2023 Mazda CX 50, All you want to know & watch about a Great Car


2023 Mazda CX 50 Yearlong Test Arrival

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mazda cx-50 Full Overview

The CX-50 drives a Mazda-sized hole in the theory that weekend-adventure crossover SUVs must look like the chunky Subaru Outback. With the sleek 2023 Mazda CX-50, you can almost hear the automaker whispering, “To each, their own.” The CX-50 represents a more subtle approach to a segment led by the well-rounded Outback—a Subaru I drove for a year.

Mazda’s first challenge is educating consumers on the difference between the CX-5, a long-time MotorTrend favorite, and the new CX-50. As we discovered on our First Drive, there’s so much more to the CX-50 than just a “0” on the end of a CX-5 badge. What will a year behind the wheel reveal?

Meeting Our CX-50 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus

Starting at $42,775, our 2023 CX-50 is the most expensive five-passenger Mazda you can buy today. Let’s break that down. Every CX-50 includes standard AWD, which is one reason the base model starts at a relatively high $28,025.

Most CX-50s will get a 187-hp 2.5-liter inline-four engine, the same powerplant we’ve seen in everything from the Mazda 3 to the CX-30, and CX-5. Like all of those Mazdas, the CX-50 offers an upgrade to a turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-four powerplant good for 227 hp and 310 lb-ft on 87-octane or 256 hp and 320 lb-ft on 93. That’s the engine we picked.

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Within the CX-50’s 2.5 Turbo trims, we went all-out with the Premium Plus model so we could test as many of the CX-50’s features as possible, from its new panoramic moonroof to a 360-degree camera system. Going turbo is also the only way to get an interior color other than black. With the available Terracotta medium-brown leather seats and stitching accents, the CX-50 feels more premium and interesting than your average compact or midsize SUV.

Like almost every CX-50, our top-of-the-line trim includes a 10.3-inch infotainment screen that can function as a touchscreen when you’re stopped. Otherwise, a rotating knob controls things regardless of whether you’re in the standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality, or in the native Mazda operating system.

Blind-spot monitoring, automatic emergency front braking, and adaptive cruise control are also standard on every CX-50. Our CX-50 rolls on 20-inch wheels with polished and shiny black finishes; most CX-50s have black 17-inch wheels with more off-road-friendly tires. Like other compact and midsize SUVs, you’ll have to upgrade a couple trims to get a power liftgate. Otherwise, the CX-50 offers a generous standard equipment package at the base and loaded trim levels.

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So It’s Not A CX-5?

In person, the CX-50’s positioning against the CX-5 becomes clear. The longer, lower, and wider CX-50 wears dark cladding over the wheel wells and grille detailing that’s unique to this SUV. The CX-50 won’t strike as many buyers as classically beautiful like the CX-5. But that’s the point; the CX-50, which is actually based on the smaller CX-30, expresses a more outdoors-ready appeal.

What makes the CX-50 so interesting is how it attempts to mix the best of Mazda’s current ambitions with a target buyer that’s new to the brand. Over the course of a year, we’ll see how well the CX-50 can deliver the core Mazda trait of entertaining dynamics while matching the appeal of the Outback, a long-time leader for projecting an outdoorsy appeal. And with our CX-50 2.5 Turbo carrying an MSRP of over $43,000, we’ll determine how premium it truly feels at that price point. We can’t wait.

Looks good! More details?

2023 Mazda CX-50 Turbo AWD (Premium Plus) Specifications
BASE PRICE $42,775
VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV
ENGINE 2.5L Turbo direct-injected DOHC 16-valve I-4
POWER (SAE NET) 227 hp @ 5,000 rpm*
TORQUE (SAE NET) 310 lb-ft @ 2,000 rpm*
TRANSMISSION 6-speed automatic
CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 3,905 lb (58/42%)
WHEELBASE 110.8 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 185.8 x 75.6 x 63.5 in
0-60 MPH 7.0 sec
QUARTER MILE 15.4 sec @ 89.7 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 117 ft
MT FIGURE EIGHT 26.8 sec @ 0.63 g (avg)
EPA RANGE, COMB 395 miles
*Regular-fuel ratings; 256 hp/320 lb-ft on premium fuel

2023 Mazda CX-50 Starting at $28,025

  • HIGHS: Zesty turbo engine, high-class cabin, pleasing to drive.
  • LOWS: Just-average warranty coverage, wireless smartphone charging only offered on top trim, less headroom than in a CX-5.
  • VERDICTThe CX-50 brings refinement and driving joy to the compact SUV class in the way that only a Mazda can.


A new nameplate has joined Mazda’s lineup in the form of the 2023 CX-50 SUV, which is well-equipped to take on compact crossover rivals such as the Hyundai TucsonNissan Rogue, and Toyota RAV4. The CX-50 is available with either a naturally aspirated 187-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder or a turbocharged version of that engine making 256 horsepower. All models come with a six-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. A hybrid model is also in the works that will use a powertrain from Toyota.

