2025 Mazda CX-70 Review – Adding By Subtraction

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

For some reason, animals seem to love checking out large crossovers.

Last summer in upstate New York, a deer paused its day to check out the 2024 Volkswagen Atlas I was driving, nearly giving me a heart attack in the process. Last week in Desert Hot Springs, California, a wandering canine got my attention and forced me to stop as I piloted the 2025 Mazda CX-70. He or she checked out the CX-70 for about half a minute and then moved aside and started licking its fur.

Whether that’s a gesture of approval, disdain, or just a dog being a dog, I will let you decide.


Of course, dogs don’t buy cars, so the opinion of man’s best friend doesn’t really matter here. Mine does – I was driving the dang thing. And while I have some nits to pick, I think Mazda has nicely addressed some of the complaints leveled at the CX-90, which is nearly identical but has three seating rows instead of the two rows on offer in the CX-70.

(Full disclosure: Mazda flew me to the Palm Springs, California metro area and fed and housed me for two nights. I took part in a golf lesson and cooking demonstration. I did not take the proffered book.)

As with the CX-90, the CX-70 offers three powertrain choices. Base models get a 3.3-liter turbocharged inline-six with a mild-hybrid assist that makes a total of 280 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque. Leveling up, you can get a version of this powertrain that makes a total of 340 horsepower and 369 lb-ft. Finally, a plug-hybrid powertrain combines an electric motor and a 2.5-liter four-cylinder and for 323 system horsepower and 369 lb-ft of system torque.

All have all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission.

I spent time with the more-powerful turbo as well as the PHEV. The turbo had a tiny bit of throttle lag but when it came on the boil the thrust was more than adequate for most situations. Unfortunately, it got a bit thrashy at higher RPMs. Driven gently, it was smoother and quieter.

The PHEV, on the other hand, was impressively smooth throughout more of the rev range. It did sound a little cacophonous at full zoot when passing a semi on the freeway, but in around-town driving it was velvety. Hybrid powertrain transitions were generally smooth, as well. Like the turbo, the PHEV was punchy, but it seemed easier to summon its power at light throttle. A bit puzzling, since the turbo’s torque peak is 2,000 RPM lower – I suspect some sort of computer wizardry is at play.

PHEVs offer up to 26 miles of electric-only range.

The ride/handling story is a mixed bag. Mazda loves to tout its sporty DNA, but large crossovers are pretty much the opposite of a Miata. Still, the CX-70 gets things right, at least to a point. Both vehicles felt a bit lighter on their feet than the CX-90, though the curb-weight difference is negligible – maybe it was just my imagination.

This Mazda’s steering felt nicely dialed-in and was lighter at low speeds while firming up on the highway. Our drive route was different for the turbo and PHEV – I drove the PHEV on the winding Palms-to-Pines mountain highway and the turbo mostly around town, though I did get one stretch of mildly curvy road in it. I never really approached “the limit” – this is large crossover, after all – but on the one or two occasions that I overcooked a corner I noticed predictable but relatively well-muted body roll and manageable understeer. These characteristics were evident in both vehicles.

The ride was generally smooth and pleasant, with the few potholes and bumps I experienced not causing any issues. The turbo stayed extremely well-planted on one particularly undulating rural two-lane, with no float or wallow.

It’s a double-wishbone suspension setup in the front and multi-link rear.

Some pavement types led to some serious tire noise, though wind noise was almost nonexistent. As noted above, the engines both stayed unheard until one’s right foot got seriously heavy.

Mazda graced the CX-70, like the CX-90, with attractive duds inside and out. There are exterior differences – the CX-70 has a different grille and a more slab-sided look. It’s pleasing enough to the eye. A bit anonymous, sure, but attractive nonetheless.

Turbos have body-color cladding, while PHEVs get black cladding.

Inside, the materials are nice and the controls, save for a wonky shifter (can we please stop with weird shifters now, automakers?). I liked the easy-to-use HVAC controls and easy-to-read gauges, but I still find Mazda’s infotainment system to require too much menu diving even for basic functions like seeking a radio station. I don’t love the integration of the screen, either – it looks like an afterthought.

The front seats were all-day comfortable, and I hopped into the second row and found it plenty accommodating for adults. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the available under-floor storage system in the cargo area. Mazda also made sure to note that the CX-70 now offers a system that helps with trailer hookup for towing. It seemed easy to use during a demonstration but I’d also have to point out that other OEMs have offered similar systems, some of which seem more comprehensive, for quite some time now.

