2025 Mazda CX-70 SUV Is Angling for a Specific Buyer

2025 mazda cx70
2025 Mazda CX-70 Is Angling for a Specific BuyerMazda

We're not sure of the mass-market need for a zippy, well-handling, mid-size SUV with three rows, and a very similar zippy, well-handling mid-size SUV without a third row, but Mazda is counting on there being an audience for both. The CX-70 is for those who take pleasure in being the passing vehicle on a twisty road and want to be able to do so with a bunch of stuff in the trunk but without folding any seats.

The 2025 Mazda CX-70 surprised everyone at its debut in early 2024 by being not the smaller CX-60-based machine we expected, but rather a CX-90 twin with a facelift and the third row of seats removed. We took both the 340-hp 3.3-liter version and the 323-hp plug-in-hybrid for a test drive to see if the CX-70 has any major personality differences from its three-row sibling.

Mazda reps are clearly tired of being asked to explain the decision of making the CX-70 its own model rather than a trim level of the CX-90. In the end, it might be an SEO move. "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."

2025 mazda cx70

With that, we'll set aside the CX-90 and look at CX-70 on its own terms. It's a mid-size SUV that's on the larger side with a 122.8-inch wheelbase and devotes itself primarily to second-row legroom and cargo space. The CX-70 has the typical Mazda SUV shape, less angular than many of the boxy designs on the road, with subtle curves that give it an attractive stance from all but the rearmost angle. It's a little bulgy from the back, but then, so are many of us. The CX-70 gets a different lower front bumper from the CX-90, and all its trim pieces are blacked out in either gloss or matte.


CX-70 buyers can choose from two powertrains in three horsepower strengths. There are two variants of the turbocharged 3.3-liter inline-six: the standard one with 280 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque and the high-performance version with 340 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. At the top of the price range is the plug-in hybrid with an electric motor and 14.8-kWh battery pack sharing motivational duties with a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder for a total of 323 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. With the base Turbo engine, there are three trim levels: Preferred, Premium, and Premium Plus. The higher-horse Turbo S and the PHEV skip the Preferred, offering just Premium and Premium Plus. Both powertrains are backed by an eight-speed automatic transmission, and all CX-70s, including the PHEV, employ fully mechanical all-wheel drive.

2025 mazda cx70 interior

We drove the top-dog Premium Plus for the Turbo S and the PHEV, which meant both rides carried a plethora of luxuries. Nappa leather (quilted on the Turbo S) covers eight-way adjustable front seats that are both heated and ventilated. They could use a bit of padding, but the seating position is comfortable for a variety of driver heights. Gauge readouts are housed behind the thick, leather-wrapped wheel in a 12.3-inch digital cluster that changes with mode selection (Sport, Off-Road, Towing, with the PHEV adding an EV mode) and can be lightly customized from the steering-wheel buttons. A head-up display mirrors much of the same information. Mazda refuses to accept the touchscreen revolution, so the console gives up what could be storage space to a rotary dial and physical volume knob placed in exactly the spot a passenger might rest their hand. There is wireless smartphone connectivity, and when using Apple CarPlay, the infotainment screen is touch sensitive, so at this point the choice of keeping the dial seems to be a personal quirk of someone in the design offices.

Mazda's most famous car, at least in the post-rotary era, has to be the Miata, and one can imagine the engineers and designers trying to imbue their bigger family cars with a little Miata magic. In the CX-70, you can find touches of the sports car in the bright red leather interior option inspired by the 100th Anniversary Special Edition MX-5, but also in the way the CX-70 drives. We're not saying this is slalom-competition material, but Mazda knows how a car should handle, and we found both versions of the CX-70 to have well-weighted steering, plenty of power (although both engines are loud when leaned on), and a firm chassis that kept everything upright as we carved through the mountains above Palm Springs. Later, on the dirt roads surrounding Lake Hemet, the CX-70 soaked up enough bumps to justify its Off-Road mode, although we wouldn't send it on a Baja run. If we have any quibbles with the CX-70 as a driver, they are leftover from our experience with CX-90—the eight-speed transmission is often a step behind, especially outside of Sport mode. Let off the accelerator for a second and then get back on—for example, when a light changes or around a corner in casual driving—and you'll catch the transmission completely off guard before it frantically drops gears in an effort to catch up to your pedal inputs. Mazda says it has retuned the transmission since the CX-90 launched, but we think it could use more fettling.

2025 mazda cx70

We wouldn't call the transmission a dealbreaker, especially when the CX-70 does so well at an SUV's other key tasks. The second row offers 39.4 inches of legroom for comfortable rides and easy installation and removal of child seats. The rear cargo area, with no third row to wrangle, provides 40 cubic feet of luggage space with the rear seats up and 75 cubic feet with them down. Folding the seatbacks can be achieved with the push of a button, although lifting them is still a manual action. The cargo area is basically the same as in CX-90, but you don't have to deal with the unwanted third row. Without it, Mazda was able to add a hidden under-floor storage area, so there are some space benefits to going two-row.

For those planning to tow with the CX-70, the PHEV is rated for 3500 pounds while the Turbo and Turbo S versions equipped with the Mazda tow package up the rating to 5000 pounds. Optioning the Mazda tow package ($700–$900) is the only way to unlock the tow mode, which has a helpful bird's-eye camera setting for hitching up and can increase the coupling between the front and rear axles when it senses speed and load for more on-road stability.

The CX-70 isn't quite a Miata in SUV form, but it's sportier than any other similar-sized SUV in its price range. For new families, empty nesters, and devoted hobbyists with considerable gear to carry, the CX-70 offers plenty of room without completely giving up driving enjoyment. Of course, so does the CX-90—once you flop down that third row.

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