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Sunday, October 15, 2023

Review: 2024 Mazda CX-60 3.3 HEV Turbo

The CX-60 occupies a narrow space in the market between two more traditional segments: the two-row compact SUV and the three-row mid-sized SUV. With that, it must deliver enough differentiation either to entice buyers to move up (in the case of compact SUVs) or move laterally (in the case of mid-sized SUVs). Either way, it’s got its work cut out. Having sampled the diesel-powered CX-60 3.3 HEV Turbo-D Sport before, I’d say that Mazda managed to get about 80 percent of it right. It isn’t perfect, but ultimately there’s still lots to like.

Moving on to the slightly more affordable CX-60 3.3 HEV Turbo Sport (the gas-powered version), does it offer more value? Or are you better off going full beans for the diesel? Well, that’s what I’m here to find out.

On paper, there’s not much difference between the two variants. In fact, you could argue that the price difference is ultimately because of two things: the powertrain and the interior suede accoutrements. As such, this “entry-level” CX-60 is every bit as loaded as the top-of-the-line trim with minor aesthetic differences.

Instead of having various black exterior accents, the gas-powered model goes for more traditional brightwork. And because it’s more of an executive model (the CX-60’s closest competitor is the Subaru Outback), I find the chrome embellishments (and the machine-cut wheels) more befitting the stately design. The same goes for its signature color: Rhodium White Premium. Normally, white is boring, but here, it stands out; like what Soul Red Crystal has done to red.

Stepping inside, the gas CX-60’s monotone colored cabin doesn’t have the same visual flair as the diesel’s black-and-tan number. Regardless, fit and finish are way up there. All the materials are still top-notch from the well-damped switchgear to the Nappa leather seats and accents.

Practicality, sadly, is a mixed bag. Mazda has put a lot of attention to the front seats, and with that, the occupants there have nothing to complain about. Those in the back, however, will find the accommodations merely “okay” despite the CX-60’s external footprint. The cargo hold, meanwhile, is the biggest in Mazda’s two-row line-up with 570 liters of space with the rear seats up. It grows even bigger as the rear seats go down in a 40/20/40 split.

Starting up the CX-60 brings to life its three main gauges—the driver’s display, the center infotainment screen, and the giant heads-up display. In particular, the driver’s all-digital display does a nicely animated dance before settling to what look like three traditional gauges. There’s no way to customize the display (aside from increasing the font size), but it’s easy to understand and navigate nonetheless. There’s another mode that shows off the driver aids (Mazda calls it i-Activsense) visually, but that’s about it.

The first thing I noticed during startup is the engine’s conservative redline: 6,250 rpm. This tells you everything you need to know about the character of the powertrain. Surprisingly, this inline-6 isn’t as rev happy as previous Skyactiv engines. Instead, the gearbox upshifts quickly, relying on its generous displacement and torque spread (its peak 450 Nm of torque is served from 2,000 to 3,500 rpm) to get the 1,880-kilogram frame moving. Of course, punch the throttle and it’ll surge forward with a nice burble to match. But that doesn’t change the fact that this is no sportscar. Light taps on the gas pedal’s all you need for almost all of your acceleration needs.

The big displacement and the eagerness of the torque converter-less gearbox is key in keeping the CX-60’s fuel consumption figures down. In city driving, it does 7.93 km/L—surpassing even the smaller engine, less powered CX-5 Turbo at the same sort of average speeds. Mazda says 91 octane is enough to keep the 3.3-liter e-Skyactiv-G engine happy, but there’s some audible knocking at extremely light taps of the accelerator. Shifting up to 95 octane, like Petron XCS quells this.

If you’ve read my review of the diesel CX-60, you’ll remember that I wasn’t a big fan of the transmission. The multi-plate clutch setup might have been designed to precisely control which power source this SUV uses, but at the expense of overall smoothness and refinement. Shortly after, Mazda Philippines countered that I may have been driving the car wrong, and that I had to readjust the way I drove. Frankly, I found this rather insulting. And besides, when you’re selling a P 2.8-million car to a customer, will you tell them that they’ll have to relearn how to drive? He’d most likely take his money somewhere else.

This brings me to the gas-powered CX-60, which is, not as bad. Whether it’s simply a matter of putting in more mileage, its pairing with this particular engine, a software update, or all three, it has managed to remove some of the gearbox’s indecisiveness and shuddering without me having to adjust the way I drive. Most of them is down to audible clunking noises as the clutches do their job, but at least they aren’t transmitted as actual jolts into the cabin. It’s still not as refined as a torque converter automatic as there are still a couple of strong jerks, but they happen only sparingly. Personally, I think there’s a software update’s involved as there’s now a customizable paddle shift behavior which wasn’t in the diesel version’s system menu before.

