Mazda CX-60 review

Category: Family SUV

The CX-60 is plush inside and practical, but rivals have a more comfortable ride

Red Mazda CX-60 front cornering
  • Red Mazda CX-60 front cornering
  • Mazda CX-60 interior dashboard
  • Red Mazda CX-60 boot open
  • Red Mazda CX-60 right driving
  • Red Mazda CX-60 front cornering
  • Red Mazda CX-60 rear cornering
  • Red Mazda CX-60 left static boot open
  • Red Mazda CX-60 rear static boot open
  • Mazda CX-60 interior front seats
  • Mazda CX-60 interior back seats
  • Mazda CX-60 interior infotainment
  • Mazda CX-60 interior air-con controls
  • Mazda CX-60 interior detail
  • Mazda CX-60 seat detail
  • Mazda CX-60 interior detail
  • Red Mazda CX-60 front cornering
  • Mazda CX-60 interior dashboard
  • Red Mazda CX-60 boot open
  • Red Mazda CX-60 right driving
  • Red Mazda CX-60 front cornering
  • Red Mazda CX-60 rear cornering
  • Red Mazda CX-60 left static boot open
  • Red Mazda CX-60 rear static boot open
  • Mazda CX-60 interior front seats
  • Mazda CX-60 interior back seats
  • Mazda CX-60 interior infotainment
  • Mazda CX-60 interior air-con controls
  • Mazda CX-60 interior detail
  • Mazda CX-60 seat detail
  • Mazda CX-60 interior detail
What Car?’s CX-60 deals
New car deals
Save up to £3,825
Target Price from £42,167
Save up to £3,825
or from £403pm
Swipe to see used car deals
Author Avatar
by
Dan Jones
Updated05 February 2024

Introduction

What Car? says...

It’s a fair bet that more footballers aspire to play for a top-flight team than a lower-league club – and like them, car maker Mazda wants to compete in the big leagues. So, will this Mazda CX-60 make it a top scorer?

Before we answer that, what exactly is the CX-60? Well, it's a five-seat large SUV that’s bigger, more powerful and a bit more indulgent than the Mazda CX-5. It's also the first Mazda model to be available as a plug-in hybrid (PHEV).

The plug-in hybrid CX-60 is priced to tempt buyers away from the PHEV Toyota RAV4 but also seeks to tread on the toes of more expensive models, including PHEV versions of the Audi Q5, the BMW X3 and the Lexus NX.

There’s also a diesel mild-hybrid engine in two power outputs, and Mazda plans to add a pure-petrol version soon.

So, is the Mazda CX-60 up there with the best large SUVs or is it best to choose one of its rivals instead? Read on for our ratings and verdict...

"The CX-60 rejects prevailing fashion by being available with a big, powerful diesel engine, albeit with electrical assistance to aid efficiency." – Lawrence Cheung, New Cars Editor

Red Mazda CX-60 rear cornering

Overview

The Mazda CX-60 does a good job of combining strong performance with low running costs and a smart interior. However, its firm ride compromises on everyday comfort and its handling isn’t neat enough to make amends. The entry-level diesel is the one to go for because it’s the most comfortable version. Avoid the disappointing plug-in model – there are numerous rivals with longer electric ranges and lower BIK tax ratings.

  • Smart, user-friendly interior
  • Generous equipment
  • Strong and economical diesel engines
  • Firm, unsettled ride
  • Some rivals offer more rear leg room
  • Gearbox not as smooth as rivals
New car deals
Save up to £3,825
Target Price from £42,167
Save up to £3,825
or from £403pm
Swipe to see used car deals

Our Pick

OurPicksRRP £45,320
Mazda Cx-60 3.3d 200 Exclusive-Line 5dr Auto review
What Car? Target Price
: £42,166
Save at least £3,153
Get the best price
See the full range

Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

The entry-level engine for the Mazda CX-60 is a turbocharged 197bhp 3.3-litre, six-cylinder diesel (e-Skyactiv D200).

It’s our favourite choice, and offers plenty of low-down pull to get you up to motorway speeds – although the Audi Q5 40 TDI is slightly quicker from 0-62mph (7.6 seconds against 8.4 seconds).

There's also the 251bhp e-Skyactiv D254 version of the same diesel engine, which managed a 0-60mph time of 7.0 seconds when we tested it.

The real "speed demon" of the range, though, is the PHEV, which is powered by a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and a 134bhp electric motor. Its total power output of 323bhp results in a swift 0-62mph time of 5.8 seconds.

Company car drivers will be more interested in the PHEV’s 17.8kWh useable capacity battery and 39 miles of electric-only range (we’ve found it to offer less than 30 miles in the real world).

For comparison, the Lexus NX 450h+ has an official range of 42 miles, while the Volvo XC60 Recharge is said to manage 47 miles.

The CX-60 PHEV and the higher-output diesel engine have four-wheel drive, but while that makes it easier to drag a trailer or caravan off wet grass, we can’t say we’ve ever struggled for traction in the two-wheel-drive version.

Performance is strong, but the rest of the driving experience is not quite as polished as its rivals.

Mazda CX-60 image
Skip the showroom and find out more online

The steering is less sharp than in the Ford Kuga but its well-judged weight makes it engaging enough to encourage a keen driver in the bends. Meanwhile, the firm suspension helps it remain remarkably level when cornering in everyday driving compared to most rival large SUVs.

However, start pushing on and the CX-60 loses its composure. The CX-60 sways noticeably during harder cornering (giving away this is a car that weighs almost two tonnes) and can be unsettled by mid-corner bumps.

The firm suspension also comes at the cost of ride comfort. The diesels (especially the lighter, entry-level one) are more forgiving than the PHEV, but there’s still a high level of fidgeting.

Occupants will be jostling around in their seats and sometimes thrown upwards over undulating roads. The Honda CR-V and the Volvo XC60 are better at isolating you from potholes at town speed, while the XC60 settles down the most at motorway speeds.

The CX-60 does a decent job of suppressing wind and road noise at speed, but you’ll hear a bit of a thwack from the suspension as you go over bumps.

The standard-fit eight-speed automatic gearbox could be smoother and the PHEV's electric motors whirr and whine so much you might think the engine is running.

The coasting function fitted to the diesels, which saves fuel by switching off the engine for short periods when cruising with your foot off the accelerator, can cause a clunk when the engine re-awakens, too. That can also happen when the start/stop system (called i-Stop) operates.

"Despite a firm ride, the CX-60's suspension doesn't control body movements as well as the Volvo XC60's." – Will Nightingale, Reviews Editor

Driving overview

Strengths Punchy performance; low wind and road noise

Weaknesses Fidgety ride; gearbox could be smoother

Mazda CX-60 interior dashboard

Interior

The interior layout, fit and finish

It's easy to find a comfy driving position in the Mazda CX-60, especially with the Driver Personalisation System that’s fitted on Homura models and upwards. The system uses facial recognition to automatically adjust the seat to your settings when you get in (handy if other people drive your car).

Forward visibility is great, and the narrow windscreen pillars and low dashboard give you a clear view of where the bonnet ends. Rear visibility isn’t quite as promising, with the view over your shoulder hampered by thick rear pillars. At least parking is pretty easy, thanks to standard-fit front and rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera.

Automatic LED headlights and high-beam assist are standard, with adaptive systems optional as part of the Driver Assistance Pack. They actively dim certain sections of the headlight cluster so you don't dazzle other road users. 

The digital 12.3in driver’s instrument display is clear, with great colour contrast and sharp graphics, but it’s not all that configurable.

At least the CX-60 has physical switches for the climate control system, which are much easier to use when you're driving than those set-ups where you have to use the touchscreen (such as the Volvo XC60) or touch-sensitive controls (the Toyota RAV4 has chunky rotary controls that are even better). 

Infotainment continues to be a Mazda strong point. There’s a big 12.3in screen and, like other models from the brand, the CX-60 uses a physical rotary controller that makes it simple to navigate menus while you're driving.

Wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring are also included. The system is almost as good as the BMW X3 infotainment, and is leagues ahead of the touchscreen in the RAV4 and the XC60. There are two USB-C points in the front and rear to enable portable devices to be charged.

"I found that having to knock the gear selector to the side to engage Park took a little getting used to." – Stuart Milne, Digital Editor

Interior overview

Strengths Brilliant infotainment; great driving position; high quality interior

Weaknesses Over-the-shoulder view could be better

Red Mazda CX-60 boot open

Passenger & boot space

How it copes with people and clutter

Those sitting in the front will have little to grumble about when it comes to space in the Mazda CX-60. There’s a generous amount of leg and head room for taller passengers, and there’s enough width between the seats to prevent elbows from bashing over the centre console. 

Storage space includes a pair of cupholders, a roof-mounted sunglasses holder, long cubbies in the doors, a large glovebox and a tray for your phone. The cubby under the centre armrest is disappointingly shallow, though. 

The CX-60 doesn't offer a great deal more space in the rear seats than the smaller Mazda CX-5 but there’s still plenty of room for two adults to get comfortable. There’s a bit more space than in a Volvo XC60, while a Honda CR-V will offer more leg room at the expense of head room.

You can add an optional panoramic roof with any of the trim levels, and while it doesn’t encroach on head room too much, we reckon you're better off without it if you often carry tall occupants. 

A third passenger in the middle seat will be fine for shorter journeys but will have to deal with a central hump on the floor between their feet (although it's not as wide as the floor hump in the XC60).

The rear-seat backrest offers a two-stage reclining function. Ultimately, it makes little difference, and it’s a pity the seats don’t slide back and forth like they do in a CR-V (which also has a backrest that reclines further). Getting out of the back can be a bit tricky because part of the wheel arch obstructs the lower corner of the door opening. 

The boot of the CX-60 is a uniform shape and offers 570 litres of storage with the rear seats up (or 1,726 litres with them down). That’s plenty of room for luggage for a weekend trip away, and we managed to fit in eight carry-on suitcases, matching the XC60 and CR-V. 

You can’t have an adjustable height boot floor, but there’s no load lip to contend with and the opening is wide and square, making it easy to load items in. There are some thoughtful features, including a storage net on the side to stop smaller items rolling around, plus there’s a 12V power socket.

It's a bit more versatile when it comes to seat flexibility than a CR-V or XC60, with the backrest split 40/20/40 rather than 60/40, plus there are levers on the side to help fold them down remotely.

The CX-60 is not available with seven seats. If you need to transport that many people, you'll need to wait for the longer Mazda CX-80, or see our guide to the best seven-seat cars and SUVs.

"he CX-60 offers a better balance of space than the CR-V or XC60, making it the most suitable if you regularly travel five-up." – Neil Winn, Deputy Reviews Editor

Practicality overview

Strengths Spacious for four adults; useful boot capacity; versatile rear seats

Weaknesses Rear seats don’t slide; rear access could be better; no seven-seat option

Buying & owning

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

The diesel versions of the Mazda CX-60 are the most recommendable – and not just because they’re the cheapest. The entry-level two-wheel-drive e-Skyactiv D200 undercuts the equivalent Audi Q5, and is cheaper than a BMW X3 or Mercedes GLC by a big margin.

PCP finance rates are high, although the CX-60 is predicted to lose its value at a similar rate to rivals.

Company car drivers might be interested in the PHEV CX-60 – although there are alternatives that beat its 12% benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax band. They include the Lexus NX 450h+ (at 8%) and the Mercedes GLC 300e (at 5%). To pay the least BIK tax, you'll want an electric car.

Both CX-60 diesels should be economical, with the lower-powered e-Skyactiv D200 officially managing 56.5mpg (we've seen mid to high 40s in the real world). The more powerful four-wheel-drive version isn’t much worse, claiming 53.3mpg, which is better than the Q5 40 TDI and X3 xDrive20d. We saw a real-world figure of 43.7mpg on our test route.

You’ll need to regularly charge the PHEV CX-60 to get anywhere near its impressive-sounding 188mpg. In Hybrid mode, we'd expect around 40mpg in everyday driving.

Three trim levels are available, and even the cheapest, Exclusive-Line, comes with heated leather seats, climate control, cruise control, a gesture-controlled powered tailgate, a head-up display and 18in alloy wheels, plus touchscreen infotainment, LED lights and parking aids. That long list makes Exclusive-Line our favourite trim.

If you fancy a little more kit, the sportier Homura model adds larger 20in wheels, ambient lighting, electrically adjustable front seats that are heated and ventilated, and a 12-speaker Bose sound system. You also get a Driver Personalisation System.

Top-spec Takumi adds a chrome exterior window surround, with upgraded Nappa leather seats inside, plus wood trim and door linings. Other than the £1,000 panoramic sunroof, optional extras are bundled into packs, including Comfort, Convenience and Driver Assistance.

Mazda performed above average in our 2023 What Car? Reliability Survey finishing 13th out of the 32 manufacturers included. That places it above Audi and Nissan but behind BMW, Lexus and Toyota.

That's reassuring when you consider that the CX-60 comes with a fairly average three-year/60,000-mile warranty. You can extend it for a fee but it doesn’t compete with the seven-year warranty you get with the Kia Sorento.

The CX-60 scored an impressive five out of five star rating when Euro NCAP crash tested it in 2022. The tests were carried out under a tougher regime than the Q5 and X3 went through in 2017, so while both those cars received five-star Euro NCAP ratings, direct comparisons are impossible to make.

All versions come with blind-spot monitoring – a feature often reserved for the options list of rivals. An optional Convenience and Driver assistance pack adds adaptive cruise control, rear cross-traffic alert, and rear emergency braking to stop you reversing into danger.

"The diesel CX-60 was more efficient than petrol-powered rivals from Honda and Volvo in our real-world fuel economy tests; it returned 43.7mpg on a mixture of roads, beating the CR-V ’s 37.8mpg and the XC60 ’s 29.6mpg by enough to offset the higher cost per litre of diesel compared with petrol." – Darren Moss, Deputy Digital Editor

Costs overview

Strengths Well-equipped; economical engines

Weaknesses There are cheaper PHEVs to run for company car drivers; high PCP rates

For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here

FAQs

  • You can check the latest prices using our new Mazda deals page. The two-wheel-drive diesel is the least expensive CX-60 and undercuts the Audi Q5 and the BMW X3. The plug-in hybrid (PHEV) is pricier but still undercuts the Lexus NX 450h+.

  • Both models have seats for five but the CX-60 is longer (4,745mm) than the Mazda CX-5 (4,550mm).

  • No. While some large SUVs including the Hyundai Santa Fe and the Kia Sorento are seven-seaters the CX-60 is a five-seater. The longer Mazda CX-80, which is a seven-seater, is due in 2024.

At a glance
New car deals
Save up to £3,825
Target Price from £42,167
Save up to £3,825
or from £403pm
Swipe to see used car deals
RRP price range £45,320 - £54,970
Number of trims (see all)3
Number of engines (see all)3
Available fuel types (which is best for you?)petrol parallel phev, diesel
MPG range across all versions 188.3 - 56.5
Available doors options 5
Warranty 3 years / 60000 miles
Company car tax at 20% (min/max) £998 / £3,388
Company car tax at 40% (min/max) £1,996 / £6,776
Available colours