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Confirmed! Mazda's most expensive SUV ever here next year

Although the coming CX-90 PHEV uses the same powertrain as the smaller CX-60 PHEV, tuning differences will produce more power.

Mazda has confirmed the Australian release of what will be its most expensive SUV ever.

Pencilled in for the end of next year, the just-released CX-90 mild-hybrid turbo all-wheel-drive three-row SUV flagship will gain another, more electrified option in the guise of a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) version.

However, how much it will cost and other information remain a mystery for now, as Mazda Australia Managing Director, Vinesh Bhindi, refused to divulge any other details following the announcement.

“We will be adding a plug-in powertrain to the CX-90 towards the end of next year,” he told Australian journalists at the launch of the regular mild-hybrid G50e petrol and D50e diesel models in Cessnock, NSW, last week.

“That’s all I can say at this stage on that topic, but we will confirm more details closer to the launch time.”

So, how much do we think the CX-90 PHEV will cost?

Based on the pricing structure within the smaller, closely-related CX-60 range released several weeks ago in Australia, where the P50e PHEV commands a premium of over $10,000 over the equivalent G50e and D50e models, it is safe to assume that the CX-90 PHEV will likely kick off from nearly $90,000 for the expected Touring opener.

Furthermore, the pricing could even exceed $120,000 for the Azami top-of-the-line grade once one of the special equipment package bundles is also added on.

This pricing could end up being even higher, as – according to Mazda Motor Corporation CX-90 Program Manager, Mitsuru Wakiie – the PHEV in the CX-90 is in a higher-state of tune compared to the one found in the CX-60 PHEV.

“The CX-90 runs on higher-octane fuel, and so computer settings are changed as well,” he told CarsGuide.

“So, by doing so, we can produce a higher output.”

Speaking of outputs, the North American-market version of the CX-90 PHEV uses Mazda’s long-serving 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine paired with a 68kW electric motor powered by a 17.8kWh Lithium-ion battery. Combined power and torque figures are 241kW and 500Nm respectively.

Overseas fuel consumption figures have the PHEV averaging 4.2L/100km, while up to 42km of pure electric range is available.

With Australian consumers at best lukewarm on the idea of PHEVs, it may come as a shock to some observers that Mazda has decided to roll the dice with CX-90 PHEV in this market, particularly as long-time proponents of the technology, Mercedes-Benz, has decided to scale back its PHEV line-up in Australia.

Right now, only two other seven-seater SUV PHEVs are offered locally – the Kia Sorento and Volvo XC90 T8, and both start off from $81,080 and $125,990 respectively.

Finally, at the other end of the price spectrum, Mazda Australia Marketing Director, Alastair Doak, put paid to speculation that rear-wheel-drive versions of the CX-90 could be in the pipeline for the not-too-distant future.

“We always offer value for money, and AWD is the most sophisticated version of the powertrains, he said. “We’ve made that standard across CX-60 and CX-90… and at the moment that’s all we’re considering.

“It’s not part of our thinking at the moment.”

Do you think a $100K-plus Mazda seven-seater SUV PHEV will work in Australia?