2023 Mazda CX-50 - Performance, Prices, and Photos
Mazda’s low-key off-roader is more capable than what your average mid-size SUV can doby Amreetam Basu, on LISTEN 23:30
A new SUV joins Mazda’s current line-up, and it is an essential model for the Japanese brand. The CX-50 is not entirely based on the already popular CX-5, but has a lot of similarities, like the powertrains and the cabin components. Things that make the CX-50 special are its aggressive stance, ruggedness, better cabin space, improved off-road capabilities, and towing capacity. In simpler words, it will go head-to-head with the Hyundai Tucson, the Toyota RAV4, and the Subaru Outback. For the powertrain choices, like always, you will have the CX-50 with a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter four-pot, and a turbocharged version of the same. Both are quite potent and will drive all four wheels by default. The new CX-50 is selling side-by-side with the CX-5, but the former is much better in terms of overall looks, is more compliant for off-roading, and is slightly bigger. So, should you consider the CX-50 without comparing it to its prime rivals? Well, here’s your answer.
2023 Mazda CX-50 - Performance, Prices, and Photos
What’s New for the 2023 Mazda CX-50?
The CX-50 is an all-new model from Mazda and is available in nine trims. The first six trims are powered by a 2.5-liter naturally aspirated inline-four engine with 187 horsepower, while the latter three have a turbocharged version of the same engine with a 256-horsepower rating. All-wheel-drive is standard across all trims, and the CX-50 rides on a new platform. Mazda will also offer a panoramic moonroof as an option.
2023 Mazda CX-50 Trims
|S||2.5-liter naturally aspirated inline-four||Six-speed shiftable automatic||AWD||$26,800|
|S Select||2.5-liter naturally aspirated inline-four||Six-speed shiftable automatic||AWD||$28,200|
|S Preferred||2.5-liter naturally aspirated inline-four||Six-speed shiftable automatic||AWD||$29,500|
|S Preferred Plus||2.5-liter naturally aspirated inline-four||Six-speed shiftable automatic||AWD||$31,940|
|Premium||2.5-liter naturally aspirated inline-four||Six-speed shiftable automatic||AWD||$34,400|
|Premium Plus||2.5-liter naturally aspirated inline-four||Six-speed shiftable automatic||AWD||$36,400|
|Turbo||2.5-liter turbocharged inline-four||Six-speed shiftable automatic||AWD||$36,400|
|Turbo Premium||2.5-liter turbocharged inline-four||Six-speed shiftable automatic||AWD||$39,550|
|Turbo Premium Plus||2.5-liter turbocharged inline-four||Six-speed shiftable automatic||AWD||$41,550|
We love how the new CX-50 looks. The added ruggedness and more aggressive front fascia add to the overall road presence of this new mid-size SUV. The brand’s Kodo design language, which debuted with the CX-5, now evolves with a more rugged and sleek aesthetic. The signature Mazda grille design returns with LED headlights flanking the sides. The bumper design is unique for Mazda. There is a thick plastic cladding below the lower intake grille down the front bumper, and the sleek LED turn signals are placed above it. The brake cooling vents add to the sportier appearance, but are smaller in reality. The hood has some heavy creases to match the front face design.
The thick black borders on the wheel arches and side skirts do make the sides look like a proper off-roader. A set of 17-inch alloy wheels are fitted as standard with all-season rubber, while 20-inch wheels are found on the higher trims. Apart from the matching LED taillights and dual exhaust tips, there is a roof spoiler, two air outlet vents, and thicker plastic cladding on the rear bumper.
Built on the same platform as the CX-30, the new CX-50 is longer and wider than the relatively older CX-5. The CX-50 measures 185.8 inches in length, 75.6 inches in width without the mirrors, 63.5 inches in height, and has a 110.8-inch long wheelbase. The ground clearance is pretty good, too, at 8.3 inches, which is pretty normal for an off-roader though. As an SUV, it is slightly on the heavier side at 3,706 pounds, and that is mainly because of the AWD system equipped as standard.
