Home » The Mazda CX-70 Is A Great Argument For Buying A Mazda CX-90

The Mazda CX-70 Is A Great Argument For Buying A Mazda CX-90

Mazda Cx70 2025 Ts1
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Many people simply will not buy a minivan even if it’s the logical choice for their family and even if minivans rule (they do). Instead, people buy three-row crossovers, which are almost always a compromise of functionality in the name of style. Mazda has decided to address this issue of compromised three-row crossovers by taking its own quite good one, the CX-90, and removing its back row. Now it’s a two-row they call the CX-70. Problem solved!

In place of the third row is… nothing. Mazda just literally took the third row out of the vehicle, gave the car a slightly more aggressive front fascia, and put a couple of hard-to-access cubbies underneath.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Maybe this is genius. Maybe there is a substantial number of buyers who just want a two-row vehicle and don’t want to be forced to buy a vehicle with three rows. Maybe this all makes sense. Or maybe it doesn’t.

[Full Disclosure: Mazda nicely flew me out to Palm Springs and put me up in an adults-only resort with a ton of these little hot spring-fed pools. The company also fed me various foods, including jicama tacos. I was offered a facial or deep-tissue massage, but David needed to go buy a [REDACTED] so I skipped it. I did do a very gentle round of yoga in the yoga dome, however, and got a Japanese cooking lesson. – MH)

Wait, It’s Really Just A CX-90 Without A Third Row?

Mazda Cx 70 Storage W David 1

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Yeah. 100%. When the CX-70 was first announced that’s what we guessed it was and now we have confirmation. It’s a CX-90 without a third row.

That seems a little crazy, right?

There is no other company I can think of that does exactly this. Toyota has the Highlander and the larger Grand Highlander. BMW has the X5 and the X7, with the X7 being about nine inches longer than the X5. Jeep has the Grand Cherokee and Grand Cherokee L, the latter of which is about ten inches longer than the non-L. Last year I drove the Volkswagen Atlas (seven-passenger, three-row) and CrossAtlas, which is a two-row version with a rounded-off rear.

Did Mazda move the 2nd row back for more legroom? Nope. It’s exactly the same. Both the CX-70 and CX-90 have 39.4 inches of legroom in the rear seat and 41.7 inches of legroom in the front seat.

Do You Get More Cargo Space?

Mazda Cx 70 Rear 1

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Yes and, more importantly, no. Just to be safe I reached out to a Mazda rep for the dimensions of the CX-70 and compared them to the Mazda CX-90.

With the 2nd row seats upright the CX-70 has 39.6 cubic feet of cargo volume. The Mazda CX-90, though has 40.0 or 40.1 cubic feet, which is somehow slightly more. With all the seats down the CX-90 has as much as 75.2 inches, whereas according to Mazda, the CX-70 has 75.3 inches, so that’s something. Obviously, these tiny differences are not noticeable and the cars have effectively the same storage area.

The Mazda CX-70 does have some little cubbies.

The Cubbies Are Not That Accessible

Mazda Cx 70 Storage 1

Here’s what the rear looks like with the cargo removed. The cupholders are still there but the rear belts, seats, and rear HVAC have been removed. This means the CX-70 is ever so slightly lighter (all that stuff adds about 45 pounds of weight if you were curious). The one pictured here is a PHEV, so it’s got storage for the charger that sort of works.

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Then there are these two little cubbies where the seats were on the CX-90. Because of the way the cargo floor closes, the closer of the two cubbies is only accessible if you lift the floor all the way up, which is sort of awkward and only works if you’ve got nothing back there, otherwise, you need to take out whatever is on top of the floor.

The storage area all the way in the front is only accessible if you fold back the 2nd row of seats or, as we did here, remove the cargo cover. It’s certainly better than nothing, but I’m not sure how much better.

What’s Under All That Foam?

I’m glad you asked because David and I took it apart and looked:

Mazda Cx 70 Storage 2 1

You can see some fuel lines, a spare tire (good), a subwoofer, some orange high-voltage lines for the hybrid system, and a few other electronics. This is all fairly deep within the floor and there’s an argument to be made that this could be a larger storage area, except:

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Mazda Cx 70 Storage 3 1

That’s a bunch of foam/padding to reduce noise, vibration, and harshness. It works! The CX-70 is fairly quiet, although I think I’d rather have the extra space.

So, It’s Cheaper?

Not exactly. The CX-70 is technically a CX-90 that has less functionality but costs more money. How is this possible?

