Cars

Mazda CX-60: A large plug-in hybrid family SUV that's faster than a VW Golf GTI and more economical than a Mini (though not at the same time)

Handsome in the modern Mazda way, the CX-60 is the company's first plug-in hybrid
Handsome in the modern Mazda way, the CX-60 is the company's first plug-in hybrid Handsome in the modern Mazda way, the CX-60 is the company's first plug-in hybrid

MAZDA might be the most idiosyncratic car-maker we have left, writes William Scholes. From resisting turbocharging its petrol units and persisting with the quirky rotary engine to its commitment to building beautifully styled and sweet driving models, the Japanese marque does things its own way.

That has extended to it being more cautious about jumping into the world of electrification. Sure, it has clever mild-hybrid tech, but it has only one EV - the MX-30 - and the car it sells as the Mazda 2 Hybrid is a rebadged Toyota Yaris.

A plug-in version of the MX-30 - which has attracted criticism because of its limited range of around 100 miles - is almost with us, using a rotary petrol engine as a range extender to charge the battery. It is a typically unconventional Mazda approach.

Mazda has been slow to join the plug-in hybrid ranks
Mazda has been slow to join the plug-in hybrid ranks Mazda has been slow to join the plug-in hybrid ranks

The company offers one other plug-in drivetrain in its line up. It's found in the CX-60, an SUV and the largest vehicle Mazda sells in the UK.

Here you'll find a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine sharing motivational duties with a 173bhp electric motor paired to a 17.8kWh battery. Total drivetrain outputs are 323bhp and 369lb ft. Together with four-wheel-drive traction, this means the CX-60 is far quicker than a car the size of a small house and weighing 2 tonnes (heavy for a Mazda) ought to be; 0-62mph is rated at 5.8 seconds.

Read more: Mazda CX-5: Family-friendly fun

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Fuel economy is always a bit of a moving target for any plug-in hybrid; if you're able to drive it only in EV mode, you can get up to 39 zero emission miles from a full charge in the CX-60. The official - ie unattainable in the real world… - fuel consumption on the combined cycle is 188mpg.

The interior is beautifully finished, and is a masterclass in how buttons and switches are superior to touchscreens. Being a Mazda, it flows along the road with precision though size mitigates against it being 'fun' in the way a CX-5 or Mazda 3 are, let alone an MX-5.

The CX-60 is another great looking Mazda, if not as svelte as we've become used to
The CX-60 is another great looking Mazda, if not as svelte as we've become used to The CX-60 is another great looking Mazda, if not as svelte as we've become used to

Prices start at £45k; and for yet more evidence of Mazda's willingness to be contrary, you can also have the CX-60 with a brand new six-cylinder 3.3-litre diesel engine. But more of it another time…

Mazda still gives the driver lots of buttons and knobs with which to control the car - other makers, obsessed with touchscreens, please take note
Mazda still gives the driver lots of buttons and knobs with which to control the car - other makers, obsessed with touchscreens, please take note Mazda still gives the driver lots of buttons and knobs with which to control the car - other makers, obsessed with touchscreens, please take note