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Mazda CX-60 2.5 Luxury Review: Grown Up & Gone Upmarket

Has Mazda successfully built a RWD SUV to compete in the high-end luxury market?
Ronald Chua
Ronald Chua
17 Oct 2023
The CX-60’s long horizontal bonnet also provides the car with a sporty and powerful stance..
What we like:
pros
Interior quality
pros
High equipment level
pros
RWD drivetrain
pros
Driver ergonomics
What we dislike:
cons
Slight jerkiness at low speeds
cons
Lack of engine options (Turbo or IL-6?)

Mazda has always been known to be innovative and slightly quirky amongst the mainstream Japanese marques. The brand that gave us the Miata (MX-5) and the rotary engine powered RX-7 and RX-8 has already successfully channelled this sporty ethos which Mazda calls Jinba-ittai to its mainstream line-up.

What is Jinba-ittai?

In Mazda’s lingo, it stands for driving pleasure and to feel completely at one with the car, as if it’s an extension of you. This concept of uniqueness can already be found in some of the recent models OneShift tested that include the facelifted CX-5 SUV and the MX-30 BEV. The Mazda CX-60 was engineered to showcase this concept of Jinba-ittai for maximum driving pleasure and passenger comfort.

What is the difference between the CX-60 and the CX-5?

The CX-60 is positioned to be a larger, sportier and more upscale vehicle than the CX-5.

From the front, the CX-60 exudes an air of luxury and confidence with its large vertical grille that integrates with the daytime running lights and stacked headlight design. The CX-60’s long horizontal bonnet also provides the car with a sporty and powerful stance, but the rationale behind it is not merely aesthetic.

The CX-60 is built on Mazda’s all-new Large Product Group - Skyactiv Multi-Solution Scalable Architecture platform. This enables the CX-60 to have a longitudinally mounted engine and rear-wheel drive as compared to the front-wheel driven CX-5.

Dimensions wise, the CX-60 has a length of 4,740 mm (+190 mm) and a width of 1,890 mm (+50 mm) as compared to the CX-5.

What is the CX-60 like to drive?

The CX-60 is equipped with Mazda’s Skyactiv-G 2.5 engine which produces 191 PS and 261 Nm. It is the same naturally aspirated engine that was also found on the 2.5-litre variants of the Mazda 6 and CX-5s sold locally. Power is transmitted to the rear wheels via Mazda’s latest 8-speed automatic transmission.

This new gearbox was developed in-house by Mazda and it features a clutch instead of a torque converter. According to Mazda, this setup enables a more direct transfer of the engine’s torque for faster gear shifts and driving pleasure which supports Mazda’s ethos of Jinba-ittai. This new gearbox shifts fast while accelerating at normal to highway speeds. However, there is a drawback to this at low speeds or in city driving where there is a slight jerkiness, akin to that of manual transmission slip in start-stop traffic. Well, one can’t have the best of both worlds, can they?

Push the CX-60 around a bend and does handle well for a SUV, mainly attributed to the rear-wheel drive set up. Shod with 20-inch rims and Toyo Proxes Sport tyres, the CX-60 has plenty of grip. This car would be ideal for highway cruising with its excellent ride comfort and handling. It is a pity that we are unlikely to receive the 3.0-litre inline-6 mild hybrid or 3.3-litre turbocharged inline-6 engine variants that are available in other markets because of our vehicle tax structures. However, we just might see the 2.5-litre PHEV coming...

Is the CX-60 comfortable?

The interior of the CX-60 is a very inviting place to be in. Mazda has ensured that the fit and finish in the CX-60 is top notch to provide occupants with a more luxurious journey. The black leather seats come with contrasting orange stitching and the dashboard and door panels are also wrapped in a leather-like material with the same stitch design.

The interior ambience is also accentuated by the aluminium centre and door panel design which brightens the atmosphere and provides a sporty touch. If one opts for the beige leather interior, the aluminium panels would be replaced with a light wood panel that looks elegant too.

Most importantly, I like the tactile buttons in the CX-60. It makes the car a much more enjoyable place to be in. The aircon controls are laid out clearly and buttons operate with a solid feel.

What are the features and equipment level of the CX-60?

Highly equipped would be the way to describe it. A favourite feature of mine would be the sliding panoramic sunroof which is a must for an upmarket SUV (Just remember to get it tinted for our local weather). The CX-60 also comes with a 12-speaker Bose sound system, electric steering column adjustment and a head-up display.

Safety is also paramount with a full suite of active safety systems termed i-Activsense in Mazda speak. These include Adaptive LED Headlights, Front Cross Traffic Alert, Smart Brake Support, Radar Cruise Control, Driver Attention Alert, Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and more. Most importantly, these safety systems work seamlessly in the background with minimal intrusions into your daily driving.

What is the price of the CX-60?

The Mazda CX-60 2.5 Luxury retails at S$305,888 at the time of writing. The CX-60 provides a unique proposition where it provides Japanese sensibility and reliability but in a package that deliberately encroaches German luxury territory. In fact, it is very similar to the Hyundai Palisade that we tested not too long ago. Compared to the BMW X3 xDrive 20i M Sport that retails for S$363,888 and the Lexus NX350h that retails for S$350,800, the CX-60 may be a sensible alternative.

Verdict

Once again, Mazda has created a unique product, this time for the SUV segment!

Photos by New Gen Marketing

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