2 New Mazda SUVs Offer the Best Value for 2023, Cars.com Says
If you’ve considered buying a new car in the last few years, you’ve likely seen near-record-high prices across all segments. First, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic caused supply shortages for many manufacturers. Then the war in Ukraine continued those problems. That, compounded with worker shortages and supply-chain issues, meant fewer new cars were available.
Those that were available often came at a steep markup. Cars.com explains that the median new car price among listed dealers on its website was $42,500 in December 2022. That’s 10% higher than December 2021 and 18% higher than December 2020.
With the market finally showing signs of cooling off, some excellent value choices exist. Cars.com compiled a list of the best value new cars of 2023, including a pair of new Mazda SUVs.
How Cars.com chooses the best value new cars
The finalists were chosen with a focus on affordability and value. Lower median prices are a plus, but some specific features had to be included. The must-have features are Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection. The trim of each finalist that includes those features is considered for the list. Packages or options required to get those features are included in the price.
There are other variables mentioned, but they aren’t considered for rankings. Manufacturer warranty coverage, annual fuel costs, and EPA-rated fuel economy are factored into a cost of ownership figure. The data for each of these factors is taken from December 2022.
Cars.com then breaks the best value new cars into four categories: cars, small SUVs, small pickup trucks, and electric vehicles. All categories include multiple segments. The top choice in the car category for best value, the Kia Rio S, is a subcompact sedan; others include the compact Nissan Sentra compact sedan and Nissan Kicks subcompact SUV.
With these considerations, the two new Mazda SUVs that made the list are the 2023 Mazda CX-30 S Select and the 2023 Mazda CX-5 2.5 S.
1. 2023 Mazda CX-30 S Select
Mazda’s smallest SUV in its lineup makes an appearance on the list at No. 5 spot on Cars.com’s list of best value new small SUVs. The S Select trim is the first option above the base 2.5 S model and includes the required blind-spot warning system.
With the Mazda CX-30 S Select, you get a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine producing 191 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive is standard, and the Select specifically offers comforts like a leather-wrapped steering wheel, synthetic leather upholstery, and a center armrest in the second row. At a median trim price of $26,770, it offers a lot for new car buyers. Fuel economy (29 combined mpg) is a bit lower than other value small SUVs like the Volkswagen Taos S (31 mpg) and Hyundai Kona SE (32 mpg). That does mean its annual fuel costs are also slightly higher. However, it’s arguably more stylish than both of those options, and reviewers from Edmunds note it’s engaging to drive.
The standard technology, including an 8.8-inch infotainment display and an eight-speaker audio system, and comfort gives drivers and passengers a lovely cabin. It’s also a safe choice: the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) named the CX-30 a Top Safety Pick+ in 2022.
2. 2023 Mazda CX-5 2.5 S
A little farther down the list at No. 9 on the best value new small SUVs list is the Mazda CX-5 2.5 S. The CX-5 is Mazda’s best-selling SUV. Per data from GoodCarBadCar, more than 150,000 models have been sold in the U.S. for four out of the last five years.
The CX-5 is a larger SUV than the CX-30. It’s in the compact SUV segment with the Chevy Equinox, Mitsubishi Outlander, and Ford Escape, all of which are other Cars.com best value new SUV picks. It’s priced between the Escape and Outlander at a median trim price of $28,365.
The 2.5-liter inline-four engine in the CX-5 generates slightly less horsepower than the CX-30 at 187 hp to go along with 186 lb-ft of torque. The S trim is the base model but gives buyers lots of features. A 10.25-inch infotainment display connects to a four-speaker audio system in addition to the required Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Edmunds reviewers say all the controls are easy for the driver to reach, and visibility is good. Automatic high beams and rain-sensing windshield wipers are standard driver aids in addition to the required safety features.
Behind the wheel, the CX-5 handles well; Edmunds calls it the best-handling small crossover. It’s comfortable and safe, too, as it’s also an IIHS Top Safety Pick+. Fuel economy is on the lower end of the top picks at 26 combined mpg, giving the CX-5 some of the highest annual fuel costs on the list. However, the styling, handling, comfort, and safety make it a best value small SUV.
Which new Mazda SUV is better?
Both of these Mazda SUVs are some of the best choices on the market regarding affordability and value. Choosing between the two is more about which features you’re looking for. If AWD is important, the CX-30 gives that to you. At a similar price range to the CX-5’s base model, you get upgrades in the form of synthetic leather upholstery and a center armrest for rear passengers. The CX-5 is larger, meaning more room for passengers and cargo. Either way, buyers can enjoy an affordable, stylish SUV that is fun behind the wheel.