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How welcome it was to get behind the wheel of a new diesel vehicle and a very special one from Mazda as the popular CX-60 gets a new line 6 cylinder 3.3 litre e-Skyactiv unit.

Over a variety of roads in the Scottish borders, I had ample opportunity to try the newcomer which expands the awarding winning SUV range. The new diesel which joins the line-up with the Skyactiv-G 2.5 litre petrol engine (popular in the ROI) will appeal especially to drivers in Ireland where diesel powered vehicles continue to prove the first choice. Personally, it was refreshing to take the wheel of this new diesel contender amidst a sea of recently introduced EVs. The new diesel engine was developed using the right sizing concept; this optimises displacement to improve both fuel and power efficiency and with two power outputs available, 200PS and 254PS, this member of the Mazda family, as I discovered, is certainly not lacking when it comes to performance; and relatively low CO2 figures; 129g/km for the 200PS version and 137g/km for the more powerful version. The eight speed automatic transmission adds to the joy of driving and with rest to 100kph (62mph) in 7.4 and 8.4 seconds depending on the power output, smiles all round.

This latest addition to the CX-60 family features a new 48v Mazda M Hybrid Boost system and as I discovered the all-new diesel engine combines high output with excellent fuel economy. The combination of DCPCI and Mazda M Hybrid technologies contribute significantly to this SUV’s frugal fuel consumption and low emissions. With regard to the N.I. market, there will be three trim lines to select from; the 200PS output engine is singularly offered in Exclusive-Line trim where it is matched to rear-wheel drive, additionally Exclusive-Line can also be specified with the higher-output 254PS version of the new engine and features all-wheel drive. All Exclusive-Line versions can be specified with the optional Comfort Pack and the combined Convenience and Driver Assistance Pack. The Homura is offered exclusively with the 254PS AWD drive train, as is the range-topping Takumi grade and these SUVs can be specified with the optional Convenience and Driver Assistance Pack, while a Panoramic Roof is optional on Homura and standard on Takumi diesel models.

In bringing this member of the CX-60 family to market, refinement was a key factor and I was surprised to discover a smooth and quiet tone from this very impressive engine. The high torque delivery gives a 2,500kg trailer weight towing capacity, while as a result of its lightweight construction, the engine weighs similar to the 2.2 litre Mazda Skyactiv D four-cylinder diesel engine featured in the CX-5, which also helps handling balance. When the CX-60 first made its debut, I was so impressed by its premium feel, right up there with the best that the German carmakers can deliver; great credit to Mazda for achieving this build quality.

In keeping with the rest of the CX-60 range the new diesel version boasts the same high level of onboard equipment and attention to safety. Who might be the target audience? Drivers who want an efficient, long distance driving SUV with great towing capacity; I suspect that family motorists will very much appreciate this new arrival on the motoring scene. The PHEV version will continue to be the most popular CX-60; however the diesel version is a very welcome addition and the SUV story from Mazda is not yet complete as later this year we shall see the CX-80, larger than the CX-60 with three rows of seating; a strong contender for the family motorist.

Ian Lynas