Compared to the RAV4, the Outback, and the Tucson, the CX-50 is the heaviest. The Outback is the longest at 191.3 inches and sits 8.7 inches off the ground. The RAV4 is a little compact in both length and ground clearance. The Tucson has the lowest ground clearance of 7.1 inches, but Hyundai does not sell it under the off-roader category. The CX-50, on the other side, has the longest wheelbase and is shorter than both the RAV4 and the Outback.
|Ground Clearance||8.3 in.|
|Curb Weight||3,706 lbs.|
The 2023 Mazda CX-50 is offered in a total of seven colors:
- Polymetal Gray Metallic- $395
- Jet Black Mica
- Ingot Blue Mica
- Wind Chill Pearl- $395
- Soul Red Crystal Metallic- $595
- Machine Gray Metallic- $595
- Zircon Sand Metallic- $395
The base S model is offered in three colors: Polymetal Gray Metallic, Ingot Blue Mica, and Jet Black Mica. All the other models get access to Soul Red Crystal Metallic, Wind Chill Pearl, and Machine Gray Metallic apart from the base color options. The Zircon Sand Metallic is our favorite color and definitely makes the CX-50 look more rugged and off-road biased. This color is available only on the turbo models.
For a compact SUV like the CX-50, nothing is exhilarating about the performance; at least not with the base 2.5-liter four-pot with 186 horses rating. Its naturally aspirated nature makes city driving sluggish. But, unlike other mid-size SUVs in the segment, the CX-50 comes with an all-wheel-drive system out of the box, so, traction issues are non-existent.
Similar to the other Mazda cars like the CX-5, the 0-60 timing should be around eight seconds, and a standing quarter-mile timing should be around 16.5 seconds. However, if you want more punchy performance on the road, the turbocharged version of the 2.5-liter engine might put a smile on your face. We expect the turbo models of the CX-50 to do naught to 60 in about 6.2 seconds, and a standing quarter-mile in about 15 seconds. Put your foot down, and you will reach up to 125 miles per hour before hitting the limiter. We don’t have the claimed numbers for the CX-50, but we think that the performance among all four SUVs, including the Outback, RAV4, and the Tucson will be very similar.
The turbocharged models offer a higher towing capacity compared to the CX-5. While the standard non-turbo models can tow 2,000 pounds, the turbo models can tow up to 3,500 pounds. The RAV4 and the Outback have the same towing capacity as the CX-50.
Engine and Transmission
While the CX-50 moniker is new, the drivetrain used is the same old 2.5-liter engine with the same six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel-drive system. The base 2.5-liter engine is naturally aspirated, and it pushes out 187 horses at 6,000 revs along with 186 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 revs. The turbo models, as you must have guessed, are powered by the same engine, but there is a turbocharger plonked in. So, you will see a good punchy performance from the four-pot: 256 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque. However, the said power figures are only available if you fill up the tank with 93 octane gas. The power comes down to 227 ponies and 310 pound-feet of twist when running on street gas. The six-speed gearbox is not the fastest to shift gears and at times feels sluggish with the downshifts. Both the engines are quite refined for everyday usage: be it in the city or the highways.
If you are curious about the power figures produced by the rivals, the Tucson and the Outback are pretty similar in putting out over 180 horses. Comparatively, the CX-50’s base engine has better torque. The RAV4 and the Tucson come with just one engine option, but the former is powered by a 203 horsepower four-pot. However, the turbo flat-four from the Subaru Outback has more horsepower compared to the CX-50’s turbo inline-four. But the latter produces more torque, which will help you get hooked up real quick.