The CX-50 shares a platform with the subcompact CX-30 crossover and the Mazda 3 compact car so it offers athletic handling similar to those two winners. Although it’s barely larger than the company’s CX-5 SUV, the CX-50 wears more rugged styling, which is a departure from the more refined, upscale designs found elsewhere in the Mazda lineup.


What’s New for 2023?

The CX-50 is an all-new model for the brand and Mazda says that it will be sold alongside the slightly smaller CX-5, which is on an older platform. How long the two will be in dealers together is unknown.


Pricing and Which One to Buy

Preferred Plus
Premium Plus
Turbo Premium
Turbo Premium Plus

The CX-50 is available in a plethora of trim levels ranging from fairly basic to downright luxurious, but we’d recommend going with the Turbo model. It adds the more powerful 256-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine and increases towing capacity to 3500 pounds. It also comes standard with a host of desirable features, including a panoramic sunroof, a 10.3-inch infotainment display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and leather upholstery with heated front seats.

Engine, Transmission, and Performance

All models will come with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder but the one to get is the more powerful turbocharged variant offering 256 horsepower; the base non-turbo offering makes just 187 hp. A six-speed automatic is standard, as is all-wheel drive, and Mazda has baked-in crisp handling to the CX-50 so that it carries on the company’s tradition of offering fun-to-drive vehicles. In fact, during our initial test drive, we praised the CX-50 for providing a joyful driving experience and accurate steering while preserving a comfortable ride.

A hybrid model will join the lineup later on with a powertrain sourced from Toyota. We expect it to be the one found in the RAV4 Hybrid, which is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder with two electric motors good for a combined 219 horsepower. So far, we’ve only had a chance to test the turbocharged model, but it managed a 6.6-second rip to 60 mph at our track.

Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG

The most efficient CX-50 is the one with the base four-cylinder. That model is rated for 24 mpg city and 30 mpg highway, but going with the optional turbo only drops those number by 1 mpg respectively while adding a lot of performance. On our 75-mph highway fuel economy test route, the turbocharged CX-50 managed 28 mpg. For more information about the CX-50’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.

Interior, Comfort, and Cargo

Like the CX-5 and CX-30 crossovers, the CX-50 offers space for five passengers in two rows of seats. Inside, large square dashboard vents give the 50 a slightly more truckish look than the smaller CX-30, but the overall vibe is tastefully upscale, especially on the loaded Premium Plus trim. The front seats are comfortable and supportive; rear seat space is generous as well, but it should be noted that the CX-5 offers more headroom. All models come with a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, push-button start, and a partially-digital gauge display.

Infotainment and Connectivity

While the base CX-50 comes with a smaller 8.8-inch infotainment display, all other trims get a larger 10.3-inch screen; both versions run the latest version of the Mazda Connect interface and are controlled via a click wheel mounted on the center console. All models come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, both with wireless connectivity. An eight-speaker stereo is standard but Premium and Premium Plus models come with a 12-speaker Bose stereo with SiriusXM satellite radio. A wireless phone charger is available, but only on the top Turbo Premium Plus.

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Safety and Driver-Assistance Features

The CX-50 comes standard with a full suite of driver-assistance features, including lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control. Other features, such as automatic high-beam headlamps and a 360-degree exterior camera system are optional. For more information about the CX-50’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:

  • Standard automated emergency braking
  • Standard lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist
  • Standard adaptive cruise control


Warranty and Maintenance Coverage

Kia and Hyundai both offer better warranty coverage than Mazda, and some other automakers that play in this segment offer complimentary maintenance.

  • Limited warranty covers three years or 36,000 miles
  • Powertrain warranty covers five years or 60,000 miles
  • No complimentary scheduled maintenance



2023 Mazda CX-50
Vehicle Type: front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door wagon

Base/As Tested: $37,625/$43,170

Options: Premium Plus package (ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, 12-speaker Bose audio, Sirius XM radio, wireless phone charger, navigation, head-up display, front and rear parking sensors, 360-degree view, blind-spot detection, traffic-jam assist), $5150; Zircon Sand Metallic paint, $395

turbocharged and intercooled Miller-capable inline-4, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection

Displacement: 152 in3, 2488 cm3
Power: 256 hp @ 5000 rpm
Torque: 320 lb-ft @ 2500 rpm

6-speed automatic

Suspension, F/R: struts/trailing arm

Brakes, F/R: 12.8-in vented disc/12.8-in disc
Tires: Goodyear Eagle Touring
245/45R-20 99V M+S

Wheelbase: 110.8 in

Length: 185.8 in
Width: 75.6 in
Height: 63.9 in
Passenger Volume: 98 ft3
Cargo Volume: 31 ft3
Curb Weight: 3866 lb

60 mph: 6.6 sec

1/4-Mile: 15.1 sec @ 91 mph
100 mph: 18.8 sec
120 mph: 35.5 sec
Results above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.
Rolling Start, 5–60 mph: 7.2 sec
Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 3.6 sec
Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 5.0 sec
Top Speed (mfr’s claim): 142 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 161 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 0.87 g

Observed: 20 mpg

75-mph Highway Driving: 28 mpg
75-mph Highway Range: 440 mi

Combined/City/Highway: 25/23/29 mpg


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2023 Mazda CX 50 Review

The salesperson throws you the keys to a new 2023 Mazda CX-50 and you sit in the driver’s seat. Whoa. It’s probably been years since you were behind the wheel of a new car, and here you are, butterflies in your stomach and a little overwhelmed. As your hands grasp the leather-wrapped steering wheel, one thought bubbles to the surface: What am I supposed to look for?


