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Mazda CX-60’s price is the deal of the year

Mazda CX-60’s price is the deal of the year

Botchi Santos

I recently had the pleasure of an enlightening chat with Mazda PH boss Steven Tan and I thought Mazda’s push towards the premium segment can get him excited. Steven, however, corrected me and said that Mazda itself never intended to go upmarket as the primary intention of the Hiroshima-based company is simply to make better cars. And better cars require better engineering, design and construction which result in a better product. It is this simple goal that has had a massive impact on the brand’s growth under the Bermaz stewardship, its impressive customer loyalty which of course leads to not only highly accomplished products, but highly desirable ones.

The basic platform will spawn a variety of more vehicles but the big change is that it is designed to accept a new family of powertrains: an inline six-cylinder turbocharged engine in either gasoline or diesel with a mild hybrid component. I was able to test the AWD HEV Turbo gasoline variant, which has an output of 280hp and 450 Newton-Meters of torque. It’s also a very under-stressed engine. By my estimate, a reflash with some bolt-on parts can easily add another 100hp to this silky-smooth engine. Attached is an all-new 8-speed automatic transmission that uses stacked multiple clutch discs instead of a traditional torque converter, minimizing drivetrain losses and improving responsiveness.

It’s also very well-equipped with its 20-inch alloy wheels, dual LCD screens (two 12.3-inch screens for the main instrument cluster and infotainment system) and a 10.4-inch heads-up display. Apple CarPlay / Android Auto is standard, as is a 12-speaker Bose surround sound system. There are also a plethora of USB-C ports and wireless charging available for your phone.

Supple all-black Nappa leather with bronze stitching highlight the sophisticated interior, with satin aluminum & faux silver carbon-fiber trim on the center console adding a touch of high-tech vibe.

Mazda’s safety suite called i-Activesense makes an appearance here. It uses a system of radars, cameras and a near infra-red lasers to improve safety, keeping you firmly in your lane, activating high-beams automatically and steers the headlamps to where you point the steering wheel, among other things.

Now let’s get to the meat of things. As with any Mazda, the CX-60 drives brilliantly. It’s a bit of a departure from previous Mazdas that had smaller engines with lower outputs. My wife drives a CX-30 with the 2.0 SkyActiv G and front-wheel drive.

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To liken it to a weapon, the CX-30 feels like a rapier: small, flexible, versatile and very effortlessly easy to use. In capable hands, its deftness and agility will make short work of a challenging winding road. The CX-60, on the other hand, is like a war hammer: brutally and ruthlessly powerful as the 8-speed transmission shifts seamlessly at wide open throttle and keeps the might inline-6 singing operatic arias all throughout. And each time it upshifts, you feel the irresistible, almost corrupting surge of more power find in mass-market vehicles and it can spoil you silly. Highway miles are devoured in an instant, and even winding roads are dealt with in a devastatingly efficient manner.

However, some compromises were made to harness all that amazing grunt. Firstly, the suspension is on the soft side. You feel a surprising amount of chassis dip and squat under hard braking and acceleration, a sensation you don’t associate with Mazdas which seem to have mastered body control and comfort. Roll control is still excellent, thanks probably to substantial anti-sway bars. Also noticeable is the 8-speed which is a bit clunky / jerky in low-speed traffic, made worse as you let off the throttle and the HEV literally ‘kicks in’ to assist coasting functions. Third, the brakes could do with a bit more firmness to improve confidence, and a more aggressive compound to give stronger initial ‘bite’ especially when braking from the very high speeds the CX-60 is capable of.

Lastly, the cameras are rather disappointing as there’s significant lens distortion, especially with the reverse camera, making guesstimates difficult as you squeeze into tight spaces.

Nonetheless, I’d buy it in a heartbeat if I were in the market for a 5-seat crossover and wanting loads of power and sophistication. The suspension and brakes are easily remedied by the aftermarket. And I expect Mazda to come up with a better algorithm for the transmission’s software in due time.

It is as complete, and as accomplished as crossovers go, and will give upmarket crossovers from Audi (Q5), BMW (X3), Lexus (RX), Mercedes-Benz (GLC) and even Porsche (Maccan) a good run for their money when you consider its value. Don’t even bother comparing it to its Japanese mass-market rivals. Nothing from their respective stables come close.