Editors' Picks March 2024: Refreshed Acura TLX, the Mazda CX-90 and more


This month, a wide variety of body styles and powertrain propositions earn Editors’ Picks status. The brand-new Mazda CX-90 has impressed us in many forms, but that comes as no surprise. The Tonale from Alfa may not be a super-hot performance SUV like the Stelvio Quadrifoglio, but it’s still captured our love. And for those wishing to remain lower to the ground, the V60/V60 Cross Country bring style to the limited pie that is the wagon market. Lastly, Acura updates its TLX, and the package only gets better.

In case you missed previous Editors’ Picks posts, here’s a quick refresher on what’s going on here. We rate all the new cars we drive with a 1-10 score. Cars that are exemplary in their respective segments get an Editors’ Pick designation. Those are the ones we’d recommend to our friends, family and anybody who’s curious and asks the question. You’ll find the entire list of Editors’ Picks at this link here, which we keep updated as cars are either added or dropped from the list. The vehicles you’ll find below consist of every car we rated in March that earned an Editors’ Pick.

2024 Mazda CX-90

Quick take: The driver’s three-row SUV. Enthusiasts who need space should seek out the CX-90. It translates Mazda’s enthusiast DNA into a people hauler.

Score: 8

What it competes with: Honda Pilot, Kia Telluride, Jeep Grand Cherokee L, Chevy Traverse, Subaru Ascent, Ford Explorer, Toyota Highlander, Mazda CX-9, Kia Sorento, Buick Enclave, Nissan Pathfinder, VW Atlas

Pros: Lovely to drive inline-six; premium interior; will make you forget you’re driving a family hauler

Cons: Limited third-row and cargo space for the segment; PHEV is rough around the edges

From the editors:

News Editor Joel Stocksdale — “With excellent driving dynamics, classy interiors, strong powertrains and good value, the CX-90 should be high on anyone’s shopping list, whether they’re looking at mainstream or upscale brands. It’s a strong competitor in a big field. The available interiors put it on par with some real upscale brands. It’s not perfect, but it’s very good, and it’s a good sign for future Mazdas.”

Road Test Editor Zac Palmer — “There’s little doubt that the CX-90 is the affordable three-row SUV for enthusiasts, and I think the inline-six is likely your best bet. I do appreciate the green leanings of the PHEV, but its rough and coarse powertrain make it a bit of a non-starter when compared to the smooth inline-six you could be driving around.”

In-depth analysis: 2024 Mazda CX-90 First Drive Review: A family SUV for the discerning driver

 

2024 Alfa Romeo Tonale

Quick take: This Alfa Romeo Tonale is one of the best-to-drive small crossovers. However, we’re not in love with the tech or its price, and its PHEV credentials could be better.

Score: 7.5

What it competes with: BMW X1, BMW X2, Audi Q3, Mercedes-Benz GLB, Mercedes-Benz GLA, Jaguar E-Pace, Lexus UX, Land Rover Discovery Sport

Pros: Fun to drive with great steering; potent power and torque; usable electric range; beautiful design

Cons: Cramped back seat and tiny cargo area; some chintzy interior bits; other PHEVs are more efficient

From the editors: 

Associate Editor Byron Hurd — “The 2024 Alfa Romeo Tonale doesn’t break any ground in the electrification or small luxury SUV spaces, but the availability of a fun entry and plug-in hybrid in this segment is both welcome and long overdue. With a competitive price and compelling package, Alfa isn’t asking us to go too far out on this particular limb.”

Road Test Editor Zac Palmer — “I think the Tonale looks great, especially compared to other small SUVs. It’s not going to be as fun or as engaging as a Stelvio to drive, but the PHEV angle makes it compelling from a cost standpoint. Plus, we finally get to enjoy an Alfa with Stellantis’ lovely UConnect infotainment instead of an in-house Alfa Romeo unit, which is a big quality of life cabin improvement.”

In-depth analysis: 2024 Alfa Romeo Tonale Review: A fun compact SUV with a green spin

 

2024 Volvo V60/V60 Cross Country

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Quick take: It’s a beautiful, athletic wagon with design and comfort at the forefront. The Cross Country adds another layer of capability for folks who make use of added ride height, and the Polestar Engineered gives you the performance.

Score: 8.5

What it competes with: Audi A4 Allroad, and that’s it!

Pros: One of the best-looking family cars on the road; lots of performance from the Polestar; real off-road capability with Cross Country

Cons: Limited color palette on V60 Polestar; Cross Country has limited powertrain choices

From the editors:

Road Test Editor Zac Palmer — “There’s very little to dislike about the V60 and V60 Cross Country. The non-lifted wagon is Polestar-only now, and it’s truly a rocking performance package. And the Cross Country continues to be a lovely option for anyone who wants the beautiful looks of a wagon with a little more utility. All of Volvo’s recent updates make both versions better vehicles, making it a shoo-in for Editors’ Picks status.”

In-depth analysis: Volvo V60 Cross Country First Drive | Crossing (and crashing) Arctic Sweden

 

2024 Acura TLX

Quick take: The Acura TLX is a superb sport sedan with spectacular handling and a sweet Type S variant. The transmission is a low point, but interior quality, tech and overall design are all big wins for this well-priced four-door.

Score: 7.5

What it competes with: BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Audi A4, Alfa Romeo Giulia, Cadillac CT4, Acura TLX, Lexus IS, Infiniti Q50, Genesis G70, Volvo S60

Pros: Shockingly good to drive; slick styling; solid value

Cons: Infotainment doesn’t have many defenders; tight rear seat

From the editors:

Road Test Editor Zac Palmer — “Acura didn’t reinvent the wheel for the TLX’s mid-cycle refresh, so it’s still the same driver’s car we’ve loved from the beginning. The Type S offers a proper high-performance option, but every TLX handles exceedingly well. I think this sports sedan is one you can’t ignore if you’re in the market for something attractive, engaging and luxurious.

In-depth analysis: 2024 Acura TLX Type S First Drive: Give it some more credit

 

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