First Drive: 2023 Mazda CX-50 Takeaways You Need to Know

Mazda is bringing all sorts of updates to the table, including the new Mazda CX-50. We just started our week with the 2023 Mazda CX-50 and already have plenty of takeaways to discuss. Check out how the new rugged Mazda SUV compares. 

Is the 2023 Mazda CX-50 worth buying? 

2023 Mazda CX-50 review first thoughts
2023 Mazda CX-50 | Allison Barfield, MotorBiscuit

Yes, the 2023 Mazda CX-50 is a great SUV to consider. It’s larger than the Mazda CX-5 and includes enhanced off-roading capabilities. While the CX-50 won’t keep up with Jeep Wrangler models, it could take the Subaru Crosstrek, Honda CR-V, and Toyota RAV4 down. 

Like a traditional Mazda SUV, it’s fun to drive. The standard engine is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder option with 187 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque. You can upgrade to the turbocharged variant for 256 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque. 

The CX-50 has a peppy acceleration, responsive handling, and confident brakes based on about four hours of driving. We are impressed by the tight turning radius and athletic performance. It isn’t lumbering like other larger options. 

But in Sport mode and Normal mode, the CX-50 is bumpier with a louder interior than other options in the lineup. However, that’s the expected trade-off when switching from refined daily drivers to a more rugged option. 

We haven’t tested the Mi Drive fuel-saving mode or any of the off-roading features yet. We will update you once we provide our full review. 

How much cargo space does the Mazda CX-50 have? 

The 2023 Mazda CX-50 has up to 31.4 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats with up to 56.5 cubes total. It has a surprising amount of cargo space, especially since it doesn’t feel as big as it is. 

You can fold the seats down with a touch of a button. The rear hatch is wide with a low liftover height, making it easy to pack the CX-50 with tons of gear. Plus, it has plenty of storage cubbies and trays throughout the cabin for storing personal items. 

If you need even more room, the Mazda CX-50 can tow up to 3,500 lbs. This is the same amount that the Toyota RAV4 can tow, while the Honda CR-V can only tow up to 1,500 lbs. 

Our model doesn’t have a roof rack for additional storage, but it does have raised chrome lines that look like storage bars. 

The CX-50 has a refined interior 

2023 Mazda CX-50 interior
2023 Mazda CX-50 interior | Mazda

We have the S Premium trim, which has luxury upgrades such as leather seats, ventilated seats, a 12-speaker Bose audio system, panoramic moonroof, a power liftgate, heated mirrors, and a heated steering wheel. 

The Mazda CX-50 interior is plush and comfortable with high-quality materials. But we’re surprised by the amount of carpet. For a rugged adventuring vehicle, we hope the carpet can stand up to mud and moisture like all-weather floor mats can. 

We’re happy that the storage trays in the front include a space for the optional wireless phone charger. Plus, the CX-50 features a touchscreen alone with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. 

The color head-up display provides navigation instructions and traffic sign recognition, and the adaptive cruise control system works without any fuss. It’s easy to adjust the settings to change the speed and following distance. 

So far, the CX-50 feels a bit rugged compared to its more refined siblings. The interior is comfortable, and the tech is impressive. But we have more testing to do. Check back for more pros and cons as we see what the 2023 Mazda CX-50 can do.

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