Mazda wants to take on Mercedes-Benz and BMW: and it’s not leaving anything to chance.
Rather than adding more power, chrome and leather to an existing model, Mazda has built a new platform from the ground up for its new premium SUVs, and has developed a pair of new inline-six engines to go with it.
The mid-range GT here is designed to balance a high-end feeling with a palatable price tag, while the D50e diesel engine offers punchy outputs and a claimed fuel economy figure that’s comparable to hybrid alternatives.
It’s appealing on paper, but how does the CX-60 stack up in the real world?
The CX-60 D50e M Hybrid GT with Vision Package on test here is priced at $71,800 before on-roads ($69,800 + $2000 for Vision Package).
That sits it squarely in the middle of the range, and aligns it with the Volvo XC60 Plus B5 ($73,990) and Audi Q5 45 TFSI quattro ($74,888).
It undercuts the BMW X3 sDrive20i ($81,700) and comfortably undercuts the Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 ($103,730).
Genesis will sell you a GV70 2.5T rear-wheel drive for $70,400 before on-roads.
2023 Mazda CX-60 pricing:
- Mazda CX-60 Evolve
- G40e M Hybrid: $59,800
- D50e M Hybrid: $61,800
- P50e PHEV: $72,300
- Mazda CX-60 GT
- G40e M Hybrid: $67,800
- D50e M Hybrid: $69,800
- P50e PHEV: $80,300
- Mazda CX-60 Azami
- G40e M Hybrid: $73,000
- D50e M Hybrid: $75,000
- P50e PHEV: $85,500
All prices are before on-road costs
Mazda has gradually been dragging its interiors into the realm of luxury brands, with classical designs and lots of soft-touch materials.
The CX-60 feels like a logical next step in the brand’s progression, with a handsome design and lots of lovely materials in all the places you poke and prod.
The driving position is excellent if you’re spending a long time behind the wheel, with a nice blend of padding and support from the powered driver’s seat and a huge range of adjustment from the electric steering column. Tall and short drivers will have no trouble getting comfortable behind the wheel.
Pretty much everything you touch feels high quality. The steering wheel is trimmed in soft leather, the climate controls make a satisfying click when you press them and the metal around the air vents is actually metal. Mazda hasn’t cut corners here.
The most prominent link between the CX-60 and less expensive Mazda models is the infotainment system. It’s shared with the wider range and looks sharp on the 12.3-inch display angled towards the driver.
With wireless smartphone mirroring, factory satellite navigation and AM/FM/DAB radio, it’s fully featured. The menu setup also feels logical, as you jump around using the rotary dial on the transmission tunnel.
The display is only a touchscreen when you’re using smartphone mirroring and stationary, and even if you are trying to poke and prod the display it’s mounted quite a long way away. So it’s easier to jump around using the dial instead.
Facing the driver is a clean, simple digital instrument binnacle that mimics the analogue gauges from older cars. Flick on cruise control and the cluster morphs into a separate display with an oversized digital speedo and a live readout of what’s happening around the car.
There are two USB-C ports under the armrest and there’s a wireless phone charger under the dashboard. Dual cupholders feature as well beneath a nicely damped lid that folds away. Throw in door pockets with plenty of room for oversized bottles and there’s no shortage of space to store things.
The second row is competitive with cars such as the Audi Q5, but not class-leading like a BMW X3.
Adults will be able to slot in behind adults with reasonable success; although, the slim door opening means loading kids into child seats will be harder than could otherwise be the case.
The central tunnel is reasonably small, which is a win, and kids will appreciate the USB ports and 220V outlet. They’ll also appreciate the air vents back there.
Child seats can be secured using the ISOFIX points on the outboard seats, or the three top-tether points.
Boot space is a bit disappointing, with a claimed 477 litres including underfloor storage. That expands to 1726 litres with the 40/20/40 rear bench folded.
It doesn’t swallow golf clubs with space to spare like a BMW X3, for example, and folding the seats doesn’t free up a perfectly flat space.
