The appeal of three-row SUVs has never been stronger, and the battlefield sees many worthy contenders vying for supremacy. Among them, are the new 2024 Mazda CX-90 and the über luxurious 2023 Audi Q7 — which are set to clash, providing an exciting face-off.

The Audi Q7, a long-established standard-bearer in the luxury SUV world, is known for its indulgent interiors and assured performance. It's earned its stripes and maintained its allure, retaining a commanding presence among the ranks of premium three-row SUVs.

Enter the 2024 Mazda CX-90, a bold new challenger. This contender is Mazda’s most ambitious swing at high-end luxury yet, boasting a fresh platform, a maiden inline-six engine, and a gleaming array of other first-time features. Drawing inspiration from luxury sport vehicle frontrunners like BMW and Mercedes-Benz, the CX-90 is not only breaking new ground for Mazda but also shaking up the entire segment.

As we delve into the world of both these models, we’ll examine the innovative features, captivating designs, and high-performance powertrains that both the CX-90 and the Q7 bring to the table.

Related Article: 2024 Mazda CX-90 Vs. 2023 Acura MDX: The Better Three-Row Midsize SUV?

The Versatile And Efficient Powertrain Choices Of The Mazda CX-90

In the realm of SUVs, power, and adaptability reign supreme, and the 2024 Mazda CX-90 strides confidently in this landscape with its diverse powertrain offerings. Built to impress, it caters to an array of driver preferences, underlining its versatility.

At the heart of this dynamic SUV, we find three distinct powertrains. The base model, the CX-90 Turbo, wields a turbocharged 3.3-liter inline six-cylinder engine, supplemented by a 48-volt mild-hybrid setup, and delivers a formidable 280 horsepower. For those seeking a balance between power and environmental consciousness, the PHEV model fuses a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, an electric motor, and a 17.8 kWh battery. This blend orchestrates a total output of 323 horsepower, further broadening the CX-90's appeal.

Crowning the power spectrum, the Turbo S version houses the same heart as the Turbo but extracts a commanding 340 horsepower. This epitomizes the pinnacle of Mazda’s production engines in terms of horsepower and torque, showcasing its dedication to pushing new boundaries. Regardless of the powertrain selection, all CX-90 versions channel their power through an eight-speed automatic transmission, paired with a standard all-wheel drive. This further fortifies the SUV's performance prowess, promising a gripping drive on a variety of terrains.

Fuel efficiency is another feather in the CX-90's cap, as EPA estimates peg it's combined city/highway at 25 mpg, surpassing many of its three-row SUV counterparts. While the CX-90 shines in power and efficiency, it does show a modest side in cargo space, offering a maximum capacity of 75.2 cubic feet with all seats dropped. While less than certain rivals, it still provides ample room for most family outings or adventure gear.

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The Luxurious Appeal of the New Mazda CX-90 — An Artisan's Touch

Immersing oneself in the luxurious aura of the 2024 Mazda CX-90 feels like an indulgence. Its seductive aesthetics, oozing with the soulful luster of its unique Artisan Red Premium hue, echo an elegance reminiscent of Jaguar's luxury lineage. The CX-90 proudly sports its size—an inch longer than the Honda Pilot—and the cabin cradles up to eight occupants, outdoing many rivals with the added convenience of extra legroom for a more comfortable journey.

The fusion of style and functionality in the CX-90 is unmistakable. The well-crafted driver-focused cockpit effortlessly reaches out to the co-passenger with its intuitive layout, while buttons and controls, all clearly labeled, lend simplicity to the driving experience. This blend extends to the wider, alluring visibility that drivers will need to acquaint themselves with, given the CX-90's longer hood compared to its class counterparts.

The CX-90 is a hub of tech sophistication, with a low-profile center screen, a crisp digital instrument panel display in higher trims, and a high-performance Bose audio system that amplifies the auditory pleasure. At the heart of this tech haven is a 12.3-inch infotainment screen, equipped with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, supported by high-resolution front, rear, and 360-view cameras.

True to its mission of ensuring a secure drive, the CX-90 is laden with advanced driver aids. From standard adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assistance to blind-spot warning systems, it positions itself as a class contender. The responsive adaptive cruise control adds to its appeal, setting a standard for competitors to match.

