Mazda South Africa’s first physical launch since 2019 has introduced the brand’s largest-ever SUV here. Now playing full throttle in the premium segment, does the new CX-60 have the goods to compete against the likes of the Volkswagen Tiguan, BMW X3, and the Audi Q5?

Over the years, Mazda has nurtured a loyal following of owners who value the brand’s driver-centric approach to everything they do. Based on the philosophy of ‘Jinbai Ittai’ that describes the bond between a horse and rider, Mazda products strive to make the driver feel connected and in control of the car in a novel way to any other brand.

To some, this might sound a bit ‘touchy-feely’, but in practice, the philosophy can be touched and felt in every aspect of the new CX-60, from the interior’s minimalist layout to the position of the driver seat and the liberal use of high-grade materials in the cabin. 


Positioned above the smaller CX-5, the five-seater CX-60 design incorporates a host of Japanese terms to describe what it looks like. In short, its ‘Kodo’ design language is unmistakable, translating into an elegantly extended bonnet and upright, chiselled flanks. 

At first glance, you’d be forgiven for mistaking the CX-60 for its smaller sibling, but look a little closer and the redesigned head- and taillamps, L-shaped daytime running lamps, and its significantly wider stance, firmly set it apart from any other Mazda SUV.

The interior is also notably roomier with ample legroom for front- and rear occupants, and up to 570-litre load space capacity that increases to 1,148 litres with the rear seats folded flat, and 1,726 litres when loaded to the ceiling. Mazda includes a space-saver spare wheel under the boot floor to ensure optimal load capacity.

In typical Mazda fashion, the interior is well appointed with a 12” TFT-LCD driver’s instrument display, a large head-up display unit (three times bigger than the CX-30), and a 12.3” infotainment display that supports Android Auto via USB, and wireless Apple CarPlay through an updated version of Mazda Connect.

A stand-out feature is Mazda’s ground-breaking Mazda Driver Personalisation System (MDPS), which uses camera-based facial recognition to memorise and automatically adjust more than 200 settings for up to six drivers, including seat position, steering wheel, mirrors, HUD, even the sound and climate control settings – to fit their physique as well as their personal preferences. It also employs an easy entry/exit system that moves the steering wheel and driver seat out of the way. The system is only available on the range-topping Individual variant, which also boasts an upgraded 12-speaker Bose Premium Sound System.


Although the 2.2-litre turbodiesel CX-5 Akera remains on its books for now, Mazda has ditched the diesel in favour of a 2.5-litre normally aspirated petrol in the two-derivative CX-60 line-up. The company confirmed, however, that diesel and plug-in hybrid versions are on the cards for early 2024.

The rear-wheel-drive Dynamic derivative is the entry point into the range, while the Individual model gets all-wheel-drive. Both deliver 141 kW of power and 261 Nm of torque, sent to the drive wheels via an eight-speed wet clutch automatic gearbox with paddle shifters on the steering wheel for improved driver control. 

Our short drive in the AWD Individual model didn’t reveal much in the line of a dynamic assessment. However, the engine feels brisk enough and delivers predictably linear power through its smooth transmission. The CX-60 also comes kitted out with Mi Driver drive mode select, offering normal, sport, offroad and trailer mode. Mazda claims fuel economy at 7.3 l/100 km on the Dynamic and 7.7 l/100 km on the Individual variant.

The CX-60 is beautifully put together and offers a well-balanced drive with virtually no unwanted road or wind noise intrusion. On the safety front, the car has a five-star crash rating, and standard features in both models include seven airbags, dynamic cruise control, automated emergency braking, lane-keep assist, and cross-traffic alert at both the front and rear.


The Mazda CX-60 has what it takes to become another affable SUV from the Japanese carmaker. With sensible driving dynamics (albeit not in the same league as some of its German competitors), a well-appointed cabin and more roominess than most, it has everything going for it, including a price tag and value proposition that confidently shows up those same Teutonic rivals.



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