Anyone who needs their front seat a long way back will be aware of the second-row headrest digging into their back with the rear seats folded. The way the middle seat bounces around when folded on its own also gets annoying.
There’s a steel space saver spare wheel under the boot floor.
The D50e 3.3-litre turbocharged inline-six diesel engine produces 187kW and 500Nm of torque.
Mazda claims models with this engine equipped can do the 0-100km/h sprint in 7.3 seconds.
It’s combined with a newly-developed eight-speed automatic transmission, with drive sent through a new rear-biased all-wheel drive system with Normal, Sport, Off-Road, and Towing drive modes.
Claimed fuel economy in the diesel is 4.9 litres per 100km. We saw 5.5 litres per 100km over a week mixed between city and highway driving.
Braked towing capacity in the diesel is 2000kg, down on the 2500kg claim for the petrol model. Unbraked capacity is a claimed 750kg.
The CX-60 has all the right ingredients, but there are a few rough edges holding it back.
Most noticeable is the ride, which ranges from sporty but acceptable (in the city), to downright uncomfortable (on country highways). I understand most prospective buyers aren’t here for a forensic analysis of the car’s suspension tune but it’s impossible to ignore.
If you plan to load the car up with kids and hit the open road, this is not the car for you. It had me flinching at the sight of patched potholes and apologising to passengers over roads that I’ve driven without issue in much sportier cars.
No matter what the situation it feels unsettled, bucking over crests and dips, and crashing into sharper bumps.
I don’t know whether the solution is a retune, adaptive dampers or different tyres, but as it stands the CX-60 is impossible to recommend because of how uncomfortable it is.
It’s a shame, because the rest of the package is pretty impressive. Save for some rattle at idle, the new turbo-diesel engine is a refined and punchy package that feels properly premium.
Press the accelerator at essentially any speed and it immediately pulls, even from as low as 1100rpm, offering a satisfying shove in the back.
At times you could be talked into thinking it’s a BMW engine, given the way it delivers its performance. At others though the 48V mild-hybrid system makes it feel fussy and disjointed, cutting the engine out and then immediately re-engaging it at times.
At least it’s efficient: 5.5 litres per 100km is impressive no matter which way you look at it.
With plenty of punch from the diesel engine and impressive insulation against wind and tyre noise, the CX-60 has the makings of a refined country tourer.
Mazda’s adaptive cruise control and lane-centring assist are smartly calibrated, and the blind-spot monitor makes it easier to know what’s hiding behind the chunky C-pillar.
The front cross-traffic alert is a bit too active in town however; beeping whenever you creep forward at a T-intersection.
With an exterior that errs on the side of small for its class and lovely, linear steering, the CX-60 is easy enough to place in the city.
The ride is more settled at lower speeds, and the smooth start/stop system means you spend very little time awkwardly idling at the lights. The eight-speed automatic generally does a good job shuffling quietly through the gears in the background but occasionally it’ll throw a sharp shift into the mix to keep you on your toes.
Once again, it feels close to being the finished product… but just falls slightly short.
The one area where the CX-60 really excels is handling. It’s a mid-sized SUV with the soul of a hot hatch, on smooth, winding roads.
