Mazda CX-60 review

Advertisement

The large hybrid SUV makes a bold statement as Mazda seeks to step up to the upper class and challenge BMW, Audi and Mercedes in the premium segment

In many ways, the Mazda CX-60 is a bold move by the Japanese automaker.

Advertisement

Not only is it the first time we’re seeing Mazda’s next generation of internal combustion engines, but this plug-in hybrid is another step in the brand’s electrification strategy and makes a statement about its future as the brand elevates the German giant has three in sight.

Register to our Mazic News Today Newsletter

By the end of this decade, Mazda wants to be there when buyers consider models from Audi, BMW and Mercedes. The CX-60 is the first step towards that goal and is positioned to go head-to-head with the Audi Q5 and BMW X3. While the CX-60 isn’t cheap, certainly when viewed in isolation – the range starts at just a little under £44,000 – it does look reasonably priced next to comparable premium brand PHEVs.

Advertisement

design

The first thing you notice is that it’s not small. In fact, the CX-60 is quite imposing. With a length of 4.75 m, it is 20 cm longer than the best-selling CX-5. Put the two side by side and you’ll find that the rooflines are pretty much identical. The result of this is that the CX-60 looks less upright. And as you’d probably expect, its 2.87m wheelbase is not only significantly longer than that of the CX-5, it’s also longer than the Q5 and X3.

It’s the first model to be built on Mazda’s all-new platform, which has been cleverly and cost-effectively designed to enable everything from mild hybrids to pure electric vehicles with longitudinal engines and 4WD as well as 2WD.

Advertisement

Viewed in profile, the CX-60 delights with short overhangs, a long bonnet and a cabin pushed as far back as possible. The result is, when you’re behind the wheel, the grille seems miles away. In fact, in a way it looks and feels like a baby Bentley Bentayga.

And while it’s the PHEV that will be introduced first in the lineup, the CX-60 will also have a 3.3-liter inline-six diesel with mild hybrid technology over the next 12 months, as well as a 3.0-liter -Line-six receive petrol MHEV. Both engines benefit from Mazda’s clever variable compression technology.

Advertisement

PHEV drive and range

Under the long hood is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder petrol engine that, with an electric motor, delivers a total output of 323 hp and 369 lb ft of torque. This makes it the most powerful production car that Mazda has ever launched. Mazda claims 0-62mph in 5.8 seconds and a top speed of 124mph.

Those numbers are all well and good, but in a car of this size and type, the efficiency numbers are more important. And they look attractive on paper. The 17.8kWh lithium-ion battery, housed under the floor of the CX-60, offers an all-electric range of 39 miles (although development work continues which could see that increase to 40 miles). Under WLTP rules, it delivers 188 MPG and 33 g/km CO2 emissions.

Advertisement

The latter number will help make it attractive to company cars, which benefit from its relatively low in-kind tax rate.

What’s it like to drive?

It’s impressive for such a big car, and it’s clear it’s from the stable that gave us the MX-5. No, of course they are not the same, but they share the same DNA. This is most evident in the fact that the CX-60 features the same brake-based cornering stability system as the little sports car.

Advertisement

The SUV has nicely weighted steering that’s pinpoint, and despite its clampability, the SUV’s body stayed flat in an exemplary manner during quick changes of direction.

What surprised me on the winding, narrow road that winds around the area near Cascais west of Lisbon was how sharp the CX-60 was at turns. He actually seemed to enjoy it. Sure, if you push too hard it’ll understeer; but really? Honestly, is that how you normally drive a car that weighs around two tons? I would not. That means it was certainly more entertaining than a Q5.

Advertisement

Okay, on its 20-inch alloys the CX-60 has a solid edge, but I like that. But most of the time, the suspension provided enough give to smooth the ride.

And while the aforementioned performance data confirms that the PHEV is no dimwit, it clearly performs best when the driver is relaxed and patient about the ride. In the city, on the other hand, the all-electric drive ensures noiseless driving with more than enough boost for inner-city traffic.

Advertisement

Inner

There’s plenty of room up front, but maybe not as much knee room in the back as you might expect. There’s a bit more than there’s in the CX-5, but it’s not cavernous. It has room for three adults in the back, though, and even with the optional sunroof, there was ample headroom for two-legged friends both front and rear.

We were warned that there could be potential rattles and noises in the cab of our late pre-production CX-60 Homura power unit, but honestly there was next to nothing to complain about. In typical Mazda fashion, the fit and finish was superb, and premium plastics are used in all key areas. The switchgear feels solid, and the rotary infotainment dial was easy to use, and the digital screens were crisp and clear.

Advertisement

What I particularly liked was the driver personalization system. Enter your height on the center console screen and the system electronically moves the seat and steering wheel to what it thinks is the ideal position for the driver. Despite my cynical nature, it actually came pretty close.

Even more useful is the fact that Mazda’s system doesn’t need to reactivate this setting at the push of a button, but instead remembers it based on facial recognition: you ‘draw’ your face on a camera on the edge of the infotainment system. As soon as the driver gets into the vehicle, it automatically scans the corresponding profile and repositions the seat and steering wheel.

Advertisement

As for the boot, there’s 570 liters of storage space, which increases to 1,726 liters if you fold down the second row of seats.

price and specification

Buyers can choose from three trim levels, all of which offer good equipment as standard. The entry-level Exclusive-Line starts at just under £44,000 and includes a 12.3-inch infotainment system with equal-sized digital instrument cluster, wireless Apple and Android smartphone connectivity, a head-up display, dual-zone heated climate control front seats, Front and rear parking sensors with reversing camera, LED headlights, as well as 18-inch metallic gray alloys.

Advertisement

The mid-size Homura adds electric adjustment and ventilation in the front seats, heated outer rear seats, ambient cabin lighting, a gloss black finish on some body details, a 12-speaker Bose stereo and 20-inch alloys. Prices start from £46,700.

The top-of-the-line Takumi, which starts at £48,059, adds dashboard detailing and white nappa leather seat trim that matches a white maple wood finish on the center console. There’s also a gloss black grille and body-colored door mirrors.

Advertisement

Verdict

If you’re considering a plug-in hybrid and can wait until the UK’s 72 registration number registrations in September, then you should definitely add the CX-60 to your test list. Given its performance coupled with the pleasure it brings when driven, it deserves serious consideration.

Price: £46,700; Engine: 2.5-liter four-cylinder petrol engine with electric motor; Perfomance: 323 hp; Torque: 369lbft; Transmission: Eight-speed automatic, all-wheel drive; Top speed: 124 miles per hour; 0-100km/h: 5.8 seconds; Business: 188mpg CO2 emissions: 33g/km; Electric range: 39 miles

Advertisement