2023 Mazda CX-50 Review, Pricing, and Specs

  • 2023 Mazda CX-50 review ($28,025 – $42,775) 
  • An exciting Subaru Outback rival – Gear Patrol 
  • Luxe interior with agile handling and sporty performance – U.S.News 
  • Pros: Luxury interior, enhanced rugged capabilities, standard AWD
  • Cons: Stiff ride, average fuel economy, no off-roading modes for snow, mud, or sand 
2023 Mazda CX-50 review
2023 Mazda CX-50 | Allison Barfield, MotorBiscuit

What is the 2023 Mazda CX-50? 

The 2023 Mazda CX-50 is a brand new vehicle attracting a lot of attention with more rugged style and space than the Mazda CX-5. During our week with this SUV, people asked, “That’s a Mazda?” many times. Also, someone asked if it’s an Infiniti. 

Basically, the CX-50 is the more capable Mazda SUV that fans have been waiting for. It provides more off-road and towing capabilities for those seeking more adventure without giving up the smooth-riding and sporty Mazda qualities they love. 

This is the first Mazda specifically designed for Americans, so it brings a more prominent profile and beefier upgrades to the table with a sharp new look. However, off-roading enhancements can impact the ride quality, so some fans may still prefer the Mazda CX-5. 

Which Mazda CX-50 trim is best? 

  • Mazda CX-50 2.5 S – $28,025
  • CX-50 2.5 S Select Package – $29,425
  • CX-50 2.5 S Preferred Package – $30,725
  • CX-50 2.5 S Preffered Plus – $33,165
  • CX-50 2.5 S Premium Package – $35,625 
  • CX-50 S Premium Plus Package – $37,625
  • CX-50 2.5 Turbo – $37,625 
  • CX-50 2.5 Turbo Premium Package – $40,775
  • CX-50 Turbo Premium Plus Package – $42,775
  • CX-50 2.5 Turbo Meridian Edition – TBD 

The Mazda CX-50 is available in various trim levels that range from covering the basics to providing ultimate luxury comfort. The Mazda CX-50 Turbo model seems to provide the most value. 

It comes with the upgraded 256-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine and enhances the towing capacity to 3,500 lbs. Plus, you get the panoramic sunroof, leather upholstery, heated front seats, and the 10.3-inch infotainment screen. 

Moving up in trim levels provides access to ventilated seats, a wireless phone charger, the head-up display, a 12-speaker Bose stereo system, built-in navigation, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and heated seats in the rear. 

The Mazda CX-50 Meridian Edition is on the way. We know that it has exclusive 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped in all-terrain tires and a unique exterior paint color with hood graphics. Mazda shared that it will have a host of outdoor accessories. The pricing hasn’t been released yet. 

How does the Mazda CX-50 drive? 

2023 Mazda CX-50
2023 Mazda CX-50 | Allison Barfield, MotorBiscuit

The 2023 Mazda CX-50 has two engine options. The standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine cranks out 187 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque. 

You can upgrade to the turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine for 277 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque using 87-octane gas. With 93-octane gas, you’ll get 256 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque. 

Both engines pair with a six-speed automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive is standard across the entire lineup. The turning radius is tight, and the 360-degree camera display is perfect for navigating tight obstacles. 

With the turbo engine, the Mazda CX-50 has a peppy acceleration without any gestation to get off the line. It can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in about 6.5 seconds, which is on par with the CX-5. 

It provides smooth transmission shifts to make passing others on the highway and entering traffic a seamless yet fun experience. The brakes are smooth and confident, and the CX-50 feels stable around curves. 

The firm suspension limits body roll, and the AWD system provides plenty of traction to power through steep mountain curves. The steering is nicely weighted and responsive, and the steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters give even more control. 

You can select between Mi-Drive Sport, Normal, and Off-Road driving modes. The Normal mode is the best option for saving fuel, and the Sport mode enhances the acceleration and tightens the suspension for a sportier performance. The Off-Road mode is for tackling the trails. 

Can the 2023 Mazda CX-50 go off-roading? 

Yes, the Mazda CX-50 is well equipped for tackling the trails. It might not keep up with a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, but it can go further than any other Mazda has before. 

We know that the Mazda Tribute was a more rugged model for adventuring, but it was basically a rebadged Ford Escape. 

The CX-50 features up to 8.6 inches of ground clearance, while the Subaru Forester provides 8.7 inches. We took the CX-50 into the Clemson university experimental forest to find rutted dirt trails and creeks to cross. 

The new Off-Road drive mode automatically adjusts the steering and traction control systems to keep the vehicle moving forward over obstacles. But you can also turn traction control off to have some fun around curves. 

Even though the CX-50 doesn’t have hill-descent control, the i-ACTIV AWD system provides confidence and control while crawling down the backside of climbs. Mud, dirt, rocks, shallow creeks, and mote didn’t pose any problems. 

How comfortable is the Mazda CX-50? 

The Mazda CX-50 is the perfect, engaging option for comfort on the trails and for a low-effort experience while coming back home after a long day of adventuring. However, because it has off-roading upgrades, the suspension is a little firm compared to alternatives in the lineup. 

You will notice that the CX-50 is bumpier than the CX-5, but it absorbs impacts on the road pretty well. Keeping the CX-50 in Normal mode helps smooth out the bumps a little better. Off-Road mode helps you feel more connected to the road. 

There is a bit of wind and road noise at highway speeds, but it’s not too intrusive. The engine is quiet unless you hit the accelerator hard in Sport mode. Then you can hear satisfying engine roars. 

