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July 9, 2023

Review: 2024 Mazda CX-60 3.3 HEV Turbo-D Sport

The first-ever CX-60 is something Mazda must get right; after all, it’s representative of their premium aspirations. Though some may say that it started with the current Mazda3 and CX-30, those vehicles didn’t command much of a price premium over the competition to warrant raised eyebrows. The CX-60, on the other hand, nips at the heels of real luxury with its P 2.890-million price tag. This begs the question: did they get it right or will it serve as a reality check that’ll send them crashing down?

The answer isn’t clearcut. Suffice to say, the positives still happen to outweigh the negatives, but the points for improvement drag down what could have been a Lexus NX or BMW X3 killer. Remember, a car is only as good as its weakest link.

Let’s start with the bad news first: the transmission. Equipped with a 48-volt mild-hybrid setup, Mazda wanted to find a way to precisely control the engagement of the onboard electric motor (take note: it’s not just a belt-driven starter-generator). Thus, they’ve come up with an eight-speed automatic that uses multiple clutches to control when it switches between diesel or electric or a combination of both. In theory, it’s sound. In reality, however, it saddles the CX-60 with poor shift smoothness.

In stop-and-go traffic, the CX-60 can’t seamlessly switch between power sources without clunking or shuddering. This is aggravated by indecisive throttle inputs—like letting go of the accelerator (it switches over to electric mode), hitting the brakes (it starts to regen power), and hitting the accelerator again (it switches to a combined diesel-electric mode). There will almost always be a momentary lag before the gearbox decides what to do. Now, mind you, it’s not as terrible as a dual clutch, but it still can’t match the refinement of a torque converter. Thankfully, as speeds go up, the gearbox finds its footing. And when it does, it’s mighty good.

Another chink in the CX-60’s armor is its ride refinement. Despite riding on “true” luxury car suspension—front double wishbones and rear multi-links, the comfort is just “okay.” The suspension does a stellar job of dissipating unwanted shocks and crashes quickly, but the firm tuning will not be to everyone’s tastes. Some will even find it fidgety. For those who do all the driving, however, it’s quite great. For what is an almost two-ton SUV, it’s rewarding with sharp-witted steering, controlled body roll, and excellent NVH.

Putting those two major issues aside, the CX-60 does manage to live up to Mazda’s lofty promises. If the gearbox is its weakest link, the engine is, undoubtedly, the strongest one. There are concerns that the 3.3-liter inline-6 won’t be able to deliver on the promised fuel economy figures, but that can be put to rest. In heavy traffic, it does a remarkable 12.98 km/L (15 km/h), rising to 21.73 km/L on the highway (56 km/h). In a mixed setting, it settles to 15.38 km/L (19 km/h). The secret is that the engine doesn’t need to work all that hard. It barely needs to reach 2,000 rpm to get decent pace going (peak torque is achieved at 1,500 rpm). But squeeze that throttle, and you’ll be greeted by the glorious, full-bodied sound of that six cylinder. The engine is just so good, it competes with the 12-speaker Bose sound system for your ears’ attention.

Speaking of the Bose sound system, another high point of the CX-60 is the cabin. No other car in this price point can match it in design and execution. The overall design sticks close to corporate Mazda with the horizontal motif and the large landscape infotainment screen, but it’s been leveled up by soft, plush plastics and swathes of tan nappa leather and suede. With the test drive unit having done less than 2,000 clicks, there’s no certainty how things like the tan steering wheel will stand “irregular” wear-and-tear (you’re talking about the sweaty palms of motoring journalists, after all), but as it is, it shames not just every other car in its price range, but even the best of Lexus. The same thing can be said about the pair of 12.3-inch screens. It isn’t customizable, but that doesn’t matter. It’s easy to read with crisp, sharp graphics, and great color contrast. The font-size on the gauges can even been increased for those with reading glasses. Oh, and thankfully, Mazda has resisted the temptation of putting everything on a touchscreen—relying instead on well-placed, tactile switchgear.

