Here we are in the middle of the electric revolution and one car company decides the time is right for a new diesel. And a big one at that, an in-line 3.3 litre.
But this is Mazda we are talking about, a company that is anything but conventional when it comes to everything motoring, particularly engines.
It is taking a pragmatic approach, happy to follow the Government edict to be all electric by 2035, but still have a range of super clean, economical petrol and diesel engines in the bank for those who prefer to stick with the good old internal combustion engine. And there will be plenty who will, after all lots of enthusiasts still enjoy driving classic cars.
Mazda’s UK boss Jeremy Thomson is all for the company’s ‘multi-solution approach’ with more efficient internal combustion engines and a range of electrified powertrains.
He told me the new diesel is designed to meet the needs of customers who want an efficient, long distance driving car with great towing capacity, and rural Wales is one of its target areas.
So has Mazda pulled a rabbit out of the hat or built an engine that no one will want? The company is realistic, predicting no more than 15 per cent of the CX-60 cake, with the majority favouring the hybrid and plug-in hybrid models.
That said this is the world’s cleanest diesel, capable of mid fifties to the gallon, powering a sizeable SUV with a towing capacity of 2,500kg – music to the ears to people like me who tow a big caravan.
Mazda has gone for an inline 6-cylinder rather than a V6 because it vibrates less and to be fair it does not feel like a heavyweight under the bonnet, in fact the engine weighs around the same as the 2.2 litre four cylinder diesel which is a measure of how much weight has been saved.
It comes with a choice of 196bhp or 254bhp, the latter powering the all wheel drive version. The engines are very refined, both helped by a 48 volt hybrid power unit to boost economy and acceleration as well as lowering engine emissions. The lower powered version feels punchy enough until you get behind the wheel of the ‘bully boy’ which benefits from an extra 100Nm of torque and is a good bit quicker with foot flat to the floor in the mid range.
It loses out on economy, 56 to 53mpg, and costs more because of all wheel drive and a higher level of equipment, but there is no need to be put off by going for the rear wheel drive entry level. Mazda has always been more generous with its basic specification compared to premium German rivals – yes Mazda has climbed into the upper class – so the Exclusive Line is not that poor a relation of the CX-60 trio.
For £42,990 you get the digital binnacle with excellent head up display, the central 12.3in touchscreen which can be operated by a rotary controller, glad Mazda is sticking with that, it is much safer than fingering the screen while on the move, and the heating controls are physical switches. Other niceties include navigation, heated front seats, and smart phone connectivity.
An extra £1,900 adds a pack that includes a 360 degree view camera, wireless charging and a full suite of safety features which is well worth considering.
Moving up to Homura brings in the more powerful engine, all wheel drive and pretty much the comfort pack (£1,400 extra on Exclusive-Line) that includes powered and ventilated front seats and heated outer rear seats. Top of the range Takumi is more plush with leather and fabric finishes but the £1,900 package with the safety features is still a £1,900 extra.
All Mazda’s favour enthusiastic driving and even this big SUV is a pleasure to drive, flowing through twisty roads thanks to its taut suspension set up which can be switched on the fly between comfort, off road and sport. I will even go so far as to say it is good fun although not quite as well planted as my current Audi Q5 Sportback test car.
Whether you think it is bold or barmy the addition of a powerful, economic diesel to the CX-60 range is a worthwhile option especially when many rivals have ditched diesel for good.
CX-60 Takumi 8sp auto
3.3 litre turbo diesel; 248bhp
0-62mph 7.4secs; 136mph
139g/km. 1st tax £285
Boot: 570-1726 litres
Insurance group 39