Mazda bucks trend with a diesel SUV
By Punchline reporter | 23rd February 2023
Last summer, Mazda unveiled its all-new CX-60 family car. As a plug-in hybrid range of cars, the CX-60 cuts a dashing line and, despite being a big SUV, offers styling that's certainly sporty. A plush, neatly packaged and versatile powertrain offering a quality drive. Job done, you might say.
But that's only half the story. As of March 2023, you might spot a new variant of this model in the showroom at Johnsons Mazda showroom in Gloucester's Shepherd Road: the CX-60 diesel.
Yes, you read that right. In a time when we are looking at sales of pure diesel and mild hybrid diesel models declining, dropping in fact to 9.6 per cent of new car market share in 2022, Mazda has decided that it is time to unwrap a brand new model with the D word proudly attached to its curvacious rump.
Has Mazda gone mad? Not according to industry experts, given that the logic is in the detail.
Ian Robertson, editor of Diesel and Eco Car magazine says, "Mazda will tell you that it intends to pursue more than one road to the future, hence its multi-energy approach. Just as we hear governments telling us that the safest strategy for reliable energy is to diversify the sources, the maker believes there are people out there for whom the hybrid model is as yet just not ideal."
High-miler professionals who have the kind of driving day you'd expect a photocopier salesman to face, says Robertson, would find the ability of a car like this far more practical than the shorter reach of an electric model.
"The CX-60's 3.3-litre six-cylinder diesel will suit people who cover a lot of miles and present ease of use that a plug-in hybrid simply won't match."
And while all new petrol and diesel cars and vans will be banned from showrooms come 2035, diesel's days, Robertson adds, are far from over: "We experience readers who made the change to electric but, given the setbacks of the nation's woeful charging network, are reverting to pure diesel. There were recently 16 EVs sharing each available public charge point, but now we gather that number has risen to 50."
With the US government about to intervene by subsidising a project for Tesla to share access to its network with non-Tesla EV drivers, Robertson adds that it's time for our government to show more support in the infrastructure provision for public electric charging.
So what's the CX-60 diesel's business offer? It promises to literally go the distance: given a single tank of diesel will take you further than a petrol or hybrid car. Mazda calculates that as a slice of the sales pie such drivers they'll sell to will account for just 13 per cent, but the determination to make this powertrain option available is most probably driven by confidence in what's under the bonnet. There'll be two 3.3-litre diesel options and UK dealers will be offering the rear-wheel drive 197bhp version in base-spec Exclusive-Line trim only, while the meatier 4x4 254bhp model in Takumi and Homura specs will also be available. Current prices for the range begin at £43,950.
Punchline says: "this six-cylinder smooth operator SUV may be the right tool for longer-distance business needs. The smaller-output 197bhp option promises 56.5mpg economy and with pricing likely to be highly competitive against European premium rivals. Be aware, however, that all new solely petrol and diesel cars will be banned from sale in 2035, while new hybrids enjoy a stay of execution until 2035, on the condition they are capable of covering a "significant distance" in zero-emission mode. New plug-in hybrids will remain in showrooms for another five years, before being outlawed in 2035."
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