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The BRAND NEW 2023 Mazda CX-90 is here! Available in diesel or petrol and three spec levels, I was lucky enough to get to drive these elegant new seven-seat SUVs through the gorgeous Australian wine region of the Hunter Valley. In a few weeks' time, I will take one home and drive it with my family for a week and put it through our full BabyDrive testing! But for now, let's find out how I got on during CX-9 the launch…

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The Hunter Valley is a gorgeous place to drive, with as many cows and horses in green grassland paddocks as rows of vines and cellar doors. Great roads to drive Mazda's new premium seven-seater SUV the Mazda CX-90.

The 2023 mazda cx-90 is driving down a country road.

The 2023 Mazda CX-90 is available with two engines: A petrol or diesel; they call them mild-hybrids but this is not the same as a normal hybrid as it mainly assists the start of the engine and a few electrical systems to help save fuel. I had the pleasure of driving both models on the sweeping NSW country roads. They are available in three specifications; the bottom-spec Touring, mid-spec GT and the top-spec Azami model.

A CX-90 driving down a country road.

Varying option packs can be added for each specification. For example the Tazumi and SP packs are available for the top-spec Azami model, including the white maple wood on the central console and door trim or the tan Nappa leather seat trim, like in the CX-60.

The interior of the 2023 mazda cx-90

The 2023 Mazda Cx-90 is slightly larger than the CX-9 it will eventually replace (once the last of the CX-9s sell out) and the slight increase in width will hopefully result in fitting three child seats across once I get it home for full testing. Let’s find out how we get on having a quick look at it for BabyDrive during the launch…

The 2023 mazda cx-90 is driving down a country road.

The 2023 Mazda CX-90 has ISOFix in the two outer second-row seats, all within plastic guides and nice and easy to connect to.

2022 Mazda CX-9 second-row ISOFIX LATCH

There are clearly labelled top tether anchorages in the back of all second-row seats of the 2023 Mazda CX-90 and in the back of both third-row seats too.

The trunk of a black suv with two seats.

I have two Infasecure child seats with me in the Hunter Valley, the new Infasecure Momentum More and the Infasecure Attain More. Both fit really nicely in the second-row seats using ISOFix and top tether anchorages.

2 child seats in the second row of a 2023 Mazda CX-90

I could sit very comfortably between the two child seats in the 2023 Mazda CX-90 although there is a hump in the central footwell that you need to straddle with your feet.

The back seats of a black suv.

I'm confident that given the seats are slightly wider than in the Mazda CX-9 (which fits three across) that when I test the CX-90 with three child seats across the second row they will fit really comfortably.

2022 Mazda CX-9 second-row seats
2022 Mazda CX-9 second-row seats

In the third row, the seats are comfortable, kick room under the second-row seats felt a little tight for me but headroom is good for a 180cm adult.

A woman sitting in the back seat of a 2023 Mazda CX-90

Compared to the Mazda CX-9; the front overhang of the bonnet has been reduced and the rear overhang has been increased which increases the space in the rear of the cabin, for the both the third row and the boot.

The back seats of a 2023 Mazda CX-90 with black leather seats.

Two Infasecure child seats will fit nicely in the third-row seats. I installed the new Momentum More and the Attain More.

Two child seats in the third row of the 2023 Mazda CX-90

The second-row seats are split 60:40. When it comes to third-row access, for those familiar with the seat mechanism of the CX-9, the new 2023 Mazda CX-90 is slightly different. The press button is on the side of the seat base and this releases the seat's backrest and slides it forward. Or you can simply slide the seat base forward with the bar at the front of the seat base. I found this the best method for making a nice big gap to climb through to the third-row seats.

A woman opening the door of a 2023 Mazda CX-90

Unfortunately, compared to the CX-9 which has the 40% side of the split second-row seat on the kerb side (In right-hand drive countries like Australia) for safer access to the third row, this has moved to the driver's side of the 2023 Mazda CX-90 which is the road side in Australia. So if you intend to use the third-row seats you'll need to load and unload third-row passengers in the road when street parked.