|Engine||2.5-liter naturally aspirated inline-four||2.5-liter turbocharged inline-four|
|Transmission||Six-speed shiftable automatic||Six-speed shiftable automatic|
|Horsepower||187 hp @ 6,000 RPM||256 hp @ 5,000 RPM|
|Torque||186 lb-ft @ 4,000 RPM||320 lb-ft @ 2,000 RPM|
|0-60 mph||8.0 seconds||6.2 seconds|
|Top Speed||125 mph||125 mph|
2023 Mazda CX-50 Mileage
Both the naturally aspirated and the turbocharged engines of the CX-50 are not the best for mileage in its segment. The EPA has rated the CX-50 base model with 24 miles per gallon in the city, 30 miles per gallon on the highway, and 27 miles per gallon combined. When compared to its prime rivals, the figures are mediocre. The base RAV4 with AWD is rated at 27/34/30, while the Outback is rated at 26/33/29 for city/highway/combined. The 2.5-liter turbo four-pot models reduce the city and highway figures by a mile per gallon and delivers 25 miles per gallon combined. The turbocharged engine, despite making more power, delivers decent economy, even when compared to the Outback’s turbo flat-four. The 15.8-gallon gas tank will deliver about 426 miles with the base engine and about 395 miles with the turbocharged engine.
|CX-50 w/base engine||24||30||27|
|CX-50 w/turbocharged engine||23||29||25|
Similar to the other Mazda compact SUVs like the CX-30, and the CX-5, the new CX-50, offers a good cabin atmosphere with a lot of space inside. Sitting in the driver’s seat will give you a clear view of the dashboard, and you will notice that you are in a commanding position. Speaking of the dashboard design, there is a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a seven-inch display for driver information with a round bezel around it, and an 8.8-inch infotainment display as standard. The dashboard design is simple and typical Mazda, with a flowing design and a soft-touch plastic top. The higher trims have leather trims on the middle part of the dashboard and the door panels. But, there are a couple of hard plastics around the cabin, especially the lower part of the dash and the door panels, which is not exactly Mazda-like. Thankfully, Mazda has retained the physical buttons and knobs for the HVAC system. The center console has two cup-holders upfront, followed by the drive selector, the control knob for the infotainment system, a parking brake button, and a volume knob. The center console has a piano black trim all around it.
Seating and Interior Space
The seating comfort is not something you should be worried about with the CX-50, or any SUV in its class, for that matter. As for the seating space, both the rows have plenty of room to fit five people easily. The front row has 39.1 inches of headroom, a generous 55.9 inches of shoulder room, and 41.7 inches of legroom. The rear row has 38.6 inches of headroom, 53.6 inches of shoulder room, and 39.8 inches of legroom. While the RAV4’s rear row has slightly cramped legroom, the Tucson offers the best legroom - 41.3 inches. But, you will be more than happy with the CX-50’s cabin space. However, if you have passengers who are taller than usual, then the Hyundai Tucson will be better suited for you.
|Headroom||39.1 in.||38.6 in.|
|Shoulder Room||55.9 in.||53.6 in.|
|Hip Room||53.6 in.||52.1 in.|
|Leg Room||41.7 in.||39.8 in.|
Interior Colors and Materials
While the seat material changes from cloth to leatherette and then real leather, the colors stay almost the same until and unless you get the Turbo models. There are only black-colored seats for all the trims, even for the Turbo models, but the Terracotta color is optional and is exclusive to the top CX-50 models. As for the materials, you will have a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a lot of soft-touch and hard plastics on the dashboard. There are piano-black trims on the center console and door panels.
Mazda CX-50 Trunk and Cargo Space
Nothing ground-breaking, but the CX-50’s cargo space is a good 31.4 cubic feet. You can fit a couple of full-size suitcases, and even throw a bunch of duffles too, if you are planning to tour with the CX-50. But with the Tucson, you can have about eight cubic feet more than the CX-50, which is insanely spacious for a mid-size SUV. Even the RAV4 packs better cargo capacity than the CX-50. But on the inside, the CX-50 is not that different from the other SUVs in its segment. It has a decent-sized glovebox, a center console bin, door pockets, and seatback sleeves for added storage.
Mazda CX-50 Infotainment and Features
The CX-50 comes generously equipped with a lot of features. The base S trim comes with manual front seat adjustments, air-conditioning, cloth upholstery, a seven-inch MID, push-button ignition, a rearview camera, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Moving up the trim list, you will have a dual-zone automatic AC, a power moonroof, power-adjustable front seats, a heated driver’s seat, and a heated steering wheel. The top-spec Turbo Premium Plus comes with heated rear seats, but you will expect features like this from a vehicle that costs $41,550.
