Mazda’s New CX-70 Is Identical to the Old CX-90 for a Surprising Reason
We’ve long known that Mazda was planning a CX-70 crossover SUV. Many Mazda fans imagined a lighter, nimbler version of the CX-90. Hopefully with the same I6 engine. Then in January 2023, the automaker unveiled the production version of the vehicle. And I won’t beat around the bush here: it’s a CX-90 with its third-row seats removed.
Sure, the new CX-70 wears some slightly different trim. But even the shape of its grille is identical to the CX-90. Seriously? C’mon Mazda!
There’s a precedent here. Mazda’s competitors, such as Toyota and Honda, offer certain vehicles with five or seven passenger configurations. But in those cases (I’m thinking of the 4Runner and CR-V) the third row is just an option you check. It doesn’t change the entire vehicle’s name (5Runner, anyone?)
You do have the Toyota Highlander versus Grand Highlander, and the Jeep Cherokee versus the Grand Cherokee. But those are both completely different models, with different bodies and longer wheelbases. Mazda’s choice of splitting out five and seven passenger CXs into different models is misleading at best. And what’s more, the automaker could have just imported the CX-60.
For U.S. car buyers, the Mazda CX-60 is a five-passenger crossover. Its wheelbase is 10 inches shorter than the CX-70/90, and its overall length is a foot shorter. It weighs less and feels (a bit) nimbler to drive. So if there’s a market, why the heck not just bring that to the U.S?
The surprising reason may be crash test ratings, which are decided by wheelbase. This isn’t public knowledge, but I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that Mazda could get away with launching the CX-70 under the CX-90s crash test results, without going through the expensive process of destroying more SUVs to certify the new model.
I will also bet you that someone in management, or even marketing, came up with the CX-70s name, seat number, and price point. Then they passed off the project. The easiest way for the team to hit said price point was to reuse the CX-90. And I get it, making a car is difficult and expensive. But again, with the CX-60 available, Mazda didn’t need to do a clean sheet redesign. I’d like to see dealership salespeople try to explain these two models to customers.
Want to see the CX-70 in person? See it in the video below: