Mazda CX-60 long-term test: report 1

The Mazda CX-60 is the Japanese brand's largest SUV and its first plug-in hybrid. Our consumer editor is finding out if it's a good alternative to a conventionally-fuelled off-roader...

Mazda CX-60 long termer

The car Mazda CX-60 2.5 Exclusive-Line | Run by Claire Evans, consumer editor

Why it's here To see if Mazda’s first plug-in hybrid should be on your shopping list if you’re after a well-furnished and frugal large SUV

Needs to Provide the practicality and luxurious ambience of a premium SUV, as well as good fuel efficiency and a comfortable ride

Mileage 2016 List price £45,420 Target Price £44,172 Price as tested £47,720 Test economy 49.9mpg Official economy 188.3mpg Options Comfort pack (£1400), Soul red crystal paint (£900)

17 December 2022 – Right car for the season

My mum always used to advise me to pick the appropriate clothes for the weather conditions, and I think she’d be proud of my latest motoring choice. Just before the British weather turned icy, I swapped my old Mazda MX-5 for a new Mazda CX-60.

In clothing terms, you could say the MX-5 is a rather light and flimsy summer dress, with its drop-top roof and rear-wheel-drive set-up. The CX-60 large SUV is more of a substantial winter coat, with its tall, slab-sided bodywork and all-wheel drive to help it stick to the roads even when they’re flooded or icy. 

Mazda CX-60 long termer

The CX-60 is well equipped as standard. Even the cheapest, Exclusive-Line trim level comes with heated leather seats and steering wheel, climate control, cruise control, a gesture-controlled powered tailgate, a head-up display and various parking aids, so there wasn’t much I wanted to add from the options list.

That said, I’ve added Soul Red Crystal paint because it adds to the car's elegant looks, and the Comfort Pack because it gives me electrically powered front seats, which make it easier to fine-tune the settings to my liking. The Comfort Pack also provides heating for the two outer rear seats, giving my passengers a touch of luxury, and front-seat ventilation, which I guess will come in handy when the weather warms up.

In swapping Mazdas I’ve also super-sized my wheels, picking the Japanese car maker’s biggest SUV so far. While the CX-60 is big compared with my MX-5, it's not quite up to the size of luxury SUVs such as the Audi Q7 or Range Rover – and that’s a good thing. It means it fits into multi-storey car parks and the spaces in them (just). The large wing mirrors, which I prefer to use rather than always relying on the high-definition reversing camera, make it easy to shoehorn the car into tight spaces. 

Mazda CX-60 long termer

I’ve not chosen to sacrifice economy for the sake of comfort and good roadholding, though, and the CX-60 isn’t a gas-guzzling Chelsea tractor. Although it has a 2.5-litre petrol engine under its bonnet, its clever technology – which Mazda calls SkyActiv – is designed to make it both swift and economical. The addition of a 134bhp electric motor and a 17.8kWh lithium-ion battery give it seriously impressive acceleration when it's wanted: 0-62mph can be dispatched in just 5.8sec.

The plug-in hybrid (PHEV) system helps keep CO2 emissions down to 33g/km and enables the car to potter along on electric power for up to 39 miles officially. As I’ve found with electric cars I've driven, you can’t expect to achieve that range in real-world driving. That said, even with the air-con, heated seat and steering wheel, and lights on, I’m still getting around 30 miles of electric driving, which seems reasonable. 

Mazda CX-60 long termer

Its plug-in nature makes it more affordable to live with, too, so my local are journeys cheap and cheerful. I have a Myenergi Zappi home charger and the CX-60 works well with it. The car and charger 'talk' to each other to get the juice flowing and stopping, and I’ve had no issues with the charger plug getting stuck in the car or wall unit. As long as I charge the car after 10pm, making use of my off-peak electricity rate of 22p per kWh, it costs £3.36 to replenish the batteries, so my local journeys are only costing me around 11p per mile. That’s significantly less than a comparable BMX X3 petrol, which would cost around 24p per mile.  

The only downside I’ve found of running a PHEV is that it’s not always compatible with the high-speed chargers that are being fitted to fuel stations. On those journeys where I do want to use the public charging network, I sometimes have to hunt around to find a slower-speed charger or simply rely on the petrol engine and use up more fuel on longer runs. 

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