Mazda: a vehicle with range and easy manners

The CX-60The CX-60
The CX-60
Thank you Mazda for a grand new diesel SUV. This 3.3 six-cylinder engine is so much against the trend to ditch unfashionable diesel. So too is its avoidance of turbocharging. This is part of Mazda’s Skyactiv economy and emissions technology which champions larger capacity engines., writes Frederic Manby.

To the high moors for some gentle off-road 4x4 photos to suit the CX-60’s all-terrain ability. Freshly sheared, long-legged sheep looked as spare and athletic as fell runners. A reek revealed the ragged rotting remains of a ewe which never made its final cut. Suddenly from the sedge, a pair of snipe is up and gone. Further in, a trill of curlews, a flutter of larks, two short-eared owls, a cackling red grouse, a lone black-backed gull looking for something.

Outdoor types and long distance travellers will like the range and easy manners and price of the big Mazda SUV. We had admired the plug-in hybrid petrol version when it arrived last autumn. That 2.5 litre engine with electric boost delivers a thumping 322bhp and 368 lb ft of torque through an eight speed automatic gearbox and all-wheel-drive. Prices are between £45,420 and £49,520.

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This credible “crafted in Japan” alternative to prestige European SUVs has subtle good looks and low payroll BIK taxation based on its potential 188mpg and 33g of CO2 if the battery is fully charged.

Mazda knows that most of us are not ready for electric motoring, or even want it. Fully electric cars are handicapped for range when towing. They are limited by range anyway, which will not suit high mileage users.

Mazda has said a majority of its cars will have combustion engines beyond the 2030 electric deadline in the UK and some other countries. It does have a battery car in the compact MX-30 SUV and more are coming in an £8.9 billion investment plan.

For now, if you want an electric Mazda it’s the pretty MX-30, launched in 2021, with a range of just 124 miles. Production has increased and Mazda is tempting buyers with a four-year PCP with zero interest and three years free servicing and the £499 option of a Podpoint home charger, from £31,250. On the way in the autumn is the MX-30 e Skyactiv R-EV, at the same price. This runs on electric power for up to 53 miles with plug-in charging, boosted by on the move by Mazda’s rotary petrol engine as a range extender.

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For traditional SUV people there’s this CX-60 e-Skyactiv D we took to the moors. The rear wheel drive 197bhp diesel SUV in Exclusive Line is £43,010. With all-wheel-drive and a power hike to 250bhp it is £45,655. That’s the one tested here, ready for any weather. It is beautifully made but for the aesthetes there are Homura and Takumi versions which cost £48,405 and £50,755 and bring creative Japanese cultural luxury from the masters of oriental chic.

Their all-new 3.3-litre in-line six-cylinder naturally aspirated diesel has “distribution-controlled partially premixed compression ignition”. That’s one to discuss in the Camshaft Arms. In short, it means the fuel mixture burns more purely at the start of the process. Coupled with 48 volt hybrid electric regeneration, says Mazda, it is one of the cleanest diesel engines in the world. The 197bhp CX-60 is rated at 56.5mpg and 129g of CO2. The higher torque 250bhp version we tried is rated at 53.3mpg and 137g and both will tow a 2.5 ton trailer for your horses.

Out highest consumption was 37mpg in town and the lowest was 50mpg out of town. The CX-60 PHEV without a charged battery had averaged 44mpg. The engine starts off with a familiar and nostalgic diesel chortle and settles down to generally quiet cruising. Pulling hard it sounds magnificently powerful, even lustier when you select sport which sends the dials red and sharpens the engine response and makes it quite frisky. There is an off-road and winter mode which improves grip at low speed. I loved its performance, though we noticed noisy and troubled suspension over some surfaces.

The interior is spacious - the cabin width matches a Bentley Bentayga or Range Rover. Mazda has spared us from the fiddly and potentially hazardous transition to touch sensitive control pads and screens. Most of what you use is conventionally ergonomic. There is a convenient control wheel with adjacent buttons on the wide pier between the seats, for selecting things like navigation and audio on the screen. Heater and ventilation controls are manual.

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Safety measures include a warning if you open a door when traffic is passing. The speed reader marks the limit on the speedometer. It had one error, giving a 70 limit on a 60 road. Verdict: Hard not to want one.

Meanwhile has started mass production of the MX-30 e-Skyactiv R-EV for the European market at its Ujina Plant No. 1 in Hiroshima. The MX-30 e-Skyactiv R-EV is Mazda’s first mass production vehicle with a rotary engine in 11 years since the Mazda RX-8 was discontinued in June 2012. Mazda has cumulatively produced almost 2m rotary engine vehicles.

The MX-30 e-Skyactiv R-EV is a unique plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) that gives a new purpose to Mazda’s unique rotary engine. This compact, lightweight internal combustion engine drives a generator th

Mazda CX-60 e-Skyactiv D Exclusive AWD

It is: Mid-sized SUV from Hofu, Japan.

Price: £45,655.

Range: 600 miles on a 12.7 gallon tank should be possible.

Power: 3.3 litre six cylinder in-line diesel engine with 48 volt mild hybrid electric assistance giving 250bhp and 405 lb ft torque.

Eco: 53mpg and 137g CO2. On test: Up to 50mpg commuting.

Zero to 62mph 7.4 seconds.

Length 187 inches (4.75m).

Towing limit: 2500kg.


Or: Genesis GV80.

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