The all-new Mazda CX90 is a welcome alternative to the Angelino family. First impressions are always important, and I confess that when I opened the door of this car, I was really surprised by the lush interior.

This new Mazda replaces the CX9, one of my favorite vehicles, and a car that stood apart from all other 3-row seats in the market. The 2024 CX90 has a new engine, offers bigger interior space, and brings the brand into the premium, high-quality offerings to drive in Los Angeles.

In the mid-1990s, SUVs were based on large pickup truck platforms and offered third-row seating. Over the last two decades, the additional seating has found its way into medium-sized cross-overs and SUVs, requiring clever packaging from the car manufacturers to please the demanding families in Los Angeles.

The CX90 is a bit bigger overall now and continues with the Skyactiv approach of maximizing all components to improve overall performance. With this in mind, the company has focused on two areas.

The powertrain now comprises a straight inline six-cylinder engine, 3.3Liter 280 HP, and a Turbo version that makes 340 HP. An eight-speed automatic transmission delivers power to all four wheels. A plug-in hybrid will also arrive soon, using a slightly modified version of the same mechanicals. Important to mention is that this car runs on a 48Volt-hybrid system.

As I drove the car around Los Angeles, I realized it did not feel as big as it was. The steering is precise and gives great feedback to your hands. Despite the excellent horsepower on paper, the car has moderate acceleration. This is due to the vehicle being tuned to provide better fuel economy. I drove around Los Angeles and up and down Wrightwood and Big Bear, managing to get 28-29 MPG. This fuel consumption is an excellent number for a car that can seat up to eight people and still have a trunk space.

The interior is what I liked the most about the Mazda CX90. The Japanese company is moving into the luxury market, and the interior design, materials, and craftsmanship prove those intentions. Soft leather upholstery impresses anyone who enters the car with delicate stitching and napa-delicate surfaces. From the driver seat, one has great visibility, and the infotainment can be easily controlled by buttons on the steering wheel. The car has 10.3″ and 12.3″ displays (depending on the trims you select) that are well integrated into the overall design. I set up the audio to my liking, and the quality of the BOSE audio system was better than I expected.

Los Angeles streets and Freeways are getting old and can help test a car’s suspension and dynamics. But regardless of the surface condition, the CX90 was quiet, agile, and capable of handling city traffic without any stress. There is easy connectivity for Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, and Mazda continues to use its unique center panel rotary control.

There are many choices today in this segment, and Mazda’s new offering provides something different. The base model starts at around $39,000, and top-of-the-line models can reach $57,000.

Mazda is also known for its reliability, so I encourage you to take a test drive if you want a family car with interior style and comfort.