Soul Sister

by Petrol Mum
Mazda CX-60 P50E GT Soul Red Crystal

In 2023 Mazda Australia released not one, but two brand new models, the seven seat CX-90 and its sister vehicle this five seat CX-60. Both are built in Japan at Mazda’s plant in Hofu on the new Large Architecture Platform that features a standard all-wheel-drive layout and a choice of engines.

The CX-60 is a nice looking medium-sized SUV, especially in this optional Soul Red Crystal paint with the gloss black alloy wheels. There are three engines available in the CX-60 range including a six-cylinder petrol or diesel mild hybrid and a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) engine. Each of the three CX-60 grades on offer, Evolve, GT, and Azami, can be specced with any of these engines and this particular P50E (designates the PHEV) is a GT, which comes with a Premium Bose audio system with 12 speakers, 12.3-inch multi-information driver’s display that has a nice animation on start-up and changes its look with the different drive modes, and a panoramic sunroof. This CX-60 GT is also fitted with the optional Vision Technology Package ($2,000) that adds a 360-degree view monitor with see through view, Adaptive LED Headlamps, Cruising and Traffic Support, and Front Cross Traffic Alert.

The P50E is powered by a 2.5 litre in-line 4-cylinder petrol engine that has 241kW of power and 500Nm of torque and for a small engine it is quite noisy under hard acceleration. The internal combustion engine is combined with a 17.8kWh Lithium-Ion battery that Mazda claims delivers up to 76km of pure EV range, but I found this was more like 40-50km in the real world. Being this is a PHEV it has an unrealistic official combined fuel economy figure of 2.1L/100km and for my time with the CX-60 doing a combination of highway and local driving I used 5.5L/100km. I did try to remember to charge the CX-60 every day to gain the full benefit of the battery technology and as it only takes about seven hours to charge at home with a standard AC plug this was easily completed overnight.

The Type 2 charge port is located on the driver’s side of the vehicle at the rear and can accept a maximum charge rate of 7.2kW and complete a charge from 20% to 80% in 90 minutes according to Mazda. There is a green light next to the charge plug that indicates charging is in progress and on the digital driver’s dash there is a graphic showing the time remaining to a full charge. You can also schedule the charging time if required using an option under the EV menu on the infotainment display.

The PHEV starts in EV mode and will stay in that mode until the battery is drained and you can adjust the regenerative braking between Normal and High to recoup more energy under braking to increase the battery range. There is also three other drive modes Sport, Normal, and Off-road with downhill decent control. In Normal mode the PHEV uses battery power at low speeds and switches to the internal combustion engine at highway speeds. I felt the ride of the CX-60 was on the firm side even in Normal mode, but it was comfortable enough.

The Skyactiv-Drive 8-speed automatic transmission lets the CX-60’s powertrain down with noticeably rough gearchanges during EV driving. There was also a clunk from the gearbox on the down change when under a light throttle in Normal mode. The gearbox’s unrefined performance is not what you would expect from a premium SUV by Mazda.

The interior is up to standard though displaying the principles of Kodo essential design that have been at the centre of Mazda’s philosophy for many years; these are the beauty of empty space, curves with poise and balance and the play of light and shade. One feature that must have missed the Kodo brief though are the air vents on the outer parts of the dash that stick out and it hurts when you bump your knee on them if you are getting in quickly and not paying attention. I had no issues with the air conditioning system in the CX-60 like I did in the CX-90, but I still think the button for increasing the temperature should be pushed up and not down.

The CX-60 GT has smart keyless entry, keyless start, and the black leather trim is combined with a unique centre console finish that thankfully has a distinct lack of gloss black elements. Even the floor mats are attractive with their model designation and the metal-looking details on the corners. The steering wheel has powered adjustment and both front seats are heated with power adjustment for recline, forward/back, and seat cushion height front and rear. The driver’s seat also gets 2-way lumbar support and two memory positions and I found the seats to be comfortable even on a longer drive.

At the top of the dash is a 12.3-inch central widescreen display, which is not a touchscreen, so you need to navigate it using the rotary controller on the centre console. In some ways I prefer this as you don’t get fingermarks on the screen and it can actually be easier than sliding and pressing on a screen. Voice control can be used to access the infotainment system and is done so by pressing the button on the steering wheel with the masculine-looking silhouette on it. The voice control worked well for me for making phone calls, changing the radio station and setting a destination on the sat nav. Under the Point of Interest category on the sat nav you can select to show charging stations and for each station you can display more information like the number of chargers available and it says this is 255 at each location, which appears to be incorrect?

