Mazda's salute to

diesel power

Mazda CX-60 e-Skyactiv D, 2022, front
Mazda CX-60 Takumi, 2022, side
Mazda CX-60 Takumi, 2022, interior
Mazda CX-60 Takumi, 2022, centre console
Mazda CX-60 Takumi, 2022, boot
Mazda CX-60 Takumi, 2022, side
Mazda CX-60 Takumi, 2022, rear, action
Mazda CX-60 Takumi, 2022, rear
Mazda CX-60 Exclusive-Line, 2022, front

AN endearing characteristic of car company Mazda is its willingness to fly in the face of popular convention.

Unquestionably one of the bravest motor manufacturers out there, the Japanese brand is always prepared to take the chances others won't risk - historically like its use of rotary engine technology or rear-hinged ‘freestyle' doors.

And there's still no realistic rival for affordable open-top sports car supreme the Mazda MX-5.

So we shouldn't really be surprised that Mazda has made another radical move and put a new 3.3-litre diesel engine in its full-size SUV the CX-60.

In the wake of the electric revolution it begs the question: Why would you embrace a dirty old derv-burner, and one of such huge capacity? Retro gone mad or what?

Well the first point to make is that the six-cylinder e-Skyactiv D isn't dirty. It is actually one of the cleanest diesel engines in the world thanks to using something called DCPCI - Technology-Controlled Partially Premixed Compression Ignition - which achieves a thermal efficiency of more than 40 per cent.

Equally important is the fact that there are plenty of drivers out there, particularly those who regularly drive long distances, who love and rely on diesel power.

So while many might see diesel as being something of modern day pariah, it's anything but an outcast - something Mazda is well aware of.

The new engine is being offered with a choice of two power outputs - 200ps with rear-wheel drive and 254ps with Mazda's i-Activ AWD all-wheel drive.

And as it is combined with a 48v mild hybrid system there's impressive economy with low emissions too. We're talking official figures of 56.5mpg combined for the lower powered model and 53.3 for the all-wheel drive variant, while emissions are 129g/km and 138g/km.

Our drive from Edinburgh on a scenic route through the lowlands of Scotland and back to the capital took in fast A roads and plenty of winding rural lanes.

A well balanced and engaging car to drive, the CX-60 feels both lighter and smaller than its actual large SUV size and the company's Kinetic Posture control tech adds further stability when cornering by braking the inside rear wheel to mitigate any roll.

We drove models featuring both outputs and were impressed in every case - there's enviable power available from each and more than sufficient to satisfy the needs of everyday motorists as well as those who need to tow caravans or trailers.

Three trim grades called Exclusive-Line, Homura and Takumi, are up for grabs and buyers can also add a pair of option packs - Convenience and Driver Assistance - plus a Comfort pack for Exclusive-Line and a panoramic roof for the other two levels.

CX-60 diesel prices start at £43,010 for a 200ps RWD Exclusive-Line model rising to £50,755 for the flagship 254ps all-wheel drive Takumi and all feature a choice of drive modes - Normal, Sport, Off-road, Towing and EV where appropriate - and an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Inside there's a refreshing blend of textures and materials - based on the Japanese ideas of Kaichou - with the emphasis on premium quality, and there's also a stitching technique called Kakenui which creates ‘hanging stitch' seams with spaces between the trim fabrics.

All very different, if susceptible to being picked by kids, with diverse patterns, maple wood and Nappa leather adding to the overall effect.

Standard kit includes the likes of a 12.3-inch colour central display screen controlled by a rotary dial, a colour head-up display, electrically adjustable and heated front seats, an auto-dimming rear view mirror, keyless entry, a 12-speaker sound system, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay plus connected services via the My Mazda app.

As for space, the CX-60's long wheelbase and raised height ensures lots of practicality - the boot holds 570 litres Including underfloor storage and if you load up to the roofline the capacity increases to 1,762 litres with the seats folded down.

And quick release levers for the rear seats in the boot, a powered tailgate as standard and also a low tailgate lip all make loading the Mazda easy.

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