Mazda CX-60 review

Mazda CX-60

We road test the plug-in hybrid version of the classy new Mazda CX-60 mid-sized SUV…

Slotting in above the slightly smaller CX-5, the all-new CX-60 is Mazda’s new flagship SUV.

Not only does it close the gap on premium rivals from Europe, such as Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Range Rover and Volvo, but it’s available as Mazda’s first ever plug-in hybrid.

The Japanese company still hasn’t given up on the internal combustion engine and the PHEV version is a natural progression.

Mazda CX-60

What’s more, plug-in hybrids look like they will get a stay of execution for five years after the sales of new petrol and diesel cars are banned in 2030, so there’s life in the technology yet.

The CX-60 PHEV combines a normally aspirated 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with a 100kW electric motor and a 17.8kWh battery.

The result is a total output of 323bhp and 369lb ft of torque, making it the most powerful road car Mazda has ever produced, capable of sprinting from standstill to 62mph in just 5.8 seconds.

What’s more, on paper, fuel economy could be as high as 188mpg with CO2 emissions as low as 33g/km.

Mazda CX-60

Offering up to 39 miles of pure electric driving from a full charge, your visits to a petrol station could be few and far between if you have a modest daily commute. And if you’re a business user, considerable tax advantages come with that meagre CO2 figure.

Further down the line, Mazda will also be offering the CX-60 with 3.3-litre diesel and 3.0-litre petrol engines – both six-cylinders paired with a 48V mild hybrid system.

Priced from £43,950, there’s a choice of three plush trim levels – Exclusive-Line, Homura and Takumi.

You can also choose from two option packs across all grades (Convenience Pack and Driver Assistance Pack), while a Comfort Pack is available on Exclusive-Line.

Mazda CX-60

Highlights of the £1,000 Convenience Pack include privacy glass, a 360 view monitor and wireless phone charging, while the Driver Assistance Pack adds extra active safety technology for £1,100.

The £1,400 Comfort Pack includes goodies such as 20-inch alloy wheels, electric front seats, front seat ventilation and heated rear seats.

Not only is the CX-60 PHEV well equipped, it’s superbly put together and the quality of the materials used inside the cabin is excellent.

Externally, the CX-60 is very similar to the CX-5, but can be distinguished by its bold nose, which polarises opinion. Let’s just say that it’s not the most attractive Mazda head-on.

Mazda CX-60

And at just 190mm longer, 50mm wider and about the same height, there’s not much between them in size, though the CX-60’s more athletic stance hides its height a little better.

There’s nothing revolutionary inside the cabin. It’s still very much a Mazda, which is no bad thing.

There’s a large centrally-located 12.3-inch infotainment screen on top of the dashboard, while Mazda’s sticking with its rotary controller near the gear selector. It’s not a touchscreen, and much of the car’s functionality is accessed by a twist and click.

If you’re not used to a touchscreen, it works well from the off, and even if you are, it becomes second nature after a few hours.

Mazda CX-60

Thankfully, Mazda has kept some buttons and dials, so the climate control can be accessed separately and there’s still an audio volume knob. Additionally, there’s extra functionality, such as cruise control via the steering wheel, while the clear head-up display is one of the best.

The cabin itself is spacious, though little different to the CX-5 in the back, so while adults can sit comfortably in the rear, there’s not class-leading legroom.

The CX-60’s substantial 570-litre boot is about 50 litres bigger than the CX-5’s, expanding to 1,726 litres with the rear seats folded down.

The driving position is great, with plenty of adjustment available (unusually for an SUV, it is possible to sit lower if you prefer). Whichever you choose, there’s a commanding view of the road.

Mazda CX-60

If you’ve had your CX-60 on charge (it takes 2hr 20 min via a 7kW home charger), or you have some charge left, it will start off in EV mode.

Unlike some PHEVs, there is a vague whine from the off, but it’s smooth going and, in theory, if you take it easy the petrol engine won’t kick in until you hit 62mph.

The transition from EV to petrol and vice versa is seamless if you’re not in a hurry. However, if you’re heavy with your right foot there’s a little hesitation and the petrol engine becomes more vocal.

There are four drive modes accessed by a selector (Mi-Drive) near the rotary controller – Normal, Sport, Off-Road and EV.

Mazda CX-60

Frankly, Normal is just fine. The driver’s display turns an angry red if you select Sport and the engine can get a little harsh, but it does firm up the throttle response and handling.

Obviously EV will keep you driving in electric mode until the battery runs out, while Off-Road will help you along if the going gets tough.

Mazda isn’t pretending it’s a hardcore 4×4, but the extra traction and raised ride height should help you out on those rare extreme weather occasions.

The petrol engine is mated to a new eight-speed automatic transmission, and for the most part it works perfectly well. However, it can be hesitant on kickdown and hold onto a gear for a little longer on hills. Should that happen, it is possible to manually hurry things along via the steering wheel paddle shifters.

Initially, the CX-60 feels big and heavy, but thanks to that excellent driving position and Mazda’s “Kinetic Posture Control” technology, you soon settle in, and it feels surprisingly agile and controlled in more challenging corners.

