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Volvo XC60 Vs Mazda CX-60

By Maxine Ashford | March 15, 2023

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It’s a car that oozes class with powered seats and a powered steering wheel.

Mazda took a truly bold stance launching its first premium SUV into a sector bubbling over with accomplished models. But it’s a courageous move that could well pay off as the CX-60 is available with a choice of plug-in hybrid and mild-hybrid petrol engines along with a newly-developed 3.3-litre diesel unit to tempt those business drivers who clock up the motorway miles.

However, one of the already established competitors - the Volvo XC60 - is certainly very capable in its own right and, once again, buyers have a full choice of powertrains to select from. 

The five-door Volvo XC60 was originally launched back in 2009 and a second-generation version arrived in spring 2017. This was facelifted in 2021 and it also marked the introduction of a built-in Google infotainment system.

The latest cars feature a larger capacity battery (up from 11.6kWh to 18.8kWh) along with a more powerful electric motor (increased from 87hp to 145hp). Efficiency has also improved along with an increase in the electric driving range which is up from 32 to 49 miles.

From 2022, a new trim naming structure came into force with customers offered the choice between Core, Plus and Ultimate grades.

All models are generously equipped with the latest technology. Our mid-level Plus car featured a nine-inch touchscreen, a 10-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, heated front seats, smartphone integration, wireless charging and Google Automotive Services, including navigation, voice control and access to apps via Google Play Store for four years.

The Volvo XC60 has already exceeded two million sales globally so there is little doubt about its appeal and strong customer fanbase.

In contrast, the Mazda CX-60 is the new kid on the block and it will face quite a challenge to lure buyers away from the Swedish carmaker.

But Mazda does have a very strong reputation itself and sometimes customers are attracted to an all-new model, such as the CX-60 which is also available in three trim levels. 

It’s a car that oozes class with powered seats and a powered steering wheel. There is a 12.3-inch colour touchscreen which is the nerve centre of the car offering access to both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with a pitch perfect 12-speaker Bose surround sound system, full navigation and ambient lighting. The fully configurable 12.3-inch tft driver display and head-up display clearly show all the vital driving data.

The Mazda also looks ultra-dynamic in its styling, reminding us that the ‘S’ in SUV stands for Sport. It boasts a strong road presence thanks to a honeycomb-effect gloss black grille, panoramic sunroof, a large stretched bonnet, LED light clusters and 20-inch black alloys.

We are comparing the Volvo XC60 Recharge Plus T6 AWD and Mazda CX-60 2.5 AWD Homura models. They both feature PHEV technology and are the mid-grade trim models. Hopefully we can help you decide which vehicle comes out on top when assessing price, performance, practicality and efficiency along the way.

Price and Performance

The Volvo XC60 line-up costs from £47,465 for the entry-level B5 petrol model in Core trim. This is the only model available with the Core specification. Mid-grade Plus trim can be matched to Recharge T6 PHEV, petrol and diesel cars, while the high-end Ultimate can be selected for the more powerful Recharge T8 PHEV and petrol models. The top price is £61,470.

Our T6 Plug-in hybrid AWD model in mid-range Plus trim was priced at £60,555, although some options such as 20-inch alloys, a retractable towbar and metallic paint saw the final cost creep up to £63,235.

The T6 car featured a 2.0-litre four-cylinder plug-in hybrid petrol engine delivering 253hp and 350Nm of torque while the electric motor chips in with 145hp and 309Nm. While Volvo does not give a combined power or torque figure, the test car could complete the 0-62mph sprint in a respectable 5.7 seconds and topped out at 112mph.

When put to the test the XC60 is a superb car to drive with rapid acceleration out the starting blocks and bags of power on tap. It cruises with ease on motorways, but offers all the agility for tighter town centre manoeuvres. And it comes with the reassurance of all-wheel drive when fizzing through the country lanes or facing more challenging weather conditions.

Drive modes called Hybrid, Power, Pure, Off-Road and Constant AWD  alter the handling considerably and, in addition, the battery charge levels can be controlled with settings called Auto, Hold and Charge.

The acceleration through the automatic transmission is both smooth and responsive, making the XC60 a very capable all-rounder without being the slightest bit aggressive. It’s a very typical cool Swede.

By comparison, the all-new Mazda CX-60 was launched towards the end of last year with a plug-in hybrid powertrain. It was the first model by Mazda to feature this technology and the company has since launched a mighty 3.3-litre diesel model to the mix with further mild hybrid additions being introduced throughout this year.

The CX-60 e-Skyactiv PHEV is available in trim levels called Exclusive-Line, Homura and Takumi costing £45,420, £48,170 and £49,520, respectively.

We tested the CX-60 in mid-range Homura grade priced at £48,170. A few optional extras such as a Convenience Pack, Driver Assistance Pack, striking Soul Red Crystal paintwork and a panoramic sunroof saw the cost climb to £52,170.

The CX-60 PHEV is powered by a 2.5-litre Skyactiv petrol engine and a 17.8kWH battery feeding the electric motor. The power output of 327PS and 500Nm of torque results in a 0-62mph sprint time of 5.8 seconds and a maximum speed of 124mph.

With the battery pack positioned low and centrally, the CX-60 delivers a composed and balanced ride with sharp acceleration and bundles of power on tap. The eight-speed automatic gearbox is perfectly timed at it has the advantage over the Volvo by offering paddles to change gear manually.

Drive modes are called Sport, Normal, EV and Off-Road and, in addition, there are Normal and High regenerative braking levels to alter the level of energy recouped during braking.

The Mazda CX-60 is a very impressive all-rounder and it’s easy to see why this is the Japanese carmaker’s new flagship model.

It’s difficult to separate the Volvo and Mazda, but the CX-60 takes this category because it is more economical to buy. 

Practicality

Both the Mazda and Volvo are designed to be practical family cars so they need to cover all the bases when it comes to space and versatility. And they both score highly in this category.

The Volvo XC60 Recharge T6 stretches 4,708mm in length, is 1,999mm wide (with mirrors folded), 1,658mm high and has a wheelbase of 2,865mm. It has a kerb weight of 2,086kg and has an unbraked towing limit of 2.25 tonnes.

Space within the cabin impresses with ample room in the back for a trio of passengers even with the front seats pushed back. The boot is accessed via a powered tailgate and can swallow 598 litres of kit, increasing to 1,395 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat.

Elsewhere, there are numerous storage options throughout the cabin, including deep door bins with space for a water bottle, a central cubby box, four cup holders (two front and two back), a glovebox, seat back nets and a wireless charging pad.

The Mazda CX-60 also impresses on the practicality front. At 4,745mm long, 1,890mm wide (excluding door mirrors) and 1,689mm tall, it has very similar dimensions to the Volvo XC60. The wheelbase is 2,870mm and it has a kerb weight of 2,071kg with an unbraked towing limit of 2.5 tonnes, which is slightly higher than the XC60.

Once again, the boot is accessed via a powered tailgate and it can swallow 570 litres of luggage, increasing to 1,726 litres with the back seats dropped flat. 

Inside the cabin, expect to find plenty of storage options such as a central cubby, front and rear cup holders, trays, a glovebox, door bins with space for a bottle, seat back pockets, an overhead sunglasses holder and a little secret compartment next to the driver’s door.

Charging both cars is a simple process with the Mazda CX-60’s 17.8kWh battery taking two hours from 0-100 per cent via a 7kW wallbox charger while the Volvo XC60’s slightly larger 18.8kWh battery takes three hours.

There is so little to separate the two rivals, but with its extra boot space and the slightly superior towing capacity, the Mazda CX-60 just takes the practicality category by a very slim margin.

Efficiency

With plug-in hybrid technology, both the Volvo and Mazda will be displaying some very high official mpg figures well above the hundred mark. But it’s always worth remembering these figures could only realistically be achieved if the battery on each car was regularly topped up and most of the driven miles were in EV-only mode.

The XC60 Recharge T6 features an 18.8kWh battery (14.7kWh usable) and can officially deliver a combined 217.0-282.1mpg with a combined electric driving range of 41.6 to 47.8 miles. It has a carbon emissions figure of 24-30g/km.

The Mazda CX-60, with its 17.7kW battery, can deliver a combined 188.3mpg with an electric driving range of 39 miles. It has a combined carbon emissions figure of 33g/km.

So, with slightly better efficiency figures and a longer EV-only range, the Volvo XC60 just takes the prize in the efficiency class.

So, which takes your fancy?

Both the Volvo XC60 and Mazda CX-60 are fabulous family SUVs. They each have their individual appeal and both cars are packed with safety specifications that earned them maximum five-star ratings when tested by Euro NCAP.

It’s very difficult to separate the models with the Mazda winning the practicality and pricing categories while the Volvo offers a superior EV range and boasts better efficiency figures.

In reality, it could all be down to customer brand preference. But whether it’s the XC or CX you go for, it’s always going to be a great battle of the 60s.

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