Mazda’s New Midsize SUV Could Become More Popular Than the CX-9 Sooner Than You Think
Mazda makes cars and SUVs with driving excitement. Whether the MX-5 sports car or the CX-30 SUV, Mazdas are fun to drive, no matter the trip. And the CX-9 and CX-90 embody that philosophy with useful utility and athletic handling.
The just-introduced Mazda CX-90 is the CX-9’s replacement. Because of that—and its updated design and features—the new SUV could overtake its predecessor. Let’s look at 2023 sales figures and why the CX-90 continues gaining ground.
Mazda CX-9 vs CX-90: numbers so far in 2023
So far in 2023, the Mazda CX-9 handily outsold the CX-90.
Here are year-to-date sales via GoodCarBadCar:
• Mazda CX-9: 16,496
• Mazda CX-90: 3,413
That’s a big difference. But it doesn’t tell the whole story.
The CX-9’s been in steady production since 2016, while the CX-90’s just beginning to hit dealer lots. With more availability and a good track record, it’s understandable the CX-9 is the more popular pick.
On the other hand, last month, the CX-90 narrowed the CX-9’s lead. The same report by GoodCarBadCar has the details:
• Mazda CX-9: 3,349
• Mazda CX-90: 2,281
And with Mazda phasing out the CX-9 and ramping up CX-90 production, that difference should disappear in the coming months. But it isn’t just that the CX-9’s being retired—the CX-90’s a more attrative SUV across the board for most people. And as more drivers discover its innovative design, it could become a better seller than its predecessor.
Comparing the two Mazda midsize SUVs
The 2023 Mazda CX-90 isn’t a mild update to the CX-9. It’s a new design with innovative features, making it a fully-modern SUV. Here are the details.
Outside, the CX-90 has a long, elegant appearance. Compared to the CX-9, the CX90’s fascia has a streamlined and powerful look. And toned-down creases make the bodywork more subtle.
But it’s the mechanicals that make the CX-90 an exemplary sport utility.
While the CX-9 makes do with one engine—a turbocharged 2.5-liter four with 250 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque—the CX-90 offers two high-tech options.
The CX-90’s standard powertrain blends a turbo 3.3-liter inline-six with 340 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque with a 48-volt hybrid system. That setup’s not only powerful but efficient at 25 mpg combined. In a third-row SUV, that’s solid fuel economy.
Mazda also offers a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) option on the CX-90. That system combines a 2.5-liter inline-four with an electric motor, good for 323 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. And with around 39 miles of all-electric range, the CX-90 PHEV saves gas and reduces carbon.
And although the CX-9 has solid dynamics, the CX-90 is even better.
For improved handling, the CX-90 uses a longitudinal engine layout. That’s in contrast to the CX-9’s transverse setup. And a longitudinal engine not only improves performance but also looks, with an extended hood reminiscent of RWD luxury cars.
Further enhancing the CX-90’s balance is Mazda’s Kinematic Posture Control technology. Lifted from the MX-5 sports car, the system brakes the inside rear wheel during cornering.
Both SUVs have standard all-wheel drive, for all-weather traction and security.
Inside, the CX-90 offers a more contemporary look compared to the outgoing CX-9. Features like climate control toggles, a new steering wheel, and a fabric dashboard add a luxury feel. A 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system comes standard—significantly larger than the CX-9’s 10.3-inch unit.
And with the ability to seat up to eight—compared to the CX-9’s six or seven—the CX-90 competes with the roomiest SUVs.
The 2023 Mazda CX-9 starts at $38,750 while the CX-90 costs $39,595. Considering the CX-90’s thoroughly modern design, the premium’s well worth it.
The 2023 Mazda CX-9 had a strong start to 2023, with more than 16,000 units sold. But its replacement, the 2024 Mazda CX-90, looks set to overtake it by the end of the year. And that makes sense, with the new SUV’s leading-edge tech and modest price increase.