Related Article: 10 Things You Need To Know About The 2024 Mazda CX-90

Power, Elegance, And Utility: Audi Q7 Challenges The CX-90

The 2023 Audi Q7 makes a bold statement as it cruises along, powered by a state-of-the-art engine range meticulously designed to cater to varying driving needs. The standard 261-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine with a 12-volt hybrid system ensures a smooth ride for the regular motorist, while the power-hungry have the option of a more potent 3.0-liter turbocharged V-6. This robust unit collaborates with a 48-volt hybrid system to deliver a whopping 335 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque, enabling the Q7 to tow up to 7000 pounds effortlessly.

Trading in its previous engines for advanced variants, the Audi Q7's transformation is notable. Alongside Quattro all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission, the V-6-powered beast conquers the 0-60mph sprint in a thrilling five seconds. Five trims – Premium 45, Premium 45 Plus, Premium 55, Premium 55 Plus, and Prestige – offer a blend of power and luxury, with the V-6 hybrid engine ruling the roost in the Premium and Prestige 55 models.

With cargo capacity ranging from 14.2 cubic feet (behind the third row) to 69.6 cubic feet with all seats tucked away, the Audi Q7 fits right into its class. The novel air suspension elevates or dips the rear for easy cargo management while power-folding third-row seats add a touch of sophistication. Door pockets offer ample space for on-the-go storage.

For the adventurous spirits, the Q7 offers a towing capacity of up to 7,700 pounds with the V6 engine and optional tow package, enough for most recreational trailers. Though the EPA-estimated 20 mpg combined fuel efficiency may not be the class's best, real-life performance aligns with this estimation, enhancing the overall appeal of this powerhouse.

Related: Top 10 Features Of The 2023 Audi Q7

Audi Q7 Is The Epitome of Sleek Design and High-Tech Sophistication

The 2023 Audi Q7 combines aerodynamics with eye-catching aesthetics. Its impressive drag coefficient of 0.32 surpasses that of its rival, the BMW X5, demonstrating Audi's commitment to form a meeting function. Its appealing exterior boasts additions such as animated light sequences for the turn signals, laser-based headlights for enhanced visibility, and options of 19-inch to 22-inch alloy wheels.

This year's Q7 range introduces metallic shades of Waitomo Blue, Tamarind Brown, and Satellite Silver, offering more customization. The vehicle also showcases Audi’s two-touchscreen infotainment interface, designed for tech-savvy drivers. Despite its complexity, the system is fast and responsive, with features like a handwriting function for navigation input.

The Q7 ensures spacious comfort for its occupants, providing ample room in the first and second rows and generous visibility. However, tech advancements do come with minor glitches, such as occasional bugs in the wireless Apple CarPlay. Yet, it's worth noting that the advanced driving safety aids are efficient, adding to the SUV’s allure. This fusion of technology, style, and space makes the Audi Q7 a notable contender in the SUV market.

Related: Audi Q7 vs BMW X7 vs Mercedes-GLS: Who Makes The Best German Three-Row Luxury SUV In 2023

Defining Value: Mazda CX-90 vs Audi Q7

Comparing the Mazda CX-90 and Audi Q7 underscores an interesting dichotomy in the luxury SUV market. The CX-90, starting at a friendly $39,595, offers all-wheel drive and a plethora of safety features, providing cost-effective luxury. Climbing the trim ladder, you'll find the loaded S Premium Plus at a comfortable $60,000.

On the other hand, the 2023 Audi Q7 luxury SUV only comes in three versions, the entry-level 45 TSFI model with a starting price of $59,200. If power is your game, the performance-focused SQ7 starts at a striking $88,500 and, with generous options, could touch $105,000.

However, given its pedigree and features, Audi Q7 is competitively priced against German counterparts like the BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class. Meanwhile, Acura MDX, Volvo XC90, and Lincoln Aviator offer more affordable luxury options with three-row seating standards, but they trade off some features.

Ultimately, the CX-90 and Q7 represent two points on the luxury spectrum, making them both appealing but for different reasons and different buyers.

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