2023 Mazda CX-60 is the new vehicle car from Mazda, a plug-in hybrid SUV with premium ambitions facing the modern world.
Mazda does nothing like the others. From its home base in Hiroshima, the manufacturer is developing its identity with a hint of exoticism compared to other car catalogs. Alongside the renowned old-school roadster MX-5, the Japanese firm is scratching its head to create the internal combustion engine (which gave birth to the Skyactiv-X block) while entering the world of electrics with an exotic crossover, also available as an internal combustion vehicle in its native land.
But that was before. Due to current market constraints, Mazda has succumbed to the siren call of plug-in hybrids for its new flagship, a family SUV. All the codes of the modern car are there, and more precisely, those of the premium segment that the brand watches from the corner of its eye.
Its name is the Mazda CX-60, allowing the manufacturer to breathe life into a market where gallons of diesel have almost no place (there is still a 3.3-liter 6-cylinder diesel in the works). That is to say, a weapon of massive attraction, which already seems to confirm Mazda in its choices since the SUV already records one of the best commercial starts while customers have not made the test.
2023 Mazda CX-60, A new motorization
Is the main secret? A normalized consumption of 1.5 l/100 km for 33 g/km of CO2. It, therefore, benefits from gifts that even Santa Claus wouldn’t think of giving on a December morning: no ecological penalty, free or discounted registration depending on the region, exemption from TVS for professionals, and exemption from the tax on mass in working order.
As with all super-powered premium SUVs, the arguments are delicious and should allow the CX-60 to generate 70% of total sales (the rest being shared between gasoline and diesel, according to Mazda).
To achieve such results, this big baby of 2,056 kg in the most favorable configuration (up to 2,147 kg at the top of the range) resorts to a 17.8 kWh battery (176 kg alone), which allows it to announce a mixed electric range of 63 km.
That’s about average for its competitors at equivalent power levels. Because the Mazda CX-60 does not refuse anything: under the hood, the 4-cylinder 2.5 l gasoline (more precisely an e-Skyactiv G) of 191 hp combines with an electric block of 175 hp, for a total announced power of 327 hp and 500 Nm, sent to the four-wheel drive. It’s the most potent Mazda vehicle in history (out of the box, that is) but also the cleanest, although the term is still on the radar regarding PHEVs.
A consumption that varies from simple
But to take advantage of this, you need to charge the battery fully. It’s only then that it can keep up with the pace during heavy use, whereas it is always willing to reduce consumption during everyday driving. The management is quite common in hybrid mode by default and resembles that found in the plug-in hybrid SUVs from PSA, for example.
The electric powertrain intervenes very regularly to keep consumption as low as possible. We measured an average of 4.0 l/100 km after a mixed loop. That sounds good on paper.
But it didn’t last long, as the battery failed under 100 km of mixed driving when we took our readings. At that point, it rests on its energy base conserved by the system and ensures the minimum service. If it supports the SUV at the launch, it quickly cuts its interventions. The same is true during hard acceleration when its contribution is marginal.
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The result is a more lackluster performance than it should be, like the 80-120 km/h we clocked in 6.40 seconds. For example, a Lexus NX450h+ takes 4.7 seconds in the same conditions.
2023 Mazda CX-60, An electric car with double charging!
By being less present, the electric motor sheds light on the actual consumption of this block operating on an Atkinson cycle. With the same type of route, the appetite soared to stabilize at 8.8 l/100 km at the time of counting, with a peak of more than 9.5 l/100 km during short highway escapades at 130 km/h.
We expected a little more from this engine, which, with similar technology, is much more fuel-efficient than the Toyota/Lexus or Ford Kuga PHEV, which uses the mechanical patents mentioned above in Japanese. In short, fuel consumption with the battery on a stand is doubled! To say that recharging must be assiduous makes sense.
As for recharging, let’s not be surprised: if the hatch hides a partially closed Combo-CCS port, it is indeed with the Type 2 plug that the refueling can be done. The operation is entrusted to an onboard AC charger of 7.2 kW.