Standard or available features include 21-inch wheels, black interior accents, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless cell-phone charging, keyless entry and starting, USB A and C ports, automatic climate control (up to three zones), heated front seats, cooled front seats, heated steering wheel, Bose audio, satellite radio, navigation, Bluetooth, panoramic sunroof, LED headlights, LED taillights, LED daytime running lights, Alexa integration*, head-up display, hands-free power liftgate, leather seats, roof rails, roof spoiler, and cargo-area charging.

*I found out how well Alexa works when another journalist and I were chatting before dinner near a parked CX-70 with its windows down and the ignition apparently partly on. One of us said “Lexus” in conversation and Alexa piped up.

Available or standard advanced-driver assist systems include smart brake support, blind-spot monitoring, radar cruise control with stop and go, lane-keep assist with lane-departure warning, driver-attention warning, rear-view monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, emergency lane keeping, head-on traffic avoidance assist, driver-exit warning, traffic-sign recognition, and more.

Pricing is as follows: $40,445 for the base, $52,450 for the Turbo S, and the PHEV will start at $54,400. Trim levels are subdivided – the base is available in Preferred, Premium, and Premium Plus. The more-powerful turbo is offered as Premium and Premium Plus, while the PHEV is also offered in Premium and Premium Plus. Astute readers will note that the CX-70 is priced a bit higher than the CX-90.

The PHEV I drove based at $57,450 in top-level Premium Plus trim -- $59,275 after factoring in $450 for the paint and $1,375 for destination.

Base engines have a fuel-economy rating of 24 mpg city/28 mpg highway/25 mpg combined, while the stronger turbo is 23/28/25. The PHEV has 56 MPGe – 25 combined on gas only.

Overall, Mazda has cooked up a strong package that will appeal to CX-90 intenders who don’t need/want a third row – even if the CX-70 is actually more expensive. Mazda told me that they intend the CX-70 for empty nesters who are well off, but that seems like casting a narrow net – there are other groups of folks out there that might be interested. Couples without children, or without children yet. Parents who don’t need a third row. Single folks who use the cargo area more than the rear seat. And so on.

I do wonder if Mazda can steal sales from the Lexus RX, BMW X5, and Jeep Grand Cherokee – all three were on hand for static comparison. Jeep buyers are super brand loyal, and the Grand Cherokee is done very well. Lexus and BMW buyers might dismiss the Mazda brand out of hand because it is too mainstream.

Even if Mazda does have an uphill battle on its hands, it has a pretty strong offering available. If it can fix some relatively minor bugaboos such as engine noise and turbo throttle response, it will be even more compelling as an alternative to the more established players.

Anyone who does dismiss the Mazda brand out of hand will miss out on a pretty good entrant into the large two-row crossover segment. At the very least, the CX-70 should be on shopping lists.

That’s what I would say to one curious California canine, anyway.

[Images © 2024 Tim Healey/TTAC.com]

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Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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  • Michael S6 Michael S6 on May 22, 2024

    CX 70 or 90 will not be on my buying list. Drove a rental base CX 90 and it was noisy and the engine noise was not pleasant. Ride was rough for a family SUV. Mazda has to understand that what is good for Miata isn't what we expect in semi luxury SUV. My wife's 2012 Buick Enclave has much better Ride and noise level albeit at worse gas millage. Had difficulty pairing my phone with Apple CarPlay

  • Mebgardner Mebgardner on May 24, 2024

    I thought 60 Large for hi zoot CX70 models was Lexus territory? Throttle Lag and Engine / Pavement Noise dont really come with the Lexus boxes.

  • Lynchenstein @EBFlex - All ICEs are zero-emission until you start them up. Except my mom's old 95 Accord, that used to emit oil onto the ground quite a lot.
  • Charles The UAW makes me the opposite of patriotic
  • El scotto Wranglers are like good work boots, you can't make them any better. Rugged four wheel drive vehicles which ironically make great urban vehicles. Wagoneers were like handbags desired by affluent women. They've gone out of vogue. I can a Belgian company selling Jeep and Ram Trucks to a Chinese company.
  • El scotto So now would be a good time to buy an EV as a commuter car?
  • ToolGuy $1 billion / 333.3 million = $3 per U.S. person ¶ And what do I get for my 3 bucks -- cleaner air and lower fuel prices? I might be ok with this 🙂🙂
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