Driving

From the launch of the Mazda CX-7 in 2007 through each generation of Mazda CX-5 and the smaller Mazda CX-30 and CX-3, Mazda’s CX models have developed a well-earned reputation as great handling SUVs – and its new flagship SUV has been developed with the same focus on dynamic excellence.

Based on Mazda’s Skyactiv Multi-Solution Scalable Architecture, the CX-60 has a longitudinal front-engine rear-wheel drive mechanical layout that has been designed to work with both the e-Skyactiv PHEV drivetrain and the forthcoming in-line six-cylinder engines, and across all models the platform is optimised for easy installation of the electrification technologies such as M Hybrid Boost on six-cylinder models and the plug-in hybrid tech of the PHEV.

However, as you’d expect from Mazda, the Skyactiv Multi-Solution Scalable Architecture features numerous elements focused on ensuring this SUV delivers the dynamic engagement Mazda is famous for. Like every car in the Mazda range, the feeling of Jinba-ittai (oneness between car and driver) is clear from the moment you get behind the wheel of the CX-60.

This focus on dynamic ability starts with bodyshell rigidity levels that ensure drivers can feel vehicle response without lag, seats that make it even easier for every occupant to maintain balance while the car is moving, suspension that stabilises vehicle posture while driving, and a Mazda-unique vehicle posture control system - Kinematic Posture Control (KPC). Mazda’s goal with the Mazda CX-60 was to enable the driver to instantly sense the car’s response to each control operation, resulting in a car that offers the driver a true sense of unity from behind the wheel.

The rigidity of the body structure was strengthened by taking advantage of the longitudinal powertrain layout to enlarge and strengthen the cross-section of the front frame. Increasing the rigidity of the frame member joints contributes to greater overall rigidity of the entire multi-ring body structure. The positioning of the high voltage battery between the front and rear axles and as low as possible within the bodyshell gives the new Mazda CX-60 PHEV a particularly low centre of gravity. This, combined with a permanent all-wheel drive system incorporating shaft-driven transfer of torque between the axles, gives the car superior handling characteristics on a par with the best in the premium segment.

With a double wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension set up, the CX-60’s suspension has been designed to control the sprung mass smoothly during cornering and stabilise vehicle posture in a wide variety of speed ranges. To ensure the springs and dampers operate smoothly, only moving straight up and down, with no lateral or longitudinal shaking in response to input from the tyres: the adoption of a suspension geometry that smooths vertical movement of the car body has been achieved thanks to a zero offset between tyre input and the position of the damping support members; complemented by an optimised rear suspension layout.

In addition, the adoption of aluminium die-casting for the top of the suspension on all four wheels increases rigidity. This has resulted in more efficient input transmission from the suspension to the vehicle body and, hence, quicker transmission of force from the front to rear suspension. The front double wishbone set-up has control arms at the top and bottom, while making use of the additional space afforded by the longitudinally mounted powertrain, the suspension control arms have been extended and the longitudinal span secured. Even the most basic parts of the suspension have been carefully designed to make the tyres grip the road surface better and stabilise vehicle movement even in situation such as cornering or driving on rough surfaces. Refining the suspension settings has resulted in a simple, smooth body movement which offers close communication between car and driver.

Using knowledge and experience gained from the MX-5, the rear multi-link suspension is designed to enhance ride comfort and reduce road noise without negatively affecting handling or stability. The use of metal ball joints in place of rubber bushes on the outer sides of the rear suspension links increases rigidity. As a result, the structure transmits force from the rear tyres to the vehicle body more directly, this means that, in turn, vehicle response to driver input will be transmitted to the driver in a more direct manner, allowing the driver to experience a true sense of connection with the car.

A technology that debuted on the 2022 Mazda MX-5, the Mazda CX-60 also features Kinematic Posture Control (KPC) -  a new, Mazda-unique technology that takes advantage of the way the rear suspension of the Mazda CX-60 is designed to oppose lift force and draw the vehicle body downwards when the vehicle brakes. KPC makes the most of these suspension characteristics, stabilising vehicle posture when cornering under particularly high G-force by braking the inside rear wheel slightly to mitigate roll and draw the car body downwards. In addition, the system uses the speed difference between the rear wheels to detect the turning state in real time, using this information to make vehicle movement more linear, and stabilise vehicle posture as required. Plus, thanks to using existing sensors, the KPC system adds no weight to the Mazda CX-60.

Steering feel is also a strong point of the Mazda CX-60 as the dual-pinion electric power steering (EPS) has a more rigid EPS motor and parts, therefore creating a solid and consistent relationship between the steering wheel angle and front tyre angle. The result is a direct, clean steering feel that provides precise and reassuring control over the car.

For keen drivers there’s the option to use the steering wheel paddles to manually control shifts for the eight-speed automatic gearbox, while ideal for an SUV with off-road or towing abilities, Mazda’s Hill Descent Control (HDC) supports safe downhill driving on steep slopes with slippery or rough surfaces. The system constantly monitors tyre rotation and uses this information to precisely control brake fluid pressure and stabilise vehicle movement, automatically keeping the car at a constant speed without the driver needing to use the brakes. And thanks to Mazda’s i-Activ AWD system and Mazda Intelligent Drive Select (Mi-Drive) the CX-60 offers a safe and secure driving experience even on various off-road surfaces thanks to its high controllability. This enhances the driver’s confidence when experiencing low grip surfaces.

In addition to the focus on dynamic ability, Mazda’s engineers have ensured the CX-60 has the levels of refinement expected in a large premium SUV. The Mazda CX-60 utilises both sound insulation and sound absorption technology to eliminate all unpleasant noise and give the cabin a uniquely refined Mazda quietness. Sound insulation and noise transfer prevention has been improved by reducing the number of holes and gaps in the floor to an absolute minimum, and by adopting a two wall, body panel and surface material structure to reduce wind noise. Sound absorption has been enhanced through adjustment of the cushioning layer between the body panels and surface materials to better control wind noise and absorb more low frequency sounds such as road noise.

Combining a fantastic driving position with excellent body control, communicative steering, well-weighted controls and high grip levels, the Mazda CX-60 is an SUV that genuinely earns the ‘sport’ title in SUV, while at the same time it delivers the comfort, refinement and reassurance of a premium SUV to ensure it’s a car you’ll enjoy every time you get behind the wheel regardless of the journey type, road condition or weather. The latest in a long line of great to drive Mazda SUVs, the new CX-60 builds on the critical acclaim of the multi award-winning Mazda CX-5.