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I had my first look around the 2023 Mazda CX-60 in Melbourne last week. This is a luxury SUV addition to the Mazda range and slightly bigger than a CX-5 but considerably more expensive!

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The CX-60 is Mazda's first SUV to be available as a plug-in-hybrid (PHEV for short). It is already on the roads in Europe. When it arrives in Australia next winter the CX-60 will be available in three spec levels and with a choice three engines, starting at $59,800 for the Evolve with a really powerful 3.3-litre petrol engine that has “hybrid boost”.

Way faster than any other Mazda! There is also a big diesel engine and, like the the top-spec Azami I got to look at here, you can also get a PHEV that in this model is a pretty pricey $85,500 and the most powerful version, but also the most fuel-efficient and Mazda says it can be driven on electricity for up to 76km. Great for guilt-free daycare runs and sitting with the aircon running if you get stuck in the car on a hot day with a sleeping Bub…

It has a 2022 Euro NCAP rating of 91% for child occupancy and 88% for adult occupancy and is set to be given an Australian ANCAP rating early in 2023.

The New CX-60 is similar in size to the CX-5 but there is good news for passengers, especially families as Mazda has made the CX-60 a bit bigger than the CX-5. The idea is, if you want a bit more space and luxury than a CX-5 but don't need a seven-seater CX-8 or CX-9 then Mazda salespeople can say “have you considered one of these?”.

The CX-60 is 165mm longer, 45mm wider and the boot space is a few shopping bags bigger than the Mazda CX-5. I thought the boot looked lovely and large in the new CX-60 when I had a sneak peek of it and the increase in size from that of the CX-5 will mean families have plenty of room for prams or scooters in the boot, along with a weekly shop!

Mazda says rear passengers will have 50mm more shoulder room in CX-60 than in the CX-5, which will hopefully translate to more room for three child seats in the back too. The increase in length of the CX-60 should give greater legroom throughout the cabin which could give front passengers more legroom when seated in front of a rear-facing child seat.

A 1500 W AC or 12-volt DC socket is available in the boot of the CX-60 and one in the back of the central console which is great for charging laptops or plugging in Esky's for road trips.

The interior of the CX-60 Azami PHEV model I had a chance to sit in, is a big step up in terms of quality from the CX-5,  it is very delicately and thoughtfully put together, with materials and textures such as maple wood, Nappa leather, uniquely worked Japanese textiles and chrome details, as well as precise and delicate stitching across the dash.

Chief designer of the CX-60 Akira Tamatani told me during my visit to Melbourne that the interior is inspired by Musubu, the Japanese art of binding, which describes the precision of the distance between the knots in the stitching along the dashboard and shows the attention to detail and precision taken when designing the CX-60.

Although the vibrant white leather seats in the car I looked around wouldn't be that child-friendly, they looked great with their contrasting central panels, and mottled white and grey panels on the doors and dash made the interior really striking.

I was a bit disappointed by the lack of bridge style central console with room below for your handbag or shoes. Mazda says it was designed to ensure front passengers have their own personal space. Personal space! Remember that?!

The Mazda CX-60 has facial recognition that restores your driver settings including the position of the driver's seat, steering wheel, head up display, side mirrors, climate control and audio settings etc.

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