Mazda has bold ambitions. It wants to be an absolute premium manufacturer within a few years, and it is building up its model range accordingly. Looking at its latest SUV, the CX-60, it is definitely succeeding. This PHEV Mazda impressed us. Read further…
Hans Knol ten Bensel
Mazda elegance and style
Mazda’s are well proportioned and styled, and have indeed a distinct, proper styling language which makes them stand out from the rest. The lines of this bigger SUV are not too busy, instead they are fluent and exude a distinct sportiness together with a quest for simplicity and elegance. The front end and radiator grille carry also the distinct Mazda DNA, which is now becoming well established and is quite pleasing.
The style and sophistication is also found in the interior. We absolutely loved the white colour of the surface panels, upholstery and seats, and the lavish use of chrome around the edges of the lateral vents. On the wide central console, which is impressive due to the simple fact that a transmission runs through it, one finds even a tropical white wood veneer finish. Very oriental, we would say, and a refreshing departure from the all black colour schemes we so often encounter.
The elegant interior design introduces the ideas of Kaichou – an element of disruption which mixes different materials and textures. With the flagship Takumi grade, which was the top equipment version found in our test car, materials such as maple wood, nappa leather combine with uniquely worked Japanese textiles and chrome details, and Musubu – the art of binding which was the inspiration for a specially detailed instrument panel stitching. We liked that also very much.
The treatment of the maple wood trim reflects the Japanese aesthetic of Hacho – asymmetrical balance, or intentional unevenness. The woven fabrics’ diverse patterns and yarns respond sensitively to changes in light, and a Japanese stitching technique called Kakenui creates ‘hanging stitching’ seams with spaces between the trim fabrics revealing a glimpse of the material beneath. As we said, very elegant indeed…
The Mazda CX-60 comes with several engines, and even a six cylinder in line Diesel in world markets, but for the time being, in our country it’s a 2,5 litre four cylinder “Sky Active” petrol engine which is doing part of the work, as the CX-60 is a PHEV. The electric motor sits between the engine and the gearbox, and even has its own clutch, so this Mazda remains a 4WD also when in EV mode. Power galore with this Mazda. What to say of an electric motor which develops already 134 hp, and which is able to propel this two tonne SUV with the inboard 17.8 kWh battery on EV power alone for a range of 62 km.
Indeed, when you have charging possibilities at home and the office, and if your daily commute is rather short, it is totally feasible to use your Mazda as an EV. Just choose with the “I mode” sliding lever on the console the EV mode and you’re ok. You can expect then formidable economy, as the engine then is hardly used. The benchmark and crucial WLTP CO2 emissions value is set 33g/100 km. The WLTP combined fuel consumption is just 1.5l/100 km.
Combined with the petrol engine total power is an impressive 327 PS/241 kW. This makes it the most powerful Mazda ever, having also not less than 500 Nm torque, with performance to match: this SUV sprints in 5,8 seconds from 0 to 100 km/h, and top speed is not less than a limited 200 km/h. For your information, the petrol engine develops a maximum power output of 141 kW at 6000 rpm and 261 Nm of torque. The electric motor delivers 129 kW of power and 270 Nm of torque at 400 rpm.
Does this CX-60 invite you to use all this power? Not quite, where I have to admit that we are a bit economy buffs, and seeing the cleverly designed instant consumption dial hovering fiercely in the red zone, with consumption well above 20 liters/100 km when we press our right foot a bit deeper, we tended intuitively to slow things down a bit.
Add to this that the engine makes itself well heard when called to duty, and you understand that we rather avoided using the “sport” mode. This Mazda will also use its engine rather often when the battery is low, which is understandable since one needs power to move this 2 tonne SUV around. Driving this CX 60 with restraint when the battery is depleted, one achieves an average consumption of some 7,8 litres/100 km as we registered during our test, which is a very good score considering the size and weight of this 4WD CX 60. The efficient 2,5 litre Skyactiv unit is coupled to an all new 8 speed automatic, which doesn’t use a classic hydraulic converter, but a multi-plate clutch as well as an integrated electric motor/generator.