The media sources available in the CX-60 include AM/FM radio, DAB, Bluetooth, USB-1 for audio and video, USB-2, and smartphone projection. All CX-60 grades come as standard with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and wired connection is also still an option. For me the wireless Android Auto connected easily and worked well, but navigating apps like Waze with the rotary controller can be fiddly. The cubby at front of centre console has the wireless charging pad for your phone and there is also one 12V socket in this cubby. Under the split folding arm rest there is a shallow storage area with two USB-C ports located here. The two cup holders in the centre console have grippy sides, but no removable rubber mat for easy cleaning, and there are good size drink bottle storage cubbies in front doors.

The rear seats have adequate head and leg room for me, but taller individuals would find them tight, and my knees did feel like they were sitting up high and I had no support under my thighs. For young passengers the CX-60 has two ISOfix/three rear tether child seat restraint points, but only enough room for two car seats. The centre seat folds down as an arm rest with two cup holders in the front of it and there are good-size drink bottle storage cubbies in the rear doors. Rear seat passengers get heated outer seats and two central air vents with individual direction control and one central on/off controller. Below the vents there are two USB-C ports and one AC 220V/150W 3 pin plug with carpet mats on the floors, but not over the transmission tunnel.

The CX-60 GT has a gesture open/close boot, or you can open/close it from the button under the tailgate or in the cabin or by using the annoyingly small buttons on the key fob. I really like how the cargo cover is connected to the tailgate and goes up with the tailgate and is therefore out of your way. The boot would fit the weekly shop or a pram and a small shop and has four substantial tie down points, no hooks, one light, one 12V socket and one AC 220V/1500W 3 pin plug. If more space is required the rear seats have a 40:20:40 split fold mechanism with the release in the boot space and it even individually releases the centre seat, which usually has to be done with a secondary process in most vehicles that have a centre fold down seat. Under the boot floor is a storage area for the charge cable and the tyre repair kit, but the petrol and diesel powered CX-60s come with a temporary use spare tyre.

All CX-60 variants have a 5-star ANCAP (2022) safety rating with an Adult Occupant Protection score of 91% (34.82 out of 38) and a Child Occupant Protection score of 93% (46.00 out of 49). Dual frontal, side chest-protecting and side head-protecting (curtain) airbags, as well as a driver knee airbag, are standard. A centre airbag which provides added protection to front seat occupants in side impact crashes is also standard.

The overall ANCAP Safety Assist score is 77% and ANCAP tests of the autonomous emergency braking (AEB) (Car-to-Car) system showed GOOD performance, including AEB Junction Assist where the test vehicle can autonomously brake to avoid crashes when turning across the path of an oncoming vehicle. ANCAP testing of the lane keep assist function showed GOOD performance, however the vehicle does not react in some of the more critical emergency lane keeping (ELK) scenarios, and therefore the ELK performance was assessed as MARGINAL. I experienced some issues with the adaptive cruise control with it mistaking the vicinity of a nearby vehicle and braking heavily, being slow to react when changing lanes, and aggressively deaccelerating and accelerating through some corners. One neat feature though is the active display on the driver’s dash that bends as you turn and indicates nearby vehicles as well when the adaptive cruise control is engaged.

There is a long list of active safety features that come as standard on all CX-60 grades and many of these bong a lot at you to get you attention or are shown directly in the head-up display. These safety features include Blind Spot Monitoring, Emergency Brake Assist, Forward Obstruction Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane-keep Assist System, and Smart Brake Support Front with pedestrian and cycle detection and rear detection, which worked well when my dog was behind the vehicle on my driveway. For convenience you also get auto lights, high beam control and auto wipers. The optional Vision Technology pack adds a 360-degree view camera with see-through view to the GT and the front and rear parking sensors come as standard.

All new Mazda vehicles are backed by a five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty plus five year’s Mazda Premium Roadside Assistance. The plug-in hybrid powered CX-60’s service intervals are every 12 months or 15,000kms, whichever comes first and the cost for the first five basic services on the CX-60 P50E GT AWD is $2,590.

Mazda CX-60 P50E GT parked

The PHEV CX-60 combines EV driving with the advantage of a combustion engine in a premium medium-sized SUV. The Mazda CX-60 P50E GT AWD is priced from $80,300 plus on-road costs and as tested with optional Soul Red Crystal paint ($995) and the Vision Technology Package ($2,000) this CX-60 PHEV is $83,295 plus on-roads. You can Build your Mazda CX-60 online or visit your preferred Mazda dealer for more information.

The fuel efficient plug-in hybrid engineThe rough gear changes  
The cabin is a pleasant place to beThe adaptive cruise control operation  
The cargo cover over the boot spaceThe safety features bong at you a lot

Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.

Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.

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