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2023 Mazda CX-60 Azami G40e review (video)

When news first broke that Mazda was moving upmarket with a bespoke, rear-drive platform and efficient new inline-six cylinder engines, it was met with a great deal of hype. This is contrary to the strategies of most automakers going for full-line electrification, with combustion engine development tapering off into downsizing or hybridisation.

Spearheading a more upmarket push for its range, the 2023 Mazda CX-60 is a very ambitious new SUV, plugging a gap between mainstream and prestige. It would appear this strategy has already paid off for Mazda, with an impressive 456 units shifted in November 2023 (VFACTS), placing it third for sales in the ‘SUVs above $60,000’ category for the month.

We examined the top-trim in mild-hybrid G40e petrol guise to see how it stands up, burdened with possibly the heaviest weight expectation of any new vehicle launched in 2023.

2023 Mazda CX-60 Azami G40e: Specifications

Engine: 3.3-litre turbo-petrol inline-six
Output: 209kW@5000-6000rpm / 450Nm@2000-3500rpm
Gearbox: Eight-speed auto
Drive type: All-wheel drive
Wheels: F & R: 20×7.5, 235/50
ANCAP: Five stars
Tare weight: 1810kg
Power-to-weight: 8.66:1 (kg:kW)
Official consumption: 7.4L/100km
Our consumption: 8.6L/100km
Fuel tank/Fuel type: 58L/91 RON
Power efficiency: 28.24kW:L/100km
0-60km/h: 3.48 seconds*
0-100km/h: 6.77 seconds*
60-110km/h: 4.42 seconds*
1/4 mile: 14.98 seconds at 160.5km/h*
Max acceleration: 0.694g*
100-0km/h braking: 40.58m in 3.15 seconds*
Max deceleration: -1.158g*
Decibel at idle: 48*
Peak decibel at 60-100km/h: 88*
Starting price: $73,600

*Figures as tested by Driving Enthusiast on the day. Manufacturers’ claims may be different

2023 Mazda CX-60 Azami G40e: How much does it cost?

Starting from $60,400 (before on-roads) for the Evolve G40e, the petrol version of the CX-60 sits in the middle ground between flagship mainstream SUVs and entry-level prestige (Lexus NX, Genesis GV70) in terms of price. Our top dog Azami test car opens at $73,600, before any option packages or on-road costs are added.

A turbo-diesel inline-six is available for $2000 more, while a plug-in hybrid version is a more exorbitant $86,100. Their fuel consumption ratings are 4.9L and 2.1L/100km respectively, compared with 7.4L/100km for the petrol tested here.

Mazda warranty is five years/unlimited kilometres, with roadside assistance. Mazda’s capped-price service scheme varies between $437 for a minor visit and $1268 for a major (60,000km), with intervals of 12 months or 15,000km. Interestingly, the D50e turbo-diesel has shorter intervals at 10,000km. Over the total scheme, the petrol costs $4546 to service over seven years, while the diesel is $4835. The PHEV is cheaper again, at $3724.

2023 Mazda CX-60 Azami G40e: Interior & packaging

Being a rear-drive-based platform with a longer dash-to-axle ratio, you’d expect there to be trade-offs with accomodation. This is not the case, with an acceptable level of head, knee, shoulder and legroom for all occupants.

At 4740mm long, 1890mm wide and 1675mm tall, with a wheelbase of 2870mm, the dimensions are quite similar to the CX-5.

Ergonomics are impressive, with the driver being able to select height settings from the seat, and an electronically-adjustable steering column moves around to find the optimum position. Some bugbears include fiddly operation of volume and seek buttons on both the steering wheel and centre console, as it can be easy to accidentally bump these.

The seats are comfortable and supportive, with heating and cooling on the Azami, but don’t expect an extendable under-thigh support or massage function. While we’re at it, the sunroof doesn’t seem to open far enough.

Visual presentation of the interior is a decidedly premium take on the traditional Mazda layout. Crisp instrumentation, a head-up display (HUD) and fabric textile dash create a unique and premium atmosphere. Chrome-effect inserts on the door and leading edge of the dash look a tad chintzy in our opinion but don’t diminish the overall prestige appeal.

How safe is the Mazda CX-60? When tested against ANCAP’s revised criteria, it did very well indeed, scoring a full five-star result. The numerical scores for adult protection, child protection, vulnerable road user (pedestrians) and safety assist were 91, 93, 89 and 77 per cent, respectively.

On the subject of safety assist, we found the CX-60’s suit of AEB, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, 360-degree camera, speed limit assistance and forward collision alert to work in a way that complemented the driver rather than abruptly interrupted progress.

The boot is measured at 477L and opens up to 1726L. The former figure is low for this class but the maximum capacity is impressive.

