With the launch of the first-ever CX-60, Mazda entered a new era in its history. The SUV, built from the ground up, became the first modern-era mainstream rear-wheel-drive model (RWD) of the brand, and it is now on the assembly lines. On 18 April, production of the CX-60 kicked off at Mazda’s Hofu Plant No. 2 in the Yamaguchi Prefecture. The first shipment of examples for the European market is planned to leave Japan this month.
A special ceremony was held to mark the start of production and it was attended by approximately 100 people involved in the production process. Mazda’s president and CEO, Akira Marumoto, was also at the plant, joining employees of the factory, local suppliers and officials, and others that joined online.
The automaker describes the CX-60 as “the most important model it has introduced for over a decade” and its new flagship model. One might argue that the MX-5 and BT-50 are also RWD vehicles, but these are niche products that are not selling in big numbers. The Japanese brand also says the CX-60 represents “everything that the company has built into its DNS over the last 100 years.”
In many ways, the CX-60 is indeed a new chapter for Mazda. It is the company’s first-ever production plug-in hybrid combining a 2.5-litre inline-four engine with a 134 bhp (100 kilowatts) and 184 pound-feet (250 Newton-metres) electric motor. The total system output of the hybrid powertrain is rated at 323 bhp (241 kW) and 369 lb-ft (500 Nm). Mazda promises a WLTP-certified fuel consumption of just 1.5 litres per 100 kilometres, but that’s obviously true only when the 17.8-kWh battery is full.
The CX-60 is based on a rear-wheel-drive platform colloquially referred to as the Large Architecture, the all-wheel-drive crossover measures 4,740 millimetres (186.6 inches) from bumper to bumper and 2,870 millimetres (113 inches) in wheelbase. Boasting 570 litres (20.1 cubic feet) of cargo capacity, the five-seat utility vehicle is available with the Skyactiv-G 2.5 or its plug-in sibling, the e-Skyactiv PHEV that adds a 129-kW electric motor.
Further up the spectrum, customers will be treated to a mild-hybrid turbo diesel in the guise of the Skyactiv-D 3.3 and the mild-hybrid version that goes by the name of e-Skyactiv D. All powerplants are connected to an eight-speed automatic transmission developed and manufactured by Mazda. Later on, the e-Skyactiv X is due to join the line-up with a displacement of 3.0 litres, mild hybridisation, as well as spark compression ignition technology.