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We’re still processing our week with the adventurous Mazda CX-50, and it gave us a lot to think about. As the first Mazda SUV to be designed for the American market, it stands out from the rest of the crowd. However, the 2023 Mazda CX-50 still has some work to do. 

How does the 2023 Mazda CX-50 drive? 

The 2023 Mazda CX-50 parked near foliage
2023 Mazda CX-50 | Allison Barfield, MotorBiscuit

Buckle up and enjoy the ride because the 2023 Mazda CX-50 isn’t short on power. The available turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine cranks out up to 256 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque. But you need to spring for 93-octane fuel to achieve these numbers. 

It has an instant acceleration with smooth transmission shifts and can reach 60 mph in about 6.6 seconds. However, at times the CX-50 can be a little hesitant to downshift, but it’s not as noticeable as it is with the CX-30. 

The CX-50 keeps body motions in check but doesn’t corner as well as the CX-5. But the steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters provide more control for racing around curves. The tires have tons of grip for confident maneuvers too. 

We wish that the brakes were a bit stronger, especially while off-roading. This athletic SUV is impressive in the wild and maintains its composure over uneven surfaces. Larger impacts are quickly dampened, and the 8.6-inch ground clearance is beneficial. 

Is the CX-50 comfortable? 

For the most part, the 2023 Mazda CX-50 is a comfortable SUV. The front seats are plush and supportive, with plenty of side bolstering to keep you in place. However, the bottom cushion can start to feel flat after longer drives. 

It has a smooth ride on most surfaces. Only super beat-up back country roads in the South Carolina countryside gave it trouble. 

Also, the interior is pretty quiet until you reach highway speeds. Then wind and road noise are a little noticeable. You can hear an occasional engine roar, but it’s deep and attractive. 

You can set the automatic climate control and forget it. It automatically adapts to the outside temperature to keep everyone comfortable, and the ventilated seats are strong. Sometimes the air vents can get a little loud. 

The backseat is well-padded, and the backrest sits at a relaxed angle, but it’s a little small. Shorter adults and kids can fit back there comfortably. But, at 5’1″, things were tight. 

Does the 2023 CX-50 have a nice interior? 

The 2023 Mazda CX-50 has a premium interior with luxury touches that make it feel like a bargain for its price. However, we can’t get past the lack of cupholders. There are no immediate cupholders in the rear until you fold the tray in the middle seat down. 

Otherwise, it’s crafted with high-quality materials such as premium leather, metal trim pieces, and vibrate orange stitching. It’s simple, elegant, and attractive. Everything is placed within reach. 

The panoramic moonroof allows natural light to enter the cabin, and the windshield provides plenty of visibility. Cargo storage for smaller items is limited, with a shallow center console and tight glove box. Plus, the seat pockets are tight. 

However, there is an abundance of cargo space. Seriously, the cargo hold is huge! You can access 31.4 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats and up to 56.3 cubes total. The seats fold flat, and you can carry more gear than you think.

Overall, the Mazda CX-50 is a comfortable option with above-average off-roading capabilities. But it hasn’t fully committed to the off-road life by still catering to a more athletic personality. It’s a sporty Mazda that’s more capable at the expense of its cornering and ride quality. 

Plus, while it’s wider and offers more room than other models in the lineup, the rear seat is still tight. Things like small item storage and cupholders are missing for families. Stay tuned as we continue processing every single CX-50 aspect.