Mazda CX-60 long-term test: report 3

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 3043 List price £45,420 Target Price £44,172 Price as tested £47,720 Test economy 51.4mpg Official economy 188.3mpg 

3 February 2023 – Whatever the weather

The recent extreme weather in my part of Kent – snow, ice, teampertures dipping as low as -10deg C, and then subsequent torrential rain and flooding –has helped me appreciate the Mazda CX-60’s suite of talents. It’s a comfortable and toasty place to be on a sub-zero winter day, thanks to its supportive, heated front seats, high driving position and heated steering wheel. And, unlike ‘townie’ large SUVs, which are mostly two-wheel drive, the CX-60 is four-wheel drive. 

Mazda CX-60 long termer

That means it has another option – in addition to the usual normal and pure electric driving settings – at the bottom of the on-screen list for the Mazda Mi Drive selector: Off-road. Select this mode and the four-wheel-drive system is optimised, along with the traction control, so that power is automatically sent to the wheels that are best able to deploy it, helping improve traction on difficult terrain. There is also an ‘off-road traction assist’ button to help drivers free the vehicle if it does get stuck. 

While I’ve not had to use the latter, I have found it reassuring to switch to off-road mode when driving on local muddy tracks, or ungritted snowy and icy roads. 

Mazda CX-60 long termer

Although the CX-60’s ground clearance of 17cm isn’t as good as genuine off-roaders like the Land Rover Discovery, which has a gap of nearly 21cm between the lowest part of the car and the road, it’s certainly better than many new cars – and far higher than my 1995 Mazda Eunos. And that meant I could sail through flooded roads unscathed, instead of having to turn back and take another route, as I would have had to do in the Eunos. 

Mazda CX-60 long termer

Large, heavy four-wheel drive vehicles often have a huge thirst for fuel, especially if they’re petrol powered. But the CX-60’s plug-in hybrid (PHEV) system, which lets me do most shorter journeys on pure electric power – apart from those instances when I encountered extreme weather – has helped the car to achieve average economy of more than 50mpg. This is around twice what I’d expect to get from some non-PHEV alternatives.  

The dark nights and mornings have also highlighted the usefulness of the CX-60’s many active safety systems, including the rear cross-traffic assist, which bleeps if there’s a car coming along a road you’re reversing into. It activates well before I am able to see oncoming cars on either side of the road. 

Mazda CX-60 long termer

One electrical glitch has cropped up, though. The radio comes on fine about 50% of the time when the car is started, but the rest of the time all I get is silence no matter which buttons press, until I turn the whole system off and on. I’m sure it’s something to do with the system detecting my mobile phone, but it’s strange that it only mutes the radio some of the time. 

That said, having had a number of cars with fiddly infotainment systems that require you to take your eyes off the road for too long to do simple things like switch radio stations, I’m loving the ease of using the CX-60’s rotary dial controller. 

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