Jaco Van Der Merwe

By Jaco Van Der Merwe

Head of Motoring

WATCH: Ambitious Mazda CX-60 makes South African debut

Mazda's new flagship SUV ready to enter battle with VW Tiguan, Volvo XC60, Audi Q5 and BMW X3.

Mazda South Africa has finally woken up from what has been a lengthy slumber in releasing new passenger cars.

Mazda recently gave the media its first glimpse of the CX-60 which is now available locally for the first time. The mid-sized SUV slots in above the popular CX-5 as the Japanese carmaker’s flagship – and priciest – passenger car in South Africa.

Watch Mazda CX-60 from up close

The last new passenger car the brand rolled out locally was the Mazda CX-30 more than two years ago.

Like the CX-30, and the Mazda 3 before that, the CX-60 forms part of the carmaker’s “Brand Repositioning Journey”. Instead of focussing on volume sellers, Mazda has turned its attention to higher-end products in smaller quantities.

“The emergence of Chinese and other Asian brands has seen these manufacturers establish themselves in budget SUV offerings. That is not Mazda’s target market,” says Craig Roberts, the Managing Director of Mazda South Africa.

“Mazda’s current pricing structure targets the 30% of new car buyers who are able to afford these prices.”

The Mazda CX-60 is offered in two models, the Dynamic for R739 800 and the Individual for R844 500. This places it alongside the Volkswagen W Tiguan, the Volvo XC60, the BMW X3 and Audi Q5 in the E-Medium SUV segment.

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Premium positioning

Out of these four, the Tiguan enjoys the largest market share (34.8%). The higher end of the Tiguan range is also similarly priced to the CX-60. The Q5 starts just shy of R1-million, with seven figures buying entry into both the XC60 and X3 ranges.

There is no doubt that the Mazda CX-60 stands up to the premium offerings it is positioned against. It sports classy exterior looks while quality materials and elegant simplicity give the interior serious impetus.

The 2.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine also does a solid in contributing to a smooth ride. It makes 141 kW of power and 261 Nm of torque and is mated to via eight-speed automatic transmission. The twist is sent to the rear wheels in Dynamic guise and the all four wheels in the Individual.

The Citizen Motoring had a very short little launch drive in the Mazda CX-60 Dynamic last week. But it was long enough to be impressed by the smooth box.