The CX-90 offers the 3.3 Turbo Select trim, which starts at $37,845 (before delivery). The CX-70 doesn’t have this trim, meaning your cheapest option is the CX-70 3.3 Turbo Preferred, which starts at $40,445. Otherwise, every trim is essentially the same price as the comparable CX-90, so except for the initial starting price it’s just a less functional CX-90 for the same money.

One could argue that rather than try to slot a third-row into a smaller package, Mazda is giving you a capacious two-row crossover instead. Mazda, in fact, tried to make this argument by showing off a BMW X5, non-L Jeep Grand Cherokee, and Lexus RX 350:

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Mazda Cx 70 Competition

Just looking at it, the CX-70 does have more rear storage than either vehicle. The total 75.3 cubic feet of cargo storage trumps even the 72.3 cubic feet in the X5, 70.8 cubic feet in the Jeep, and handily bests the 46.2 cubic feet in the Lexus RX 350. Do you get a cost savings with that?

Sort of; you can get a base Jeep GrandCherokee Laredo in two-row configuration for $40,035, which is slightly less than the CX-70, even though the CX-70 is demonstrably nicer. It’s not premium, but it is near premium, with many quasi-luxury touches. The Mazda is much cheaper than the Lexus RX 350 (starting at $49,950) and the BMW X5 ($65,700) because, well, it’s a Mazda.

The term “Empty-nesters” got thrown around a lot at this event to explain people who might eschew the third row.

Am I Taking Crazy Pills? Gimme Something

2025 Cx 70 Towing

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Ok, here’s something kinda cool.

The Mazda CX-70 can, in certain trims, tow a total of 5,000 pounds. This isn’t a wild amount (so can the VW Atlas), but it’s enough to pull a small boat, some jet skis, a small camper, or even an entire classic Mazda supercar like the rotary-powered Cosmo 100s.

If you get a Mazda CX-70 you can get a tow camera to tow things:

Mazda Cx 70 Tow Mode 1

I used it to test lining up the CX-70 with the Cosmo pictured above. It worked quite well.

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Is This All A Cynical Ploy To Win Over Google Searches?

Mazda Cx 70 Headlight GrilleThere is a very good argument to be made that this is all a cynical (or logical) ploy to win over Google Searches and searches on different car-buying platforms. As enthusiasts, we know this is just a two-row CX-90, but perhaps the average buyer just searches for what they want and the existence of both a CX-90 and a CX-90 Sport Two-Row Whatever is confusing.

Our pal Elana got this quote in her review from Mazda, and it supports this theory:

“There are two unique customers for three-row versus two-row,” says Dan Aguilar, Mazda’s product manager of vehicle line planning. “We want to be on the list for both.”

In retrospect, maybe the headline for this piece should have been: The Mazda CX-70 is the First SEO Car.

Anything Else?

Cx70 V Cx90

Mazda is offering some slightly sportier trim and color combinations on the CX-70 to differentiate it, but it’s extremely subtle. My preference is the CX-70, so perhaps I should be happy that you can get the better-looking car for the same price.

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Ok, I Get It, This Is Not Ideal, But Is The CX-70 Good?

Yes, of course, it’s good. If you want to know what the PHEV is like you can read our review of the CX-90 PHEV, because it’s basically the same car. We haven’t reviewed the non-PHEV CX-90, which means we haven’t reviewed the non-PHEV CX-70 because, again, they are identical cars.

2025 Cx 70 11 Interior

I am ideologically more supportive of the CX-70 in PHEV form because I believe every car like this should be a hybrid. When fully charged, the 17.8-kWh battery pack can deliver the CX-70 PHEV a full 26 miles in EV-only mode. So long as you hold back your right foot judiciously you can scoot around town only using the electric motor. It’s not a fun drive, but it’s something. Mash on it and and the 2.5-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder has a reasonable 323 horsepower at the ready, which feels genuinely quick even if it sounds like a buzzy Mazda powerplant.

I am emotionally more supportive of the inline-six. Why do we even have V6 engines? Unless you’ve got a Busso V6, the V6 was a historical mistake. Inline sixes are way better in basically every way and the inline-six is a peach. In Turbo S Premium spec the CX-70 glides powerfully to highway speeds thanks to a rockin’ 340 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque.

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There are too many vehicles in this class with a too-small turbo motor mated to a crappy CVT transmission, so a relatively large inline-six (3.3 liters) putting power down mostly to the rear via an eight-speed transmission does feel better. It also sounds way better.

You’re not going to burn down the Applebees in this thing, but it feels good like a Mazda should, and it’s available in Soul Red so you can happily tow your matching Miata track car and an extra set of tires.