2023 Mazda CX-60 Azami G40e: Powertrain & handling

Delving into one of the most interesting aspects of this car, the CX-60 showcases Mazda’s engineering prowess, continuing to swim against the tide of its competition. Here is another example of Mazda’s divergent thinking, like the compression-ignition Skyactiv-X and recently-revived rotary engine with the SP concept.

An inline-six is lauded as the smoothest engine configuration, with many premium marques such as Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar switching back to this layout in recent times.

At 3.3-litres with a turbocharger, the nominal output of 209kW between 5000-6000rpm might appear a little bit light-on, but there’s more to the story. Mazda chose the large capacity as the higher volume of air allows for a leaner air-fuel ratio. Acceleration is decent, with a Vbox-verified 0-100km/h time of 6.77 seconds.

Combined with a mild-hybrid system with regenerative braking, it yields an impressive official economy figure of 7.4L/100km. We achieved 8.6L with fairly spirited driving. This is a superior real-world figure to many four-cylinder rivals, so we can attest to the effectiveness of this approach. It’s also worth noting this is one of the few cars we’ve tested this year that didn’t have us lunging for the auto stop-start defeat button, as progress is always swift off the mark.

A peak torque figure of 450Nm, from as little as 2000rpm means the engine is rarely strained, hence its 2500kg braked tow rating (2000kg for the turbo-diesel, oddly). The noise is unique and off-beat compared with other straight sixes, but pleasing to the ear, although less so in Sport mode due to artificial engine sounds sent through the cabin.

In the relentless quest for efficiency, Mazda made the interesting choice to use an automated single clutch instead of a torque converter for its eight-speed automatic. The inherent smoothness of an inline-six goes a long way to tempering this usually jerky coupling, but we did experience a few moments of clunkiness. Mainly during unexpected kickdowns (such as downhill), but with the electric motor assisting, it pulls away from a standstill cleanly.

Before venturing onto the subject of dynamics, it’s worth mentioning all Australian-spec CX-60s are all-wheel drive. The steering is direct and well-weighted, if slightly artificial in feel, and the ride quality, while not bone-jarring, could do with further refinement and tuning.

It falls short of our expectations in the bends. While the vehicle turns in eagerly with a planted feel, sudden manoeuvres can invoke enough diagonal pitch to upset the balance, resulting in the electronic stability control intervening more regularly than some rivals we’ve tested in the same situation. We didn’t expect this, given Mazda’s recent, front-drive based offerings have boasted great dynamics.

We are pleased to report refinement is good on all other fronts, with the cabin remaining tranquil throughout various conditions and no squeaks or rattles from the trim.

If you were expecting something on par with a BMW for dynamic finesse, it falls short. But looking through that lens doesn’t do the CX-60 justice, in our opinion. The price positioning is right, as in it offers something tangibly more special than mainstream flagship offerings, with the inline-six engines and premium appointments.

It’s on this basis we hope the CX-60 and CX-90 continue to sell strongly so that it may encourage other automakers to follow suit with more enthusiast-oriented vehicles. The bones of the platform are there, but some revisions to damper tuning wouldn’t go astray. While we’re at it, how about the CX-90’s 254kW/500Nm motor for a high-performance version?

2023 Mazda CX-60 Azami G40e: Key attractions/reasons to buy

  • Inline six: This is a charming motor and it gives you the indefinable feel you can only get from a straight-six. The fact it offers four-cylinder-beating economy is a highly commendable bonus.
  • Craftsmanship and build quality: A staple of Mazdas for a long time, the CX-60 elevates this a notch further with a feeling of solidity and quality befitting its price tag.
  • Mazda reliability: Customer satisfaction and good build quality have been Mazda hallmarks for some time now, which laid a solid foundation for a premium entrant. Servicing is reasonably priced as well.

2023 Mazda CX-60 Azami G40e: Key considerations before you buy

  • Chassis tuning could use some finessing: Although the fundamentals are there, we think some revisions to suspension tuning wouldn’t go astray to improve the dynamics further.
  • Clunky automated-clutch transmission: An innovative solution with real world fuel economy benefits, Mazda’s Skyactiv-Drive transmission can occasionally misbehave. The balance of the inline-six motor goes a long way to masking this, unlike the four-cylinder PHEV.
  • Strange vibrations: This test example exhibited some unusual vibrations and minor noises under light load, especially when turning. But it could be exclusive to this early-build example.

2023 Mazda CX-60 Azami G40e: Video

Mitchell Jones

Eccentric car nut and just as enthused by roasting an egg on the air cleaner of an old Hemi as he is hunting the horizon in a space-age electric supercar, Mitchell's passion for motoring started at a young age. He soon developed a meticulous automotive obsession for obscure facts. He joins Driving Enthusiast as a features writer and car reviewer, following a near 10-year stint at PerformanceDrive.

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