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Cars in the City

Mazda PHEV CX-90

5/1/2024

While automotive manufacturers continue to create fuel-efficient cars, more electric cars are hitting the market. However, frigid temps this past winter meant EV owners struggled to charge their car batteries.

A solution might be to move to San Diego, where temps are consistently in the 70s. But since that’s not likely an option, a hybrid vehicle offers the best of both worlds. 

The Mazda PHEV CX-90 (PHEV stands for plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) has both a 2.5 liter, four-cylinder gas engine and a 68 kw electric motor. When combined, the two get about 56 mpg gas equivalent. For gas only, it gets about 25 mpg.

The CX 90 Premium’s price tag is $56,370. Remember when a vehicle more than $50,000 meant it was a high-end luxury car? Today anything less than $50K almost seems reasonable.

This Mazda is made for passenger comfort. It is low to the ground and easy to get in and out of. Third-row seating means you can sign up to lead the carpool and seat six people. A nice feature of the passenger door is that it opens a full 90 degrees. The second row seat also slides and flips up, allowing for better access to those small folks delegated to the cozy third row.

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A three-zone climate control means second- and third-row passengers can adjust temperatures. I wish I had that on a trip to Omaha a few years ago. As I was sitting in the back, I complained how hot it was while the front passenger kept saying how cold she was. Who was right? Me, because she could put on a jacket while there was nothing left for me to take off.

If you have water bottles, bring them on board. There are 14 cup and bottle holders in the doors, center consoles and cargo space — big enough to hold your new tiger lily plum Stanley cup or extra space to stuff trash in. 

Mazda offers a traditional shifter to switch gears. Drivers choose from M-drive, sport, off-road or EV mode. Flip on the EV mode to charge the battery while driving. Ben — the Mazda salesman — says a hybrid helps with “range anxiety,” which many electric vehicle users suffer from.

The Apple CarPlay and Android Play are standard. Apple reported that its Apple CarPlay is in 98% of all new vehicles sold in the U.S. I’m still kicking myself for not buying Apple stock when it was first offered, as share prices today could have bought a fleet of Mazdas.

To use the touchscreen, turn the dial on the center console — an ideal spot where your hand naturally rests. Need to stretch your legs or feet? When you’re stuck at a long line, press the center hold button and take your foot off the break to wiggle those toes.

There’s an electrical outlet in the back of the cargo area, which is ideal for blowing up inflatable lounge rafts for beach day.

If you’re on the fence of electric vs. gas, this hybrid may be your answer. 

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