Mazda moves upmarket

with CX-60

Mazda CX-60 Homura, 2022, front, action
Mazda CX-60 Homura, 2022, side
Mazda CX-60 Homura, 2022, rear
Mazda CX-60 Homura, 2022, interior
Mazda CX-60 Homura, 2022, display screen
Mazda CX-60 Homura, 2022, engine
Mazda CX-60 Homura, 2022, rear seats
Mazda CX-60 Homura, 2022, boot
Mazda CX-60 Homura, 2022, badge

MAZDA is climbing the social ladder with its biggest, most powerful car to date.

No surprise, it's an SUV - flavour not only of the month, but the year or more, among British customers.

The CX-60 is a roomy, four-wheel-drive plug-in hybrid with 2.5-litre petrol engine assisted by a battery pack that allows up to 39miles pure electric running with the usual tax and fuel savings that accompany this formula.

It's Mazda's first foray into plug-ins, although it has several self-charging hybrids.

With dimensions similar to an Audi Q5, Mercedes GLC and slightly larger than a Volvo XC-60 it steps stylishly into the premium large SUV class, with prices that generally undercut its established rivals. The entry version costs £43,950.

First impressions are of familiarity, because the CX-60 looks very much like an over-blown CX-5, its smaller brother that has been with us for five years in its current form, and eight years since inception.

Nevertheless, with its large upright grille - not dissimilar to Volvo's - and flowing lines together with pleasing proportions, the look works well and it appears fresh yet distinctive.

Performance is always paramount among Mazdas, and the CX-60 is swift by SUV standards. 62mph comes up in under six seconds thanks to the 323bhp combined power, although top speed is limited to 125mph - enough for most.

The four cylinder, non-turbo petrol engine is gutsy enough but floor the accelerator and a certain harshness creeps into the exhaust note and interrupts the general refinement that the car initially imparts.

Cornering is agile and responsive with well controlled roll angles. Steering is nicely weighted and offers a degree more feedback than most SUVs. Ride is generally comfortable but can be a tad joggly over some surfaces - some of this may be the large 20-inch wheels fitted to the models we drove.

One of the strengths of the new car is undoubtedly the classy cabin. Even the entry version is beautifully finished and stylishly designed. There's ample head, leg and shoulder room both front and rear and an impression of occasion is created by the quality of furnishings and finish.

The boot, though well shaped and capable of absorbing 477 litres of luggage and 570 litres if you include the underfloor area, is less generous than most of the competition. A seven-seater version is planned for next year alongside a diesel model and a larger 3.0-litre petrol hybrid.

Three versions are now available starting with the Exclusive Line which includes led lights, heated front seats, electric tailgate, reversing camera and leather steering wheel. The Homura gets a lighter shade interior, nappa leather seating and maple trim. A double glass sliding panoramic sunroof is standard on the flagship Takumi model.

The official fuel figure of 188mpg combined is unfortunately meaningless, but most owners are likely to achieve low to mid 30s during normal driving. CO2 emissions of just 33mpg ensure low BiK tax for company drivers.

Keen drivers will find much to like about the new CX-60 and even less performance-orientated buyers will be attracted by the keen pricing and general classiness of the newcomer.

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