What is it like to drive?
The CX-60 PHEV develops a total of 323bhp and 369lb ft, so even though the car weighs a hefty two tonnes (without a driver) – of which 176kg is the 17.8kWh battery – this is a disarmingly quick car. It’ll do 0-62mph in a brisk 5.8 seconds, with instant shove from the 134bhp electric motor giving way to a four-cylinder engine that doesn’t have to argue with a CVT gearbox to get the job done.
At 1,950kg the diesel weighs marginally less than the PHEV, but it's notably less quick: the more powerful AWD version chalks off 0-62mph in a respectable-but-slower 7.4 seconds, while the RWD car is a further second off that.
The CX-60 does have one or two odd traits: under hard acceleration the PHEV's petrol engine sounds like it needs Strepsils (other sore throat relief products are available) and the eight-speed auto hangs on to the lower gears several seconds after you’ve eased off the accelerator. Can’t be good for fuel economy, that. You’ll also want to engage Sport mode for the overtakes and motorway slip roads: in Normal mode throttle response is noticeably more sluggish.
The diesel is far more refined: once warm the engine is less noisy, even when you bury your right foot. Unlike the plug-in Normal mode is sufficient for overtaking, and the autobox responds far more smoothly. So it's the superior choice as far as the driver is concerned.
What about the brakes?
In the hybrid they're pleasingly progressive (many plug-ins struggle to blend regenerative braking with the physical action of the calipers) and because Mazda’s used an eight-speed gearbox with a multi-plate clutch instead of a torque-convertor (to minimise frictional losses), the drivetrain should be linear and predictable. However, we've found that the early cars we’ve driven might not be calibrated to production standard, with some clunky gearchanges and kickdowns needing to be smoothed out. The diesel irons out some of these kinks.
How economical is it?
Let’s not get too bogged down in the meaningless claim of 188mpg, as that’s simply a product of a test that’s as real-world helpful as a school algebra lesson. Good for exam results, not much cop day-to-day.
In the PHEV, with the battery depleted completely you’re looking at around 35mpg. If you’ve got a little bit of charge you could manage around 50mpg, and if you’re regularly plugging in then expect as high as 80mpg in the real world.
In EV mode there’s adequate town performance and we managed 32 miles of electric-only driving against a claimed figure of 39 miles. Pretty decent effort.
A full-top up of the battery takes two hours and 20 minutes from an 11kW AC charger. You can also choose to charge the battery on the move using the engine as a generator, but we’d avoid doing this at all costs as fuel economy will take a beating.
And the diesel?
The CX-60 diesel claims a combined 54mpg, but in our experience something closer to 43mpg is realistic. Expect less if you're hooning around in Sport mode.
Mazdas usually handle well. Does this?
It’s a mixed bag, if we’re honest. Mazda UK MD Jeremy Thomson talks about this being a ‘driver’s car’, but our time with the CX-60 has showed little evidence of that. The ride is a tad fidgety at low speed on the 20-inch wheels we tried (18s are fitted on low-spec cars) but improves the faster you go. Body roll isn’t too extreme and overall comfort is good.
Give it the beans on a B-road and the overwhelming sensation is just how busy your hands get, hunting for steering feel that simply isn’t there. Still, though it doesn’t have that pleasant ‘oh, this actually handles’ surprise of a Ford Kuga or the planted feeling of a BMW X3, it’s not disgraced in PHEV or diesel guise. Cruising at motorway speeds can be a little odd though, with that disconnected feel rearing its head again.
Judge it for its road manners at normal speeds and you’ll be much more appreciative of what the CX-60 can do. It’s comfortable and - save for a bit of wind noise around the mirrors on the motorway - pretty quiet too. Completely fit for purpose, in other words.