After the CX-50, Mazda is continuing its SUV onslaught by introducing the all-new CX-60 in Europe. This is an important model for the Japanese carmaker, as it represents plenty of firsts and is a statement of intent that it belongs among traditional premium marques like Lexus, BMW and Volvo.

The CX-60 is part of Mazda’s Large Product group together with the upcoming CX-70, CX-80 and CX-90, and is the first to be built on the Skyactiv Multi-Solution Scalable Architecture with a front-engine longitudinal layout and rear-wheel drive.

For its initial outing, the CX-60 will arrive as plug-in hybrid – a first for Mazda – with a powertrain that consists of a Skyactiv-G 2.5 litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine with direct injection making 192 PS (189 hp or 141 kW) at 6,000 rpm and 261 Nm of torque.

An electric motor rated at 136 PS (134 hp or 100 kW) and 250 Nm sits between the mill and an eight-speed automatic transmission, which is joined by an i-Activ all-wheel drive system that enables shaft-driven transfer of torque between the axles. Regenerative braking is also included, working together with a brake-by-wire system.

Mazda says the engine and electric motor deliver a total system output of 327 PS (323 hp or 241 kW) and 500 Nm, making the CX-60 the most powerful road car it has ever produced. In terms of performance, the CX-60 with the PHEV powertrain – marketed as e-Skyactiv PHEV – takes just 5.8 seconds to get from 0-100 km/h, and will hit a limited top speed of 200 km/h.

Efficiency-wise, the PHEV setup has a WLTP-rated combined fuel consumption of just 1.5 l/100 km and combined CO2 emissions of 33 g/km. A 355-volt, 17.8-kWh lithium-ion battery powers the electric motor and allows for up to 63 km of emissions-free driving at speeds of 100 km/h or less.

Detailed charging times weren’t provided but with normal AC charging, the battery can be fully charged from empty in four hours, Mazda says. A few drive modes are available to the driver through the Mazda Intelligent Drive Select (Mi-Drive), namely Normal, Sport, Off-Road, Towing and EV, the last being specific to the PHEV version.

Moving forward, Mazda will expand the CX-60’s engine line-up to include two straight-six options, including a Skyactiv-D 3.3 litre turbodiesel as well as a e-Skyactiv X 3.0 litre petrol, the latter featuring the company’s Spark Controlled Compression Ignition (SPCCI) technology. The six-cylinder engines will also get M Hybrid Boost, which is Mazda’s 48-volt mild hybrid system. The e-Skyactiv D and e-Skyactiv X may also be equipped with rear-wheel drive only.

The use of a longitudinal engine layout allows the CX-60’s suspension to feature double wishbones at the front, while the rear gets an independent multi-link setup. Also present is Kinematic Posture Control (KPC) from the MX-5, which uses braking to reduce body roll and promote sharper turn-in.

Looking at the styling of the CX-60, the long bonnet and dash-to-axle ratio are clear representations of the SUV’s rear-wheel drive-derived proportions. The latest evolution of the brand’s Kodo design philosophy follows the concept of “Noble Toughness” and sees a deeply sculpted front face with small, stacked headlamps that are linked to the higher aspect grille by light bars.

The distinctive L-shaped lighting signature emphasises the vehicle’s stance, along with the corner air inlets flanking the lower intake. Along the sides, the clean body is free of creases but has an elegant surface treatment that guides the light in a manner similar to Japanese calligraphy like we’ve seen on the Mazda 3.

Meanwhile, the rear gets slim, horizontal taillights – also with an L-shaped design – and quad tailpipe finishers. Aluminium wheel sizes range from 18 to 20 inches, and there’s a new Rhodium White that joins Soul Red Crystal and Machine Grey as the company’s third signature body colour. Other available options are Jet Black, Deep Crystal Blue, Sonic Silver, Platinum Quartz and Arctic White.

If you’re wondering about the actual size of the CX-60, the SUV measures 4,745 mm long, 1,890 mm wide, 1,680 mm tall and has a wheelbase spanning 2,870 mm. That makes its 195 mm longer and 50 mm wider than the current CX-5, which has a wheelbase that is 170 mm shorter.

