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Mazda's All-New CX-60 Is a Step Forward to Nowhere, I Love It

I've recently gone to Frankfurt to see the new CX-60 in great secret. It felt like a very short 007 mission given to me just to distract myself from the current European difficulties. I've signed a lot of papers, and it almost felt like I took an oath to keep this a secret. Time has come to talk freely about the CX-60, so here's my honest opinion.
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I like Mazda. In all honesty, it is one of the few carmakers around that has a tight grip on reality. The company said numerous times that a forced push towards total electrification won’t help everybody and, of course, not even the environment.

They were right. EV makers are now facing raw materials challenges, pressure to be as green as a forest, and as days go by, more and more climate activists are beginning to understand that the internal combustion engine (ICE) cars can’t die all at once. Even Elon Musk, the EV deity, confirmed it and gave a wake-up call for free on Twitter. The world is not ready to run on electricity alone. We don’t have the means to produce it and, more importantly, to distribute it in a safe and efficient manner. We’re not there yet.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s cool to have EVs. I see no problem in owning one. My beef is with the authorities that try to shove a green agenda on people with no proper analysis. We have to wait, and we must keep refining oil for our cars and economies. It’s not comfortable to admit it, and it’s not cool at all, but it is the harsh truth. You see it now.

I, for one, liked the BMW i3 and iX3, the MX-30, and Renault’s Zoe. I’ll even admit that I strongly considered buying a Taycan GTS Cross Turismo. They’re cool cars. They’re fast, they’re easy to maintain in good condition, they don’t require much attention, and are packed with useful technologies that make life easier. Even the cheapest EV, the Dacia Spring, makes buying sense if you live in a city or close to it. But that doesn't change the reality: total EV adoption won't happen in a matter of years, but over the span of decades. It won't even look like what we have today. Remember hydrogen?

And the magic brought to us by instant torque won’t change the fact that some people want to hear something under the hood or at least feel some kind of vibration coming from an engine that burns fossilized organisms. We’re all different, not just as people but as countries and economies too. Companies must cater to all our needs if they want the profits. Not everybody can be Tesla or Rivian, and they sure wouldn’t have to try to become one of these two.The Japanese way
That’s how Mazda thinks, too, and that’s why I’m happy to see a major car brand taking a stance by actively doing something that makes the most sense. It’s not something incredibly brave, but a move that preserves some level of normality.

The new CX-60 is a proper statement. This SUV looks good, has the right dimensions, uses a calm design language, serves a purpose, is packed with useful technologies, and, ultimately, doesn’t exaggerate.

While the hosts were explaining to us in Frankfurt what we should know and remember about the car, hearing the word “diesel” slapped me in the face like a mother from the ‘90s, when parenting styles were totally different. I was not expecting that at all. But that’s not the whole story, no. It’s a 3.3-liter six-cylinder diesel engine with some electrification added to keep the emissions low in urban environments. I almost gasped. While other carmakers are rushing to ditch this kind of powertrains and move entirely to gas PHEVs or EVs, Mazda keeps the diesel alive. It’s an impressive stance against what today’s kids think is cool.

I don’t know how the car drives or sounds yet. I don’t even know what the feeling of sitting for at least an hour behind the wheel is. But I trust Mazda isn’t doing this because it doesn’t care about rules or the environment. They’ll too be forced to give up diesel at some point if the Euro 7 will be as harsh as it is rumored, but maybe Mazda will find a timely way to keep the ICE running on something different.It's not just the diesel engine
Having the diesel in the line-up isn't the whole story. Seeing and touching the CX-60, I've learned that cars today present themselves with too many angles and not enough attention to the human part that completes the machine. Designers, for some reason, think weird shapes and proportions are key to attracting new customers. I do not disagree with them. Options need to be put out there.

What I don't like is that carmakers are copying each other. Mazda could've too used a humongous grille or a tablet-like infotainment display, or screens everywhere, or interior lighting that turns a vehicle into a disco from the countryside. It didn't, and I'm happy about it. Once you close the door in the CX-60, you get a familiar feeling of being in your own space, surrounded by a cabin that makes sense with its appearance. It's a comfort zone.

The Japanese automaker is simply applying a brilliant strategy: give the people what they want and take their cash. It’s that easy. Mazda won’t have to create stories or pay influencers to make its product look cool. It will be liked. You’ll see it for yourself when your neighbor starts talking about it or when managers start to drive them. Who knows, maybe even families will prefer a reasonably priced CX-60 over something that’s basically the same but just costs more.

The CX-60 also comes as a PHEV or with a 3-liter 6-cylinder MHEV gasoline engine. Both variants will serve their purpose well, and I can safely anticipate Europeans will get in line for the PHEV. But if things keep on going like they are now, there’s going to be a shift. People will realize that electricity alone isn’t the best policy, and they will once again look at diesels with good eyes. Plus, let’s remember that the European Commission is being lobbied to change how it views PHEVs because people simply don’t use them properly all the time and end up consuming more fossil fuels.

Before you go, allow me one more thought: the new CX-60 is all new and cool, but it’s not special in any real way. It’s just an SUV that has the potential of becoming a great car – and that’s enough. I’ve not driven it yet, and I don’t know how it behaves on the road but believe me when I say it has attracted enough attention from competitors already.

This SUV doesn’t represent a step forward or a step backward. The 2023 Mazda CX-60 emphasizes normal, human-centered progress. It shows a lot of promise, and I can’t wait to drive it in both diesel and PHEV forms!

Editor's note: The writer doesn't own shares in the companies mentioned in this article.


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