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Mazda looks upmarket – Mazda CX-60

If your company car is typically chosen from the ranks of the German premium marques, should you be looking at the Mazda instead? Well yes, it’s worth a look. Despite Mazda’s best efforts it’s not quite to the standards of an Audi or BMW, but it’s not far behind and a long way ahead of typical mainstream SUV fare.
221102mazdacx60a
221102mazdacx60a

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7 November 2022

What is it?

It’s yet another crossover from Mazda – in fact Mazda UK boss Jeremy Thomson reckons the CX-60 is the most important car the Japanese brand has launched in many years, and while he would say that, this car does tick several new boxes. It’s the largest SUV the brand has yet offered – though it won’t keep that title for long as an even bigger seven-seat CX-80 is on the way. But perhaps more importantly, it’s the first plug-in hybrid from Mazda, a slow adopter of electrification.

What the brand is shouting most about, however, is the new ‘Crafted by Mazda’ tag line which launches with the CX-60. This is meant to stand for new levels of quality and refinement, and pitch Mazda upmarket to challenge the likes of Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

This aim is fostered by lots of technology and some serious levels of interior finishing, though to get the full effect you do have to choose the Takumi model, topping a range that also includes entry level Exclusive-Line and mid-range Homura. The range-topper’s interior finishing extends to maple wood veneers to complement the white nappa leather upholstery and some very delicate needlework trim with ‘floating stitches’, which apparently was taken direct from a Japanese fashion house.

Thankfully this is extra to plus points that stretch across all three versions, not least the interior space which is, well spacious, both for occupants and their luggage which is contained within a 570-litre boot – a size that knocks many rivals into touch. Even without the veneers and stitches the CX-60’s fit and finish is definitely upmarket, while the technology extends to an impressive 12-inch central display unit which refuses to succumb to the industry fad for touchscreens – it’s operated by a rotary control while other essential functions get their own buttons in what is still an uncluttered dash layout.

Other tech includes a head-up display – yes, even on entry-level versions – and the ability to pre-heat or pre-cool the interior, and the seats, before getting into the car using a new smartphone app.  There’s also a ‘driver personalisation system’, standard on all but entry-level cars, that uses facial recognition to set seats, steering wheel, mirrors and head-up display to an individual’s preference – handy if the car is routinely used by more than one person.

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Safety kit is impressive too, with the likes of lane-keeping assistance and blind-spot monitoring standard alongside the autonomous emergency braking, though some of the more desirable aids, such as adaptive cruise control, require spending on the options list.

Under the bonnet is a 2.5-litre petrol engine and a 129kW electric motor, combining to produce Mazda’s most powerful production car yet with 327hp on tap. This may be a big car but it’s a quick one as well, passing 62mph from rest in under six seconds. There are, by the way, plans to extend the CX-60 propulsion options with a 3-litre petrol engine on the way (Mazda flat refuses to follow the mantra of ‘modern engines have to be smaller’, instead following its ‘Skyactiv’ programme of more efficient large units) and, get this, a 3-litre diesel…

All of the above is contained within a body that is big, yes, but not bulbous like many rivals, the CX-60 presenting a purposeful visual appearance, though the current industry trend towards huge grilles does not exactly help the final effect.

What do we think?

Overall the CX-60 is an impressive addition to the burgeoning Mazda SUV range. It creates an immediate positive impression on first entry – even without the interior opulence of the range-topping Takumi version. There’s lots of space, lots of tech and it’s all sensibly laid out in a  comfortable cabin.
On the road this car is as potent as its power and torque figures suggest, but that potency is unleashed in a smooth, unflustered manner, helped by the fact that it uses a proper eight-speed auto transmission and not the CVT applied to most hybrid powertrains. Only at high motorway speeds, when you are working the petrol side of the equation hard, does the engine note become a little too noticeable.

Cornering prowess is aided firstly by the all-wheel-drive powertrain, the careful placing of the hybrid battery pack between the wheels to create a low centre of gravity and also a clever little piece of tech called ‘Kinematic Posture Control’. This improves turn-in by gently braking the inside wheel as one enters the corner.

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Of course as with all plug-in hybrids the officially quoted three-digit fuel economy figures are a world away from the real world, though Mazda does claim that the CX-60’s electric motor has more frequent influence on travel that is typical for a PHEV. Mid to high 40s is a more  ‘real-world’ mpg figure on  typical journey, while the car can also travel on electric power alone for up to around 35 miles, by selecting one of the four driving modes on offer.
So if your company car is typically chosen from the ranks of the German premium marques, should you be looking at the Mazda instead? Well yes, it’s worth a look. Despite Mazda’s best efforts it’s not quite to the standards of an Audi or BMW, but it’s not far behind and a long way ahead of typical mainstream SUV fare. And you get all this for a much more attractive price. If your budget just stretches to an entry-level premium brand model you can for the same money have the range-topping CX-60, with all the tech and plush detail, and quite a lot of change left over…

Mazda CX-60 AWD Exclusive-Line

  • P11D value: £45,365
  • Engine: 2.5-litre petrol/electric (plug-in hybrid)
  • Torque: 500 Nm
  • Power: 327hp
  • Transmission: 8-speed automatic
  • 0-62mph: 5.8 secs
  • Top Speed: 124 mph.
  • Quoted Economy (combined): 188.3 mpg
  • CO2 emissions: 33g/km
  • VED (first yr) £55

 

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