2024 Mazda CX-90 G50e Azami Review
Price & Equipment:8
Performance & Economy: 8.5
Ride & Handling:8
Interior & Practicality:9
Service & Warranty:8
What we like:
  • Punchy engine is more efficient than old 2.5T
  • Spacious and practical interior
  • Handsome styling, good quality cabin
What we don't like:
  • Expensive service pricing
  • Questionable value over mid-spec GT
  • Powertrain needs more refinement
8.3DiscoverAuto Rating:

Here we have it everybody: the most expensive Mazda sold in Australia (for now) at over $100,000 drive away. We recently tested the new Mazda CX-90 large SUV and came away somewhat impressed with the brand’s newest and largest product in Australia thanks to its new mild-hybrid inline-six petrol engine, practical and luxurious cabin, keen driving dynamics and handsome styling, and here we’re testing the upper-spec Azami. Can the 2024 Mazda CX-90 G50e Azami justify its pricetag? Let’s find out.

Mazda’s premium range – ‘Mazda Premium’, as the brand calls it – with its four new SUVs has been met with some criticism, namely with the smaller CX-60 and how it doesn’t quite fit to the brand’s high standards. But the CX-90 righted a lot of the 60’s wrongs, namely smoothening out its harsh ride quality and adding refinement – and more power – to its powertrain.

How much does the 2024 Mazda CX-90 G50e Azami cost to buy?

While the entry-level CX-90 Touring starts from around $81,000 drive away, we tested the top-spec Azami in ‘G50e’ mild-hybrid inline six petrol form. Its retail price is $94,630 plus on-road costs, or around $102,500 drive away depending on location.

CX-90 Azami standard equipment:

  • 21-inch alloy wheels
  • Dusk-sensing automatic all-LED exterior lighting
  • Rain-sensing automatic wipers
  • Keyless entry and start
  • Heated and auto-folding mirrors that automatically drop in reverse
  • Panoramic sunroof
  • Silver roof rails
  • Hands-free electric tailgate
  • Nappa leather upholstery
  • Leather steering wheel with heating and paddle shifters
  • Electric steering column adjustment with memory linked to seating position
  • Electrically adjustable front seats (driver: 12-way with memory, passenger: 8-way) with heating and ventilation
  • Driver personalisation functionality
  • Tri-zone automatic climate control with third row air vents
  • Heated outboard rear seats
  • 12.3-inch digital driver’s display
  • 12.3-inch touchscreen with a controller wheel on the centre console
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • AM/FM/DAB+ digital radio
  • Satellite navigation
  • 12-speaker Bose sound system
  • 6x USB-C ports (two in each row)
  • Wireless phone charger
  • LED cabin ambient lighting
  • Normal, sport, off-road and towing drive modes
  • 150W AC power outlet

CX-90 Azami safety equipment:

  • 10 airbags (including a front centre unit, driver’s knee unit and rear side units)
  • Auto emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian, cyclist and intersection assistance
  • Lane departure warning with lane keep assist
  • Adaptive cruise control with stop and go functionality
  • Adaptive lane guidance
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Front and rear cross-traffic alert
  • Vehicle exit warning
  • Low-speed rear automatic braking
  • Driver monitoring
  • Traffic sign recognition
  • Matrix adaptive high beam
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • 360-degree camera
  • Head-up display
  • Tyre pressure monitoring
  • Auto-dimming frameless rear mirror

The CX-90 range is yet to be tested by ANCAP, and will not be tested by Euro NCAP as it won’t be sold in Europe. But considering the smaller CX-60 – which uses the same platform and largely features the same equipment as the CX-90 – earned five stars for safety from both safety organisations, we’d wager that the CX-90 would earn the same rating.

CX-90 Azami colour range:

  • Sonic Silver
  • Platinum Quartz
  • Deep Crystal Blue
  • Jet Black
  • Rhodium White ($995)
  • Soul Red Crystal ($995 – on our test car)
  • Machine Grey ($995)
  • Artisan Red ($995)

The CX-90 Azami’s interior is only available in black without ticking one of the below option packages.

CX-90 Azami options:

  • Takumi Package with white Nappa leather trim, cloth dashboard panel with ‘Kakenui’ stitching, white maple interior inlays, second row captain’s chairs with ventilation and a second row centre console with storage: $6,500
  • SP Package with tan Nappa leather trim, suede dashboard panel, tan and black two-tone steering wheel, second row captain’s chairs with ventilation and a second row centre console with storage: $6,500

We think that while there are a lot of cars that the CX-90 will be cross-shopped with – including the Ford Everest, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Hyundai Palisade, all-electric Kia EV9 and even more premium products like the BMW X5 and X7 – its main rival is the Volvo XC90 Ultimate B5, which is priced from $100,990 plus on-road costs or around $112,000 drive away (depending on location).

