If you haven’t been paying attention, Mazda
is developing quite a reputation for building luxury and near-luxury vehicles at less-than-luxury prices.
Think of it this way: You want an Audi but prefer to pay a Volkswagen price. Cars like the Mazda CX-90, CX-50, and now CX-70 are worth looking into. While an SUV like the Mazda CX-90 can run north of $50,000, similarly equipped European SUVs are $5,000 to $20,000 more than that. A 2024 Mazda CX-90 starts at about $41,000, including the usual fees. The CX-70 should be in the same neighborhood.
Mazda recently changed its naming convention. What was the CX-9 is now an all-new 3-row crossover, CX-90. The CX-5 is now the CX-50, kind of. The nearly forgotten Mazda CX-7 reappears in the form of the CX-70. While these vehicles are not exact replacements for their Mazda predecessors, they’re approximations of the previous lineup. While the CX-50 is a little bigger than the old CX-5, Mazda now has a CX-30 for those looking for a subcompact crossover SUV.
The Mazda CX-70 is essentially the same as the CX-90 but has a few notable differences. They both ride on the same basic platform underneath the body. The main thing is that the CX-70 trades its third row of passenger seating for extra cargo capacity. So it’s a 5-passenger SUV but slightly sportier than the CX-90.
The CX-70 even has some unique wheel choices. The CX-70 is a new, sleek-looking, modern SUV compared to the CX-90. The CX-90 feels a tiny bit more traditional. But there are some notable differences. Here are my five favorite features of the CX-70.
1. It has a great inline 6-cylinder engine
The CX-70 uses the same turbocharged inline 6-cylinder engine as the CX-90. However, since there’s no third-row seat, the CX-70 is a little bit lighter, meaning it might have better performance in terms of handling and acceleration, although it would be slight. In the CX-90, the turbo S version is good for 340 horsepower. The CX-70 will be the same. Could that lack of a third-row seat shave a 10th of a second off the 0-60 time? Probably. The 3.3-liter turbo inline 6-cylinder engine is good for 280 hp. On higher trim levels, that turbo inline-6 using more boost and running on premium fuel is good for 340 hp.
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2. You can plug it in if you want
The CX-70 is also available as a plug-in hybrid (PHEV), just like the CX-90. As it is, the CX-90 PHEV can go 26 miles on electricity only on a full charge. The PHEV used a 2.5-liter inline-4 combined with a 68-kilowatt motor for a total output of 323 hp. In the CX-90, this adds up to a 490-mile total driving range and 56 MPGe. Might the CX-70’s lighter load in the form of a deleted third-row seat result in more electric-only range? Mazda isn’t saying, but we think it’s likely.
3. It looks sportier at the front and rear ends
One of the main differences between the CX-70 and the CX-90 is the front and rear-end treatments. Specifically, there’s a honeycomb-looking pattern on the grill and in the air “inlets” at the lower part of the front bumper. I use quotations around inlets because this only appears to be a design element and doesn’t let air in. Still, it gives the CX-70 a slightly more aggressive look than the traditional CX-90. The same is true of the rear bumper on the CX-70. There are faux vents or “extractors” like the front end. These appear to be all form and no function. However, it all adds up to a slightly different and more aggressive-looking SUV than the CX-90.
4. Its interior is uniquely its own
The Mazda CX-70 and Mazda CX-90 are very similar and on the same platforms, utilizing the same engines. The CX-70 does have some unique interior treatments. Specifically, you can get red leather in the CX-70. And this leather is high-quality Nappa leather. If you’re a fan of Mazda, you know that the CX-9 had a red leather interior, but it was not Nappa leather. That’s the big differentiator here. So, the CX-70 comes off as a little bit more of a luxury SUV. Whereas the CX-90 has a little bit more utility and practicality blended with some high-quality premium materials.
5. The 12.3-inch central screen just works
This is just like the CX-90 setup, which is quite good. It isn’t a touchscreen per se. Mazda prefers that you use their Mazda Connect central control knob to navigate the various features on the information screen. However, when you switch to Android Auto or Apple
CarPlay, it becomes a touchscreen. This is nothing less than brilliant on the part of Mazda. It knows people want to use the features they are familiar with in the way they’re familiar with them. A proprietary system is fine, but it also doesn’t make sense for Mazda to force people down that path when using features where a touchscreen interface is best.
This story originally ran on Autotrader.com.