Mazda’s push upscale enters a brand new part with the freshly launched European-market CX-60, a model that’s intently associated to the CX-70 we will purchase right here. And early indicators are promising.
Sitting on Mazda’s new Skyactiv scalable structure, the CX-60 is the primary in a sequence of longitudinally engined SUVs supposed to maneuver the model positioning nearer to premium rivals. The CX-70 can be wider and, we’re informed, styled with American tastes is thoughts—which means it ought to possess extra visible presence than the considerably timid-looking CX-60, which is roughly the dimensions of a BMW X3.
Nonetheless, we’ve got nothing however reward for the standard and elegance of the CX-60’s cabin, which Mazda says modern Japanese design has impressed. Our pattern automotive, within the plushest Takumi specification, featured wooden door trim, a dashboard confronted with woven cloth, and glossy steel accents that appeared impressed by the fenders of a ’50s Cadillac. Digital devices and a 12.3-inch central show display screen are normal, however the CX-60 retains typical HVAC controls, and the CX-70 probably will too. Surprisingly, though the big show helps contact enter when operating Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, it would not for Mazda’s native navigation system, which nonetheless must be commanded via the click-wheel controller.
Being a Mazda, there may be loads of powertrain innovation. The bottom powerplant, which has but to reach in Europe however must be within the U.S. CX-70 at launch, can be a naturally aspirated 3.0-liter inline-six that makes use of variable compression and foregoes the turbocharging that has develop into all however normal on this a part of the market. In Europe, the CX-60 may even be supplied with a brand new 3.3-liter e-Skyactiv D diesel-six—for which Mazda is concentrating on a formidable thermal effectivity of greater than 40 p.c—however that is extremely unlikely to make it to the States. Energy and torque rankings haven’t been revealed.
The automotive we drove was fitted with the least thrilling new powerplant, though essentially the most revolutionary one. It is a plug-in hybrid, Mazda’s first, and we anticipate it will likely be supplied within the CX-70 as nicely. It makes use of the 188-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder from the CX-5 along side a 173-hp electrical motor that sits between the engine and a brand new eight-speed gearbox.
The transmission makes use of an electronically managed clutch pack slightly than a torque converter to help low-speed effectivity, and the identical gearbox is ready to be supplied with the six-cylinder engines. Whole system output for the PHEV is 323 horsepower, with a 17.8-kWh battery pack capable of ship as much as 39 miles of EV vary underneath Europe’s usually optimistic WLTP testing protocol. Whereas a formidable determine, that is nonetheless wanting the Euro-cycle EV vary outcomes for the Toyota RAV4 PHEV or the Volvo XC60 Recharge T8 Prolonged Vary PHEV. The Mazda’s battery could be absolutely recharged from 240-volt Stage 2 gear in a claimed two hours, 20 minutes or, alternatively, topped off courtesy of the engine burning additional gasoline.
Below electrical energy, the CX-60 PHEV is clean and refined. The motor drives via the gearbox, so there may be the bizarre (for an EV) sensation of gears shifting, and there may be sufficient urge to maintain forward of city visitors. However the transition to combustion energy is much less elegant, even utilizing the blended Hybrid mode, with a noticeable pause because the four-cylinder fires up. As within the CX-5, the two.5-liter just isn’t a charismatic companion, rising loud and sounding more and more coarse when labored arduous. Though the redline is 6500 rpm, the engine already feels tight and reluctant at 5500 rpm. As soon as every thing is pulling, acceleration is robust—an estimated low- to mid-five-second 60-mph time ought to make this the model’s quickest automotive for the reason that RX-7. Nevertheless it appears probably the six-cylinder gasoline engine can be far more of an experiential spotlight.
Fortuitously, the chassis is extra satisfying than the engine, combining compliance and athleticism within the most interesting Mazda custom. The CX-60 resists understeer nicely for a automobile of its measurement and form, though there may be little sense of the rear torque bias Mazda claims for the PHEV’s all-wheel-drive system. Trip high quality is on the agency aspect however stayed acceptable even when using on the (largest obtainable) 20-inch wheels, with physique management staying tight throughout arduous cornering.
Whereas the CX-70 can be a special automotive—as will the associated CX-90—our first impression of Mazda’s new structure is constructive. And though the corporate’s first plug-in-hybrid system is much less spectacular, we’re nonetheless very a lot trying ahead to experiencing the brand new straight-six engine.