Long-term report: A time of change for the Mazda CX-60

The CX-60 has gone back to the dealer to sort out some niggles – but what is another version like to live with? Jon Reay finds out.

The CX-60 is quite a large car to park
Mazda CX-60 The CX-60 is quite a large car to park

They say a change is as good as a rest, but this month we’ve had a bit of both during our custodianship of the CX-60.

Last month we mentioned how our car’s increasingly sticky steering was starting to make motorway journeys a chore, and since then it’s been off to Mazda HQ for a fix, along with a few software updates in the process.

I’m pleased to say our car is now spick and span again, which is blessed relief for my numerous trips up and down the M1. While it was away though, we thought we’d try out a CX-60 of a different spec – a cheaper one, in fact – to see if our car is worth the extra cash.

The two CX-60s lay back-to-back
The two CX-60s lay back-to-back

It also helped answer a question plaguing us since our particular CX-60 arrived. Ask any motoring journalist, and they’ll tell you that smaller alloy wheels (and therefore larger profile tyres) are the best way to improve the ride comfort of a car. So then, this ‘Exclusive-Line’ model with its 18-inch wheels – rather than our car’s 20-inch ones – should make the world of difference.

First though, let’s get the gritty details out of the way. This car has an identical mechanical spec to our long termer: a 3.3-litre diesel engine with four wheel drive. It weighs in at just under £48,000 on the road, a useful £2,700 cheaper than the ‘Homura’ spec of our car.

Naturally, to make that saving Mazda has had to leave out a few bits of kit – but at first glance, you’d struggle to see what. You still get broadly the same interior look and feel of our car, with black leather and silver accents dotted around the cabin. The infotainment system looks the same too, as do the digital dials in front of the driver. So far so good.

The CX-60 is currently Mazda’s largest model
The CX-60 is currently Mazda’s largest model

The excellent head-up display remains, as does the electrically-operated boot lid, dual zone climate, front and rear parking sensors, blind spot warning system, and even heated front seats and steering wheel.

Externally, things are a bit more obvious. You get black plastic cladding where our car has body-coloured bits, but if anything I think I prefer it. Surprisingly too, the smaller alloys of this car don’t look half bad either.

Alright then, so do those nice comfy 18-inch wheels improve the CX-60’s ride? In our experience, no they do not. Driven back to back, you might notice tiny differences between how the two cars handle, but we’d stop short of calling it an improvement.

Much has been said in the press about the ride quality in these CX-60s and we should say, in fairness to Mazda, both of the models we’re driving here were built early on in the car’s production run. Since then, reports suggest Mazda has tweaked the rear suspension of models rolling out of the factory – we just haven’t had the chance to try one yet.

The lower-spec model rides on smaller wheels
The lower-spec model rides on smaller wheels

Equally bouncy ride aside then, what – if anything – are we missing from our higher-spec car? One immediate omission is the 12-speaker Bose stereo of our car, replaced by here an unlabelled 8-speaker version. To my ears, the Bose option is well worth the £2,700 price difference alone, with this standard set-up rather lacking in the oomph required to cut through road and engine noise.

This particular car also does without the ‘Convenience and Driver Assistance’ option pack that’s been added on to our car, to mixed results. The lack of Front Cross Traffic alert is a welcome reprieve from being beeped at while entering a roundabout, but I do miss the adaptive cruise control that makes stop-start traffic a breeze. The front-facing camera is also extremely helpful for seeing over the CX-60’s long bonnet, and I’m also a fan of the wireless charging pad, even if it does tend to cook your phone after a few hours.

The CX-60 remains handy for all types of driving
The CX-60 remains handy for all types of driving

One thing I’m not sad to be without is our car’s face-scanning driver profile system, which not only doesn’t work properly, but often sets the seat and steering wheel to seemingly random positions just for fun. No such problems in the Exclusive-Line and its manual levers, thankfully beyond the clutches of any ghosts in the machine.

So then, what’s it to be: Exclusive-Line or Homura? If it were my hard-earned cash, I think I’d pick the cheaper Exclusive-Line. But that doesn’t stop me enjoying our luxuriously-specced car while we still have it…

  • Model: Mazda CX-60 Homura
  • Price: £50,705
  • Engine: 3.3-litre diesel
  • Power: 250bhp
  • Torque: 550Nm
  • 0-60mph: 7.4 seconds
  • Top speed: 136mph
  • Fuel economy: 54.3mpg (WLTP combined)
  • Emissions: 138g/km
  • Mileage: 13,500