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

The 2023 Mazda CX-50 is the most capable Mazda SUV in terms of off-roading. The CX-50 may be equipped for tearin’ up trails, but some configurations perform better than others. What’s the best 2023 Mazda CX-50 off-road trim?

The 2023 Mazda CX-50 Turbo Meridian Edition is the best off-road trim

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

RELATED: The 2023 Mazda CX-50 Is a Bigger, Better CX-5, but It Won’t Kill It

According to CarBuzz, the Mazda CX-50 Turbo Meridian Edition has plenty of off-road goodies. The Turbo Meridian comes with front and rear splash guards, a roof platform, crossbars, all-terrain tires, and side rocker garnish.

The CX-50 Turbo Meridian uses a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine to make 256 horsepower. It requires premium gas to run optimally.

The Mazda CX-50 Turbo Meridian Edition comes standard with all-wheel drive. It has 8.6 inches of ground clearance. The small SUV comes with Sport and Off-Road driving modes.

The Turbo Meridian Edition is the best off-road CX-50 trim becomes it comes standard with more horsepower and has many off-roading accessories. As far as capability, many lower trims offer the same ground clearance, horsepower, and off-roading features, but the Turbo Meridian Edition is the total package (at least aesthetically).

The Mazda CX-50 is the brand’s most capable SUV

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

RELATED: Mazda CX-50 vs. Mazda CX-5: Which Is Right for You?

Off-road capability is becoming more and more common in the automotive industry. There’s a clear demand for vehicles that can take the road less traveled. Even minivans like the Toyota Sienna are getting off-road trims to satisfy the increasing demand.

Many speculated that Mazda was producing the CX-50 as a replacement for the popular Mazda CX-5, but the SUVs target completely different audiences. The CX-5’s refined interior appeals to consumers looking for a luxurious interior and attractive pricing.

The more expensive, larger CX-50 is geared toward consumers looking for more adventure. Features like standard all-wheel drive and standard Sports and Off-Road modes tempt CX-50 drivers to give trails a try. The Mazda CX-50 may be the most capable Mazda SUV, but there are plenty of small off-road SUVs that provide more capability.

The 2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness dominates the small off-road SUV scene

RELATED: Mazda CX-50 Could Kill the Mazda CX-5

Excluding the new Ford Bronco in a conversation about small off-road SUVs seems blasphemous, but the fact is, the Bronco is hardly attainable to the average consumer. The Forester Wilderness, on the other hand, is jam-packed full of off-road goodness minus the hype and exclusivity of models like the Bronco.

The 2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness starts at $33,020. It has a whopping 9.2 inches of ground clearance. The small SUV comes standard with Subaru’s X-Mode terrain adjustment feature. All wheel-drive and Yokohama GEOLANDAR tires also come standard on the Forester Wilderness. Can you say trail-ready?

Subaru produces several capable off-road SUVs like the Outback and Crosstrek. If any automaker knows how to build a lean, mean off-roadin’ machine, it’s Subaru. The Mazda CX-50 may be much more capable than its siblings, but it isn’t touching the Forester Wilderness off-road.

RELATED: The 2022 Mazda CX-50 Isn’t the Only Major Change Coming