As a driver-centric SUV, the CX-60’s greatest strength lies in its handling. Lessons learned from the MX-5 meant that engineers have learned to use mass, or more specifically, the weight transfer to communicate to the driver what this SUV’s doing and what its limits are. As a result, its easy to go balls deep through some more challenging corners, so thankfully, it’s got good levels of mechanical grip. Plus, the brakes provide a nice, solid feel. On the flipside, the ride is firm. Deep shocks and crashes are dissipated quickly, but smaller, unevenly spaced undulations can cause it to rock back and forth at times. The platform itself is quite solid too, but marred by the creaks and rattles emanating from all around the cabin. Show it enough smooth asphalt, however, and it’ll glide through it like butter. No doubt, this is the best way to experience the CX-60.

Now going back to the question: is the CX-60 3.3 HEV Turbo Sport (gas) a better buy than the CX-60 3.3 HEV Turbo-D Sport (diesel). Ultimately, they’re got similar characters that you won’t go wrong with either one. The P 100,000 price difference however means you can put that in the bank or use it as additional gas allowance. Subjectively, my choice is the gas. It may be less efficient at the pump, but the extra smoothness and refinement afforded by the e-Skyctiv-G engine suits it as an executive-level SUV much more. And while the diesel does have a slightly better interior execution, the gas’s packaging is just more real-world friendly (I can’t imagine how hard it’ll be to care for that tan steering wheel and suede accents). Oh, and I’m just feeling the chrome accents of the CX-60 much more too.

2024 Mazda CX-60 3.3 HEV Turbo

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Bottom Line
Pros Excellent design, great handling, smooth engine.
Cons Jerky gearbox (but slightly improved), firm ride, interior rattles.
TL;DR The better CX-60 combination.
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) 284 @ 5,000-6,000
Maximum Torque (Nm @ rpm) 450 @ 2,000-3,500
Fuel / Min. Octane Gas / ~91
Transmission 8 AT
Cruise Control Yes, Adaptive
Fuel Economy (km/L) @ Ave. Speed (km/h) 7.93 km/L @ 15 km/h
(fueled with Petron XCS)
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) 1,880
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 Automatic
Wiper Operation Rain-Sensing
Tailgate Electronic
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt/Telescopic, Electric Adjust
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment (driver) Electric, 8-way, Ventilated, w/ Memory
Seating Adjustment (front passenger) Electric, 6-way, Ventilated
Seating Surface Nappa Leather
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 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 take away sir uly, just one thing, I’ve noticed almost if not all of the car reviewers who drove this car including you (local and int’l) have pointed out its firm ride and some even characterized it as quite jarring, which is kind of dismaying for sub 3M peso car. I mean is it really that bad? I dont understand why mazda would put this type of a suspension on their supposed luxury segment of cars, could you enlighten us a bit about it. If anything how would you compare it to the likes of a toyota camry or ford everest for example in terms of ride comfort, nvh etc.

    1. I was already asked this before and when we say firm, it's more of BMW firm than say, Fortuner firm. The real problem with the CX-60 isn't so much the ride...sure feels a bit crashy on some occasions...but the squeaks/rattles you hear from the cabin. I'd say a BMW with sport suspension would be the same, but the interior on that thing is just so bank vault-like.

    2. If you want to compare the rides's definitely firmer than the Everest/Camry set. It's also firmer than my own CX-5.

      The way it absorbs bumps would be close to the current-generation Mazda3 or CX-30.

      Still better damped than the PPV set though.

  2. As I said here before, Mazda's new transmission drives like a DCT, and not the good kind either. An adaptive suspension system would have done wonders for its ride, not including it at this price point is quite the head scratcher.

    1. That's the price of innovation!
      Stick to Toyota if you want stagnation.

  3. Im quite suprised that this still has 3-year warranty? Could have added more buyer confidence if Mazda went for a 5-year one.
    Quite nice to see them on roads, though. It looks big and imposing. I can't wait to see how monstrous would the CX90 look like.

  4. Stagnation of Toyota made it a part owner of Mazda

  5. Inventory is BS. Units are barely coming in especially the diesel and Mazda PH wouldn't give a damn giving their customers update. Very bad management.

  6. Not a good sign for Mazda considering all those International & local reviews. They haven’t learned their lessons in terms of proper interior space management. Hope they can still improve the jerkiness, cabin rattles & update the suspension. As it is, the CX5 turbo might be a better buy at this point in time.

    1. Agreed. I'd probably get the CX-5 Turbo as well (until such time that they fix the transmission).

    2. The cx5 is an old car

  7. Did you happen to check, if in any case the tires are inflated to their recommended/optimal pressure? which might contribute to the stiff ride?

    1. That's the first thing I do with every test drive. I inflated them to the recommended 36 PSI. In fact, it does ride better compared to lowering them to the "Pinoy spec" of 32 PSI.

  8. Is the HEV full hybrid number coding exempted?

  9. Is that a Matte Paint. Looks great.

  10. Hi sir which do you think is more fun/fast to drive the gas or diesel variant?

  11. For a hybrid, the barely 8km/Li fuel efficiency is really disappointing.

    1. It is a mild hybrid not a full hybrid like RAV4 or CRV.


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