Let’s Talk About ‘Yaw Damping’

Mazda Cx 70 Motor HybridAs soon as Jake, the Mazda PR guy, said the term “Yaw Damping” my first question was:

Is this a Dave Coleman term?

It is, in fact, a Dave Coleman term. If you weren’t aware, Dave Coleman is one of the best automotive journalists from the pre-blog era and wrote for a magazine called Sport Compact Car. It was, for a time, one of the best car magazines in the world and this was due in no small part to nerdy engineer Dave Coleman, who liked to make up terms for technical issues so small that only he noticed (never forget The Dave Point).

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The Mazda CX-70, like the CX-90, is only available in AWD trim, but it’s a RWD-biased system and, mostly, the car is driving in RWD unless it needs the extra traction. Because Dave is crazy smart, and Mazda is smart enough to listen to its crazy engineers, they figured out the best way to use the connection between the front and rear wheels (via the AWD system) not for extra traction, but to adjust how the car rotates (yaws) as you turn the steering wheel.

Here, lemme just let him explain it:

The conversation starts at about 3:20 in this video.

Would You Buy This Thing?

Mazda Cx 70 Bo Concept 1

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I am somewhat infamously in the market for a two-row crossover, so the Mazda is something I’m theoretically considering. It’s a little pricy for me, sure, but it’s far nicer than anything else I’m looking at, and it handles a little bit better than other Japanese or American offerings because that’s what Mazda indexes for in all its vehicles. I don’t need a third row so I’m not out shopping for a third row.

However, if given the choice between the identical CX-70 or CX-90 in any trim I’d probably just get the CX-90. It’s almost entirely the same car and I can think of more times when it would be nice to have an extra row than I can think of reasons why I’d get the CX-70 and its tricky-to-access storage cubbies instead.

If the CX-70 were, like, $2,000 cheaper I’d probably get the CX-70.

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Box Rocket
Box Rocket
1 month ago

I was very eagerly anticipating the CX-70, hoping that we were going to get a slightly-larger CX-60. I did not expect a 2-row CX-90. I’m still interested in it (I haven’t used the third row in my XC90 in a long time), but I don’t want something quite that large.

It also weakens and confuses the naming convention in the lineup, which had been fairly linear. The CX-70 could/should be the CX-80, or 80, but the CX-80 already exists.

The CX-60 – which shares its RWD-based platform with its 70, 80, & 90 siblings – is nearly the same size as the FWD-based CX-50, which is just a touch smaller than I’d want. There’s about a 15-inch difference in total length between the 60 and 70/90, so more than enough room in the lineup for an in-betweener that could compete with the Lincoln Nautilus, X5, GLE, etc., on the two-row premium front.

Was there a consensus among the other journalists there about the car and its place in the market?

Drew
Drew
1 month ago
Reply to  Matt Hardigree

Oh, that’s a really good point. I always forget about those sorts of considerations. I think something like the Grand Cherokee L is perhaps better implementation of naming differentiation, since it more clearly relates the models, but maybe that actually muddies the water for folks who are searching for these things.

Box Rocket
Box Rocket
1 month ago
Reply to  Matt Hardigree

That certainly makes a lot of sense, and allows them to claim to make more models, which keeps shareholders and “bean-counters” alike happier.

From a manufacturing perspective it’s also sensible, as the hard points and stamping are all identical, just less stuff behind the 2nd row.

Doesn’t mean I don’t want them to bring the CX-60 (even if slightly stretched? Maybe a CX-65?) here, if they’re trying to keep certain models distinct for certain markets.

Box Rocket
Box Rocket
1 month ago
Reply to  Box Rocket

Edit: should say “The CX-70 should be the CX-80, but the CX-80 already exists. Or maybe the CX-85 if they have to have a distinct model name. ” in the second paragraph. Not sure what happened there.

On the plus side, this is arguably better than Chrysler calling a decontented Pacifica the Voyager and doubling their model count.

Danangme69
Danangme69
1 month ago

Yeah but you can’t get melted copper paint with a red interior in a CX-90.

