MAZDA has a reputation for building stylish cars that are brilliant to drive and come with a superb reliability record.
So why do people still flock to German cars when they’re looking for a flashy motor?
A desirable badge is why. You won’t find many Mazdas driven by celebs or being flaunted on social media, but you’ll find lots of people trying to appear like they’re doing well in an Audi, BMW or Mercedes.
The result? Year-to-date, Mazda has sold a little over 14,000 cars in the UK, while Merc has moved 55,000 and Audi and BMW another 10,000 on top of that.
That’s despite Mazda recently having two models in the top 10 most reliable used cars in Britain and BMW and Audi having four of the least reliable between them.
But the new Mazda CX-60 is here to change all that, with a sleek SUV stance, an upmarket cabin and plug-in hybrid tech.
It was the e-SKYACTIV plug-in version we drove as it’s the first to be launched in Britain, although petrol and even diesel versions will follow along later.
Of course, the PHEV is the ‘Green’ choice, managing tiny company-car friendly CO2 emissions and around 31 miles of relaxing pure-electric driving on our mixed route (39 miles officially), but it’s also the most powerful production car Mazda has ever offered.
With its four-cylinder petrol engine and electric motors producing a combined 327hp, The CX-60 shifts you to 62mph from a standstill in just 5.8 seconds.
That’s hot hatch fast and it feels it from behind the wheel. Together with its accurate steering, snappy auto ‘box, grippy all-wheel-drive and ability to stay nicely upright in bends, the CX-60 is a hoot to drive.
The CX-60 even looks fast. Design is subjective, but we reckon this is good looking SUV with its long bonnet and raked-back roofline.
We drove all three trim levels – Exclusive-Line, Homura and Takumi which range from feeling good quality to downright lovely.
The Takumi is the range-topper with the best of Japanese craftsmanship featuring maple wood trims and intricate stitching on the dash called ‘Kakenui.’
It looks and feels as good as a German effort, but even the entry-level Exclusive-Line feels suitably upmarket and is better than anything Mazda has managed to date.
Every CX-60 comes with Mazda’s latest widescreen infotainment system too, which comes with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard.
It’s bright, quick and easy to use, but the fact that it only works as a touchscreen when pairing your mobile is a little odd.
When it isn’t, you’ll be using a rotary dial and menu shortcut buttons instead.
The CX-60’s other issue is that while space in the front is great, rear knee room for adults is only average, despite its boot trumping rivals’ for luggage room.
Those rivals being the Audi Q5 Sportback, BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe, which the Mazda CX-60 undercuts on price.
In cash terms, the CX-60 PHEV starts at just under £44,000 and the range-topping Takumi is just less than £48,000.
An X4 (of which there is no PHEV) and GLC Coupe both start at around £51,000, while a PHEV Q5 Sportback starts at £56,000.
Despite the Germans’ strong residual values, the Mazda is cheaper on comparable finance too.
But here’s a tip; buy the cheapest Exclusive-Line CX-60. Then add Mazda’s Convenience and Driver Assistance packs for £2,100.
You’re left with a well-rounded SUV that’s now crammed with every bell and whistle, is still usefully less to buy than the competition and has the smallest and most comfortable 18-inch wheels of the range.
cedrit by https://www.thesun.co.uk/motors/19711921/ive-driven-the-new-mazda-cx-60/