Mazda has prided itself in providing a “Jinba-Ittai” or “Horse and Rider as One” driving environment, and here, they’ve gone a step further with the introduction of the Driver Personalization System. Climb aboard for the first time and via a sub-menu, it will sort out your perfect driving position for you based on your height and eye position. It adjusts everything from the seats, steering wheel, and mirrors. It gets close, though because I’m proportioned like an orangutan, some minor adjustments had to be made. Save your profile, and it’ll remember all your settings too. It stores up to six profiles plus guests.

Dimensionally, the CX-60 is close to the CX-5, although the proportions are a bit different. In the CX-5, Mazda seems to have divided the available cabin space between the front and rear occupants in a 55/45 split. In the CX-60, however, this has moved to a 60/40. The result? Certainly no grumbling for those seated at the front, but those in the back are merely fine. Oddly enough, the rear seats offer only two levels of recline—like the CX-5. More of the available footprint went to the cargo hold where the 570-liter space places it as Mazda’s biggest. The rear seat also folds down in a 40/20/40 split.

There are also plenty of cubby holes in the CX-60 too. Storage space includes a pair of cup holders, a roof-mounted sunglass holder, long door pockets, a large glovebox, and a wireless charging tray. There’s also a wide (it can fit a letter-sized document folded crosswise) storage beneath the armrest. Beneath the armrest is where you’ll find the USB connectors. There are also two placed, weirdly, below the rear AC vent (as opposed to hiding it in the center armrest in the CX-5). They’re all of the Type C variety; so call it iPhone 15 ready. Wireless Apple CarPlay also comes standard.

As plush and luxurious as the CX-60 is, give it full beans and it’ll actually oblige. The steering could use better feel (and quicker reactions near the center), but it can match a BMW X3 in terms of overall feel. Instead of hiding its weight, Mazda uses it to its advantage. Lessons learned from the MX-5, yes, as in the sportscar, allows the shifting mass to tell the driver exactly what this SUV’s doing and what its limits are. At times like these, you’ll almost forgive the firm ride. Almost.

Design-wise, it’s hard to fault the CX-60. There were concerns that Mazda’s Kodo Styling is starting to wear thin, but you’ll find nothing wrong here. Despite being an SUV, designers opted to pare everything down—there are no overwrought styling lines and creases. Heck, even the cladding is painted in body color. This could make it look a bit slab-sided for some, but stare at it long enough, and you’ll find beauty in its simplicity. The diesel comes with black chrome accents and high-gloss black wheels and mirrors. They work excellently with the Soul Red Crystal, but it’s hard to imagine how it’ll look like in brighter colors like Rhodium White or Platinum Quartz.

As a philosophy, the CX-60 really is a pioneer for Mazda; it’s one which completely embodies the start of their luxury aspirations. However, because it’s a pioneer, they don’t exactly get it 100 percent right; there’s some room for improvement. For what it’s worth, the CX-60 does have all the hallmarks of being another likeable Mazda. The CX-60 has gotten the world’s attention, and it deserves yours as well.

