Mazda CX-60, behind the wheel of the first Hiroshima plug-in

Premium goals. “Finally the product that allows us to compete in this segment”, smiles Claudio di Benedetto, Marketing Manager at Mazda Italy. With the CX-60 PHEV, the Hiroshima house brings its first plug-in to the market, which is also the most powerful series model ever offered by the Japanese manufacturer, in a class like SUVs where there are customers who are willing to use and where the houses have important margins.

Aesthetically, it is just as convincing as all the latest Mazda models, characterized by simple, clear and with the same elegant lines without necessarily being polarizing. The cabin is moved to the rear, while the front is characterized by the “usual” generous bonnet. Hiroshima’s engineers have embraced the new rear-wheel drive platform on which they can mount any type of engine: from the exquisite thermal (48 Volt mild hybrid technology becomes standard: by the end of the year with 3.3-liter six-cylinder diesel and by 2023 also with 3.0 petrol, always six-cylinder) up to electric. The plug-in declination surprises for the luggage compartment capacity (from 570 liters with the seats in standard positions), which benefits from the fact that the 176 kg battery is located centrally under the floor, which also lowers the car’s center of gravity. however, with at least 17 inches free from the ground. The 8-speed automatic transmission at a significantly higher level than the previously available 6-speed automatic transmission is new and very convincing.

In terms of comfort, the CX-60 plug-in lacks very little, although there may be room for improvements on the heat engine echo. To make life easier for the driver, Mazda offers a personalization system (seats, mirrors, steering wheel, head-up display) based on face recognition: once the height is entered, the software automatically suggests the settings, which the driver can then modify. The device stores up to six profiles.

The Japanese SUV is a family car that can be used in a more sporty way thanks to the powerful cavalry and the 5.8 second acceleration from 0 to 100. However, the recovery is not something that sticks in the seats, while the steering is sincere and gives you the ability to draw curves with precision. The maximum speed is limited to 200 per hour.

The CX-60 PHEV is Mazda’s “second revolution”, which comes 10 years after the European debut of the CX-5, a model that has led to a change in the perception of the Horishima house.

Of course, it will be the customers who will sanction (or not) the legitimacy of Mazda’s premium ambitions, which in addition to design provide a lot on the interior front with soft plastic and refined materials: not everything is standard (top of the range) costs just below 56,000 euros), but the comparison with competitors reveals a price list of at least 8,000 euros lower with comparable performance and equipment. The seven SUVs available for the test, starting from Estoril, Portugal, are still prototypes: although customers have already shown great interest in the model (in two weeks, the estimated quota for the entire pre-sale phase was sold out, in particular thanks to the countries of Northern Europe), the cars arrive at dealers after the summer, at least in Italy.

Some settings of the production cars could turn out to be different from the prototypes, which in any case confirm the steps forward that Mazda has taken to meet customers on the old continent, where it expects to return to sell 200,000 units a year, too thanks to the possible approval of this model (and, in Italy, also for the Mazda 2 hybrid). To tease the unresolved, for orders signed before the end of August, “the Italian division of Mazda is giving away both the Convenience & Sound package worth 2,900 euros and three years of free routine maintenance.

“We ask the authorities to carefully evaluate eFuels,” urges Matthias Sileghem, vice president of Mazda Europe in charge of customer experience and institutional affairs. The request is not random because the manager remembers that the electrical conversion will not be immediate and dual-fuel rechargeable batteries are just one of the possible options. In addition to sustainable fuels, which Mazda, the first manufacturer to join the eFuel Alliance, has been studying for some time in collaboration with Hiroshima University and the Tokyo Institute of Technology, there is also an expansion of the range of electric vehicles such as the MX-30, to which the rotary motor comes as a range extender within the year. The Hiroshima House wants to keep many options open: Mazda is a “niche” manufacturer, but with a lot of imagination.

What it is: It’s the first plug-in model produced by the Hiroshima house and also the most powerful production Mazda has ever made. The CX-60 PHEV is four-wheel drive, but was born on a rear-wheel drive platform that can also house traditional combustion, mild hybrid and clean electrical systems.

Dimensions: length 4.74 meters, width 1.89, height 1.68, pitch 2.87

Rivals: Audi Q5, Bmw X3, Toyota RAV 4 and Mercedes GLC

Engines: The CX-60 plug-in uses the e-Skyactiv 2.5-liter petrol engine with 192 hp and 261 Nm of torque combined with the 175 hp and 250 Nm electric unit. The system is worth 327 hp and 500 Nm and includes the new 8-speed automatic transmission and 17.8 kWh lithium-ion battery.

Full speed: 200 km / h

Electrical autonomy: up to 63 km in the combined WLTP cycle

Boot capacity: 570 / 1,726 liters

Advantage: boot dimensions, soft materials and plastic for the interior, standard equipment

Defects: weight, engine noise

Production: Hofu (Japan)

Prices: Prices: from 49,950 euros for Prime Line, which already has a lot of series, starting with various driver assistance systems. Two thousand euros more is enough for the Exclusive Line, while for Homura it takes 54,350. The super-equipped Takumi, the top of the range, costs 55,850 euros

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