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In-depth reviews

Mazda CX-60 SUV - Engines, drive & performance

Despite the large power output, the CX-60 is best driven at a more relaxed pace

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4.1 out of 5

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Engines, drive & performance Rating

4.0 out of 5

Mazda has already confirmed that the CX-60 will soon get a 3.0-litre petrol engine option, but for now, the SUV is only available with a 3.3-litre mild-hybrid diesel or a plug-in hybrid powertrain.

The CX-60 is more involving to drive than an Audi Q5 or Mercedes GLC, but isn’t quite at the same level as the BMW X3 or Jaguar F-Pace. It actually features some of the same chassis technology as the Mazda MX-5 sports car, so the steering feels accurate and keen at lower speeds. At higher speeds some tyre noise and understeer creeps in, reminding you that the CX-60 is quite a heavy car (it weighs around two tonnes). 

On our test car’s 20-inch wheels – the biggest available – the ride was firm but not uncomfortable, and we found the diesel more settled than the PHEV once up to speed.

Mazda CX-60 diesel engine

All diesel versions of the Mazda CX-60 utilise a 3.3-litre six-cylinder petrol engine with 48-volt mild hybrid assistance and an eight-speed automatic transmission. The base model sends 197bhp to the rear wheels and appears to be slightly underpowered for a car of this size; however, as with any diesel, it’s the low-down grunt that dominates the driving experience.

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Acceleration from 0-62mph takes 8.4 seconds, and the CX-60 is at its best around town when using its large engine to easily make progress without using all its accelerator travel. It sounds quiet and muscular, giving the diesel version an even smoother feel than the PHEV. It’s also 110kg lighter than the plug-in hybrid, so it feels sharper and more agile.

The more-powerful 251bhp version is perhaps better suited for a two-tonne premium SUV and comes as standard with all-wheel-drive. Mazda claims this model will get from 0-62mph in 7.4 seconds – although it should feel much faster thanks to its high 550Nm torque figure.

Hybrid engine

The Mazda CX-60 uses a 2.5-litre petrol engine and an electric motor, for a combined output of 323bhp. They allow a 0-62mph time of 5.8 seconds, which is on a par with hot hatchbacks such as the Hyundai i30 N and Cupra Leon.

With its decent electric range, the CX-60 PHEV is more than capable of driving around town on electric power alone. In fact, it’ll continue to use its battery when you’re driving at slightly higher speeds, too, as long as you’re gentle with the throttle.

Demand faster acceleration and the petrol engine kicks into life, but the noise it produces – especially at higher revs – isn’t particularly noteworthy. It’s not horrible, but it’s just a bit droney, and it’s a bit more noticeable than in a similarly priced BMW or Audi. At least the amount of power it produces means the CX-60 can surge forward when you want it to – it holds the honour of being the most powerful production car Mazda has ever built. There are some jerks as the car decides how to apportion its electric and petrol power, so it’s not the smoothest PHEV so far, but the eight-speed automatic gearbox is good at blurring shifts.

Just like many plug-in hybrids, the CX-60 is all-wheel drive, but the upcoming petrol and diesel engines will have rear-wheel-drive versions.

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