2024 Mazda CX-60 3.3 HEV Turbo-D Sport

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Bottom Line
Pros Stellar design, excellent road holding, smooth engine, surprising fuel economy.
Cons Tight rear seats, finicky gearbox, firm ride.
TL;DR Not perfect, but a great sign of Mazda's premium aspirations.
Year Introduced 2023
Warranty 3 years / 100,000 kilometers
The Basics
Body Type Mid-sized SUV
Seating 5
Engine / Drive F/AWD
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 3.3
Aspiration Turbocharged
Fuel Delivery EFI
Layout / # of Cylinders I6
Maximum Output (PS @ rpm) 254 @ 3,750
Maximum Torque (Nm @ rpm) 550 @ 1,500-2,400
Fuel / Min. Octane Diesel
Transmission 8 AT
Cruise Control Yes, Adaptive
Fuel Economy (km/L) @ Ave. Speed (km/h) 12.98 km/L @ 15 km/h,
21.73 km/L @ 56 km/h
Fuel Tank Size (L) 58
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,745
Width (mm) 1,890
Height (mm) 1,680
Wheelbase (mm) 2,870
Curb Weight (kg) 1,897
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, Double Wishbone
Rear Suspension Independent, Multi-link
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Disc
Parking Brake Electric, w/ Auto Hold
Tires Toyo Proxes Sport 235/50 R 20 W (f & r)
Recommended Tire Pressure (PSI) 36 PSI (all)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 7
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors Yes, Front & Rear
Parking Camera Yes, 360-degree
Front Seatbelts 3-pt ELR w/ pre-tensioners x 2
Rear Seatbelts 3-pt ELR x 3
ISOFIX Child Seat Anchor Yes
Other Safety Features Hill Descent Control
Front Smart Brake Support w/ Object Obstruction Warning
Rear Smart Brake Support
Lane Departure Warning
Lane Keep Assist
Blind Spot Monitoring w/ Vehicle Exit Warning
Front Cross Traffic Alert
Rear Cross Traffic Alert w/ Rear Cross Brake Support
Driver Monitoring System
Driver Attention Alert
Exterior Features
Headlights LED, Adaptive
Fog Lamps None
Light Operation Auto
Wiper Operation Rain-sensing
Tailgate Electronic
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt/Telescopic, Electronic Adjust
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment (driver) Electric, 8-way, Ventilated, w/ Memory
Seating Adjustment (front passenger) Electric, 6-way, Ventilated
Seating Surface Leather/Suede
2nd Row 40/20/40 Split-Fold, w/ Arm Rest
3rd Row None
Sunroof Yes
Multi-Information Display / Size Yes, 12.3-inch
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, w/ Fold, Auto-dimming (Driver's Side)
Rear View Mirror Auto-dimming
Proximity Key Yes
Climate Control Automatic, Dual Zone, w/ Rear Vents
Audio System Stereo
USB Type C
Smartphone Connectivity Apple CarPlay (Wireless)
Android Auto
# of Speakers 12, Bose
Steering Controls Yes


  1. Great review as always. Thank you.

    Hypothetical question. If you are in the market for an SUV, you have 3m pesos and you can only buy one to be used in the next 10 years, will you buy this?

    1. Good question. I'll reserve judgement until I try the gas. Not having a family, I could probably live with the transmission in exchange for the fuel efficiency + performance.

    2. Quick, same parameters as OP, this or the evoltis?

    3. The Evoltis, I find, is P 1M too expensive--especially now at P 3.780M. And besides, the Evoltis is a 3-row SUV which will probably go up against the CX-90.

      The closest competitor the CX-60 would have is the Outback. Don't get the Outback wrong, but it's just feeling old and not as premium/luxurious as the CX-60. The CX-60, at least feels more expensive than its price. Performance is also way better.

    4. Oh, thought this was a 3 row crossover. But yea, cx90 will be it's class competitor if it arrives.

    5. 2 rows only. Think of it like a luxury version of CX-5.

  2. The engine is just so good, it competes with the 12-speaker Bose sound system for your ears’ attention... ❤️❤️❤️

  3. Geez way overpriced. 500K more and you can have a Lexus or a BMW

    1. Really? You get more car for 500k (or more) less vs a Lexus NX and a BMW X3 (even their respective entry crossovers, the UX and X1). BMW does not offer any inline-6 variant of the X3 here, we only get 4-cylinder models. And as nice as a Lexus NX is, it is a FWD-based crossover; can't match the driving dynamics of a RWD-based platform. And if you are using a Lexus UX or BMW X1 as a point of reference of the 500k figure you mentioned, come on, a CX-60 is much better car vs those entry-level luxury crossovers. The CX-60 is meant to be a Lexus NX, Merc GLC, and BMW X3 competitor and Mazda undercut them massively. Maybe you are used to seeing Mazda as a mainstream brand, hence your comment, but they are moving premium now. This isn't a regular old RAV4 and CR-V competitor, that's the job of the CX-5. With their premium push, maybe it's time to recalibrate expectations.