The back seats of a 2023 Mazda CX-90

When it comes to boot space the increased rear overhang is said to add to the boot space of the 2023 Mazda CX-90 so I look forward to testing this soon with my usual BabyDrive shopping bag and pram challenge!

The trunk of a black suv with two seats.

If you have a family fur baby then you will comfortably fit a small dog in the boot when using all seven seats or a large dog when using only two rows of seats.

There is a 12V and regular house plug socket on the right side of the boot which is great for camping trips and family holidays to plug in an Esky.

The interior of a vehicle with a black dashboard.

The 2023 Mazda CX-90 has USB-C sockets for passengers in all three rows of seats. In the third-row, they're above the cup holders…

The interior of a car with a seat belt.

… in the second row they are in the back of the central console box…

The interior of a 2023 Mazda CX-90 with second-row USB-C and air conditioning controls and vents

… and in the front, there are USB-C sockets in the central console box. So all passengers can charge devices while driving along…

The center console of a car with a power outlet.

… and a 12V socket in front of the gear lever.

Lexus rx450h gps navigation system.

All three rows of seats have air vents in the Mazda CX-90, which is fantastic news for families wanting to use all three rows of seats. The Mazda CX-8 and Mazda CX-9 do not have third-row air vents so it is so good to see them included in Mazda's new CX-90.

2023 Mazda CX-90 third-row air conditioning vent

In the second row they are in the back of the central console box (with their own temperature and fan controls)…

2023 Mazda CX-90 interior.

All three rows of climate can be controlled by the front passengers on the dashboard.

The dashboard of a 2023 Mazda CX-90 with buttons on it.

Second-row passengers also have built-in window blinds in all models of the Mazda CX-90. Most cars reserve this feature for the top spec so it's great to see them included across the range here. These blinds are fantastic for keeping little rear passengers shaded from the sun while driving along and save the need for aftermarket often ill-fitting shades or towels trapped in rear doors as we so often see.

A woman is opening the door of a car.

The 2023 Mazda CX-90 has ten airbags, including side curtain airbags that extend to offer side head protection to third-row passengers, there is also a central airbag between the two front seat passengers' heads in the event of a side impact. Mazda says the back of the CX-90 has twice the rigidity of the Mazda CX-9 so in the event of a rear-end collision third-row passengers have better protection.

The back seats of a 2023 Mazda CX-90 with black leather seats.

Having not been through ANCAP crash testing yet we do not know its score from an Australian standpoint as of yet.

The media system in the 2023 Mazda CX-90 has wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in all models.

The dashboard of a 2023 Mazda CX-90

The media system is easy to use and navigate…

The dashboard of a 2023 Mazda CX-90 touch screen.

…using a rotary dial down in the central console.

2023 Mazda CX-90 gear shifter in it.

When the vehicle is stationary and in Park the media screen becomes a touch screen for Apple CarPlay but when driving only the rotary dial can be used to control it, which takes some getting used to.

The 2023 Mazda CX-90 has a head-up display projected into the windscreen while driving and here you can see your navigation instructions which is extremely helpful so you don't need to take your eyes off the road.

The 2023 Mazda CX-90 is a smooth and quiet car to drive, you are really cocooned from the outside road and traffic noise, giving it a premium drive feel similar to the Audi Q7. The interior is bright and light and the top-spec model has a large panoramic sunroof adding more light to the interior.

The sunroof of a 2023 Mazda CX-90 with black leather seats.

Visibility is great out of the sides of the 2023 Mazda CX-90 with two child seats in the second or third rows. I will test this further in a few weeks when I fit the car with five Infasecure child seats and my family. For those that need extra visibility, there is a rear-view camera you can turn on with a button down in the central console.

A rear view camera is shown in a 2023 Mazda CX-90

The drive is smooth and the CX-90 feels stable and grips the road in corners. The steering is nice and light when turning, parking and manoeuvring. I look forward to giving it my school run and supermarket car park testing!

The 2023 Mazda CX-90 is driving down a country road.

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Tace Clifford
About Tace Clifford
Tace Clifford founded BabyDrive in 2017 after discovering a huge information gap in mainstream car reviews that left new parents and expanding families in the dark when it came to one of the biggest purchasing decisions of their lives.

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