High-quality cabin, logical tech, reliable EV range
Execution of plug-in power needs some smoothing out
What is it?
“The most important car I’ve ever been involved in launching,” said Jeremy Thomson, the MD of Mazda UK at the launch of the CX-60. Yep, it’s the Japanese brand’s new flagship, and the vehicle it hopes will revive its fortunes after a tough period for the business during the Covid-19 pandemic.
For now the CX-60 is the largest, most expensive SUV the brand will sell you in Europe (an even bigger CX-80 is coming later this year, while in the US there’s the three-row CX-9 and the recently unveiled CX-90) and also its first available as a plug-in hybrid. The CX-60’s larger in all dimensions than the fine but often unsung CX-5, and has more cabin space as you’d expect.
With prices starting from £42,990, the CX-60 is pitched to compete with the likes of the impressive Toyota RAV4 and Ford Kuga, but Mazda is also bullish about it being a semi-premium alternative to the BMW X3, the Mercedes GLC and the Audi Q5. Oh, and potential buyers could also consider the Volvo XC60 and Lexus NX as well. Not exactly struggling for choice in this segment, then.
The CX-60 looks like a more bluff CX-5, but manages to still maintain Mazda’s refreshingly clean design instead of relying on overwrought styling lines and creases to stand out. We’d go for a trim level that includes black plastic wheelarches though – when they’re painted the same colour as the body the CX-60 can look a little slab-sided. Inside there’s seating for five, but no option for seven seats - that's expected from the forthcoming CX-80.
Tell me about the powertrains.
The CX-60 launched solely with a plug-in hybrid system that teams a 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine with an electric motor to drive all four wheels, with power going through an eight-speed automatic gearbox. The motor lives between the engine and gearbox and has its own clutch, so even when running in EV mode the car remains four-wheel drive.
A 3.3-litre diesel engine with 48V mild hybrid assistance has now expanded the range, and a 3.0-litre petrol is set to arrive early in 2024. Yep, diesel before petrol. Weird. Both are straight-six engines that drive the rear wheels - Mazda's going RWD as part of a push to crack the premium market - though you can the diesel in AWD if you prefer.
Understood. Give me some numbers.
Believe it or not this is actually the most powerful car Mazda’s ever put into production, with the PHEV's 2.5-litre engine and electric motor delivering a combined total of 323bhp and 369lb ft of torque. That’s enough for 0-62mph in 5.8 seconds and a top speed of 124mph. With the engine off the electric motor develops 134bhp on its own, and with electricity fed from a 17.8kWh battery the CX-60 offers 39 miles of zero-emissions driving. On paper, anyway.
That same spec sheet claims fuel economy of 188mpg, but of course you can ignore that: with the battery depleted you can expect something approaching 35mpg at a steady motorway cruise. Plug in and charge regularly between short journeys and 80mpg or more seems achievable. For business buyers, the all–important CO2 emissions figure you’re after is 33g/km.
Meanwhile the diesel delivers 197bhp (RWD) or 251bhp (AWD), and Mazda claims its e-Skyactiv d engine has made economy and emissions gains by harnessing spare air in the combustion chamber. On paper we're talking 54mpg and 140g/km.
Gotcha. Isn’t Mazda dragging its feet on electrification?
Mazda has by no means been rushing toward EVs, preferring a more careful approach. But the MX-30 EV is shifting units steadily, and there’s now the range-extender iteration with its rotary engine generator that takes a different approach to the whole plug-in hybrid powertrain. You can read more about that by clicking these blue words, or head on to the driving tab for more about the conventional setup in the CX-60.
Our choice from the range
What's the verdict?
The Mazda CX-60 has the hallmarks of being another likeable Mazda, thanks to its very well-appointed and logical cabin, a huge amount of standard kit and reasonable driving dynamics.
The plug-in hybrid delivers an undeniable turn of speed, so it’s a shame the powertrain isn’t more sorted and the handling not quite on par with premium rivals like the BMW X3, Mercedes GLC and Audi Q5. The diesel is vastly smoother, but how many are actually buying diesel these days?
Still, at least there's a refined engine option now and if you can accept the CX-60 for what it is - an adept family car with the potential to slash fuel bills - there's precious little wrong with it. It’s cheaper than Germany’s finest too, and arguably much better value.