Pappa P
Pappa P
1 month ago

Hearing you mention Dave Coleman certainly brings back a flood of memories for me.
Coleman and SCC were so influential to me as a budding enthusiast.
Many of my vehicle choices, from my Matrix XRS to my BP swapped Festiva autocross car were directly inspired by SCC. I gained a wealth of actual technical knowledge from SCC.
Coleman was pretty ingenious, and SCC had a knack for building awesome, exciting project cars.
I’m happy to hear that he’s still lending his talents to the automotive world at Mazda.
Time to start digging into those archives now…

Danangme69
Danangme69
1 month ago

Should market the CX-70 as a personal luxury SUV then throw in some Corinthian leather

Jatco Xtronic CVT
Jatco Xtronic CVT
1 month ago

I’ll have you know that there are many good suvs with a CVT transmission. Take for example the stylish, fast, and sporty Nissan Murano. And let’t not forget the modern classic, the Murano CrossCabriolet! A far better option than this sad, lazy effort by Mazda.

Taargus Taargus
Taargus Taargus
1 month ago

This is a great account and I read it to myself in the voice of Phil Hartman for some reason.

Dogisbadob
Dogisbadob
1 month ago

LOL

FlavouredMilk
FlavouredMilk
1 month ago

Hey Matt,

Any chance we can get a text block quote or something under the yaw-damping video? I’m rarely in a position to watch videos in articles I’m reading and it’d be nice not to go on a Google deep dive just to find out what you’re talking about here.

David Puckett
David Puckett
1 month ago

We have a Toyota Highlander with third row seating, which we HAVE NEVER USED ONCE. So yeah, I think this a great idea.

Peter d
Peter d
1 month ago

Nice photo putting the car in front of Bo Concept the Danish-design inspired furniture store that Wikipedia says “specializes in customizable modern furniture and accessories designed by international designers” this is just a CX-90 customized for 2 rows instead of 3. I do wonder if the additional NVH materials that make the cargo space smaller make the CX-70 quieter than the CX-90.

This junket seems especially luxurious. I sometimes have to arrange corporate events and cooking classes are always a hit – never thought to throw in massages! We always thought that the smoothie break I threw into one morning was decadent, but these massages(!) brings decadence to a new level.

I usually really like Victoria’s writing – glad to see she is still active, but haven’t seen her byline in a while. I really liked her story where she had to fix her van’s suspension on a trail in the middle of nowhere…

Engine Adventures
Engine Adventures
1 month ago

Essentially the same thing with the Honda Passport vs Pilot

Box Rocket
Box Rocket
1 month ago

Passport is smaller, though, by about 6-7″.

Hangover Grenade
Hangover Grenade
1 month ago

My partner drives a Honda Pilot, a big 3-row “SUV”. We have 3 kids so we needed the 3rd row. We looked at the Pilot and also at a CX-9. The CX-9 looked better, was sportier, drove better, and had a nicer interior, but the 3rd row was miserable. The Pilot had a great 3rd row. That was the clincher.

I suggested to her that we should look at minivans, too. She blew off the suggestion as preposterous, like I had suggested a Fiat X1/9. Never mind that this Pilot is FWD on all-season tires is minivan-shaped, and could get stuck on a patch of wet grass. It’s an SUV!

Wolfpack57
Wolfpack57
1 month ago

My father tried for like two years to buy a minivan for the three of us, and then figured out that his wife was resisting it because she worried about having to drive it. With that cleared up, he’s loved his van ever since.

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
1 month ago

“Would You Buy This Thing?”
No.

Strangek
Strangek
1 month ago

I like this, I don’t need no third row so I don’t want no third row! I know it’s the same amount of storage or whatever, but I don’t want to lug around some empty seats that are just gonna have mulch and stuff all over them. I like Mazda and I’m looking hard at a couple, but man is it getting confusing. They have so many of these SUV/CUV things with very minor differences, I can’t keep them straight anymore.

Andrew Wyman
Andrew Wyman
1 month ago

So what I hear is…buy the CX-90 and if you want more space and don’t need the seating, then just pull the seats out and sell them to someone with a CX-70 who wants more seating?

Sounds like the beginning of a business to me. “Upgrade your CX-70 to a CX-90 for cheap!!!”

Box Rocket
Box Rocket
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew Wyman

Well they’re the same price, so someone wanting 3 rows would just buy a CX-90. But I suspect the vehicle might need different programming for side curtain airbag deployment as well as seat belt pretensioner behavior for the third row, so wouldn’t just be plug-and-play between the two. Which makes the weight difference of only 45lbs (per the article) that much more surprising.

TheDrunkenWrench
TheDrunkenWrench
1 month ago

I cannot bring myself to spend the same money for a vehicle with less features. Also, while I’ve never used the 3rd row in my Sorento for passengers, it works excellent to keep groceries in place when I’m only buying a few things. It’s basically a quick fold cargo divider.