It takes 1 hour and 20 minutes to go from 20 to 80 percent charge with a suitable terminal, or more than 2 hours to fill up completely. And if it is one of the few to offer a rather powerful charging system for a PHEV, it is also one of the few to provide the appropriate cable in series to take advantage of it. Once complete, the battery allows for an average of 50 km of autonomy, as we observed. But this will depend very much on the terrain covered, as usual.
2023 Mazda CX-60, A quiet force
Despite its status and claims, the Mazda CX-60 won’t upset the segment’s benchmarks when it comes to dynamism. Of course, the weight is a factor, but the chassis has not been tuned for battle. The perfectly traditional suspension often tosses passengers around but keeps its head above water when the pace increases to maintain the body.
However, the damping is quite firm in all situations, especially at low speeds. The handling is sound and precise, but the steering completely obscures the sensations and feedback. Customers used to premium SUVs might regret this aseptic character and the absence of the pilot-controlled suspension usually found in the competition. But let’s not forget that this allows it to have a unique development that avoids false notes.
This vehicle is not the choice of those who want to enjoy a memorable road feel. But a BMW X3 or even a Jaguar F-Pace knows how to keep the brand DNA that we recognize. The CX-60 should be driven with the calmness of a monk in a Japanese garden. This is what its chassis is pushing for, but also its transmission, which is reluctant to shift as it should: it prefers to stay in the revs for a long time in Sport mode and is a bit lazy when it comes to downshifting.
Above all, it makes noises and clatters that would have nothing to envy of a Nissan GT-R. On the braking side, however, we appreciate the natural brake control, which doesn’t show any hesitation, as is often the case.
2023 Mazda CX-60, A well-kept interior
The cabin effectively contributes to this Zen atmosphere with its rigorous and traditional presentation. It’s all about the Mazda atmosphere, which has the advantage of having many physical buttons.
There’s even a BMW iDrive Touch-style central wheel that allows you to browse through the menus on the 12.3-inch main screen, which is non-touchable while driving. It’s a pity because, in addition to the lack of voice command to control essential functions, you often have to go and get lost, whether activating the eSave modes or even engaging the B mode.
A strange paradox in a world where we appreciate the ergonomics of physical keys but where we grind our teeth to look for essential functions in a screen. The geekery of the premium world is missing. Still, the Mazda CX-60 offers a system for adjusting the driver’s position according to the driver’s height (after entering the information into the computer) and a facial recognition memory system.
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In terms of finish, you’ll have to choose the top-of-the-line Takumi version with a more polished look than the entry-level versions. It’s a matter of subjectivity and sensitivity to cleanliness. Still, the white Takumi interior with fabric inserts is more attractive than the black interior with plastic parts found in the Homura trim. In terms of roominess, there’s no doubt that the 2.87-meter wheelbase offers plenty of room in the back. The trunk promises 477 l of helpful volume or 570 l with the space under the floor.
A price list to its advantage
Rather pleasant to drive at a senatorial pace, it distills a zen and friendly atmosphere, with plenty of room on board. Driving pleasure is there, even with an empty battery. But the management is far too classic for an SUV that will be called upon to cover many kilometers on the highway, while fuel consumption in the worst configuration is not brilliant. Recharging will have to be observed with rigor daily.
But despite its neat presentation and technical specifications, usually found in premium brands, the Mazda CX-60 retains its position as a general-purpose SUV. It doesn’t appreciate comparisons with the premium competitors it wants to target, such as the DS 7, Lexus NX, BMW X3, or Mercedes GLC, which are more stylish. But if it doesn’t have the latest equipment, it has a heavy hand when it comes to standard features. And to top it all off, it’s a bit of a bargain regarding pricing.
It appears to be a good deal (everything is relative) with an entry price of $52,650, while the top-of-the-line Takumi version costs $58,050. That’s usually $15,000 less than the average premium SUV.