To showcase its newest HEV offerings, Mazda Philippines hosted a leisurely drive to Baguio. The Mazda CX-perience Drive was quite different from others we’ve joined in the past in the sense that it really just focused on the joy of driving and nothing else. There were no activities to highlight the vehicles’ features. No deep dives. No exercises. After a short briefing about our pit stops, we were handed the keys to Steven Tan’s newest babies for the full CX-perience.
The trip had no real schedule except for the drive itself and the meals we would be partaking in. Had we not insisted on doing our photoshoot after we arrived in the City of Pines, it could have been put off later that afternoon or even the following morning.
With only two to three people per car sharing the driving duties, everyone got enough seat time to enjoy the drive.
Both the CX-60 and CX-90 are hybrids, use Mazda’s Large Vehicle Platform, and have an 8-speed automatic transmission that was specifically designed for the powertrain and large platform. Both nameplates are also equipped with the Mazda Intelligent Drive Select (Mi-DRIVE) system, which allows the driver to switch between four driving modes (Normal, Sport, Off-Road, and Towing) on the fly.
As luck would have it, we got to drive the CX60 on the first day and had the CX90 on the way back.
Launched in the country last June, the first-ever Mazda CX-60 was the first to launch using Mazda’s Large Vehicle Platform, which uses a highly rigid bodyshell matched to a front double wishbone and rear multi-link suspension setup.
The CX 60 is available in two variants, and we got to drive the gasoline-powered turbo-charged 3.3L Inline-6 HEV e-SKYACTIV-G trim (priced at P2,790,000) that produces 284 PS and 450 Nm and delivers an impressive 0-100 kph time of just 6.9 seconds. This one had a black leather interior and appealed to my simple and clean preference. For this trip, we were just two in the car for most parts, with the addition of Mazda Philippines’ president Steven Tan for the TPLEX stretch.
The sportier-looking version of the CX-60 is the diesel-powered turbo-charged 3.3L Inline-6 HEV e-SKYACTIV-D (priced at P2,890,000) that produces 254 PS and 550 Nm and does the same sprint in 7.3 seconds. Both trims are equipped with the new rear-biased i-ACTIV All-Wheel Drive system that is supported by the Mazda Intelligent Drive Select (Mi-Drive) which allows drivers to choose between 4 driving settings: Normal, Sport, Off-Road, and Towing, for optimal performance.
Both variants sit on 20-inch aluminum alloy wheels with 235/50R20 tires, have a panoramic sunroof, and a hands-free power tailgate with height adjustment memory. The gasoline-fed variant sports diamond-cut alloy wheels, a gloss black bar-type grille, and bright chrome on the front signature wing, fender garnish, side window molding, and exhaust finishers. Alternatively, the diesel version has a sportier look with black metallic alloy wheels, gloss black honeycomb grille and side view mirrors, black chrome on the front signature wing, fender garnish, and exhaust finishers, and matte black side window molding.
The CX-60 is easy to drive. Just the lightest tap on the accelerator gets it into motion and revving to outrun the others on the road. We weren’t able to confirm if the top speed was really what they published, but maintaining the upper limit was effortless for the CX-60. My drive-partner Ferdie and I enjoyed the freedom of wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as the music played on the 12-speaker Bose system.
The Mazda CX-60 is available in rhodium white premium, soul red crystal, machine gray, platinum quartz, sonic silver, deep crystal blue, and jet black.
Even if both SUVs share the Large Product Platform, the CX-90 looks and feels bigger because it is stretched to measure 5,120mm (L), 1,994mm (W), and has a 3,120mm wheelbase. Also available in two trims, both variants of the CX-90 have three-row seating. The CX-90 3.3L AWD HEV Turbo (priced at P3,680,000) is the more “utilitarian” specced trim with its leather interior and seating for 8. Meanwhile, the top-specced 3.3L AWD HEV Turbo Exclusive trim (priced at P 3,780,000) that is covered in supple Nappa leather and Leganu suede has captain seats for the second row and thus sits only 6. And even though the true boss seats will always be in the second row, the driver’s and front passenger’s seats are equally appointed for those who prefer to drive their own vehicles.
As expected in a huge vehicle, it is quite hefty, weighing over 2 tons. This heaviness can be felt at low speeds, but a steady (light) foot is all you need to get decent momentum on highways and on more challenging roads. When overtaking, the CX-90 won’t let you down, as it’s got a lot more than you need under the hood. It felt planted on the highways, and we hardly felt the extra-legal speeds we were doing. Steering was just right—not too heavy, not too light. As a true HEV, it can run solely on electric power when its lithium-ion battery is sufficiently charged.
It also has the i-Stop system to improve fuel economy; however, this is a feature I invariably turn off regardless of the make of the vehicle I’m driving.
Being the current flagship nameplate, the CX-90 has all the niceties you’d expect: a panoramic sunroof, power everything, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a wireless charging pad, as well as multiple ports for the other passengers, and an awesome Bose sound system.
Information is displayed on three high-definition main screens: a digital 12.3-inch instrument panel, a 10.4-inch heads-up display, and a 12.3-inch infotainment display, which I kept tapping because I expected it to be a touch screen by default. I do have to agree, however, that using the commander knob to control the infotainment system affords more eyes on the road and less on the screen.
With all seats occupied, usable luggage space is just enough for two golf bags stacked horizontally. However, folding the third row down increases this space more than fourfold. Precious cargo can be accessed via a hands-free power tailgate.
The first-ever Mazda CX-90 is available in artisan red premium, rhodium white premium, machine gray, platinum quartz, sonic silver, deep crystal blue, and jet black.
The Mazda experience
Mazda knows how to elevate the driving experience, and its pricing unapologetically reflects it. Definitely not for the masses, Mazda’s niche is the owners who know what they want and can afford to walk the talk. Mazda’s offerings under the CX-60 and CX-90 nameplates allow owners to go as luxurious as they want, balanced with the performance level they crave.