The Impact of Cold Weather and Snow on Our 2024 Mazda CX-90 Plug-in Hybrid

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The Impact of Cold Weather and Snow on Our 2024 Mazda CX-90 Plug-in Hybrid

Benefiting from our Detroit office, we have the opportunity to put our yearlong test fleet through the rigors of winter testing, especially in the frigid conditions of Northern Ontario.

Reflecting on past experiences, including a memorable journey with the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz, we aimed to replicate this adventure with MotorTrend’s long-term 2024 Mazda CX-90 SUV plug-in hybrid. Our focus shifted to understanding how the cold weather influenced the electric range of our plug-in hybrid SUV.

Winter Range Challenges

The EPA-rated electric range of our CX-90 PHEV stands at 26 miles under normal conditions. However, real-world experiences in cold weather conditions suggest a notable reduction in range, possibly exacerbated by the installation of winter tires.

Despite a full charge in the garage, our team observed a diminished range of only 21 miles, while in colder climates, such as during a recent ski trip, the range plummeted further to as low as 14 miles.

This restricted range severely limits practical use, necessitating frequent recharges throughout the day, with no assurance that the gas engine won’t activate unexpectedly.

The Impact of Cold Weather and Snow on Our 2024 Mazda CX-90 Plug-in Hybrid

Technical Limitations

Technical director Frank Markus encountered difficulties in fully utilizing the electric capabilities of our Mazda in winter conditions. Despite adequate battery levels displayed on the screens, the engine would frequently engage, presumably to power the heating system.

Attempts to operate the vehicle solely on electric power were hindered by engine activation, particularly during acceleration or when using cabin heating. Furthermore, technical glitches, such as a locked shifter and delayed engine activation, posed additional challenges during everyday use.

Winter Adaptability

Despite range limitations and technical quirks, our CX-90 PHEV demonstrated resilience as a winter companion. Equipped with Vredestein Wintrac Pro winter tires for enhanced traction and safety, our Mazda effortlessly navigated through snow-free Canadian streets during the holiday season.

The spacious interior accommodated various cargo, including Christmas trees and furniture, showcasing its versatility for winter living.

While winter presents challenges for our CX-90 PHEV’s electric range and performance, its robust AWD system ensures reliable traction and maneuverability in adverse conditions. As winter persists, we continue to monitor the hybrid’s performance, acknowledging its strengths and areas for improvement in cold-weather environments.

Also read: Unveiling Vintage Charm: The 1981 Mazda RX-7 GSL in Maya Gold Metallic

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