Mazda’s already seen success with its most expensive plug-in hybrid powertrains on the CX-60, and now it wants to cash in further

    When Mazda Australia confirmed the upcoming local launch of the new CX-70 crossover this week, it didn’t include any mention of the North American-market plug-in hybrid.

    While this variant hasn’t been locked in, Mazda Australia says it wants it.

    “It’s a future possibility. We’re not ready to confirm that, but that’s definitely on our shopping list,” Mazda Australia managing director Vinesh Bhindi told CarExpert.

    While Mazda had previously confirmed a launch for the plug-in hybrid CX-90 in the second half of 2024, there’s no longer any concrete timing – though the company assures it’s coming.

    Mazda says a majority of CX-60 customers are opting for the plug-in hybrid, compared to just 15 per cent for the diesel engine.

    “Diesel has been about 15 per cent of the mix, plug-in has been number one – high 40 [per cent range], something like that – which is higher than we expected, and it’s great,” Mazda Australia marketing director Alastair Doak told CarExpert.

    “We always thought that plug-in had great opportunity in Australia, it makes a lot of sense.

    “It’s on the wish list to expand the number of plug-ins that we have, so hopefully we can get that sooner rather than later.”

    It remains to be seen whether the CX-60’s closest relation, the CX-80, will also be offered here as a plug-in hybrid. This is the last member of the Large Product Group quartet to be revealed, though camouflaged examples have been spied testing.

    The plug-in hybrid’s greater popularity with CX-60 buyers comes despite all three powertrains in the mid-sized SUV’s range being newly developed, and despite diesels continuing to be popular among buyers of larger SUVs in the broader market.

    While Mazda has rolled out its new 3.3-litre turbo-diesel inline-six across the CX-60 and CX-90, it has been removing diesels elsewhere in its local lineup – apart from the BT-50 ute, which competes in Australia’s most diesel-heavy segment.

    The CX-5 has lost its diesel option for 2024, and the related CX-8 that offered the same engine has been axed globally.

    The Mazda 6 lost its diesel engine locally in 2019, with the CX-3 following in 2020. However, almost every Mazda is offered with a diesel engine in Japan.

    “Demand for diesel is really weakening these days, so the need for a diesel engine may not expand so that’s why we provide this unit in an efficient manner to the markets that want the diesel engine, like Japan, Australia,” said Mitsuru Wakiie, program manager for the CX-90, last year.

    Australia’s pull with Mazda HQ has seen diesel versions of the CX-70 and CX-90 developed, even though those vehicles won’t be offered with oilers in North America, the market they are primarily aimed at.

    MORE: Everything Mazda CX-60CX-90
    MORE: 2025 Mazda CX-70 revealed as yet another six-cylinder SUV for Australia

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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