The seats are larger, well-padded, and supportive for people of all sizes. The second-row seats are comfortable as well, with enough space for two adults to stretch out and relax, but taller folks may want a little more headroom. 

We are impressed by the fast-acting climate control system. It will keep you cool on hot, humid afternoons. The ventilated seats are nice and icy too. On cold mornings, the heat is pleasingly toasty. Vents in the rear help passengers stay comfortable too. 

Does the Mazda CX-50 have a nice interior? 

The interior of the 2023 Mazda CX-50 is crafted with high-quality materials for a sense of near-luxury comfort. You’ll find soft-touched materials with available leather upholstery and leather-wrapped accents. 

While the layout has a simple and elegant design, orange accent stitching makes the interior pop. All of the necessary controls are placed within reach, and the seats can be adjusted to find the perfect driving and riding positions. 

The windshield is wide and provides tons of visibility, but the rear window is narrow. The side mirrors make up for the difference, and the massive panoramic sunroof allows plenty of natural light to enter the cabin. However, it doesn’t open very far. 

Plush carpet lines the floor, which is soft and comfortable. It stands up to moisture, mud, and debris pretty well. But we’re wondering if the Meridian Edition will gain rubberized floor mats or all-weather mats. 

How is the tech in the 2023 Mazda CX-50? 

The Mazda CX-50 feels like one advanced cockpit with high-tech advantages. An 8.8-inch infotainment system comes standard, but you can upgrade to the larger 10.3-inch display. The Mazda Connect software is fast and responsive. 

You control the system with the rotary dial, but wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard and offer touchscreen controls. However, the infotainment screen is set a little far back, making it challenging to reach for shorter folks. 

The head-up display incorporates traffic sign recognition and shows the speed limit, traveling speed, and navigation directions. The digital instrument gauge cluster blends digital and analog displays. It’s easy to read, but it took a few minutes to figure out how to adjust the settings. 

We are impressed by the smooth and seamless adaptive cruise control system. It’s easy to change how much space you would like between the CX-50 and the vehicle in front of you. The safety systems didn’t seem too sensitive, and the stop-and-go engine was quick and efficient without delay. 

The voice controls work well, there is optional in-car wi-fi, and the wireless charging pad is tucked at the end of the center console. Use the MyMazda app on your smartphone to remote start the engine, adjust the climate controls, and stay on top of vehicle maintenance. 

How much cargo space does the Mazda CX-50 have? 

2023 Mazda CX-50 cargo hold
2023 Mazda CX-50 cargo hold | Mazda

Behind the rear seats of the 2023 Mazda CX-50, you can access up to 31.4 cubic feet of cargo space. This is a bit more space than the CX-5 offers but less than the Honda CR-V with 39.2 cubic feet. 

Small items storage isn’t a strong suit. The center console is shallow, and the cup holders are narrow. You can place some items in the doors, but there isn’t a pocket on the back of the driver’s seat. 

The hatch opening is wide, and the liftover height isn’t too tall, making it easy to load large items. The rear seats fold flat with the touch of a button. Also, the power liftgate is a convenient advantage. 

How reliable is the 2023 Mazda CX-50? 

It’s a little early to determine how reliable the 2023 Mazda CX-50 is because it’s a brand new model. However, Consumer Reports gave it a predicted reliability ranking that’s a little above average. 

This score is based on Mazda’s brand history and its similar SUVs. For example, the CX-50 shares the same engine as the CX-5 and rides on the same platform as the CX-30. 

Based on other models, we can estimate that the Mazda CX-50 will make it past 250,000 miles with the proper care and maintenance. If it performs as well as the CX-5, then it should provide over 13 years of use. 

The average yearly repair cost for a midsize SUV is about $573, and it costs $447 to maintain the CX-5 annually. We can estimate that the Mazda CX-50 will fall in this range. 

Is the Mazda CX-50 safe? 

2023 Mazda CX-50 driving on road
2023 Mazda CX-50 | Mazda

Typically, Mazda SUVs are incredibly safe. In fact, the Mazda CX-9 is one out of two vehicles to earn a ‘Good’ score in every Insurance Institute Highway Safety crash test. The Mazda CX-5 is the best performing small SUV and the only option with a ‘Good’ rating. 

The 2023 Mazda CX-50 hasn’t been officially tested by the IIHS or NHSTA yet, but it’s expected to achieve high scores. Mazda is committed to creatively engineering the safest vehicles on the road with the ability to reduce accidents and mitigate impacts.

Standard safety features include: 

  • Parking sensors 
  • Side-impact beams
  • Automatic emergency braking 
  • Lane-departure warning 
  • Lane-keeping assist 
  • Adaptive cruise control 

MotorBiscuit gives the 2023 Mazda CX-50 an expert rating of 8.9 out of 10 

2023 Mazda CX-50 off-roading review
2023 Mazda CX-50 | Allison Barfield, MotorBiscuit

The experts at MotorBiscuit awarded the 2023 Mazda CX-50 with an overall score of 8.9 out of 10. 

Mazda set out to create a rugged SUV that’s better for adventuring while staying true to the near-luxury and sporty performance other options in the lineup are known for. 

While the CX-50 has a peppy acceleration, sporty handling, and enhanced off-roading capabilities, some fans may not enjoy the stiff suspension or wind noise at higher speeds. But thanks to the tight turning radius and driving modes, the CX-50 can excel as a fuss-free daily driver. 

The Mazda CX-50 is loaded with advanced tech that’s easy to use with a luxuriously crafted interior. However, small-item storage is lacking, and you might want extra space for drinks and snacks during road trips. 

We will update you as soon as official safety ratings are released and can’t wait to see what the Meridian Edition brings to the table with even beefier off-roading upgrades.

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