Test What did we think of the Mazda CX-60 PHEV?
In an automotive world where more and more cars are appearing on fewer and fewer platforms with increasingly similar engines, Mazda can only be called a maverick. The Japanese manufacturer has bravely faced the prevailing trend, with bold solutions and unique options.
Just think about it Mazda MX-30 R-EV plug-in hybrid which had its world premiere at the Brussels Motor Show. The latter brings up to date the Wankel engine, once emblematic of the brand, which is used as a generator to charge the crossover’s battery, which is also electric. Or how the Japanese perfectly combine the past with the present.
But the market has its demands, even if Mazda needs to sell as many cars as possible to stay afloat in tough economic times. In this context, the sympathy evoked is not enough to cope. That is why, in addition to the MX-5, the range mainly includes SUVs. Like the new CX-60, which debuted as a PHEV.
i loved Mazda CX-60 PHEV
Everyone is watching the competition. And with Mazda, they prefer to look at BMW. After all, the new CX-60 sits on an all-new platform developed to accommodate the longitudinally mounted, propulsion-focused straight-six engine. This immediately explained the remarkable length of its bonnet.
These inline-sixes will join the lineup in 2023. Priority was given to the electrified four-cylinder Mazda CX-60 PHEV, however, before tax incentives for plug-in hybrid models were reduced or even lowered completely.
Along with that electric motor, a PHEV also has to carry a large battery, which is quite felt in the Mazda CX-60. The suspension is quite firm, which is very pleasant on the best roads. Body movements are well controlled, giving you the impression of being on the road with a slightly sporty SUV. But if you take the CX-60 on undulating tarmac, you’ll encounter the limitations of this setup.
The handling of the Mazda CX-60 may not have the firmness of an Audi or the dynamism of a BMW, but the interplay of good balance and pleasant steering makes driving fun. more than usual. The natural tendency to understeer is counteracted by automatic braking of the inside rear wheel, allowing you to adopt a playful driving style.
Perhaps the dynamic flair will really show when this SUV’s engine palette is expanded to these inline-six engines.
The interior experience of the Mazda CX-60 exudes class in addition to serenity, despite the absence of digital gimmicks and flashy details.
The color Soul Red It certainly contributes to this, but even if it doesn’t have the typical body color of today, you can immediately see where the Mazda CX-60’s stylistic vein comes from. Although this SUV takes a slightly modified design route, the blood connection with other models in the range is quite obvious. No creases, but with character.
Unlike the body design of a Mazda 3 or a CX-30, you have to get used to the lines, because the nose is quite long and the passenger compartment is quite potbellied. But the front-end design expresses the kind of audacity I’ve always appreciated from the Japanese manufacturer.
The overall impression of quality and interior experience in the Mazda CX-60 also exudes class and serenity, despite the lack of digital gimmicks and flashy details. The Japanese manufacturer doesn’t get lost in screens with super impressive designs, but instead opts for screens with almost childlike tabs that are simple and clear menus.
It’s just a shame that the central screen is really too big for the summary of the information being advertised, giving the “bare” or simple look of the media module a “basic” connotation like phones for the elderly. The central control knob that Mazda copied from BMW remains relevant, although there are still some gains to be made in the infotainment arrangement.
The Mazda CX-60 has a feature that helps determine your ideal seating position. A nice touch, but that has nothing to do with anything else. The best seating position is one where you feel comfortable, which includes a good view of the road and a good grip on the steering wheel and pedals. The ergonomics are quite to my taste, with clear buttons placed in logical places and therefore easy to use. And no annoying haptic controls, nice.
I didn’t like it Mazda CX-60 PHEV
The rear doors open wide and give you access to a decent rear seat. The negative effect of a more pronounced front end is compensated by a large wheelbase, but not to the extent that you can qualify the Mazda CX-60 as a champion of habitability. For these external dimensions, you may need a little space inside. At 570 liters, cargo volume is slightly larger than the slightly more compact CX-5 (522 liters).
I love the look, even if the Mazda CX-60’s headlights initially look like they’re squinting because they’re looking too deep into the glass. Not everyone can appreciate this somewhat inscrutable appearance, because on the road I am regularly reminded that these lights sometimes shine where they shouldn’t shine. In the urban agglomeration of Flanders in 2023, the automatic high beam function mainly acts as a jammer for other road users. And of course that’s annoying, especially if you don’t immediately know how to turn it off.
This visually slightly too long nose therefore suggests a supercharged six-cylinder that Mazda will put in the CX-60, conventional combustion engines in gasoline as in Diesel. Hiroshima’s rationale is that it is easier to meet Euro 7 standards with a larger engine capacity. We will see what happens later in 2023, when the engine line-up is expanded. Until then, the Mazda CX-60 will only be offered in a PHEV version, which combines a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with an electric motor. This electric module is placed between the combustion engine and the eight-speed automatic transmission, from which the driving force goes via two cardan shafts to the rear and front axles. Therefore, the CX-60 also uses its four wheels to recover braking energy.
Mazda went its own way and therefore did not knock on Toyota’s door, for example, for the assembly of the plug-in hybrid powertrain of the RAV4.
The system output of the Mazda CX-60 PHEV is 326 hp and the combined maximum torque is 500 Nm, making this SUV the most powerful production car in Mazda’s history. The sprint from 0 to 100 km/h takes just 5.8 s, despite its hefty weight of 2.1 tonnes. Interestingly, Mazda worked alone, instead of knocking on Toyota’s door, for example, for the assembly of the RAV4’s plug-in hybrid powertrain.
And maybe they were wrong. The plug-in hybrid setup makes a lot of noise, whether it’s the occasional sudden switch from electric to hybrid mode or the slightly annoying rumble of the electric motor around town. The four-cylinder also emits a rather coarse noise, especially when pressed into the revs. You can avoid these inconveniences by giving clear instructions to the throttle and, if necessary, change the gears yourself, so that the software does not get confused.
Another curiosity: the digital meters that inform you on the road of the amount of fuel available in the tank and the remaining power of the 17.8 kWh battery are inaccurate. Fortunately, the combined range continues to be underestimated, allowing me to continue driving in electric mode with an empty battery and the fuel tank seemingly miraculously filling up while driving. The promised autonomy of 63 km in 100% electric mode was achieved in practice, except for a few kilometers, which are rather exceptional for a plug-in hybrid.
So Mazda CX-60 PHEV
One of the main advantages of the Mazda CX-60 has to do with its price. Agree, in absolute terms, this SUV remains expensive. Especially for the private buyer looking for a spacious SUV for the family. But relatively speaking, this Japanese offers a lot of car for its money. Especially since you won’t get a generic vehicle in return, but an SUV with a strong character that dares to find its own way. Those who call Mazda’s metaverse home will also appreciate the CX-60.
But should we choose this PHEV variant? If only his accountant really wanted to. That plug-in hybrid powertrain doesn’t always seem on point, so the Mazda CX-60’s many talents don’t seem to really pay off. In general, the Japanese manages to stand out from the mass of SUVs without difficulty. I’m already looking forward to the arrival of inline six-cylinder engines.