Healpop
Healpop
1 month ago

Seems like Mazda is trying to copy VW with the Atlas / Atlas cross sport, which are basically the same car. But even those vehicles are more differentiated than what Mazda’s trying here – the “sport” VW is 5″ shorter, $1k cheaper, has more 2nd row legroom and has a raked back window that some people like (why I don’t know, but that’s personal preference I guess).

VW didn’t do much to differentiate the two models, but at least there’s some reasons to get the “sport”. Mazda hasn’t given you any reason at all to get the 70.

Engine Adventures
Engine Adventures
1 month ago
Reply to  Healpop

And the Honda Pilot/Passport

Healpop
Healpop
1 month ago

Yep, though the Passport is almost a foot shorter than the Pilot which is substantial. It’s the same idea though – there’s several other examples, and every other brand does a better job differentiating their 3-row and 2-row offerings. Mazda phoned this one in.

Last edited 1 month ago by Healpop
Danangme69
Danangme69
1 month ago
Reply to  Healpop

I think the Cross sport is one of the best looking SUV’s sold in the U.S. but now you can only buy them with a turbo 4 and I rather have the inline 6 in the Mazda.

Healpop
Healpop
1 month ago
Reply to  Danangme69

It’s not bad, a little bland IMO but to each their own. I test drove a non-sport version recently and the powertrain actually felt pretty decent, better than the Pentastar in the Grand Cherokee L I ended up with.
But yes, an inline 6 would be even better.

Usernametaken
Usernametaken
1 month ago

I’m not really sure what there is to be mad about here, although I will say they absolutely binned it in the one place I think 86ing the 3rd row makes sense to me.

Of the 1-2 time in my potential owenrship of a 3 row non van vehicle, I would much rather have a solid storage area with no crevaces or not completely flat folded seats, and most critially where the went wrong, NO CARPET. Shit and dogs (sometimes covered in, well, you know) are what go in the back. I will ineveitabely soil the cargo area, and I would happily trade 3rd row seats I will never use for cleanabilty and durability in the cargo space, but apparantly I’m the one on crazy pills based on the fact that everything that isn’t a truck cant seems to resit the allure of gaining 0.1% improvment in NHV scores to make real world living worse forever.

Strangek
Strangek
1 month ago
Reply to  Usernametaken

I had a ’91 GMC Suburban. When I bought it there was no third row and no carpet or anything in the back! Just a fully enclosed truck bed! It was the best, I miss that thing.

Lockleaf
Lockleaf
1 month ago
Reply to  Usernametaken

Buy a fitted rubber cargo tray from Mazda? I had one in my protege5. When dirty, slide out and hose down, dry, reinstall.

CampoDF
CampoDF
1 month ago

One of my big issues with the CX-70 just being a CX-90 with a seat delete is that it’s entirely too long! I mean, it will not fit in my garage because of that, and I was really hoping Mazda would do something more to differentiate the two vehicles. The CX-70 is longer than a VW atlas cross sport (196″) by 5 or 6 inches, and that thing is enormous! The same goes for today’s minivans. I don’t think they are “mini” at all and also don’t fit in my garage – which by the way, isn’t some 100 year old carriage house – it’s a garage built in 2015.

The bloating of these vehicles really has to stop, otherwise they won’t even fit in parking spaces. Of the four minivans on sale in the USA today, they are all between 203″ (kia) and 205″ (honda) long. One of the reasons I’d choose a 3-row SUV over the minvan is because there are more options with a smaller footprint. The VW Atlas is 201″!

FleetwoodBro
FleetwoodBro
1 month ago
Reply to  CampoDF

Seconded!

As an example of bloat, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid.
Gen 1: Length 185.6
Gen 2: Length 188.4
Gen 3: Length 192.5
Gen 4: Length 194.9

The Chevy Suburban, which was huge in 1972, has grown approx 20 inches over the years. What in the name of Thor are people carrying with them, a pet moose?

Lockleaf
Lockleaf
1 month ago
Reply to  FleetwoodBro

Far as I can tell, the suburban has grown 9 inches since 1968. ’68-’72 was 215 inches total length. Today they are 224.

FleetwoodBro
FleetwoodBro
1 month ago
Reply to  Lockleaf

You’re right. My internet source steered me wrong, I should’ve double checked.

Danangme69
Danangme69
1 month ago
Reply to  CampoDF

200 inches same as my Toyota Sienna that fits in my garage

CampoDF
CampoDF
1 month ago
Reply to  Danangme69

199″ is the max I can do and that still means I can’t use the refrigerator I have in my garage. I had a Q7 (which is 199″) as a loaner once and MAN that was sketch to close my garage door with 1″ clearance.

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