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The 2023 Mazda CX-5 is one of the most popular small SUVs. It’s a safe, capable model with many standard features. For most people, buying the Mazda SUV or a competitor from Honda, Toyota, or Subaru seems like the perfect option. However, any version of the 2023 Mazda CX-5 is a better option than expected. In fact, experts disagree on the best Mazda CX-5 trim. There are too many fantastic options to choose just one. Should you buy a Base, Select, Preferred, Premium, Turbo, or something else?

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According to Edmunds, the Carbon Edition is the most popular version of the CX-5. Starting roughly $4,000 higher than the base model, it’s the fourth most affordable trim. As the most popular CX-5, it’s clear consumers think it’s the best version of the small SUV. However, not every expert believes most customers purchase the best trim for the Mazda CX-5.

Edmunds recommends the CX-5 Select trim

2023 Mazda CX-5 Consumer Reports
2023 Mazda CX-5 | Mazda North American Operations

One of the most trusted experts for recommending vehicle trim levels is Edmunds. Moreover, the publication disagrees with consumers about the best trim to buy. Edmunds suggests buying the second-cheapest 2023 Mazda CX-5 Select trim.

“It comes with just about everything you’ll need from a small SUV, and this version’s simulated leather seats do a great job of emulating the real thing,” Edmunds claimed. The publication also noted that it prefers the upgraded turbocharged engine, but the high price it requires puts it out of reach for most buyers.

On top of the many features included with the CX-5 Base model, the Select gets even more. For example, hands-free keyless entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, rear air vents, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, a height-adjustable passenger seat, heated front seats, simulated leather upholstery with simulated suede inserts, a six-speaker audio system, and rear USB charging ports.

Another expert recommends a different CX-5 trim


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Contrarily, the experts at Car and Driver suggest buying the 2023 Mazda CX-5 Turbo. Unlike Edmunds, which chose one of the cheapest models, C/D thinks one of the most costly options is best. Starting at $38,125, the CX-5 Turbo is only more affordable than the Turbo Signature. It’s also the cheapest way to get the upgraded turbocharged engine, which gets 256 horsepower instead of the standard 187.

“With the upgraded 256-hp turbocharged engine, its quickness better corresponds with its athletic handling. Its exterior is elegantly sporty with trim-specific gloss-black accents. Its interior mirrors that sportiness with red accents and stitching,” C/D said of the CX-5 Turbo trim.

The turbocharged engine is the main draw of the highest trims. Other than that, the Turbo model only gains black-painted wheels, a unique exterior/interior trim, and a wireless charging pad.

What is the best 2023 Mazda CX-5 trim?

Regarding the 2023 Mazda CX-5, we agree with Edmunds over consumers and Car and Driver. Although the turbocharged engine is an excellent upgrade, it’s not worth the price of admission. Most people buy the Carbon Edition, likely for its affordable cost and unique styling cues. However, the Edmunds-recommended Select trim provides almost all the same value without a few of the extras at a lower price. Fortunately, there’s only about a $4,000 difference in the first four trims, so buyers can get whichever they like best without fear of overpayment.