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First Drive: 2025 Mazda CX-70 PHEV

by | May 21, 2024

There was a time when the little Miata defined the Mazda brand. Though the roadster remains a much beloved part of the Mazda portfolio, the new CX-70 is much closer to what the automaker is all about these days. New for 2025, it’s the two-row sibling of the Mazda CX-90 that made its debut a year ago. Like that three-row crossover, it’s well equipped and well appointed. And it offers some intriguing powertrain options, including the plug-in hybrid I had the chance to drive during a couple days behind the wheel in Palm Springs earlier this month.

Mazda CX-70 - rear 3-4 clouds

The 2025 Mazda CX-70 shares the same platform and most of the design cues found with the 3-row CX-90.

When Mazda launched the three-row CX-90 last year it was looking to redefine what the brand stands for. Mention the Mazda name and folks are likely to recall the old “zoom-zoom” ad campaign and products like the Miata roadster, Mazda6 sedan or CX-9 crossover. With the CX-90, Mazda took a big step up-market, the utility vehicle not just roomier but loaded with more upscale features.

New for 2025, the Mazda CX-70 is not, as its name might suggest, just a downsized version of the CX-90. They’re both based on the same platform and share essentially identical exterior dimensions. The big difference can be found inside, the 70 adopting a two-row, five-seat layout – and using the extra space to provide a cavernous passenger compartment.

Both models share most of the same technology – though CX-70 gets an upgraded, infotainment system that addresses some of the complaints about the older package in the CX-90. As for powertrains, the new models shares the same options that include a muscular plug-in hybrid system that I spent most of my time driving during my time in California.

Interior and exterior

Mazda CX-70 - interior

The 2025 Mazda CX-70 features a much more lavishly appointed interior than the old CX-9.

Don’t be surprised if you confuse the CX-70 and CX-90 crossovers. Both take Mazda’s familiar Kodo Design language in a new direction, with a subtly sculpted, Coke bottle curve to the doors and fenders. The hood features muscular creases flowing out of a more upright take on the automaker’s familiar grille. It’s a handsome and distinctive look that gives both crossover’s a more distinguished and upscale appearance. And with its “rear-focused cabin” the CX-70 boasts “a sense of motion,” in the words of design chief Tsubaki.

The two crossovers stand taller, wider and longer than the outgoing CX-9, thanks to the automaker’s new Large Vehicle Platform. With wheels moved closer to the corners, that translates into a layout providing an unexpectedly roomy interior.

Even with three rows, that meant plenty of leg, shoulder and headroom in the CX-90’s front and center row, though the back bench was a little more constricted. The two rows of the CX-70 are positively cavernous. Better yet, there’s a huge cargo compartment – and a secondary, hidden cargo space under its load floor that’s big enough for things you’d like to keep out of sight, such as a purse or computer bag.

Mazda CX-70 - cargo

The CX-70’s cargo compartment picks up some of the space dedicated to a third row in the CX-90.

There are a variety of subtle details that enhance the feeling of luxury, including the vertical striping on the ventilated seats of high-line trims, like the Turbo S Premium Plus. Other than the base trim — with its simulated leather — other models get real leather, and top-line packages have more elegant Nappa leather seating. For the tech-minded, the CX-70 adopts new infotainment technology that, notably, integrates Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant.

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Powertrain options

The CX-70 also shares the powertrain options first introduced on its 3-row sibling. The Turbo and Turbo S models punch out anywhere from 280 to 340 horsepower and a sportier ride than many of Mazda’s competitors. The CX-90 plug-in hybrid can be operated in all-electric mode, providing 30 miles of emissions-free motoring — enough to meet the typical American motorist’s daily commute. But, with a tap of the Driver Mode toggle, it can deliver a ride nearly as sporty as the Turbo S.

Mazda CX-70 - PHEV badge

The CX-70’s plug-in hybrid drivetrain makes as much as 340 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque.

What proved to be a pleasant surprise was CX-70s new plug-in hybrid package – first introduced on the 3-row model. It pairs a 2.5-liter inline-4 gas engine with a 68-kilowatt electric motor. The combined package pushes 340 hp to all four wheels – if you fuel up with premium, that is. Regular gas drops the pony count to 319, though torque remains 369 pound-feet, whatever the grade.

With its 17.8 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery fully charged, the CX-70 PHEV can deliver as much as 30 miles of range when switched to all-electric mode. It also provides a reasonably impressive 26 mpg in the EPA combined cycle — though that drops slightly, to 25 mpg if the battery runs down.

Running on electric

You can control when to operate in all-electric mode, simply by tapping a toggle switch on the center console. Alternatively, you can opt for Normal, Eco or Sporty modes, the latter instantly providing some extra grunt from the electric side of the drivetrain.

Mazda CX-70 - side Melting Copper

The 2025 Mazda CX-70 introduces a distinctive new color, “Melting Copper.”

While the battery pack’s range isn’t huge, it’s enough for many of the current CX-90 owners to go without burning a single drop of gas on the typical day – something I found to be true when I spent a week driving the 3-row model last year. I expect that will remain true for CX-70 customers.

Charging can be handled with either a conventional 120-volt outlet or, for those customers willing to spend the money, with a 240-volt charger. That should cut recharge times down to just a few hours.

Drive Impressions

Spending time behind the wheel of the CX-70 was all but identical to what I previously experienced with the CX-90. The 2-row model is a bit lighter and Mazda has tweaked the suspension tuning ever so slightly but most drivers likely wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.

The CX-70 lets a buyer switch between several different modes, including all-electric. I opted to check that out while driving around the more developed areas around Palm Springs. Running solely on battery power is just fine for every day, around town driving. It’s not a particularly exciting mode, but you do get a bit of instant torque off the line and it will get you up to speed on a highway.

Mazda CX-70 - Side hills

Look for the 2025 Mazda CX-70 to start rolling into U.S. showrooms during the second half of this year.

If you’d prefer a more vibrant experience, switch to Sport mode, as I did while wandering out into the open desert. brought the powertrain up to its full potential. It had plenty of kick when I slammed the throttle to the floor, and the all-wheel-drive system’s rear bias was confidence inspiring as I maneuvered around tight corners.

While I didn’t have the chance to confirm Mazda’s numbers, the automaker claims the turbo powertrains will handle up to a 5,000-pound trailer. The CX-70 PHEV drops to 3,500 pounds.

The last word

If you liked the 2024 Mazda CX-90 but didn’t need a third row, the 2025 Mazda CX-70 is definitely worth considering. It’s got a lot to offer, all the more so considering the 2-row package starts at $41,900 – including $1,375 in delivery fees.

(The PHEV jumps to $55,855, a fairly substantial premium, though that includes a number of additional standard features. About 40% of current CX-90 buyers have been opting for the plug-in, according to Mazda, a substantial number in the current market.)

The 2025 Mazda CX-70 is being positioned against a wide range of competitors, including products like the Volkswagen Atlas Sport at the low end, and the Lexus RX350, the BMW X5 and the Jeep Grand Cherokee at the high end.

Based on my time with the new crossover, I expect it to add a substantial new customer base for Mazda, rather than cannibalizing sales of the 3-row alternative.




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