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 Tucson, Nissan 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
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. When we have a chance to take the CX-50 to our test track, we’ll update this story with test results.
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, although only the Apple system works wirelessly. 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.
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, 4-door, 5-passenger wagon
Base: 2.5 S, $28,025; 2.5 Turbo, $37,625; 2.5T Premium Plus, $42,775
DOHC 16-valve 2.5-liter inline-4, 187 hp, 186 lb-ft; turbocharged DOHC 16-valve 2.5-liter inline-4, 256 hp, 320 lb-ft
Wheelbase: 110.8 in
Length: 185.8 in
Width: 75.6 in
Height: 63.5-63.9 in
Passenger Volume: 98-100 ft3
Cargo Volume: 31 ft3
Curb Weight (C/D est): 3700-3900 lb
PERFORMANCE (C/D EST)
60 mph: 6.2-8.0 sec
1/4-Mile: 14.8-16.4 sec
Top Speed: 125 mph
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/City/Highway: 25-27/23-24/29-30 mpg
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