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Long-term review

Mazda CX-60 - long term review

£49,520 / as tested £53,270
Published: 16 Jan 2024
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After 12 months living with a Mazda CX-60, here's what we found

After 12 months of living with the biggest, most expensive, most ambitiously positioned Mazda yet, it’s time to say sayonara.

We started out with a petrol 2.5-litre plug-in hybrid, and replaced it with this old school diesel. That was a good call, as the hybrid version never felt quite sorted. The gearbox, hybrid motor and engine often busied themselves with marital breakdowns resulting in some embarrassing jerky driving. Even jerkier when you factored in the bouncy, unsettled ride. The diesel is a better effort. The 3.0-litre straight-six has a smooth but raspy tone when floored. It’s quick, yet returns impressive mpg, and has lots of torque which came in handy when I needed to tow a project car.

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While the ride still isn’t perfect, it’s a lot better. Same goes for the handling. There’s less body roll, presumably from not having to lug around a weighty battery. That made it more popular with my family.

I came to realise the more you push this car on the open road, the better it shows off the chassis’ strengths. But its heavy steering means it doesn’t really like being driven slowly around town, which goes against the ethos of what Mazda wants this car to be: a premium SUV. To be honest, I quite liked it once I’d got used to it.

Interestingly, for me, the CX-60’s strongest suit is its interior. No, it’s probably not quite as ‘premium’ (whatever that is) as a BMW, but that’s more than made up for by common sense. It has a calmness and simplicity about it... and, as ever with Japanese cars, brilliant ergonomics.

There’s no touchscreen (thankfully), with the central display handling the satnav, entertainment and car settings via a rotary control on the centre console aided by handy shortcut buttons. All the climate controls are physical buttons, a refreshing change in this world of too much tech. My biggest tech highlight is the 360° camera – not unique to the CX-60 by any means, but vital in such a bulky machine.

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Sadly the tech that is festooned into the CX-60 did dent some of its lofty ‘premium’ aspirations. The adaptive cruise control was far too sensitive, the driver alert monitor constantly bonged at me if I looked away from the road for the slightest of moments to do some urgent parenting, and I simply ended up switching off the i-Stop system, as it was just annoying.

But is it worth buying? Something to propel Mazda out of the fringes of mainstream and into Lexus-baiting premium territory? Well, yes and no. It’s a lot of car for the money, but there are a fair few irritating faults and foibles once you tot them up over a year of ownership. I reckon it’s not beyond Mazda to fix them, so what I’d say is wait for the facelift, then try a CX-60. Once it’s had a proper software update and a ride rethink, then it might be time for the Germans to keep an eye on their rearview mirror.

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