While the CX-90 Azami is not cheap, against the XC90, it looks like good value for money. For the extra spend, the CX-90 adds a panoramic sunroof, Nappa leather upholstery, three extra airbags, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and a larger centre display, though the Volvo then adds live services and an extra zone of climate control. Despite its better value than the XC90, we’d still like to see the CX-90 add features like rear daytime running lights (which both the XC90 and older CX-9 feature), rain-activated headlights, ambient cabin lighting, quad-zone climate control and live services added to the equipment list to add even more of a premium feel to Mazda’s flagship.

How efficient is the 2024 Mazda CX-90 G50e Azami?

Under the bonnet of the 2024 Mazda CX-90 P50e GT is a new 3.3-litre turbocharged inline six petrol engine that’s teamed with a 48V mild-hybrid system. It makes 254kW of power (between 5,000 and 6,000rpm) and 500Nm of torque (between 2,000rpm and 4,500rpm), making it the most powerful Mazda production car ever and comfortably more powerful than the 170kW/420Nm CX-9 that it replaces, let alone the 183kW/350Nm XC90 B5. The CX-90s engine is mated to a new eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters on the steering wheel.

It’s extremely rare to see a new inline six engine being developed these days, and yet, that’s what Mazda has done for its large car-platformed models and for that, we’re quite thankful. The 2.5-litre turbo-four used in the CX-9 was always a willing partner, but we think that such a large car should use a six-cylinder engine for its extra refinement and torque. Aside from a few refinement issues like a random occasional sighing noise when downshifting, the engine in the CX-90 is a pretty good partner – it sounds good, it’s punchy and even when you’re flooring it, its noise is far from intrusive. Yet thanks to the mild-hybrid system, it keenly switches off the engine while coasting to help economy and can even drive itself a little bit on mild throttle electrically if the conditions allow for it.

The engine is mated to a new eight-speed automatic transmission that uses a multi-plate clutch instead of a torque converter, which is for greater efficiency, according to Mazda. What that means for buyers is that it fits half way between a normal auto and a dual-clutch unit in terms of efficiency, speediness and refinement – there’s no low-speed hesitancy that you’ll get from a DCT, but nor is it as smooth as a traditional torque converter with the occasional lumpy shift on offer and the occasional jump when the engine turns back on and a gear is engaged. However, it’s better than the CX-60 in our experience, but the eight-speed gearboxes used in cars like the XC90 are a bit smoother.

The claimed combined fuel consumption rating for the petrol CX-90 is 8.2L/100km with claimed CO2 emissions rated at 189g/km – exactly the same as the XC90 B5 for fuel consumption and only 2g/km more, which is impressive given that it has more cylinders and a lot more grunt. We recorded 10.2L/100km in combined driving in our week with it – that’s especially reasonable given that the much less powerful first-generation CX-9 would easily use 15+L/100km. The CX-90 must use minimum 95RON premium unleaded and has a 74-litre fuel tank. Towing for the petrol CX-90s is rated at a maximum 2,500kg braked trailer, with a 150kg tow-ball download maximum weight.

What is the 2024 Mazda CX-90 G50e Azami like to drive?

Based on the company’s new large vehicle platform, the 2024 Mazda CX-90 G50e Azami gives a lot of typical Mazda driving qualities, including keen handling, heavy steering for added sportiness and a generally sporty feeling from behind the wheel. Part of that sportiness, perhaps due to the large 21-inch wheels, is a sharp ride quality, although it isn’t as firm as the CX-60, but some bumps are felt more than they should be, and adaptive dampers would likely take the firm edge off the ride. Mazda is excellent at tuning ride and handling, and the brand usually fettles with dampers and springs for each model year update, so hopefully the CX-90’s suspension receives a slight retuning soon to fix its firmness as that’s really our only negative from a ride and handling perspective.

Elsewhere in the driving experience, the CX-90 impresses. It has excellent refinement and even at highway speeds, is very quiet for road and wind noise, while its visibility is reasonable as well – save for the annoyingly zoomed-in driver’s exterior mirror. Mazda’s active safety equipment is some of the best in the industry, and we particularly like the adaptive cruise control, though the front cross-traffic alert was too sensitive in our time with it. The 360-degree camera is excellent and the CX-90 Azami’s active lane centring function works well too.

How comfortable is the 2024 Mazda CX-90 G50e Azami?

