Just 1 Thing Might Hold the 2023 Mazda CX-50 Back

I recently had a chance to spend a week with the 2023 Mazda CX-50. As Mazda’s compact crossover, it sits above the Mazda CX-5, and frankly, there’s a lot to like about it. Our CX-50 came with the optional turbocharged engine and standard all-wheel drive, making for an overall enjoyable package. But one feature might make some owners scratch their heads. 

Is the Mazda CX-50 worth buying?

If you need an SUV, the 2023 CX-50 does deliver on what it suggests on paper. The drive is fairly comfortable, it has modern safety tech, and its design is attractive. With the turbocharged engine, you get 256 horsepower. That power is more than enough to get the CX-50 up to highway speeds. And it does add some pep to this small SUV. 

The interior of this Mazda SUV is fairly usable. The rear cargo area has an adjustable floor to allow you to store taller items. And, with upper trims, interior materials are comfortable. With great care paid to high-touch areas. 

Although the 2023 Mazda CX-50 is not meant for serious off-roading, there is an off-road drive mode. But most will probably leave their SUV in the normal or sport mode. Another perk of this vehicle is the long list of standard safety features, including:

  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Lane-departure warning with lane-keep assist
  • Adaptive cruise control

How does the 2023 CX-50 fall short?

Although all Mazda CX-50 models come standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the infotainment system does take some getting used to. Some other manufacturers out there seem to have infotainment systems that just function better. 

The knob used to control the Mazda CX-50's infotainment system.
2023 Mazda CX-50 interior | Eric Boman, MotorBiscuit

Part of this is due to the controls. The software itself is quick to respond, and you can utilize split-screen functionality. But, rather than have a touchscreen front and center, Mazda has opted to sink it back a bit. And most of the time, you will be controlling it via the control knob that is seen above. 

The larger infotainment screen that is available to this Mazda SUV, currently displaying Android Auto.
2023 Mazda CX-50 infotainment screen | Eric Boman, MotorBiscuit

In terms of daily use, after a couple of days behind the wheel of the 2023 Mazda CX-50, I did start to feel used to the system. So keep that in mind if you are considering a new Mazda SUV. 

The Mazda CX-50 is a worthy SUV

Although it is only slightly larger than the Mazda CX-5, the CX-50 certainly feels more rugged. According to Car and Driver, things like AWD come standard. And that makes it ideal for things like inclement weather. Additionally, this SUV does not feel boring to drive. 

2023 Mazda CX-50 out on the road
2023 Mazda CX-50 | Mazda

With the turbocharged engine, the CX-50 manages to feel engaging and handles corners well. Although it does make the ride slightly rougher, the sport mode does hold onto revs more, which is nice to see. 

Overall, this Mazda SUV is a good package. But it is not the only option out there. Because of that, a lot of your decision will likely come down to personal preference. A hybrid variant is reportedly coming in the future, but for now, there are just two engine options.