CX-60 Evolve highlights:
- 18-inch alloy wheels, Grey
- Auto LED headlights
- Auto high-beam
- Rain-sensing wipers
- Body colour exterior mirrors
- Side mirrors with:
- Power adjustment
- Auto folding
- Honeycomb grille design
- Black wheel arches and lower cladding
- Remote operated power tailgate (open/close)
- G-Vectoring Control Plus
- 10.25-inch Mazda Connect infotainment system
- 7.0-inch TFT LCD instrument cluster (G40e, D50e)
- Head-up display
- DAB+ digital radio
- Satellite navigation
- 8-speaker sound system
- Wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto
- Wireless phone charger
- Front USB-C charging points
- Rear console incl. USB-C, 150W AC outlets
- Rear 1500W AC power outlet socket (PHEV)
- Keyless entry, push-button start
- Dual-zone climate control
- Auto-dimming rear-view mirror
- Electric park brake with auto-hold
- One-touch power windows
- Leather steering wheel
- Leather shift knob
- Black Maztex upholstery
- Manual front seat adjustment
CX-60 GT adds:
- 20-inch alloy wheels, Black metallic
- LED headlights with ‘dark signature’
- Rear combination lights incl. signature illumination
- Power sliding panoramic sunroof
- Gloss black exterior mirrors
- 2-position memory, side mirrors
- Body colour wheel arches, lower cladding
- Gloss black honeycomb grille
- Exterior mirror position memory
- Hands-free remote operated power tailgate (open/close)
- 12.3-inch TFT LCD digital instrument cluster
- 12.3-inch infotainment system
- 12-speaker Bose premium sound system incl. amplifier
- Driver monitor system
- Personalise system
- Electric steering wheel adjustment
- Heated steering wheel
- Black leather upholstery
- 10-way driver seat power adjustment with lumbar adjustment
- 8-way front passenger seat power adjustment
- 2-position driver memory
- Heated front seats
- Heated outer rear seats
- Surround-view cameras
Vision Technology Package: $2000 (Evolve, GT)
- Surround-view camera with see-through view
- 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster (G40e, D50e Evolve)
- Adaptive LED headlights (GT)
- Cruising & Traffic Support
- Driver monitoring
- Front cross-traffic alert
The Mazda CX-60 wears a five-star ANCAP safety rating, based on tests conducted by Euro NCAP in 2022.
It scored 91 per cent for adult occupant protection, 93 per cent for child occupant protection, 89 per cent for vulnerable road user protection and 77 per cent for safety assist.
Standard safety features include:
- 10 airbags incl. front-centre airbag
- Adaptive cruise control
- Autonomous emergency braking (AEB)
- Forward incl. Pedestrian, Cyclist detection
- Junction assist (Turn-across Traffic)
- Blind-spot monitoring
- Driver attention monitoring
- Forward obstruction warning
- High Beam Control (auto high-beam)
- Lane-keep assist
- Parking sensors front, rear
- Rear cross-traffic alert
- Surround camera system
- Traffic sign recognition
- Tyre pressure monitoring
- Vehicle exit warning
Vision Package adds:
- Adaptive LED Headlights
- Cruising & Traffic Support
- Adaptive cruise + lane centring
- Front cross-traffic alert
- 360-degree cameras incl. See Through View
The CX-60 is covered by a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty, like every Mazda model offered locally.
Maintenance in the petrol is required every 12 months or 15,000 kilometres. The diesel has shorter intervals at 12 months or 10,000 kilometres.
Mazda CX-60 service pricing:
|Engine Variant||1st Service||2nd Service||3rd Service||4th Service||5th Service|
|P40e 3.3L i6 MHEV||$447||$654||$568||$749||$463|
|D50e 3.3L i6 MHEV||$478||$643||$975||$643||$478|
|P50e 2.5L i4 PHEV||$478||$643||$975||$643||$478|
The bones of a really convincing alternative to the luxury establishment are here, but the CX-60 is hard to recommend for now.
The positives? The inline-six diesel is punchy and extremely economical, the interior looks and feels high quality, and the way the CX-60 handles is seriously impressive for a mid-sized SUV.
The negatives? More refinement is required to mask some of the engine’s less appealing moans and groans, and Mazda desperately needs to sort out the ride – it ranges from just acceptable to diabolically bad, as owners are already discovering.
If you are looking at a CX-60, we’d suggest the diesel over the petrol. The GT does represent solid value, but the more luxurious Azami is even more appealing once you’ve spent the extra on the Vision Package.
There’s plenty of potential here but until Mazda sorts out the teething issues with its new platform we’d be looking at what BMW, Audi, Lexus, or even Genesis has to offer.
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