The experience can be overwhelming, but we’re here to help. We’ve spent thousands of miles driving our yearlong 2023 CX-50 2.5 T and plenty more with the standard-engine CX-50, too. Spending so much time with these SUVs gives us a unique perspective, and we have a good idea of what they offer. Here are five things to consider on a CX-50 test drive.

1. Connect And Use The Dial

If it seems strange that we’re starting a driving-focused review with your smartphone, let us explain—the goal is to make this time as close to your routine as possible. So if you are a regular user of Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, after you adjust the seat and mirrors, connect your phone to the car. The 2023 CX-50 has standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as a 10.3-inch touchscreen on all but the base trim. That’s a great start, and it means you don’t need to upgrade to a higher-level trim to get good tech.

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Consider two things: How the infotainment system operates, and the screen’s positioning. Although the phone-mirroring features can operate via touch, the rotating infotainment dial is more conveniently placed about where your hand falls. Can you see yourself switching from the music screen to the maps screen easily?

We’ve found that with a little practice, using the dial is easier than touchscreens. When you’re in motion, touchscreens are more prone to inaccuracy; one ill-timed bump sends your finger to a different on-screen button than the one you wanted. That’s never an issue with the dial, though some MotorTrend editors still prefer touchscreens.

One feature we’ve come to love is something we discovered over time: pressing the Home button below the dial gets you either to a calming view of a clock or, if you’re in Apple CarPlay, sends you to our preferred layout, which splits the screen between Spotify and a navigation map. Easy, and you can access it without looking away from the road.

Finally, notice how the 10.3-inch screen is positioned at the top of the dash and is tilted slightly toward the driver. Though not everyone is a fan of the screen’s short height, its great positioning again means less time glancing down from the road to a screen.

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2. Pay Attention To Steering Weight

Heavy steering doesn’t inherently make an SUV sporty, but the CX-50’s steering has both qualities. We enjoy driving the CX-50, but do wish it required less effort to turn, even from one residential street to another. Having said that, CX-5 owners may find the CX-50 a slight relief in steering effort.

Also, in the CX-50’s case, this editor found the communicative steering to be exactly what was needed to feel confident in any maneuver. This is another one of those situations where the CX-50 divides the MotorTrend staff. In any case, if you start wondering whether the CX-50 feels heavier to turn than your car, it may not be you.

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3. Suspension Harshness

The best sport sedans communicate what’s happening on the road but not so much that every trip becomes an exhausting chore where you feel every bump. Because the CX-50 wears a Mazda badge, it should come as little surprise that the compact SUV is tuned toward sportiness. If you want a cushier suspension, get a Subaru Forester. But you don’t want that boxy Subaru; you’re interested in a Mazda because the CX-50 speaks to you.

Unfortunately, the CX-50’s ride on available 20-inch wheels is firm, so make sure you can live with the suspension tuning. If you aren’t sure after a test drive or two, try a CX-50 with its standard 17s or the Meridian trim and its 18s. Though we prefer how the CX-50 looks on its available 20-inch wheels, other trims’ less aggressive rubber may result in a more cushy ride.

4. Acceleration

Do you ever press the accelerator pedal down more than halfway? If so, this one’s important. Our test had the CX-50 Turbo hitting 60 mph in 7.0 seconds. Not bad, but also not great; we wish the SUV were quicker even if it does sound sweet at wide-open throttle. The base-engine CX-50 does the 0-60 sprint in 8.5 seconds, which is OK for its segment.

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We’ve noticed that the six-speed automatic prevents the CX-50 Turbo from feeling quicker on the street. On those occasions that we call upon all 227 horses (or 256 with 93-octane fuel), the transmission does what can only be described as taking a deep breath in the middle of its hustle up an on-ramp. With the CX-50 in any 2.5 S trim (the base engine), you’ll simply have to plan your passes.

That’s no different than most of the standard-engine competition, however. Both engines earn a “satisfactory” grade here; just don’t assume either is a good fit without driving them first.

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5. Seating Position

One key side effect of being longer, lower, and wider than the similarly priced CX-5 is that the CX-50 feels different from behind the wheel. We love the view over the long and mostly flat hood, but if we were buying one, we’d need to think hard about whether we were OK with the lower seating position. If sitting high up is a main reason for wanting a new SUV, well, the CX-50 may not be for you. Sure, it’s higher than a car, but it also feels lower than many other SUVs.

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Part of what makes the CX-50 appealing is that it’s not for everyone. This isn’t an everyperson’s SUV like the Honda CR-V; instead, it caters to a specific type of buyer, one who values driving, good exterior design, and wants to project a slightly outdoorsy image. Hopefully, after some time behind the wheel, it’ll be clear whether the CX-50 makes sense for you.

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