There’s a lot to like about the Mazda CX-60 - from the refined interior to the elegant looks.

But the real headline-grabber is the engine, not just because it goes against current perceived wisdom but because it offers such a nice balance between performance and economy.

The latest addition to the CX-60 range comes in the form of a six-cylinder 3.3-litre e-Skyactiv D diesel engine.

The new in-line diesel unit is available with two power levels – a 254ps all-wheel drive version with 550nM of torque, assisted by a 48v mild-hybrid electric motor, and a less powerful 200PS engine with rear-wheel drive.

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The 254ps version, tested here, feels to have plenty of guts. While it never feels blisteringly quick, the speed builds at a swift rate for such a sizeable vehicle, with the sprint to 62mph taking 7.4 seconds.

The eight-speed automatic gearbox shifts smoothly, tapping into the full range of the 3.3-litre unit’s powerband.

For a diesel engine, it also makes a rather nice noise as its six-cylinders burst into action.

With an engine that bucks the downsizing trend, you might expect to be hit in the pocket at the pumps, but that’s not the case.

All-wheel drive cars return an average WLTP fuel consumption figure of 53.3mpg and CO2 emissions of 137g/km, while the rear-wheel drive CX-60 diesels offer 56.6mpg and 129g/km.

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Efficiency is helped by the so-called DCPCI system – highly innovative advanced combustion technology that makes the new e-Skyactiv D unit as clean as it is, achieving a thermal efficiency of over 40 per cent.

Mazda says the CX-60 is powered by one of the cleanest diesel engines available, stating that its quest for efficiency involved multiple solutions and an emphasis on ‘right sizing’.

Handling is also good, although the CX-60 can still feel a little choppy over less even surfaces.

In the tighter corners, the steering is sharp and trustworthy, while body lean is fairly well contained for a large vehicle.

In terms of looks, the CX-60 has an elegant and almost stately look, with lots of thought having gone into the design.

As you come to expect from vehicles in the Mazda stable, the creases within the bodywork

catch the eye, reflect the light in an intriguing way, and create a flow running through the vehicle.

The Exclusive-Line trim, tested here, offers a wide range of standard features including a power liftgate, 18” alloy wheels and LED headlights.

Inside, the cabin has a real aura of quality. Inside a 12.3” Colour entertainment display with Mazda Connect Infotainment system is a smart piece of kit.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Mazda CX-60

For added comfort, my test car came with a heated steering wheel, Black leather seats and heated front seats.

Meanwhile, the head-up display in the Exclusive-Line projects the most relevant information onto a convenient part of the windscreen.

It allows you to choose between street information, such as the current speed and speed limit, or directions from the navigation system.

By introducing a new diesel engine for the CX-60, Mazda has taken its own path. The CX-60 is a fine SUV, with handsome looks, an impressive engine and a very spacious and pleasant interior.

The Lowdown

Mazda CX-60 3.3D 254ps AWD Exclusive-Line Auto 
ENGINE: 3.3-litre e-Skyactiv diesel MHEV 
TRANSMISSION: Eight-speed auto, all wheel drive
PERFORMANCE: 0-62mph in 7.4 seconds and max speed 136mph
EMISSIONS: 139g/km
ECONOMY: 53.3-54.3mpg
WARRANTY: 3 years/60,000 miles
PRICE: £45,630