It’s a welcome respite from the cold, tech-heavy and unimaginative cabins of the Germans it aims to worry – and one that has yet to leave me longing for absolutely anything, courtesy of the impressively expansive kit list.
The CX-60 is big and made visually bulkier by the questionable execution of Mazda’s generally acclaimed Kodo design language. Here, it’s manifested in a disproportionately long bonnet (presumably to allow space for the traditional straight sixes coming in 2023), an expansive, featureless side profile and a bulky rear – although I’m happy that it hasn’t fallen into the trap of sacrificing interior space for a more ‘style-focused’ sloping roofline.
Its generous stature is proving good news for all-round utility (or bad, if you consider every car-free friend I have has seemingly just decided to move house…); and with quick-witted steering and agreeable visibility among its attributes, it’s yet to grate when edging along London’s clogged veins and parking in multi-storey spaces marked in the 1960s.
When I first saw the CX-60, it wasn’t its size or look that surprised me most but that Mazda hadn’t called on strategic partner Toyota to provide the means of propulsion for its first PHEV. Especially as the CX-60 is such a similar mechanical proposition to the RAV4 PHEV, pairing a 2.5-litre Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder petrol engine with a circa-18kWh battery and with a driven axle at each end. The drivetrain is all Mazda’s work, the ICE side based on that used in the CX-5 and the electric side is developed using learnings from the MX-30 EV.
Interesting point, that, because the drivetrain in each of those SUVs is far from a stand-out strength: the CX-5 falls short in perk and efficiency compared with turbocharged rivals and the MX-30 fails to quite make up for its lacklustre range with any real sense of urgency when you floor it.
Even so, the CX-60 looks more in step with what’s broadly expected in a car of its ilk, and it certainly can surprise on kick down, leaping forth with an electrically aided urgency that belies its size, weight and forced induction – although the harsh, monotonous soundtrack makes it clear the shove is a by-product, nota priority, of the electrified innards.