Big Wheels and Tires Ruin the 2023 Mazda CX-50’s Ride Quality, According to Consumer Reports

The 2023 Mazda CX-50 is off to a great start with critics, as Consumer Reports mostly had great things to say about the compact SUV. However, one particular complaint by the independent reviewer involved the CX-50‘s uncomfortable ride quality in many situations. Consumer Reports attributes this to the manufacturer’s bad and confusing choice of wheels and tires.

The 2023 Mazda CX-50 at a glance

A 2023 Mazda CX-50 compact crossover SUV model parked on a cracked asphalt lot in snowy forest mountains
2023 Mazda CX-50 | MAZDA NORTH AMERICAN OPERATIONS

Pricing for the 2023 Mazda CX-50 starts at $27,550, with the compact crossover available in two engine options. There’s a 2.5-liter inline-four engine capable of producing 187 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque, while a 2.5 turbocharged alternative can produce 227 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. The latter can also improve its performance to 256 hp and 320 lb-ft on 93 Octane premium fuel.

The CX-50 is a longer, wider version of the Mazda CX-5, and like its predecessor, it features a six-speed automatic transmission. Also, despite having a lower roof, the CX-50 still manages to have more ground clearance than the CX-5, making it better for off-road adventures.

As for the standard safety features, they include blind spot warning, rear cross-traffic warning, forward collision warning, lane keeping assistance, and pedestrian detection.

Among the positives noted by Consumer Reports are the model’s fit and finish, handling, interior room, and steering. Regarding the fit and finish, the reviewer mentions soft padding, thick contrasting stitching, chrome bits, and perforated leather seats, which give the Mazda CX-50’s cabin an upscale feel.  

Handling is exceptional, with minimal body lean around corners, a composed ride, and a good grip on the road. The steering isn’t bad either with its quick response. Finally, the interior is well-spaced, with excellent headroom and an optional panoramic moonroof, making it feel even more spacious. However, the cockpit may be a bit too narrow for some drivers.

The problem with the ride quality

According to Consumer Reports, the ride quality is one of the significant problems in the 2023 Mazda CX-50 compact crossover SUV due to the wheels and tire size. This is particularly true for the higher trims, which have 20-inch wheels coupled with 245/45 R20 tires.

The small space between the wheels and treads may be one of the reasons why the car handles so well on the road. However, it’s also why buyers of higher trims can feel most road imperfections and bumps in the cabin.

On the other hand, the lower trims of the CX-50 come with smaller 17-inch wheels and 225/65R17 tires, with the setup offering more cushioning. This is due to the bigger tire aspect ratio. Consequently, the lower trims may offer a more comfortable ride off-road.

Other problems Consumer Reports has with the Mazda CX-50

One of the reviewer’s two other problems with the 2023 Mazda CX-50 is the average acceleration of the base engine models. U.S. News expects the turbocharged engines in the higher trims to accelerate to 60 mph in about 6.5 seconds which is quite good for a compact crossover. However, the 187 hp-rated lower trims should be significantly less impressive in a drag race.

The other problem is the interior and infotainment controls. According to the reviewer, even the simplest tasks are unnecessarily complex, and the audio menu structure is awful. There are too many levels, and with no controls on the steering wheel, the driver has to resort to using the knob in the middle of the dashboard. Also, the silver text on the steering wheel controls can be hard to read in direct sunlight.

Lastly, some of the controls on the dashboard are awkwardly hidden from view by the steering wheel.

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