Mazda interiors have always been premium-focused, but the CX-60 takes things up a notch with materials and textures such as maple wood, Nappa leather, Japanese textiles, chrome details and detailed instrument panel stitching. Of course, the combination of these are dependent on trim level, of which there are four: a base Prime-Line, mid-grade Exclusive-line, Takumi and Homura high grades.

The clean dashboard layout is headlined by a large 12.3-inch infotainment display, which is joined by a full colour TFT-LCD instrument cluster display as well as a head-up display, the last of which has a screen area three times larger than that of the CX-30.

No shortage of equipment either, as there’s a Mazda Connect infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, dual-zone climate control with rear vents and all-seat heating, MyMazda App telematics and an enhanced version of the Mazda Harmonic Acoustics sound system with an optional 12-speaker Bose setup.

There’s also a Driver Personalisation System with three functions, starting with automatic driving position that uses an inboard camera to detect the position of the driver’s eyes and input regarding the driver’s height to estimate their physique, then automatically adjusts the seat, steering wheel, HUD and door mirrors to match the driver’s eye position.

Meanwhile, automatic setting restoration uses facial recognition and data on more than 250 adjustments and settings stored in the vehicle – including the driving position, audio and air-conditioning – to automatically restore the settings for each individual when the driver changes. This function can store settings for up to six people, plus guests.

In addition, the ingress/egress assistance function makes it easier for the driver to get in and out of the car by sliding the steering wheel and seat out of the way. It’s nothing ground-breaking, as other premium brands have implemented such a feature in their models before.

In terms of safety kit, the CX-60 debuts a new See-Through View system that uses a four-camera system to not only provide a 360-degree view of the vehicle, but also displays an image on the screen that seemingly allows the driver to see through the front and rear corners of the car from their viewpoint.

It is joined by Hill Descent Control (HDC) that can be used to safely descend steep slopes with slippery or rough road surfaces, i-Adaptive Cruise Control (i-ACC) which now incorporates speed limits from Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR), and Vehicle Exit Warning (using Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Traffic Alert) for rear-approaching road users.

The i-Activsense suite continues to include Advanced Smart City Brake Assist (Advanced SCBS) with pedestrian and cyclist detection and intersection function, Rear Emergency Brake Assist (SBS-R) with pedestrian detection, Lane Keeping Assist with Steering Assist (ELK) and Drowsiness Detection (DAA).

Mazda also points out that the seats in the CX-60 are further developed from what it uses in its Small Architecture models, which are already designed to support the pelvis correctly to ensure the mobility of the spine. New here is support for the fulcrum points of body movement when operating the steering wheel, throttle pedal and brakes, creating a structure that the carmaker claims “supports the driver’s subconscious attempts to maintain balance in response to G-forces from all directions.”

Given its generous dimensions, the CX-60 offers 1,504 mm of shoulder room in the front seats (44 mm more than the CX-5) and 1,441 mm in the rear seats (50 mm more than the CX-5). There are just two rows of seats here, so if you want three rows, you’ll have to wait for the larger CX-80 or CX-90, depending on where you are residing in the world. To touch on the topic of weight, the CX-60 is between 1,980-2,072 kg (kerb weight) depending on wheel sizes, with the battery alone accounting for 175.1 kg.

On the practicality front, the SUV offers 570 litres of boot space, which can be increased to 1,148 litres with the rear seats folded down, and 1,726 litres when loaded to the ceiling. A wide tailgate aperture of 1,082 mm (35 mm wider than the CX-5) and opening height of 758 mm should be sufficient to load more items. Other useful features at the rear include a 12-volt DC power outlet (optional 1.5 kW AC for PHEV models) and an optional hands-free powered tailgate.

The CX-60 will go on sale in Europe this year, and in 2023, Mazda will a new model that is larger than and comes with three rows of seats – like the CX-80. In all, Mazda plans to launch five new electrified products based on its architecture in the next three years. After 2025, there will be the Skyactiv EV Scalable Architecture that will be used for electric cars of all sizes.