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Audi, BMW and Mercedes watch your rear view mirrors; approaching fast is a new SUV from Mazda which is set to challenge these German premium brands.

new CX-60 is set to take Mazda to new heights as it will clearly target the German premium brands. A few weeks ago I brought a preview and now I can report on time spent behind the wheel of the newcomer, which is the most powerful yet to come from Mazda. The CX-60 strengthens Mazda’s award-winning SUV range, joining the hugely popular CX-5. The CX-60 features Mazda’s first plug-in hybrid technology powertrain, which combines a Skyactiv-G 2.5 litre four-cylinder petrol engine with a 129 kW electric motor and a 17.8 kWh high-capacity battery. The result is a total system output of 327PS and a torque output of 500Nm.

Over a variety of roads in Wales, I found this new SUV performed very well, taking just 5.8 seconds to sprint from rest to 100kph (62mph) This the first Mazda PHEV also displays outstanding environmental credentials with CO2 emissions of only 33g/km. Hopefully, when I have one for a longer period, I will be able to comment on economy. The good news is that it can cover 63km(39m) as a pure EV. Mazda will, in time, introduce new models including more EVs; but with the introduction of a PHEV (plug-in-hybrid) it is the answer for a lot of drivers on our island. Behind the wheel, I did not expect to be so engaged, handling much better than I expected; longitudinal front-engine rear-wheel drive mechanical layout, Skyactiv Scalable Architecture is matched to good bodyshell rigidity and a double wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension set-up to deliver a first-rate driving experience. Also featured is Mazda’s Kinetic Posture Control technology which further stabilises vehicle posture when cornering by undetectably braking the inside rear wheel to mitigate roll and draw the car body downwards, whilst positioning the high-voltage battery between the front and rear axles and as low as possible, further helps centre of gravity and stability. Gearchanges are seamless thanks to a new eight-speed automatic transmission and there is the company’s i-Activ All-Wheel Drive system. There is the choice of Mazda Intelligent Drive Select (Mi-Drive), Normal, Sport, Off-Road, Towing and EV, with the latter making it possible to drive under electric power alone.

Safety has always been high on the Mazda list and with the new CX-60 comes a cocktail of advanced i-Activsense driver assistance systems to ensure active safety at the highest level. . A number of new technologies debut in the CX-60: See-Through View, a next-generation 360-degree monitor with extended field of view at low speeds; Hill Descent Control (HDC), which assists in safely descending steep slopes with slippery or rough road surfaces; Adaptive Cruise Control (i-ACC), which can now incorporate speed limits from Traffic Sign Recognition. Styling wise, it is clean, very typical of Mazda and the interior has that premium feel, an environment where all onboard travel in comfort while enjoyment can be at a high level with the excellent in car entertainment system.

The symmetrical cabin layout focuses on the driver with the aim of delivering the uniquely Mazda sense of being at one with the car and I must add a note on the practical side with this new SUV, 570 litres of boot space. Depending on the market, there is an excellent choice of trims, Exclusive – Line, Homura and Takumi (N.I.) while in the ROI, an additional Prime-Line. Looking to the near future, new generation straight-six three litre e-Skyactiv X petrol and 3.3 litre e-Skyactiv D diesel engines, which will feature M Hybrid Boost – Mazda’s 48V mild hybrid system which combines high output with excellent fuel economy and emissions performance.

Summing up, it’s quality through and through with the new CX-60.

Ian Lynas

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