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The new 2023 Mazda CX-50 is a rugged, compact SUV that is almost as affordable as the CX-5. This compact SUV is designed for off-road and outdoor adventures. If you’re shopping for compact SUVs, the Mazda CX-50 and Subaru Forester are among the best. Both have adventurous capabilities, are all-wheel, and have a brawny look.

So, how does the CX-50 fare compared to other off-road-centric SUVs in the same class on the market? Here are three advantages the 2023 Mazda CX-50 has over the Subaru Forester.

1. The 2023 Mazda CX-50 has more standard horsepower and torque

The 2023 Mazda CX-50 comes with a 187-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine or a turbocharged engine that provides 256 horsepower. This Mazda model comes in several trim levels to cater to the needs of different consumers. All models include a six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. There are also rumors that a hybrid model is in the pipeline and will use a Toyota powertrain.

According to Car and Driver, the Mazda CX-50 has a horsepower rating of 187 hp at 6,000 rpm against Subaru Forester’s 182 hp at 5,800 rpm. Its torque is rated at 186 lb-ft at 4,000 rpm compared to the Forester’s 176 lb-ft at 4,400 rpm. These figures show the CX-50 has more standard horsepower and torque.

Although the new Subaru Forester has a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with more horsepower than its previous model, this doesn’t equate to faster acceleration. Its 9.2 second, 0-60 mph time is lower than some of its rivals. However, the car is very responsive and responds quickly to the gas pedal.

2. The Mazda has more towing capacity

A 2023 Mazda CX-50 parked on a dirt trail within a deep green forest
A 2023 Mazda CX-50 parked in a forest | Mazda North American Operations

Regarding towing capacity, the 2023 Mazda CX-50 wins against the Subaru Forester. The Forester has a maximum towing capacity of 1,500 lbs compared to CX-50’s 2,000 lbs, according to Edmunds. When fully equipped, the CX-50 has a higher towing capability of 3,500 lbs.

3. Less cabin noise with the Mazda CX-50

Cabin noise is another area where the 2023 Mazda CX-50 wins over the Subaru Forester. The Forester’s flat-four “boxer” engine has a characteristic coarse hum that produces an unpleasant sound. However, its good road and wind noise isolation features improve the sound.

The Subaru Forester has been famous for its interior, tire, road, and mechanical noise. The company has been working to install sound deadeners to reduce noise levels. The good news is that the latest Forester is quieter than previous models, although it can’t match the noise levels of the CX-50. 

The CX-50 is louder than its previous Mazda models. The main reason for this noise could be the beefier suspension and larger tires that may amplify road and wind noise at higher speeds. CR rating reports the CX-50’s 45-aspect-ratio tires and 20-inch wheels make the ride less than ideal and may be the reason for the increased noise in the CX-50. If you’re looking for quiet luxury, you may choose another option. However, if you’re interested in more off-roading capabilities, the wind noise and firm ride wouldn’t be an issue.

However, regarding overall noise ratings, the CX-50’s cabin levels can’t compare to the Subaru Forester. Consumer Reports show Subaru Forester noise level as average compared to a superior Mazda CX-50 rating.

Mazda CX-50 is making impressive strides at attracting customers from similar mountainous crossovers such as the Toyota RAV4 and Hyundai Tucson. Still, the main challenge is whether it’ll dethrone the renowned mountain trekker, the Subaru Forester.


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