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Mazda CX-60 test drive

The Mazda CX-60 is Mazda's biggest and most powerful car, but is it actually any good?


The Mazda CX-60 is not only Mazda's biggest and most powerful car but it's best yet, the PHEV drivetrain offering performance to go with the comfort and quality of build.
Driving Experience
Value for Money


The Mazda CX-60 is not only Mazda's biggest and most powerful car but it's best yet, the PHEV drivetrain offering performance to go with the comfort and quality of build.

The Mazda CX-60 is the first plug-in hybrid vehicle produced by the Japanese brand and follows the electric MX-30 launched last year as the company makes a belated move towards electrification. It’s the largest Mazda yet, and the most powerful.

Another key new aspect of the CX-60 is the ‘crafted by Mazda’ tag line, debuting with the car and with the stated aim of offering the kind of premium quality to directly rival the established ‘upmarket’ brands – principally Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

Of course we’ve heard of more mainstream brands gazing keenly upwards and trying to prise new buyers out of their Beemers and Mercs before, and most have failed. Mazda has always been a bit of an oddball brand though – different enough to appeal to a premium audience?

What is it?

The Mazda CX-60 is an all-new family-sized SUV – the Japanese brand’s largest yet, outstretching the CX-5, though not for long as an even bigger, seven-seat CX-80 will be joining the line-up in the next couple of years.

Mazda has long had a reputation for going its own way with powertrains – in the face of a rush towards electrification the brand has insisted that more efficient petrol and diesel units will have a role to play and has continued to develop them under its SkyActiv programme. But with some countries, including the UK, planning to make electricity the only option Mazda finally launched the MX-30 EV last year, and the CX-60 takes the brand’s propulsion options to four as the brand’s first plug-in hybrid.

The CX-60 also offers a lot of the tech that upmarket audiences might expect from their buy, but the biggest attraction, Mazda hopes, will be its quality – across all three variants, but particularly in the range-topping Takumi, which aims to wow with such niceties as white nappa leather, equally bright maple wood veneers and hand-produced ‘hanging stitch’ detailing.

First impressions

We are well used to Mazda SUVs these days, the brand having gone from such vehicles making up 12% of their UK sales in 2012 to 70% a decade later. The brand’s ‘Kodo’ design language tends to produce fairly slippery exterior visuals and the newcomer follows this brief, a clear evolution of models that have come before.

The visuals are clean, simple, and easy on the eye but the overall impression is of a big car – at 4.7 metres long, 1.9 wide and 1.7 high this is no ‘compact’ SUV. But equally, it does not look bulbous as do some SUVs but purposeful, the strongly repeated profile line a notable feature. However the quite large grille (as is the current trend) appears just a little too upright and squared off.

We like: Exterior detailing not overdone.
We don’t like: Grille design a bit intrusive.

What do you get for your money?

The Mazda CX-60 currently comes with just the one powertrain option (though not for long – see below) and in three trim levels with new names to boot. Entry-level is the Exclusive-Line at £43,950, this is followed by the Homura at £46,700 and topped by the Takumi costing from £48,050.

Buyers of the Exclusive-Line will get equipment levels that stretch to 18-inch alloy wheels, a black-finished interior with a 12-inch central infotainment screen, heating of the steering wheel and front seats, a head-up display (rare in an entry-level model) and the ability to pre-heat or pre-cool the car before one get sin it by means of Mazda’s Smartphone app.

The extra £2,705 of the Homura pays for exterior detailing such as body-coloured wheel arches, a honeycomb grille and 20-inch black alloy wheels to distinguish it from the entry-level car, plus heating of the outer rear seats, cooling of the fronts, a 12-speaker Bose sound system and Mazda’s ‘Driver Personalisation System’. This uses facial recognition to set the car to the driver’s liking, seat, steering wheel, mirrors, head-up display – even the climate control and audio system. Six different profiles can be loaded into the system.

The Takumi adds more exterior detailing to individualise it, this time in chrome, but most focus is on the interior which gets the full ‘Crafted in Japan’ treatment as described next. The wheels remain at 20 inches but are machined alloy units in black.

There are also options of course, simplified into three packs, dubbed ‘Comfort’, ‘Convenience’ and ‘Driver Assistance’. The Exclusive-Line can be specified with all three packs, the £1,400 Comfort Pack adding features that are standard on the upper two models such as the bigger wheels, electric seats with heated outer rears and driver personalisation system.

For an extra £1,000 Convenience Pack adds courtesy lamps, 150-watt and 1,500-watt AC sockets, a 360-degree round view monitor, privacy glass and wireless charging, while the £1,100 Driver Assistance Pack adds adaptive LED headlamps and a host of extra safety aids, including adaptive cruise control, front cross-traffic alert and rear cross-traffic braking.

The only other option, apart from painting and trim finishes, is a panoramic sunroof which can be added to Homura and Takumi versions for, you guessed it, £1,000.

In terms of safety, the CX-60’s standard kit is extensive. It includes such necessities as autonomous emergency braking, lane-keeping assistance and blind-spot monitoring, although it has yet to be tested by Euro NCAP. But it’s noticeable that a fair number of safety aids, including adaptive cruise control, require delving into the options list.

We like: Simple option packs makes buying choice less complex
We don’t like: Safety aids such as adaptive cruise control not standard

What’s the Mazda CX-60 like inside?

