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The 2023 Mazda CX-50 is Mazda’s most capable SUV model. How does it compare to a real off-roading beast? Time for 2023 Mazda CX-50 vs. 2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness.

The 2023 Mazda CX-50 combines a comfy interior with a rugged exterior

A blue 2023 Mazda CX-50 small SUV is parked outdoors.
The 2023 Mazda CX-50 | Mazda

RELATED: What Is the Best 2023 Mazda CX-50 Off-Road Trim?

Mazda SUV fans know that the automaker’s SUV models are many things, but rugged isn’t one of them. The Japanese SUVs focus on comfort, technology, and style over capability. The CX-50 is an anomaly in its lineup.

Many initially thought that the CX-50 was set to replace the popular Mazda CX-5 but it is actually a rougher, tougher SUV with a target audience of its own. The Mazda CX-5 is perfect for drivers searching for a luxury feel for a bargain. The CX-50 is more geared toward drivers that enjoy taking the road less traveled.

The CX-50 comes standard with all-wheel drive. It also has a wider stance than CX-5 models. Ground clearance ranges between 8.3 and 8.6 inches depending on the model. It also comes standard with Sports and Off-Road modes. According to Kelley Blue Book, the 2023 Mazda CX-50 starts at $26,800.

The most well-equipped CX-50 is the Turbo Meridian Edition. This version includes a 2.5-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine that makes 227 horsepower. It comes with a roof platform, front and rear splash guards, all-terrain tires, crossbars, and side rocker garnish. The small SUV has a refined interior and a rugged exterior that’s ready to get the most out of the great outdoors.

The 2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness is born to be wild

Subaru is a staple in the off-road SUV category. Subaru SUVs are normally built to withstand gnarly terrain and conquer trails. The Forester Wilderness takes Subaru’s popular small SUV nameplate to new heights. The base model makes for a capable off-roader, but the Japanese automaker took things to the next level with the Wilderness.

The 2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness starts at $33,020. It uses a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine to make 182 horsepower. The small SUV has a whopping 9.2 inches of ground clearance. It also comes with X-Mode, Subaru’s terrain adjustment system, symmetrical all-wheel drive, and a 180-degree front-view monitor.

The Forester Wilderness also features all-terrain Yokohama GEOLANDAR tires, StarTex water-repellent upholstery, and Hill Descent Control.

2023 Mazda CX-50 vs. 2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness

A blue 2023 Mazda CX-50 Turbo Meridian Edition is driving down a hill off-road.
A blue 2023 Mazda CX-50 Turbo Meridian Edition | Mazda

When it comes to the Mazda CX-50 vs. the 2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness, there are some clear differences between the two models. The biggest difference in terms of off-roading capability is ground clearance. The Forester Wilderness is significantly higher than the CX-50 and thus will avoid certain obstacles more easily.

The CX-50 may have a more refined cabin than the Forester Wilderness, but the comparison should ultimately be off-roading prowess. The Forester Wilderness is better equipped to handle most obstacles off-road, and it’s produced by an automaker that’s more seasoned in the creation of off-road vehicles. The only CX-50 that can truly compete with the Forester Wilderness is the CX-50 Tubro Meridian Edition, and even that’s a stretch because of ground clearance.


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