair of ‘Inline 6’ badges sit towards the front, with body coloured wheel arches. Inside, there’s a classiness in the simple yet elegant appearance of the dash, with everything having a real quality feel.

The steering wheel is comfortable, with intuitive buttons. The finish on the door panels and in the lower centre console doesn’t feel as premium as it should be, while there are probably too many controls for the heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

It’s a fair stretch for the driver to reach across these, even for those with longer arms. The seats are wrapped in black Nappa leather, and are adjustable across both the first and second row. The third row is even capable of seating tall adults, if only for shorter drives.

The steering wheel, front and outer second row seats can be heated, while the fronts are also ventilated at this trim level. ISOFIX points on the outer second row seats provide plenty of versatility for whatever trips you may be planning.

dash
Inside the 2024 Mazda CX-90 G50E Azami

Air-conditioning vents are available to all rows, with the first and second able to adjust the temperature and fan speeds to their liking. We did notice the system struggled to cool the car on really hot days though.

The second row has superb access, with the doors swinging almost 90-degrees when opened, and include built-in window blinds. All three rows get access to USB-C ports. For those wanting something a little different, there are also two $5000 optional packages.

Known simply as SP and Takumi, these change the interior colours to a tanned suede and leather for the former, or white, in the case of the latter. Both packs place captain’s seats in the second row, which makes the CX-90 a 6-seater with two large centre consoles.

Mazda have decked their flagship out with their latest tech, that includes a 360-degree camera, and the car maker’s cruising and traffic support system. This assists with acceleration, braking and steering while cruise control is enabled.

The digital display can show cars ahead of and in adjacent lanes, while the heads-up display is quite large and informative, without being too distracting. The CX-90 can also use facial recognition technology to monitor driver fatigue and alertness.

rear seats
Third row seating inside the 2024 Mazda CX-90 G50E Azami

Navigating the main screen is done via the rotary dial in the centre console, which becomes second nature after a short time – especially as Mazda remove the touch screen functionality when the car is in motion.

Using wireless Android Auto or Apple CarPlay via the dial is a little different, and while there is a native satellite navigation system, we found the phone worked a little better. For tunes and podcasts we were treated to a wonderful Bose 12-speaker audio system.

It delivers amazing clarity no matter what you throw at it, with the experience being as close to having a home theatre in your car as possible. Of most significance though is not the comfort or tech, but what’s under the hood.

At a time when others are downsizing and electrifying, Mazda has instead thrown a 3.3-litre turbocharged 6-cylinder that produces 254kW and 500Nm into the CX-90. It’s a joy to drive, and has no problem shifting the big SUV’s two tonne weight.

Behind the large front grille we also spotted vents that open and close for extra cooling. Just like the CX-60, Mazda’s M Hybrid Boost 48-volt mild hybrid supports the engine at lower speeds, for a claimed 8.2-litres/100km in fuel economy.

boot
Inside the 2024 Mazda CX-90 G50E Azami

Real world testing saw 8.8-litres/100km, which is still pretty decent. All-in-all, the CX-90 is quite easy to drive around town, across suburbia and out on the open road. For something that’s quite large, it does well to hide its size.

The CX-90 is a really good driver’s car and sure, it’s no MX-5, but it is an absolute blast. Even with 21-inch wheels as standard across the range, the Toyo 275/45 tyres and the suspension setup meant the experience was sublime.

With three ‘Mi-Drive’ modes, including Normal, Off Road and Sport (which I may have used more often than I’d like to admit), it’s an impressive offering. Add in the 2,500kg braked towing capacity, and it’s practical too.

Our only issue is in fact the mild hybrid technology, which seems to struggle to smoothly re-engage the combustion engine once it’s been in control at low speeds. Unfortunately, it makes for a less than premium experience.

Offered with a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty, the 2024 Mazda CX-90 Azami is a wonderful machine, with just a few minor quirks. As a first attempt at the premium SUV market, it’s impressive, despite the price tag that has some people scratching their heads.

2024 Mazda CX-90 G50E Azami
2024 Mazda CX-90 G50E Azami

You can find out more about it on the Mazda Australia website, or from you local dealership. If you’re keen on one and need finance, talk to CreditOne.

Our test vehicle was provided by Mazda Australia for review purposes.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Driving experience
9
Exterior styling
8
Interior look and feel
8
Technology and connectivity
9
Family friendliness
9
Value for money
7

SUMMARY

Pros - roomy; comfortable, practical 3-row SUV; Mazda styling; road holding; awesome sound system.
Cons - stop/start needs refining; air-conditioning sometimes struggles; new entrant going up against strong, established competitors.
Daniel Collins
Daniel Collins
Daniel has had a keen interest in cars since getting his first Matchbox toy as a young kid. If he's not car spotting while out on the roads, he'll be plane spotting watching the sky, or diving into one of his many favourite sci-fi universes.

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<strong>Pros -</strong> roomy; comfortable, practical 3-row SUV; Mazda styling; road holding; awesome sound system.<br> <strong>Cons -</strong> stop/start needs refining; air-conditioning sometimes struggles; new entrant going up against strong, established competitors.2024 Mazda CX-90 G50E Azami (car review)