2025 Mazda CX-70: The Two-Row CX-90

Strong points
  • Premium look and finish
  • Sporty driving dynamics
  • Superior cabin comfort
Weak points
  • Jerky 8-speed transmission
  • Unintuitive infotainment system
Full report

Modern Mazda vehicles are renowned for their striking exterior styling, upscale assembly quality and superior driving dynamics. And the CX-90 received much praise at its unveiling for the virtues outlined above. The CX-70 is virtually identical to the CX-90, the major difference being that it has swapped its third row for more cargo space.

As its closest sibling, it incorporates the CX-90’s qualities, but it has also inherited its bad habits, on top of being less accessible in certain trims.

The Car Guide headed to Palm Springs, California, to put the CX-70 to the test.

Photo: Louis-Philippe Dubé

Copy/Paste (Almost!)

First off, gets the CX-90's hardware, with base models boasting the turbocharged in-line 6-cylinder with a mild hybrid system offering two power levels, and the PHEV unit composed of a 2.5-litre four-cylinder combined with an electric motor and battery.

The 6-cylinder engine option outputs 280 hp, or 340 hp (premium gas) in top variants. The plug-in hybrid dishes out 323 hp (premium gas) in two variants. The latter offers an all-electric range of 42 kilometres in ideal conditions. Regardless of the engine or model, an 8-speed transmission sends power to all four wheels, thanks to the standard i-Activ all-wheel drive system.

On the road, the CX-70 makes the most of its longitudinal engines, offering a balanced, even sporty ride in corners. This agile character does not, however, compromise ride comfort on the highway or when venturing on rough pavement. The much-coveted balance between dynamics and comfort found on German SUVs seems to be well in place in the CX-70.

Photo: Louis-Philippe Dubé

While power proves sufficient and even ample on all three drive configurations, the eight-speed gearbox seems to be the CX-70's biggest handicap. It sometimes lacks consistency, especially with the six-cylinder nit. At times, it manages to deliver adequate performance during acceleration and highway acceleration. At other times, however, it seems to hesitate when starting off and continues with jerky acceleration.

It's worth noting that the CX-70 can tow up to 5,000 pounds as standard on 6-cylinder models (3,500 pounds on PHEV models), with a back-up camera specifically designed to hitch a trailer with ease. The CX-70's towing mode also adapts the vehicle's all-wheel drive system to minimize trailer sway on the road.

Who Needs a Third Row ?

With the only notable difference being a third row of seats compared to the CX-90, the CX-70 inevitably offers more cargo space behind its second row. We're talking about 1,131 litres with the GS-L model and 1,122 litres with the higher variants. PHEV models offer more, with 1,272 litres, and there's plenty of room for passengers too. The comfortable upholstery of our test model enhanced our drive, as did the overall quality of the interior finish. However, the same cannot be said of the infotainment system, whose touchscreen capabilities are deactivated most of the time.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto users, on the other hand, will be delighted to know that these functionalities can be activated when either of these suites dominates the screen.

Photo: Louis-Philippe Dubé

In the end, this new model could easily have been called the CX-90 Sport. But in order to expand its catalogue and avoid confusion, Mazda opted for a new model that will be marketed to a different audience - the coveted (and mysterious) niche of “young dynamic professionals”.

Regardless of its ambitions, the CX-70 is an SUV that not only charms at first glance, but also performs well and is a pleasure to drive. It also offers great ride comfort and interior space. On the other hand, the 8-speed transmission is in desperate need of some fine-tuning, and the interior has a few hiccups in terms of ergonomics, particularly where the multimedia system is concerned.

Photo: Louis-Philippe Dubé

The CX-70's starting price is almost $4,000 higher than that of the CX-90, which is odd for a vehicle with one less row of passengers. But it's worth pointing out that the CX-90 line starts with the basic GS variant, while the CX-70 begins with the more plush but less affordable GS-L variant, which comes standard with the towing package capable of towing up to 5,000 lb, unlike the CX-90 GS. But then again, the CX-90 GS-L variant with equivalent equipment is still cheaper by $450. Whatever the model, it's important to assess the value of the third row according to your personal needs, but also in terms of resale value.

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