As we saw with the CX-60, the new generation of Mazda’s premium interiors are pretty good quality, feature good technological integration and exotic-looking materials – and considering that the CX-90’s front cabin layout is largely identical to the CX-60, it all bodes quite well and in reality, the CX-90’s cabin is a very nice place to spend time. Material quality is quite nice – there are soft touch materials almost everywhere with the soft touch plastics on the doors, quality leather on the steering wheel, seats and doors and the nice bits of chrome on the switchgear and the leather panel on the dashboard fascia is much nicer to look at than the grained fake leather equivalent in the lower-spec CX-90 models.

The CX-90’s cabin offers reasonable storage, though the XC90’s cabin is more practical. The CX-90’s door bins are big, there’s a large glovebox, big cupholders, a shallow wireless phone charger tray under the dashboard and a central bin underneath the centre armrest that’s a bit small. The CX-90’s front seats offer a good range of adjustment and are generally quite comfortable, though they are a bit flat and could be larger, in our opinion. Adding a bit of extra pizazz to the cabin too, would come from more ambient lighting – a line underneath the leather dashboard fascia would look great.

Centre of the CX-90 Azami’s cabin is a 12.3-inch infotainment system that runs the company’s ‘Mazda Connect’ system. It’s well featured with wireless and wired smartphone mirroring, digital radio and satellite navigation, though no live services – that’s about to launch in the facelifted MX-5 and we expect it in other Mazda models later in 2024. Annoyingly for some users, the screen can only be controlled by touch when the handbrake is on, otherwise you must use the centre wheel – that’s fine for us, though the much less expensive updated Mazda3 has touch functionality for smartphone mirroring always, and we hope that functionality makes its way to the CX-90 soon too. Thankfully, the 12-speaker Bose sound system is excellent with strong bass and good clarity.

The middle seat of the CX-90 is a good place to spend time as it’s roomy, well featured and the front cabin quality extends to the middle row as well. Leg- and headroom are both pretty good for six-footers – even with the standard panoramic sunroof – and three adults will fit well thanks to ample width. The second row includes a separate zone of climate control, two USB-C ports, map pockets, heated outboard seats, large sectioned door pockets and inbuilt sunshades. There are two ISOFIX points, as well as doors that open to 90-degrees, helping child seat installation – as well as entry and exit – significantly.

The third row of seating is larger than in the CX-9, though not quite as roomy as the XC90. Entry and exit is reasonable thanks to the seats that fold and slide forward – though the XC90’s seats are even more useful in this regard – and back there are air vents, side storage, airbag coverage and two USB-C ports. Each third row seat has a top tether point for child seats as well.

The boot of the CX-90 measures 257-litres with the third row in place, 608L with the third row folded (both figures are to the belt line, not ceiling) and with all the rear seats folded, there’s 2,025L of space on offer (to the ceiling), which is even larger than the XC90’s 1,868L maximum. The boot itself features a few hooks, a 150W AC outlet, a 12V socket and under floor storage with a space-saver spare wheel located underneath that.

How much does the 2024 Mazda CX-90 G50e Azami cost to service?

Like the rest of the Mazda range, the 2024 Mazda CX-90 P50e Azami is covered by a five-year/unlimited km warranty with five years of roadside assistance. Its service intervals are once-yearly or every 15,000km, whichever comes first, and five years/75,000km of servicing costs $3,360 ($672 per year).

The XC90 is also covered by a five-year/unlimited km warranty but with up to eight years of roadside assistance. The XC90 use the same service intervals as the CX-90 and five years or 75,000km of pre-paid servicing costs $3,000 ($600 per service) for the XC90, which is less annually than the CX-90.

Should I buy a 2024 Mazda CX-90 G50e Azami?

As we saw with the mid-spec GT, the 2024 Mazda CX-90 G50e Azami is a solid entrant into the large SUV segment that gives more heft to Mazda’s reputation as an engineer’s car company. What do we mean by that? Well, it’s mostly a well-engineered product that you can feel from behind the wheel was developed for people who love driving. The way the CX-90 handles is excellent, while its punchy new inline six petrol engine can be surprisingly efficient as well. That those great things are wrapped up in a roomy, well finished and well-equipped product makes the CX-90 even better.

As we saw with the mid-spec GT though, the CX-90 is not perfect. While its drivetrain and ride quality are more refined than the CX-60 that sits below it, more work could be done to iron out the sharpness of the ride and some of the noises that come from the engine. In addition to that, the service pricing is expensive and CX-90 buyers receive the exact same aftersales experience as Mazda2 buyers (which is great for the latter, but buyers of the former might feel shortchanged) and we think that the Azami should feature more equipment as the GT is better value. But aside from that, the CX-90 is a serious product. Is it worth its serious pricetag? That’s for buyers to decide, but we think the CX-90 is definitely worth consideration if you’re lucky enough to have the budget.

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