Mazda Is Going Back To Longitudinally Mounted Engines And Rear Wheel Drive – Just Not Here – Check Out The New CX-60

Mazda Is Going Back To Longitudinally Mounted Engines And Rear Wheel Drive – Just Not Here – Check Out The New CX-60

(By Tom Lohnes) – Mazda is no stranger to rear-wheel-drive vehicles. With the world-famous MX-5 Miata, the rotary-powered RX-7 and RX-8, numerous cool JDM cars, and even the MPV minivan, it is safe to say they have experience. As of recently though, they have lost a lot of the RWD-ness of their lineup. For a decade now, the Miata has been their only vehicle with exclusively the rear wheels powered. Sure, there have been quite a few AWD cars, but all of them used a transversely mounted engine.

A few years ago, Mazda announced that they will be returning to the sacred front-engine, rear-drive platypus as they continue to move upmarket and become a full-fledged luxury brand. The initial plan was to debut the platform with an all-new Mazda6, but sedan sales are way down, so the platform was officially revealed this morning in the form of a crossover that will be forbidden fruit to us Americans. Meet the all-new Mazda CX-60.

Being the first Mazda SUV with a longitudinally-mounted engine since the discontinuation of the Navajo in 2001, the CX-60 is also the brand’s first PHEV, and is strictly offered as one for now. Available in Europe, Asia, and Australia, the new CX-60 is the first application of the brand’s “Skyactiv multi-solution scalable architecture”, which is just a fancy way of saying modular chassis. Made mainly for hybrids and electric vehicles, the new platform will underpin just about every new Mazda model that will be using this platform for the foreseeable future. Since the chassis is meant to accommodate so many models and engines, the CX-60 and the American CX-70 will have quite a few choices. First off, we have the PHEV that made its debut today. Using a 2.5-liter naturally aspirated 4-pot and an electric motor built into the all-new 8-speed auto, the plug-in CX-60 is good for 323 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque.

With that power, this pretty heavy SUV (4,564 lbs) can achieve 60 miles per hour in 5.8 seconds, making it the brand’s third quickest vehicle, behind the Miata and Mazda3 turbo. If you want more power, The CX-60 will eventually be offered with 2 flavors of inline 6. The first one is a 3.0-liter unit which will likely make around 350 horsepower and serve as the base engine offering. The PHEV will probably be the middle ground, and the top dog will utilize a 3.3-liter mild hybrid I6 that should pump out nearly 400 horsepower in the top spec.

The CX-60 itself isn’t exactly the looker in Mazda’s lineup. Thankfully, the US is getting a slightly bigger, wider, three-row SUV with the same basic interior and platform called the CX-70. That should be arriving next year. Speaking of the interior, the CX-60 takes Mazda’s already great interior and makes it better.

Overall, the CX-60 is a great addition to the Mazda fleet. I am very excited to see what this platform will do in the next few years. I really hope we see a RWD, Inline-6 powered Mazda3 hatch in the future just for fun.

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