Mazda claims that by replacing the torque converter with a clutch, the torque of the engine and motor is transmitted directly, with fast and rhythmic shifting much like a manual transmission. A little bit of the Mazda MX-5 “Zoom zoom” philosophy is still felt here. Nowadays, Mazda is aiming to become a premium manufacturer more than ever. The larger public should only be more aware of this…
The transmission is indeed very smooth when driving away from standstill, some jerkiness is felt when the transmission changes down when coasting and slowly decelerating. But under power, everything just feels great.
Mazda put a great effort in the handling and agility of this big Mazda. It wants it to be nimble, responsive and engaging. Not a small brief for a big SUV. First of all, it should be noted that the CX-60 The new Mazda CX-60 is based on Mazda’s Skyactiv Multi-Solution Scalable Architecture, designed to be compatible with the SUV’s longitudinal front-engine rear-wheel drive mechanical layout.
The Skyactiv Multi-Solution Scalable Architecture features numerous enhancements to improve as Mazda calls it, the Jinba-Ittai driving.
The feeling of Jinba-ittai (oneness between car and driver) that can be experienced when driving the CX-60 in varied day-to-day situations, remains the same even on challenging off-road paths during weekend outdoor activities or on slippery winter roads covered in snow and ice.
The i-Activ AWD and Mazda Intelligent Drive Select (Mi-Drive) allow the car to maintain responsive on-road driving while also offering a safe and secure driving experience even on various off-road surfaces thanks to its high controllability.
The bodyshell rigidity lets you feel the car’s handling and movements without lag. We should also mention here the Mazda-unique vehicle posture control system – Kinematic Posture Control (KPC). This stabilizes vehicle posture when cornering, braking the inside rear wheel to mitigate roll and draw the car body downwards.
How does all this translate in practice? The suspension revealed itself as rather firm, understandably so if you have to balance a 2,1 tonne SUV. Steering is precise, but rather busy. Yes, the CX-60 could indeed be thrown around corners, is up to the job, but it doesn’t exactly invite you to do so. The CX-60 sports double wishbones at the front and a multi-link rear suspension.
This Mazda of course incorporates all the usual driving aids and then some. We greatly appreciated the so-called “see through” function, which enhances even the 360 degrees camera function in this sense that it projects an image on the screen which lets the driver see through the front and rear corners of the car. Advanced Smart City Brake Support uses a front camera to show cars and pedestrians ahead.
We greatly appreciated also the large central armrest and the command knob to, steer the functions displayed on the screen. Mazda is in my opinion only to, be applauded for maintaining this circular command knob, which is so much easier and stable to use when on the move on bouncy roads and avoids the unhygienic, finger prints on the screen. COVID-19 times made us aware of this ever more…
There is also the so-called Driver Personalisation System, which detects with a camera the eye position of the driver and his physique, then automatically adjusts the seat and steering wheel, Active Driving Display and the door mirrors.
The boot space is 570 litres, increasing to 1148 litres with the rear seats folded flat. The load space is equipped with a 12 V 150 watt outlet, which can be raised in the PHEV to 230 V with not less than 1500 watts…
The CX-60 is also excellent for towing, as it can pull a weight of not less than 2500 kg…
Mazda succeeds in making this CX-60 an absolute premium SUV, certainly when it comes to styling, finish and opulent elegance, especially in the interior. As a PHEV, it offers its EV qualities when it can be frequently recharged. On the other hand, when the battery is depleted, it remains reasonably frugal. It certainly handles well, but a fluent, relaxed driving style suits it most.
It is lavishly equipped, and this goes for all the equipment versions you choose. The top version we tested leaves strictly nothing to be desired, with 20 inch alloys and panorama roof included, and this makes the CX-60 also attractive…
Hans Knol ten Bensel
We shot the Mazda here entirely with our Fujifilm Finepix S100 FS , which was bought, as you know, for less than 70 Euros. We erroneously left the Dynamic Range at 100. Given the strong sunlight, we should have set it at least at 200 or 400. But there you are. The results are still pretty decent, considering also that we were also still shooting in JPEG. The sensor produces 11,1 megapixel images, which is plenty for our work. The 28-400 mm zoom lens even has a macro function and an ultra macro function, making close ups a breeze…
Hans Knol ten Bensel