Mazda is kicking off an SUV onslaught with the 2023 CX-60 for Europe, Japan, and other markets. Although it looks familiar, this is actually an all-new model underneath the skin by featuring rear-wheel-drive underpinnings known as the Skyactiv Multi Solution Scalable Architecture. It serves as the firm's first-ever plug-in hybrid model and comes with the i-Activ AWD setup primarily driving the rear wheels.

The PHEV version will be the first to hit the market by combining a naturally aspirated 2.5-litre petrol engine with an electric motor. Mazda mentions the combustion engine is good for 189 bhp (141 kilowatts) at 6,000 rpm and 261 Newton-metres (193 pound-feet) of torque from 4,000 rpm. As for the electric motor, it has been rated at 134 bhp (100 kW) and 250 Nm (184 lb-ft). Combined, the e-Skyactiv pumps out a respectable 323 bhp (241 kW) and 500 Nm (369 lb-ft).

Gallery: Mazda CX-60

Part of Mazda's newly established "Large Product Group," the CX-60 will accelerate to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 5.8 seconds. It'll be electronically capped at 124 mph (200 km/h) when utilised as a PHEV and to 87 mph (140 km/h) with the ICE turned off. Speaking of running with zero emissions, the lithium-ion battery pack has a 17.8-kWh capacity with enough range of up to 39 miles (63 kilometres) in the WLTP combined cycle.

As far as size is concerned, the Mazda CX-60 is 4,745 millimetres (186.8 inches) long, 1,890 mm (74.4 in) wide, and 1,670 mm (65.7 in) tall, with a wheelbase measuring 2,870 mm (113 in). That makes it a little bit bigger in every direction compared to the recently launched FWD-based CX-50 available only in North America. The subsequent CX-70 for the US will come with a wider body but still two rows.

Gallery: Mazda CX-60 (2022)

Because weight is always a concern when talking about PHEVs, it’s worth pointing out the Mazda CX-60 tips the scales at 2,070 kilograms (4,564 pounds) with the 20-inch wheels or a slightly lower 2,055 kg (4,530 lbs) with the base 18-inch alloys. It's technically the unladen weight, which takes into account a 75-kg (165-lbs) driver and fuel tank (with 50 litres or 13.2 gallons in this case) at 90 percent.

Finished in a new Rhodium White Premium Metallic paint, the CX-60 has a long bonnet to accommodate longitudinally mounted engines. Since we’re on this subject, the PHEV based around the four-cylinder unit will be followed by inline-six petrol and diesel engines. Known as e-Skyactiv X, the former is going to have a 3.0-litre displacement while the latter will be a 3.3-litre Skyactiv-D. Both have been developed with 48-volt mild-hybrid tech to cut fuel consumption and emissions.

2022 Mazda CX-60 studio photo
2023 Mazda CX-60

All three powertrains work with a newly developed eight-speed automatic transmission with a multi-plate clutch replacing the hydraulic torque converter. In the case of the PHEV, the electric motor is built into the transmission and works directly on the input shaft for a quicker response. Once you're out of battery juice, it can be recharged at 7.2 kW, but Mazda isn't saying how long it takes. We do know regenerative braking is supported.

The interior is quite posh and sends a bit of a Volvo vibe to reiterate Mazda's intentions of becoming a fully fledged luxury brand. The industry’s trend towards using fewer buttons is noticeable here but without going overboard as you still have a row of physical controls. Thankfully, not everything has been integrated into the infotainment, which can be controlled either by using the 12.3-inch touchscreen or the rotary knob. The digital instrument cluster has the same diagonal as the main display.

Mazda will sell the CX-60 in Germany in Prime, Exclusive, Homura, and Takumi trim levels, with pricing varying from €47,390 to €52,890. If you want the white paint, that'll be an extra €950. Options like a panoramic glass roof, a driver assistance package, leather upholstery convenience & sound package will be offered as well depending on trim.

It will be followed within the next two years by a larger, three-row CX-80, which is earmarked for the US as well as a widebody CX-90.