The Mazda CX-60 will not arrive until the fall of 2022 in France, but the brand invited us to a test of pre-series models to make a first impression of this new vehicle. The latter allows the Japanese manufacturer to have a large SUV in the range, which no longer had in France since the withdrawal of the CX-7 ten years ago. With a length of 4.75 m, the CX-60 is impressive, and Mazda has made it its gondola head to become a premium brand capable of competing with the German trio Audi, BMW and Mercedes.
Designed on an unprecedented multi-energy platform, giving a privileged place to propulsion (rear-wheel drive), the CX-60 will be able to accommodate a new 3.3 six-cylinder diesel in 2023. But the decision has not yet been made to market this engine in France. At launch, the CX-60 will be available with the new 327 hp plug-in hybrid package. Fiscal reason dictates this, and it is the way to discover the first Mazda engine of this type.
The technology of the CX-60 2.5 e-Skyactiv PHEV (that’s its name) is based on a 191 hp four-cylinder gasoline engine, a 129 hp powered by a 17.8 kWh battery and an eight-speed automatic transmission. The accumulated power of 327 hp goes to ground via four-wheel drive thanks to the drive shaft that connects the two axles. The electric range is approved at 63 km (mixed WLTP), and the battery is recharged in 2 h 30 in a suitable terminal thanks to the charger on board of 7.2 kW in alternating current.
Mazda CX-60 plug-in hybrid price
The price will be between € 52,650 and € 58,050 with four levels of finish called Prime Line, Exclusive Line, Homura and Takumi. The details of the equipment are unknown at this time. Compared to the little brother CX-5, which does not have a hybrid engine to avoid the penalty, the new CX-60 avoids taxes: no penalty, no TVS for professionals and free gray card. However, these tax gifts should not make us forget that using a large PHEV SUV can be more expensive than a diesel one if not used correctly.
The on-board installation has a deja vu air and this is normal as the dashboard of the CX-60 receives the principles seen on board the Mazda 3, 6 and CX-5. The presentation is characterized by well-made materials, a relaxing furniture design and a modest-sized screen that is not tactile when the car is in motion (in any case, it is placed too far from the driver). Too bad Mazda has not taken advantage of the launch of its new high-end model to reinvent its interiors. We can still see the advantage of having good ergonomics of the controls and easy installation on the steering wheel. You can even enter your height into the computer; then the car adjusts the optimal position of the seat and steering wheel according to your morphology. But in our case, we had to redo the settings …
Due to this handling of pre-production models we only had the right to travel a few tens of kilometers. To get an idea of fuel and electricity consumption, we will wait for a longer test. Electrical range of 63 km seems more or less realistic on the road, but we were surprised by the operation of the Comfort driving mode (which corresponds to the Hybrid between rivals) because even with a full battery, the heat engine is used at low speed, while competing models generally prioritize battery operation under these conditions. Fortunately, there is EV mode, but it’s a shame to have to select it every time the battery is at full capacity.
Despite its generous size and long hood, the CX-60 is easy to navigate the city. However, it is not without some discomfort due to the overly harsh reactions of the suspension. Don’t expect to improve the feel with controlled damping or air suspension, as found in the world of premium SUVs. There are none here. Since misfortune never comes alone, we also regret the sticky steering at low speed. There are areas for improvement before marketing.
On the road, the CX-60 reveals another face. The comfort of the suspension is not yet the strong point, however the firmness of the chassis serves for a good control of the movements of the body when you are in a hurry. With its chassis resting on double-fork suspensions at the front and multiple hinges at the rear, the Japanese SUV is reassuring and true to the requested trajectory. It also distills a good one feeling at the level of its brake pedal, without dead displacement, a defect that is sometimes found in plug-in hybrids.
If the dynamism of the chassis is not that of a BMW X3, the performance is when the two engines work together to start the vehicle from the asphalt (from 0 to 100 km / h in 5.9 s) and forcefully relaunch the two tons. Here again, it will need to be adjusted additionally to avoid a few shocks we feel coming from the automatic gearbox and to annihilate an unpleasant transmission noise under strong acceleration.
By taking over the CX-5’s multimedia system without any real improvement, the CX-60 inherits the same mistakes. Do you want to drive without the front windshield? It must be turned off at each start by looking at the menus. Do you want to modulate the regenerative power of the battery? Here we go back to the menus. You want to switch radio stations via voice command? Forget it. The Japanese SUV has not moved to the smart control that is being extended to premium models. The observation is severe, but when it is claimed to be part of a club (in this case, that of premiums), it is necessary at least propose similar solutions.
Fortunately, the vehicle compensates for other points such as the physical keys that make it easier to use many functions, the solid appearance of its furniture and the space on board. In the back, two passengers have good leg and head space, as well as a comfortable posture. Without breaking records, the trunk shows an interesting volume of 477 l (570 l with the space underground). It also benefits from good modularity thanks to the 40-20-40 folding bench backrests, which are operated from the back.
Mazda wants to get into the premium club, but the CX-60 isn’t as fun to drive as a 367bhp Audi Q5 55 TFSI and not as dynamic as a BMW X3 xDrive 30e. For its part, the Volvo XC60 has nothing to fear from the arrival of the Japanese in terms of performance on board and electric range (91 km now for the XC60 T6). Even the new Lexus NX 450h + features a cleaner interior, a more modern multimedia system and proven efficiency.
Find the test results and data sheet on the next page.