Mazda’s infotainment system has always been demanding when it comes to accessibility, but the CX-50 kind of gets things slightly better. An 8.8-inch touchscreen display sits atop the dashboard as standard, but there is a 10.25-inch display fitted to the top-spec models. We say it is a touchscreen, but there is a catch. See, Mazda did not want to give away the control knob for a fully functioning touchscreen, since the user interface is optimized accordingly. Instead, the screen only responds to touch when you are connected to CarPlay or Android Auto. Also, both the displays sit far from the convenient position, so you will have to use the control knob anyway. By the way, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay can be connected wirelessly. An eight-speaker sound system comes fitted as standard, but there is a 12-speaker Bose premium audio unit, which is not the best in its segment. Other important infotainment system features include SiriusXM, navigation system, and USB ports, which are available on the higher trims.
2023 Mazda CX-50 Problems and Reliability
The CX-50 is an all-new model for 2023, so we don’t have reliability scores from J.D. Power. But we have the CX-30, which is built on the same platform as the CX-50 and scores decent with 79 out of 100 in the Consumer Rating. But the NHTSA tells us otherwise, that the CX-30 has been recalled thrice in its past iterations. As for the record, Mazda cars were never known the best for reliability over time. The CX-5 remains untouched by recalls, but the Mazda3 sedan has been recalled twice for the 2020 model year, and once for the 2021 model year. Yes, if you compare it to the other Japanese cars, Mazda cars fall short of reliability. And, there are the warranty concerns that Mazda car owners have been facing over time. You will only have three years of basic warranty and up to five years or 60,000 miles of drivetrain warranty. Five years or unlimited miles warranty is provided against corrosion, and roadside assistance will be provided for up to three years or 36,000 miles. The Hyundai Tucson comes with five years of basic warranty, ten years of drivetrain warranty, seven years for corrosion, and five years of roadside assistance.
|Length||3 years||5 years||5 years||3 years|
|Mileage||36,000 miles||60,000 miles||Unlimited miles||36,000 miles|
2023 Mazda CX-50 Safety
For the time being, we don’t have the safety ratings for the CX-50 from NHTSA and IIHS. But, given how other Mazda cars perform in the crash tests, we can guess that the CX-50 will perform similarly, which means, a five-star rating along with the “Top Safety Pick+” award.
Key Safety Features
The CX-50 comes loaded with driver-assist tech, and even the base trim is not deprived of it. So we have:
- Adaptive cruise control
- Lane-keeping assist
- Automated emergency braking
- Lane departure warning
- Blindspot monitoring
- Rear cross-traffic alert
Blindspot prevention, a surround-view camera, and traffic jam assist are optional features on the lower trims but found standard on the top-spec Turbo Premium Plus.
Other important safety features (passive) are as follows:
- Eight airbags
- Traction control
- Airbag occupant sensing deactivation
- Dusk sensing headlamps
- Tire pressure monitoring
Verdict: Is the Mazda CX-50 a Good Car?
With the right amount of fun and comfort infused in the CX-50, Mazda is trying to expand its territory to a more rugged yet sporty SUV, which includes both the CX-5 and the CX-30 lack. Yes, it is relatively new to the game where the Tucson, the RAV4, and the Outback are rapidly gaining popularity. Except for the powertrain, we think that the CX-50 is a good mid-size SUV with a majority of the right ingredients for the younger generation drivers. But one of the main caveats is the base engine’s fuel economy, which is not as good as the RAV4 or the Tucson. Also, the cargo capacity is not the best you can get for the price. But for the majority of the consumers, we feel that 31.4 cubic feet are more than enough. One of the main reasons to consider the CX-50 is for its claimed off-roading capabilities. Although it is not made to take down the Jeep Wrangler or the Range Rover. The 2023 CX-50 is a much-needed Mazda for fans who wanted something rugged from the brand, and it will take some time to make its name in the mid-size SUV market.
