Driving report: Mazda CX-60 e-Skyactiv D 200: Against the current

The Japanese are actually masters of understatement.

Driving report: Mazda CX-60 e-Skyactiv D 200: Against the current

The Japanese are actually masters of understatement. But with the CX-60 e-Skyactiv D 200 even the Asians shed their reservations. "Inline 6" is proudly emblazoned on the crossover's front fender, i.e. an in-line six-cylinder, in this case a diesel with a displacement of 3.3 liters. Sounds promising. Especially since Mazda is once again swimming against the tide with this new engine. But anyone looking forward to brutal torque across a wide rev range with the right amount of punch will have to lower their expectations a bit. Even if Mazda likes to go its own way with the drives, one premise stands above all others: the greatest possible efficiency.

This is the case with the Mazda CX-60 PHEV plug-in hybrid brother and is no different with the new engine. Compared to the previous 2.2-liter diesel four-cylinder, technically speaking, no stone remains unturned. In the in-line six-cylinder, the two injections take place at a pressure of 2,500 bar, shortly after top dead center of the piston and are significantly shorter. With the new DCPCI (Distribution Controlled Partially Premixed Compression Ignition) combustion process, increasing the injection pressure, changing the point in time and the duration is not enough. For this trick to have full effect, engineers also had to work on the pistons and combustion chamber, where a two-stage ovoid piston crown separates the air-fuel mixture into two zones within the piston bowl, resulting in more efficient combustion over a wider operating range leads. “We create such a lean and homogeneous mixture that we burn faster and at the right time. The result is greater efficiency and fewer emissions," says engine developer Heiko Strietzel, summarizing the package of measures designed to make the engine fit for the Euro 7 emissions standard.

The diesel is garnished with a 48-volt hybrid module integrated into the transmission with 12.4 kW / 17 hp, a torque of 154 Newton meters and a battery with a capacity of just 0.33 kilowatt hours. Unusual. “It's about compactness and efficiency. This size is enough for us,” explains Heiko Strietzel. These premises are also the reason why the Japanese engineers do not use a classic torque converter with a lock-up clutch for the new eight-speed automatic, but a specially designed transmission with an electronically controlled multi-plate wet clutch.

Basically, the interaction of the drive components works well. However, it jerks every now and then as soon as the combustion engine switches on. "We're working on it and will eliminate that with a software update," promises Heiko Strietzel. The bottom line is that the drive train delivers 147 kW / 200 hp and a maximum torque of 450 Newton meters to the rear axle. So the CX-60 e-Skyactiv D 200 doesn't suffer from muscle wasting, it just uses power differently. If you want more lard and all-wheel drive, you have to order the more powerful version of the diesel, which has an output of 187 kW / 254 hp and will be available from dealers in a few weeks. If you don't want to wait, you can go straight to the car dealership.

As long as you are on the road with a gentle gas foot and the speed does not exceed 2,500 revolutions, the diesel behaves very civilized and the power is easily enough to swim with the traffic. Only when you take the engine to your chest with a bold step on the gas pedal does the diesel acoustically make no secret of its exertion. Nevertheless, it then goes ahead with more commitment, without the elemental force of the propulsion pressing you into your seats. A brutal punch looks different. The strength of the Mazda CX-60 e-Skyactiv D 200 is the long distance not the sprint.

The acceleration values ​​are accordingly: after 8.4 seconds, the 100 km/h mark is reached from a standing start, the CX-60 e-Skyactiv D 200 achieves a maximum of exactly 212 km/h and Mazda promises a WLTP consumption of five liters per 100 km/h. On a test drive that took us along freeways, winding mountain roads and country roads, we achieved an average fuel consumption of 4.58 l/100 km. However, we were mostly very cautious on the road. With reduced energy awareness, it was a more realistic 5.7 l/100 km, which is still a very decent value. In order to save as much fuel as possible, the system switches off the engine and, if necessary, shovels energy into the batteries.

Otherwise, the Mazda CX-60 e-Skyactiv D 200 offers the usual fare of the model series with the 12.3-inch touchscreen and the digital instrument cluster including a head-up display. However, the graphics of the navigation could be modern. It is pleasant that Mazda has said goodbye to the all too baroque design in the interior, the workmanship also fits and the materials and finish do not fall off in the Takumi top equipment. There is space in the 4.74 meter long for four adults and the trunk grows from 570 to 1726 liters capacity if you fold down the backrests of the rear seats. However, 53,250 euros are also due for this variant, if you opt for the basic Prime Line equipment with this engine, you have to pay 46,150 euros.