First Drive: Mazda CX-60 PHEV 2022 Review

Can this compete with the German giants..?
27th September 2022
Ethan Jupp



Like most manufacturers, there was once a time for Mazda that SUVs and crossovers were a minority in its volume. Again, like most manufacturers, high-riders are now its bread and butter. It only makes sense then, that the 2022 CX-60, a brave new pioneer for Mazda, debuting high-tech new plug-in and six-cylinder powertrains, as well as representing its first real stab at a premium sector, should be a proper SUV.

Indeed, Jeremy Thomson, managing director of Mazda UK, mentioned Audi, BMW and Mercedes by name, when introducing the car, the marque’s intentions for it and its benchmarks. With prices for the PHEV kicking off in the £40,000 range and reaching upwards of £50,000, it seems the CX-60 has the likes of the BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC squarely in its sights. What is no doubt to be a different flavour of bougee school run bus, this new Mazda is going to have its work cut out.

We like

  • Plenty of power
  • Well equipped as standard
  • Tasteful design

We don't like

  • Some tacky interior materials
  • Gruff four-cylinder engine
  • Limited hybrid system



Mazda is proud of being driven by authentic Japanese design principles, with the CX-60 representing the latest expression of its ‘Kodo’ design language. This is a car that’s been crafted (indeed, they describe it as ‘crafted in Japan’) using traditional artisanal methods: hewn out of clay, with alloy panel shapes beaten over the top.

The CX-60 has been designed to specifically have a big-engined, rear-drive look, with a BMW-aping long bonnet and a sloping cabin. At the front, a confident grille with integrated lighting suggests there’s something meaty behind it to feed. On top of the basic silhouette is cleanly moulded surfacing, designed with how it manipulates light in mind. The result is a refreshingly minimal but muscular look. At the back, katana-like lights are a bit more Germanic than what we’ve seen from Mazda before, though we’re not so keen on the fake exhaust tip trims.

All told, its looks are indicative of those premium aspirations, doing no injustice to its price point, though for the best look the middle-spec ‘Homura’ will be required at the very least, for nicer wheels and sportier trimmings.

Performance and Handling


The 327PS (241kW) and 500Nm (369lb ft) punch is apparent, especially with the hybrid ‘boost’ in overtaking. Instant torque is facilitated by the lagless deployment from that 135PS (99kW) motor and a mild electric ‘whistle’ accompanies the shove. This is Mazda’s most powerful production car yet and it really feels it. The 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine is strong enough, though it can get a bit angry sounding when lugging the CX-60 up hills. There’s also a new eight-speed transmission, featuring an electronic multi-plate clutch. It’s witty enough, less slippy than a traditional torque converter and, so Mazda says, cuts energy losses by a fifth compared to a traditional auto ‘box.

What isn’t exactly a premium sound from the combustion engine has us wondering what the new six-cylinder alternative could bring to the table. On the flip side, the hybrid system makes us wish those engines weren’t ‘mild’ in their electrification. In terms of all-electric range, it could be stronger, with a 39-mile claim translating to around 30 miles in the real world, but Mazda reckons it’s done the research to suggest that milage from the 17.8kWh battery should be enough for most commuters who can juice up overnight.

The rear-drive chassis feels excellent, with a typical ‘Mazda’ level of a detailed feel to the damping and body control. There is lean and roll but that extends to a very finite point, never feeling unpredictable or like it’s trying to get away from you. This deftly executed compromise of control and cushioning means that, while it drives well, it’s not uncomfortable and doesn’t feel unnatural. This is a soft-enough cruiser the rest of the time, though sudden jolts do still echo through the chassis and suspension. The steering isn’t exactly loaded with feel, though it does feel correctly ratioed. It’s nice and manoeuvrable too.



The CX-60’s cabin is overall a lovely place to be and certainly very distinctive in top-level ‘Takumi’ spec, with its woven fabric, Japanese dash stitching and maple wood interior trim. Even in the lower specs however, the layout and design is pleasing, though some quality across the range is lacking. Certain touch points that could be easy wins just aren’t there, like the tacky plastic shift paddles. This isn’t just a Mazda thing either, which makes the missed opportunity ever more perplexing each time. Happily, the wheel itself is pleasing to look at and use, with lumpy button feel and passable ergonomics.

Speaking of buttons, there are plenty of them, along with zero touch-sensitive elements. Yes, including the infotainment screen, which is operated via the click wheel on the centre console. We’re all for it, though we can understand why some might find it a little antiquated. The design of the user interface of the infotainment itself is a derivation of what’s come before and isn’t exactly dazzling in the 2022 marketplace. What isn’t antiquated is the driver display, which is crisp to look at with smooth visual transitions, with a large dramatic switch when the radar cruise is activated. There’s reasonable space in the back, with a good view out and a decent-sized boot too.

Technology and Features


Tech-wise, in spite of the lack of touch-sensitive controls, the CX-60 is right up there with some truly clever touches. It features Mazda Driver Personalisation as an option – a facial recognition technology that will ‘see’ you and move the controls and the seat to your saved preferred setting. It’ll also recommend a seating position for you if you’re a new user.

In terms of standard equipment, the CX-60 comes very well equipped even in the basic ‘Exclusive’ trim, with both the driver’s display and infotainment system coming on all cars, in addition to wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There’s also heated front seats as standard, cruise control (with radar and adaptive optional), dual-zone climate control, a head-up display, keyless entry and parking sensors. There are little to no truly glaring omissions, which leaves the CX-60 feeling well equipped before any boxes are ticked, which is a refreshing change of pace for what is often an option-hungry segment. That’s not to say there aren’t options, with 360-degree cameras, AC plug sockets, adaptive LED lights and cooled front seats available and lots of gear joining as standard as you rise through the Homura and Takumi specs.



The CX-60 is a really pleasing entry into a space that feels surprisingly natural for Mazda. In an increasingly homogenised segment, this is an SUV that dares to do a little more and be a little different but tastefully so. It looks good, is well equipped, drives nicely and performs well but the four-cylinder engine while strong is a bit gruff, especially when not benefitting from the full force of the hybrid boost.

We look forward to the six-cylinder versions, though on the evidence of the PHEV it’s already regrettable they’re not more electrified. Hopefully they’re more refined. Some of the BMW buyers Mazda hopes to convert might be put off by some of the rough-around-the-edges quality, too. On price, the CX-60 overcuts Japanese rivals such as the Toyota RAV-4 but Mazda has done well to undercut equivalent PHEV rivals from Germany. Much sturdier pricing would have left it more open to criticism. All in, a solid effort with genuine appeal beyond just being a left-field choice.


Engine 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol, electric motor
Power 327PS (241kW) @ 6,000rpm
Torque 500Nm (369lb ft) @ 4,000rpm
Transmission Eight-speed automatic, all-wheel-drive
Kerb weight 2,146kg
0-62mph 5.8 seconds
Top speed 124mph
Battery 17.8kWh
Fuel economy 188mpg
CO2 emissions 33g/km
Price From £43,950