Mazda CX-60

There’s plenty of grip and traction, while the steering is light and precise. As with most hybrids, the brakes aren’t the most progressive, but they are effective, and you soon get used to them.

The ride is on the firm side, and even though there’s plenty of power on tap, it is at its most relaxed and refined best cruising along.

As with any PHEV, fuel economy will depend on whether you keep the battery charged up, journey length, speed and driving style. So, while 100mpg is quite possible on shorter runs where the petrol engine is hardly used, your MPG can dip into the 30s on longer trips when the battery charge is used up and the 2.5-litre petrol engine does the heavy lifting.

It’s also worth noting that the CX-60 is one of the few PHEVs able to pull a caravan or trailer with a decent towing capacity of 2,500kg.

The CX-60 is a welcome addition to the plug-in hybrid club that includes some formidable opposition in the shape of the Toyota RAV4, Volvo XC60, Lexus NX, Audi Q5 and BMW X3.

Verdict: The boldly styled new Mazda CX-60 is a class act. Practical, powerful, engaging to drive, generously equipped and well put together with quality materials, it’s very much a premium SUV.

Mazda UK

Mazda CX-5 review

Mazda CX-5 review

We’ve been driving the new, improved Mazda CX-5 – still one of the best mid-sized SUVs on the market

Originally launched in 2017 and treated to a refresh for 2022, Mazda has done just enough to keep the CX-5 competitive against fierce new opposition from the likes of the latest Kia Sportage, Hyundai Tucson and Toyota RAV4.

At first glance the “new” CX-5 is almost identical to the 2021 model, for this is the most subtle of facelifts.

Mazda CX-5 review

There are new headlight and taillight clusters, while the front and rear bumpers have been tweaked, along with the front grille.

Elsewhere, there’s a new drive mode selector on selected models and an expanded range of safety features, while Mazda claims there’s reduced road noise and enhanced driving dynamics.

There are five trim levels: SE-L, Newground, Sport, Sport Black and GT Sport. Newground is new for 2022, featuring a slightly more rugged look with front and rear silver underguard trims matched to silver lower body side skirts, black door mirrors and 19-inch black diamond cut alloy wheels, plus subtle lime green accents in the grille, which are replicated inside.

Mazda CX-5 review

Priced from £28,145, the CX-5 range is certainly not at the bargain end of the sector. In fact, the top-of-the-range GT Sport, complete with a 2.5-litre petrol engine and all-wheel drive, is the wrong side of £38,000 all in with optional extras.

That said, it’s hard to fault the build quality, while the overall feel is nudging premium rivals such as the Audi Q3 and Volvo XC40.

Inside, the spacious interior is attractive and intuitively laid out. However, it is traditional and light years away from the dual-screen infotainment set-up on the new Sportage, for instance.

Mazda CX-5 review

The seats are comfortable and supportive, there’s a commanding driving position and there’s space for five adults with plenty of rear leg and headroom. The boot is a useful 510 litres, expanding to 1,626 litres with the rear seats folded.

As I say, the technology isn’t class-leading, but easy to use and it’s good to see that Mazda has stuck with a rotary controller (next to the gear-shifter) for accessing frequently used infotainment functions – no need for all that distracting swiping, pinching and finger-dabbing on the 10.25-inch screen.

Mind you, it’s a while since I’ve used a daisy wheel for letter/number selection on a sat nav.

Mazda CX-5 review

I tested three versions of the new CX-5 – the flagship 2.5-litre (191bhp) petrol model with 6-speed automatic gearbox and all-wheel drive, plus the entry-level 2.0-litre (163bhp) petrol and 2.2-litre (148bhp) diesel – both front-wheel drive and blessed with Mazda’s slick six-speed manual box.

The CX-5 is at its dynamic best on challenging country roads, where it’s also surprisingly agile for a substantial crossover. And of course, it will also cruise comfortably on the motorway.

But here’s the thing, there’s no need to pay extra for the big 2.5-litre engine. When pushed, it’s a tad vocal, and there isn’t as much pulling power as you’d expect. Economy is also disappointing, while the auto box is a little hesitant at times and tends to hold onto lower gears under acceleration.

Mazda CX-5 review

If you’re not put off by diesels, then opt for that engine option because it delivers the best combination of performance and economy. That said, the basic petrol works well too, and the sporty six-speed manual is a gem.

It’s worth mentioning that I tested out the big petrol variant’s all-wheel drive. Simply select the Off-Road setting on the new Mazda Intelligent Drive Select (Mi Drive) beside the gear lever and off it goes.

With standard road tyres, it can cope with a muddy field and the raised ride keeps the car clear of trouble, but we’re not talking serious all-terrain capability.

Verdict: The new Mazda CX-5 is starting to show its age when it comes to technology and the lack of hybrid powertrain options, but it’s still one of the best handing SUVs on the market. Distinctive, stylish, comfortable, practical and well built, it’s a class act.

Mazda CX-5 review