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The first PHEV Mazda could be an interesting fleet proposition.
18in alloy wheels, LED automatic headlights and DRLs, electrically adjustable heated and folding door mirrors, automatic wipers, front and rear parking sensors, reversing camera, smart keyless entry, leather seat trim, heated front seats and steering wheel, frameless auto-dimming rear-view mirror, electronic parking brake, 12.3in driver display, 12.3in central display with sat-nav, wireless Apple Carplay and Android Auto connectivity, cruise control, dual-zone climate control, windscreen-projected colour head-up display, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, driver attention alert, intelligent speed assist, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, autonomous emergency braking with turn-across traffic function, traffic sign recognition
Exclusive-Line, Homura, Takumi
Mazda is a company that's been happy to go its own way in recent years when it comes to powering its vehicles, continuing to offer naturally-aspirated petrols long after all its rivals switched to turbos, and introducing the novel 'diesel-style' petrol Skyactiv-X powerplant. Now, however, we find it making something of a concession to modern trends in the shape of its first plug-in hybrid, the CX-60 SUV (mild hybrid petrol and diesel versions of which will subsequently follow).At 4,745mm long the CX-60 is a large SUV, sized to take on the likes of the Hyundai Santa Fe and, towards the more premium end of the market to which Mazda aspires. Its near-namesake, the Volvo XC60, though unlike those models the Mazda only comes with five seats.
The CX-60's PHEV powertrain combines a petrol engine with an electric motor for a total 327hp, so it doesn't lack in performance. However, you do get a fairly coarse engine note when accelerating, and it somehow doesn't feel as fast as we were expecting. With the electric motor contributing 175hp on its own the CX-60 is very comfortable spending lots of time in pure EV mode, both around town and also at higher speeds, so it's easy to make the most of the 17.8kWh battery. However, it does seem a shame that an official 39-mile pure EV range puts the model into the 12% company car BIK bracket, when just one extra mile would take it into the 8% bracket instead.
On trend it may be, but the CX-60 still bears hallmarks of Mazda's individualistic approach. For instance, the company makes a big deal out of the model being built on a rear-wheel drive platform, even though the model is coming to the UK with all-wheel drive only. However, Mazda argues that the neutral cornering characteristics of a rear-wheel drive car are nonetheless retained, and from the driver's seat there is some evidence to support this, with engaging dynamics and a pleasing sense of agility for such a large SUV. Body roll is well controlled, and there is reassuringly weighty steering. On the downside chassis-wise, the ride is fairly firm, which is especially noticeable on rough urban roads - admittedly a common problem with heavy PHEV SUVs. It's better at speed over minor surface imperfections, but bigger bumps still bounce you around. Cabin noise insulation is good however, and it should be noted that our test car was a pre-production model, meaning some elements may be improved by the time the first examples arrive in showrooms.
The CX-60's interior does a good job living up to Mazda's premium ambitions. With our test car in mid-range Homura spec, we found stylish design and impressive materials used, with a good quality feel to the steering wheel and other controls. The standard infotainment, as we're used to with Mazdas, is very good, with a physical control wheel making it easier to operate on the move than a touchscreen-based system. Also standard are a 12.3in digital driver display, featuring attractive high-definition graphics, and a head-up display, which usefully brings key information into the driver's eyeline.
Speaking of the driver, one novel feature of the CX-60 from Homura grade up is a system, which uses a camera once the driver's height has been entered to automatically adjust the seat, steering wheel, driver display and mirrors to what it thinks should be the ideal driving position. We found it got close, but wasn't perfect, and others at the car's launch found it to be further off, so it does feel a bit gimmicky for now, although the ability to save profiles for up to six drivers, with the car then automatically switching to their settings when it 'sees' them get in, could be useful.
The cabin feels spacious enough from the front, however rear legroom is OK but not amazing given the size of the car, while headroom is fine even with the sunroof fitted to our test vehicle. At 570 litres the boot is usefully large despite the need to accommodate the PHEV battery.
The Mazda also impresses on the cost sheet - it's much cheaper to buy than premium alternatives, while strong expected residual values mean it also performs well against mainstream opposition on a cost-per-mile basis. This should help ensure that despite its idiosyncrasies, the CX-60 picks up plenty of fleet interest.
Mazda CX-60 E-Skyactiv PHEV Homura
Residual value: 48.7%
Service, maintenance and repair: £2,956
Cost per mile: 48.72p
Fuel consumption: 188.3mpg
CO2 (BIK %): 33g/km (12%)
BIK 20/40% a month: £93/£186
Luggage capacity: 570 litres
Engine size/power: 2,488cc/190hp petrol engine plus 175hp electric motor