behind the wheel of the Japanese plug-in hybrid SUV

Look for the good, observe, examine. Why ? Because, due to its size and shape, this new CX-60 can be confused with the CX-5. But also because we probably won’t find this model every day; before it’s a shapely plug-in hybrid SUV, it’s a Mazda.

Understand why, despite all its potential qualities, this Japanese suffers unfairly from the lack of knowledge of the general public and a very tenuous sales network (107 dealerships in France).

Therefore, we do not expect this CX-60 to flood the market and revolutionize the genre, even if it plans to sell 1,500 units a year in France, and intends to compete with German awards such as the BMW X3 and Audi Q5.

For this, the Japanese SUV, with more than 4.75 meters, will initially have your plug-in hybrid engine – a first for the Hiroshima company – before receiving in-line six-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines under the hood.

Comprising a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine and an electric machine, the PHEV version features accumulated power never before achieved by a Mazda of road sold in Europe: 327 hp.

The manufacturer insists on the road qualities of this all-wheel drive SUV, based on a platform developed like that of a rear-wheel drive model and benefiting from a double-wishbone suspension at the front. Promising? Yes. Seductive? Ultimately, not so much.

However, it all starts very well when you get on board: as always with Mazda, sobriety comes first and the presentation flatters the eye with its harmony. The manufacturing quality is accompanied by equipment that can be plethoric and by an unusual ergonomics, typically Japanese, but serious.

The non-tactile display is controlled from a well-placed wheel on the center console, while the ventilation and air conditioning controls remain independent and well positioned.

The CX-60 also takes care of your welcome with the Comfort Pack option (€1,700): at start-up, he asks the driver about his heightoffering you the possibility to adjust the seat, steering wheel, exterior mirrors and head-up display position to your size.

It’s fun but utopian: some 6-footers have long legs and a small bust, others the opposite.

Mazda CX-60 2.5 E-Skyactiv PHEV

Flattered that it looks “normal” by Mazda’s criteria, I admit, however, that I quite appreciated the driving position the SUV offered me. So I recorded it and thanks to facial recognitionthe CX-60 reverted to these settings after each shutdown, also adjusting the radio and climate control to my preferences.

At the rear, no similar system, but Heated seats appear as an option and there’s a lot of space. Finally, on the side of the trunk, the capacity reaches 477 liters, or up to 570 liters counting the volume under the floor.

It is when it happens that our Pre-production CX-60 reveals its shortcomings. His direction, very heavy in maneuver, surprises. And its damping, which benefits from no riding and suffers from the big 20-inch wheels, is stiff.

You quickly learn how to avoid potholes and get away from cobblestone streets at the controls of the Japanese, which on the other hand offers perfect silent operation in urban development.

Unfortunately, with an electric motor between the thermal and transmission, jerks are sometimes felteven at stabilized speeds, both in electric and hybrid mode.

And even if you don’t expect sporty temperament from a two-ton SUV, the CX-60 doesn’t show any particular dynamism.

It offers satisfying driving pleasure and very good engine performance, with different driving programs to promote performance or energy savings, but it also emits a strange transmission noise when whipped.

As for regenerative braking, which is never excessive, it can only be adjusted (in two levels) from a submenu of the multimedia interface.

In short, it’s in the daily trips, at a familiar pace and on well-paved stretches, that the Mazda manages to seduce.

It is also here that he takes advantage its 17.8 kWh capacity battery highlighting the electric range, exceeding 50 “real” kilometers (63 km according to the certification cycle), after which the internal combustion engine takes the lead to prolong the journey.

But this, other competing models also know how to do very well. Mazda thus bets on its price to attract, with a base price displayed at €52,650and can expect some improvements ahead of its first deliveries, scheduled for September 2022.

Mazda CX-60 2.5 E-Skyactiv PHEV

Mazda CX-60 review – our opinion:

The CX-60’s interior ambience, quiet and simple without being austere, makes a real point. But the Japanese, quite accessible for the category, suffers mainly from a notable discomfort and a development to be perfected. Without it, competing with the Germans will be difficult…

We love

  • Inner atmosphere and originality
  • Electric performance and autonomy
  • base rate
  • Quiet in urban driving

we love less

  • firm suspension
  • very heavy steering
  • transmission pushes
  • ergonomic details

Specifications (Mazda CX-60 2.5 E-Skyactiv PHEV)

  • Combustion engine: front, longitudinal, 4-cylinder, gasoline, direct injection, 16-valve, 2,488 cc3 191 hp at 6,000 rpm, 261 Nm at 4,000 rpm
  • Electric motor: 129 kW at 5,500 rpm, 270 Nm
  • Battery/capacity: Li-ion/17.8kWh
  • Transmission: all-wheel, automatic, 8-speed
  • Accumulated horsepower (hp at rpm): 327 to 6,000
  • Accumulated torque (Nm in rpm): 500 to 4000
  • Weight in running order (kg): 2,055
  • Length.xwidth.xheight. (m): 4.75×1.89×1.68
  • Wheelbase (m): 2.87
  • Turning circle (m): 10.8
  • Maximum speed (km/h): 200
  • 0 to 100 km/h(s): 5.8
  • Standard tires: 235/60 R 18
  • Test tyres: 235/50 R 20 – Bridgestone Alenza
  • Range 100% electric WLTP (km): 63
  • Mixed WLTP cons (l/100 km): 1.5
  • COtwo (g/km): 33
  • Bonus: €0
  • 5/2 chest (l): 477/1,726
  • Front/rear elbow width (cm): 154/152
  • Rear legroom (cm): 74
  • Tank (l): 50
  • Country of manufacture: Japan
  • Warranty: 3 years/100,000 km
  • Fiscal power: 8 HP
  • Base fee: €52,650
  • Tested version price: €64,400 (Takumi finish + options)

PROPOSED RANGE (Mazda CX-60)
Plug-in hybrid, 327 hp, from €52,650 to €58,050

PROPOSED OPTIONS

  • Panoramic sunroof: €1,400
  • Ambiance Pack (rear and tinted windows, electric tailgate, 360° camera, 1,500W socket, induction smartphone charging, Bose audio with 12 speakers): €2,850
  • Driver Assistance Pack (adaptive lighting, forward/reverse obstacle recognition, adaptive cruise control, signal recognition, anti-dazzle mirrors): €1,800
  • Comfort Pack (electric front seats, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, driving position memory): €1,700

MAIN COMPETITORS

  • Audi Q5, 50 TFSI e, PHEV 299 hp, from €64,610
  • BMW X3, xDrive 30e, PHEV 292 hp, from €61,900
  • Volvo XC60, Recharge T6, PHEV 350 hp, from €72,130
  • DS7 Crossback, E-Tense 4×4, PHEV 300 hp, from €57,500

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