What is the Price of the 2023 Mazda CX-50?
While the lower trims are priced considerately, the top trims are priced premium. All CX-50 models are priced below, excluding the $1,225 destination charges.
- S- $26,800
- S Select- $28,200
- S Preferred- $29,500
- S Preferred Plus- $31,940
- S Premium- $34,400
- S Premium Plus- $36,400
- Turbo- $36,400
- Turbo Premium- $39,550
- Turbo Premium Plus- $41,550
2023 Mazda CX-50 Models
- 17-inch wheels
- LED headlamps
- Rain-sensing wipers
- Power side mirrors
- Push-button start
- Air conditioning
- Leather-wrapped steering wheel
- 12-volt power outlets
- Cloth upholstery
- Six-way manually adjustable driver’s seat
- Four-way manually adjustable front passenger’s seat
- 8.8-inch infotainment display
- Seven-inch MID
- Eight-speaker audio unit
- Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration
- Rear privacy glass
- Keyless entry and start
- Dual-zone automatic climate control
- Leather-wrapped gear selector
- Cloth/leatherette trimmed seats
- 10.25-inch infotainment system
- Rear USB charging ports
- HD radio
- Power liftgate
- Heated side mirrors
- Heated front seats
- Eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat
S Preferred Plus
- Power moonroof
- 10.25-inch display
- Leather upholstery
- 12-speaker Bose premium sound system
- Auto-dimming rearview mirror
- Six-way power-adjustable front passenger seat
S Premium Plus
- 20-inch wheels
- Black metallic accents
- Heads-up display
- Ventilated front seats
- LED taillights
- 20-inch wheels
- Sport exhausts
- Paddle shifters
- 3,500 pounds towing capacity
- Red stitching on the steering wheel and the gear selector
- Heated steering wheel
- Two-position side mirror memory functions
- Power-folding side mirrors
- Roof-mounted shark-fin antenna
Turbo Premium Plus
- Heated rear seats
- Wireless charging pad
- Front and rear parking sensors
- 360-degree camera
What Mazda CX-50 Model Should I Buy?
As you saw above, there are nine trims to choose from in the whole CX-50 range. The turbocharged engine-based models are more adventurous and can tow better than non-turbo models. So if you want more performance and luxury, the turbocharged models should be your pick. But, given the prices, we feel that most of the consumers will prefer the lower trims, and for that, we would recommend the S Preferred. This trim is priced below $30,000 (excluding destination fee) while boasting features like heated front seats, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, a power liftgate, a 10.25-inch infotainment screen, and dual-zone automatic climate control.
2023 Mazda CX-50 Comparisons
|Model||Horsepower||MPG (Combined)||Price (MSRP)|
2023 Mazda CX-50 vs 2022 Toyota RAV4
Although new to the market, the CX-50 stands as a tough competitor to the already popular RAV4. But coming from Toyota, the RAV4 is more reliable, more feature-proof, and has a more affordable price tag than the CX-50. Also, there is just one engine option, which itself is more powerful than the base CX-50’s engine. The CX-50 has better rear legroom than the RAV4, but compromises on headroom, which is better in the RAV4. Also, the latter packs more cargo space than the Mazda. So it proves that for the price, you will have a lot of merits if you side with the RAV4.
Read our full review on the 2022 Toyota RAV4
2023 Mazda CX-50 vs 2022 Hyundai Tucson
The Tucson is a good-looking modern mid-size SUV with all the Hyundai goodness you can find, such as good reliability, an efficient powertrain, a long-lasting warranty, and of course, a cheaper starting price. The Tucson is cheaper than both the CX-50 and the RAV4, which makes it more popular while coming heavily equipped with features. The only caveat is that the Tucson is offered in just one engine, even for the N-Line trims, that is right. So, not the best performer on the road. Also, you have the option of AWD, as the CX-50 comes with AWD as standard.
Read our full review on the 2022 Hyundai Tucson