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There’s something special about the 2023 Mazda CX-50 that speaks to the inner adventurer in everyone. It’s a powerful little compact SUV, primed to take on some of the biggest contenders in the off-road, small SUV space. Additionally, Consumer Reports has plenty of great things to say about this sweet trailblazing crossover.

However, the CR team didn’t find the 2023 Mazda CX-50 to be entirely flawless. In fact, there’s one concerning issue raised about the exclusivity of the base engine option. Here’s more about the one negative thing Consumer Reports flags about the new and otherwise exciting entry in the Mazda SUV lineup.

2023 Mazda CX-50 specs, pricing, and positives

A 2023 Mazda CX-50 compact SUV driving on a dirt desert trail near a near barren tree

Mazda didn’t hold back in terms of options for its latest entry into the SUV space, the 2023 Mazda CX-50. You can choose from several trim levels, including the S, the S Select, the S Preferred, the S Preferred Plus, and the S Premium. That’s not all. You can also choose higher-level trims, including the Premium Plus, the Turbo, the Turbo Meridian, the Turbo Premium, and the Turbo Premium Plus. All come with i-Active AWD drivetrains, radar cruise control with stop and go features, and plenty of standard safety equipment, as Mazda describes. At the lowest end of the base price spectrum, you can take home an entry-level model starting at $26,800. At the high end, it’s still competitive at $41,550.

Consumer Reports praises the new Mazda CX-50 in several categories. For starters, the team says this SUV is more “adept at gobbling up miles” on pavement than its CX-5 and CX-9 counterparts. Handling and steering are smooth, the interior room is impressive, and there’s a lot to love about its fit and finish specs. However, one significant drawback might sway your decision, and it certainly made the CR team raise an eyebrow.

The #1 complaint about the 2023 Mazda CX-50

The baseline engine for the 2023 Mazda CX-50 is a 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder mated with a six-speed automatic transmission, and it’s a one-size-fits-most trims kind of installment. Consumer Reports says this engine is “showing its age” and is a “bit of a relic.” Acceleration is tepid at best, and the 0 to 60 mph time is 9.3 seconds. You’ll have a mediocre 187 horsepower under the hood and 186 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm, according to Edmunds. So, that might have you wondering why the CX-50 has 10 trim options if half of them are harnessing this yawn-inspiring engine configuration.

The upgraded engine option that makes up for it

There is a silver lining if you need more gusto from the gas pedal. If you don’t want to choose the tired four-cylinder engine of the Mazda CX-50, you can bump up to the upper-level trims and tap into turbocharged variations. The turbocharged 2.5-liter inline four cranks out a more aggressive 256 hp when fueling up with 93 octanes. It also achieves a healthy 320 lb-ft of torque, too. Furthermore, these engines are rated to tow more than similar engines in the CX-5, up to 3,500 pounds which is pretty beefy for a small SUV. The 0 to 60 mph time with the turbo engine is rated at only 7.2 seconds, demonstrating its thrill factor on the pavement.

There is a lot to get excited about with the 2023 Mazda CX-50. Still, before you make your decision, check out the scores and ratings assigned by the Consumer Reports team. Just be mindful of the one negative they point out – the lackluster base engine option. You get more with the higher trims and their turbocharged engine variation. It’ll make your off and on-pavement experience that much more exciting.


5 Important 2023 Mazda CX-50 Facts to Know Before Buying