Spied in LA! Could This Be the US-Bound Mazda CX-70 or CX-90?

This is the first time we've seen what looks like Mazda's next midsize SUV in the wild

2023 Mazda CX-70 spy shot - featured
(Images: TFL Studios)
  • Mazda confirmed it is expanding its crossover lineup to include the larger two-row CX-70 and three-row CX-90, in addition to the existing CX-50.
  • A TFL reader caught this midsize crossover on the LA freeways — the same area where we previously spied the CX-50 prior to its reveal.
  • When it debuts, the 2023 Mazda CX-70 should arrive on a new platform with either plug-in hybrid or turbocharged inline-six powertrain options.
    • This could also be the CX-90 — there’s not too much information to go on at the moment, and Mazda may decide to reveal its CX-9 replacement first.
  • If the European CX-60 is anything to go by, this midsize crossover should offer a premium experience above and beyond Mazda’s current U.S. lineup.

Two new crossovers, 48-volt mild hybrid and full-on plug-in hybrid powertrains, turbocharged inline-six engines — these are all updates we know are coming to Mazda’s revamped lineup in the next year or so. We have not seen the new, mid-range CX-70 or the larger three-row CX-90 in the flesh yet, but our friend Igor caught what sure looks like a prototype CX-70 on the wild LA streets today.

I mention “looks like” because there’s always an element of uncertainty with heavily camouflaged vehicles, so take what I say below with a grain of salt. Nothing on the CX-70 or larger CX-90 has been confirmed at this time.

We also can’t see it clearly from the front (sadly), though there are some clues from the car’s side profile and rear fascia that suggest this is, in fact, Mazda’s next-in-line crossover. As far as I’m aware, these are among the first photos revealing some actual details as well, so as we mention in some of our spy shot posts and videos, you are indeed seeing it here first.

The CX-60 offers some strong resemblances to what our Mazda CX-70 could well be.

The first detail to draw my eye to this car as a prototype Mazda CX-70 are the taillights. Like the updated CX-5, the brand new CX-50 and the European CX-60, Mazda has squared off the rear light cluster compared to their older SUVs. Leaning on the CX-60’s styling cues actually help the most here, as it too has taillights that swoop around the outer edges of the clusters, pull in under the turn signals then raise up toward the center of the tailgate from each side. It’s hard to tell whether these are the exact same taillights as the Euro-spec model, but they do look remarkably similar.

Other cues at the rear end include the overall width of the tailgate, the rake of the rear roofline and the back glass and the shape of the lower tailgate. Compare the camouflaged crossover to the CX-60 revealed in March (above), and to my eye the two look virtually identical.

Moving from a rear-three-quarter shot to looking at the Mazda CX-70 from a side profile, you can see the differences from its transatlantic cousin. While it looks like this camouflaged crossover rides on a similar wheelbase to what the CX-60 showed us in March, there is more sheet metal beyond the rear wheels, suggesting a greater overall length and more cargo volume. In essence (without knowing exact dimensions), the new Mazda CX-70 could simply be a longer CX-60, with the major change kicking in once you get past the C-pillar.

Just how large are we talking?

From the specific angle shown above, the car does look abnormally long, like it could be a three-row crossover. That may just be a distortion with this photo, and a couple other details have me stopping short of thinking this could be the CX-90, rather than the 70. Again, I could be completely wrong in that impression, and I’ll come back and post an update if I am.

The width between the other spy shot and the production CX-60 look pretty much the same. When we do ultimately see it, I believe the Mazda CX-90 will be both longer and wider than its European sibling. For reference, the current CX-9 does have a fairly wide profile (77.2 inches to the CX-60’s 74.4 inches).

In these photos, the second-row seats also appear to be in-line or slightly ahead of the C-pillar, which Mazda may not carry over for a larger CX-90. By making an even larger SUV, they could move the rear seats back a bit to give better legroom, especially with captain’s chairs. On the other hand, they could also leave the seats where they are and use the extra length to improve third-row legroom, which has always been the CX-9’s Achilles heel. At present, the CX-9 offers a cramped 29.7 inches, which is a terrible figure against most three-row CUVs, and one that Mazda has to improve moving forward.

A look at the CX-60’s plug-in hybrid powertrain. (Image: Mazda)

What about powertrains?

Thanks to the Mazda CX-60, we at least have some idea of what the new Mazda CX-70 will have in store when it arrives for U.S. consumption. We should see a similar plug-in hybrid variant to that model, backed up by a 2.5-liter inline-four engine. In addition to the PHEV, we’ll also have the option for a 3.0-liter inline-six with at least 300 horsepower. Both powertrains should mate up to an 8-speed automatic transmission rather than Mazda’s aging SkyActiv-Drive 6-speed unit.

The plug-in, for its part, manages a combined 323 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque in European spec. It also claims an all-electric driving range around 39 miles. Those numbers would make the CX-70 competitive with other midsize PHEVs on the market. Given Mazda’s premium ambitions, you could consider the BMW X5 xDrive45e (31 miles electric range) and the Volvo XC90 Recharge (32 miles electric range) as somewhat close competitors. The Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe, a potential two-row rival, offers up more power (375 hp), but less EV range (25 miles).

The cutaway above shows the charging port on the car’s right-hand side, while Mazda typically places its fuel doors on the left-hand side. Since we can’t see the passenger side from the photos above, it’s tough to tell at a glance whether we’re looking at a plug-in hybrid or the turbocharged I-6 here.

When could we see the Mazda CX-70?

Now that Mazda has knocked out the CX-50 and the CX-60, there’s only one direction the company could reasonably move. Expect to see official information on the Mazda CX-70 sometime in the coming months, with an on-sale date in 2023.

Pricing is anyone’s guess at the moment, but expect the mid-range option to fall well above the CX-50. Mazda could price it in the mid-to-upper $30,000 range to start for the base model, with the “Select”, “Preferred” and “Premium” trims each notching the MSRP up by a couple thousand dollars. Top-end models — either “Premium Plus” or “Signature”, depending on how the trim levels shake out — could carry an asking price at or above $50,000.

You know what that means, right? When we see the larger (and more expensive) CX-90, pricing could well and truly reach into luxury crossover territory, though we’ll have to wait awhile longer to find that out. Keep in mind that new powertrains are coming into the mix, and we’ll see even more upmarket interiors than we’ve been used to these past few years.