So to the interior, the highlight of this new car we are told – and with good reason, as this is without doubt the finest cabin Mazda has yet produced. It’s spacious (the 570-litre boot is particularly big against rivals), sensibly laid out and extremely well put together, even if you go for the entry-level version.

Choose the top-notch Takumi and the detail is as good as anything the ‘proper’ premium marques can do. The white veneers in the centre console and door panels, complimenting the white kappa leather, really look crafted, as does the stitching of the upholstery.

The more basic things are done properly too – the central 12-inch plus infotainment screen is clear, bright and easy to use, partly because it’s operated by a rotary control and not a touchscreen. In fact all the most important functions, such as the climate control, have their own buttons.

The Driver Personalisation is a neat feature, using facial recognition to set such aspects as the seat and heating to your personal liking – handy if the family car is routinely used by more than one member of the family.

We like: Quality of the interior
We don’t like: A few (but admittedly very few) hard plastics

What’s under the bonnet?

Mazda’s first plug-in hybrid powertrain is certainly no shrinking violet – in fact the PHEV version of the CX-60 is the most powerful Mazda road car yet. A 2.5-litre petrol engine is matched to a 129kW electric motor, which is big for such devices. It’s fed by a high capacity 18kWh battery and the whole lot pumps out 327hp along with 500Nm of torque.

This all adds up to a pretty swift SUV – it will crack the 0-62mph sprint in less than six seconds and go on to an electrically limited 125mph.

Mazda claims “outstanding environmental credentials” with an official combined fuel economy figures of 188mpg and CO2 emissions of 33g/km, although these lab figures are as unrealistic must be regarded as as any other plug-in hybrid vehicle. However, it’s also claimed that the electric side of the CX-60’s drivetrain is employed much more often than is typical, and it can travel 39 miles EV-only at speeds up to 62mph.

Evidence suggests around 50mpg on the motorway with no battery is possible, and quite a lot more in general use if you keep the battery charged – pretty good when you consider how big this car is. The CX-60 has a Type 2 charger and recharging takes less than two-and-a-half hours on an 11kw outlet.

The 2.5-litre petrol engine follows the Mazda against-the-grain argument that bigger-capacity internal-combustion engines are the best for efficiency. Within two years, this will be emphasised by the arrival of CX-60 variants in 3.0-litre petrol form and even a 3.3-litre diesel – despite the brand saying that by 2030 its UK line-up will only be full electric or plug-in.

These two new ‘SkyActiv X’ units are both mild hybrids and promised to be far more efficient than their predecessors, with equivalent emissions and economy to much smaller SUVs. We shall see…

What’s the Mazda CX-60 like to drive?

This is a potent SUV and its acceleration feels as swift as it is for such a large vehicle. But it’s also smooth, aided by having a conventional eight-speed automatic transmission rather than the iffy CVTs often fitted to hybrids. Having said that, the petrol engine does let you know when being driven hard, its note just shy of intrusive.

There are four driving modes on offer, including one that allows electric-only progress until the battery runs out, usually at around 35 miles in real-world driving. In Normal mode the petrol and electric systems combine at their most efficient, while Sport places the emphasis on performance. An off-road mode completes the menu.

We got to drive all three versions, and while the ride comfort is generally to a high standard, to us it felt slightly better with the 18-inch wheels of the entry-level model, the larger rims tending to transmit poor surfaces. But particularly at motorway speeds this is a car that is quiet and relaxing to drive.

The car feels very assured in corners. Obviously the all-wheel-drive system is a major player here, but the low centre of gravity achieved by placing the battery pack between the two axles and as close to the ground as possible is also a major contributor, as is the ‘Kinematic Posture Control’, a system that gently brakes the inside wheel when cornering to aid turn in.

We like: Smooth but assured transmission
We don’t like: Sightly loud engine note at high revs


Is the Mazda CX-60 a true replacement for an Audi, BMW or Mercedes? Not quite. It’s perfectly competent in just about all areas, just not quite as engaging on the road – especially compared to a BMW. Mind you, it’s not nearly as expensive, either – you can have a top-level Takumi version for less than an entry-level BMW X3 PHEV.

The CX-60 is a definite step up for the Mazda brand. The quality, particularly of the range-topping Takumi models, is plain to see, the generous equipment levels making it good value for money. It might just sit shy of its claimed premium opposition but it sits well clear of the mainstream SUV pack.

If you are looking for comfortable, spacious family transport with performance to boot, the Mazda CX-60 should certainly merit a look.

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Key specifications

Model tested: Mazda CX-60 AWD Exclusive-Line
Price as tested: £46,250
Engine: 2.5-litre petrol/electric plug-in hybrid
eight-speed automatic

Power: 327 hp
Torque: 500 Nm
Top speed: 124 mph
0-62 mph: 5.8 seconds

Fuel consumption: 188.3 mpg combined
CO2 emissions: 33 g/km
Euro NCAP safety rating: Not yet tested (as of Sept 2022)
TCE Expert Rating: 65% (as of Sept 2022)

Andrew Charman
Andrew Charman
Andrew is a road test editor for The Car Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.
The Mazda CX-60 is not only Mazda's biggest and most powerful car but it's best yet, the PHEV drivetrain offering performance to go with the comfort and quality of build.Mazda CX-60 test drive