    2. But it has 2 more cylinders compared to the luxury cars.

    3. Mazda may have set BMWs in its sights but it still way behind in driving dynamics. Plus Mazdas are cramped especially in the second row. People who spend 3M for a car want cachet and Mazda is not a brand you want for that. Otherwise more sensible people would save the extra P1M or so and go buy a Tucson or CRV

  4. I am curious if the gas version is smoother to drive

    1. I'm curious as well. Wait until my chance to review it soon.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. The good parts does not seem to jive with the target market. The extremely low fuel consumption is not something the P3M car buyer cares about. Yet the poor transmission at low speed is an irritant and not acceptable at this price level.

    1. I wonder why Mazda didn't refined the transmission before selling the premium SUV. Or probably they will improve it come refresh time.

  7. Knowing that this is an all-new product, I expect it to have flaws. Just like with technology. Newer and newer generations just keep getting better and better.

  8. Mild hybrid is just more of a marketing gimmick. Its little battery pack and dwarf electric motor can just give a slight helping hand to the engine in order to reduce emissions by a fraction.

    1. It only add to the cost of vehicles with no added or little value if any

    2. It depends on the execution. In the CX-60 it seems to be very effective (at least in the diesel) as those fuel economy figures show. The electric motor does a bit more work than a simple ISG or BSG. Of course, I've got to try the gas to see if it really works.

  9. No tire pressure monitoring again?

  10. Hi uly! Could you further describe the ride quality? Is it 3 series firm or fortuner firm?

    1. 3 Series firm, but because there are far more interior parts that rattle (particularly the rear seats), it doesn't feel as solid.

  11. Uly, how does the CX-5 ride compared to this? Is the firmness of the CX-60 way more noticeable?

    1. I find the CX-5's ride, especially the new one (turbo) to be more pliant than the CX-60's. Handling-wise though, the CX-60 is way better.

  12. Oh boy Mazda's taking too long with unit availability of the Diesel. They shouldn't have launched the product if units are not readily available.

    1. If you don't mind me asking, how long of a wait are they telling you?

    2. Reserved upon June launch and was told to wait until end of July. Now I have to wait further (and indefinitely) as I was told July inventory did not include the diesel.

    3. That sucks. Hopefully they'll give a clearer picture come August.

  13. Get rid of the the "mild hybrid", offer it with a manual and regular automatic transmission option then sell it at 30 to 40% less than what they intend to sell it for. Winner.

  14. Realistically speaking, Philippine buyers won't cross-shop this with euro cars. If you want a BMW, it's a BMW you're going to buy. No amount of extra cylinders or features will change that.

    1. The cross-shop happens for people who're considering upgrading to a Euro car. What Mazda's trying to say is that: why upgrade to entry-level luxury, when you can get a premium mainstream brand with even better luxury. But agreed that those who're current owners of BMWs may not go down to a Mazda...unless they need a coding/extra car.

    2. That's what I was thinking too. People who have satiated their desire to own euros and just need/want a daily car that's not as conspicuous.

    3. Hmm, a premium mainstream brand offers real high quality leather as to "man-made leather" by those so called luxury brands whose products are also prone to breakdowns and being major headaches. Best choice is either a Lexus or a Mazda.

  15. I've always preferred the balanced perspective--critical yet honest. Thanks for this, Uly. Even the comments exchange is informative. That said, I'm in the market for my next vehicle and had eyed this model as an option (across categories and not locked to one) when it came out elsewhere but now, not so much.


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