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Review of the 2023 Mazda CX-50: A Compact SUV Packed with Power

Image Source: O P Z Creative / Shutterstock

The Mazda CX-5 is widely regarded as one of the top choices for a compact SUV, and now Mazda is looking to continue that success with the slightly larger CX-50. The addition of a “0” in the name positions the CX-50 above the CX-5 in Mazda’s SUV lineup but below the CX-7.

The CX-50 is built on a different platform from the CX-5 and instead shares its newer platform with the Mazda 3 and CX-30. Compared to the CX-5, the CX-50 is 5.7 inches longer and 3.0 inches wider, with a lower roofline by 2.2 inches, giving it a sleeker and sportier appearance.

The CX-50 is more geared for adventure with its higher ground clearance, set at 8.3 inches for the S models and 8.6 inches for the Turbo models.

The increased size of the CX-50 translates to more spacious interiors, addressing a common critique of the CX-5. There is now more legroom for passengers in the back seat and increased cargo space.

Following the trend of Mazda’s other SUVs, the interior of the CX-50 has a premium and luxurious feel with its minimalist design.

An 8.8-inch infotainment display comes standard, with an optional larger 10.3-inch display available. However, like other Mazdas, the infotainment system, Mazda Connect, is not the most favored choice. Navigation through the system is done via a knob on the center console. Touchscreen functionality is limited to Apple CarPlay or Android Auto when the vehicle is stationary. Otherwise, users are left with the knob interface.

Buyers can select from two four-cylinder engine options for the CX-50. The base model includes a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine producing 187 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. The turbocharged variant boosts the figures to 256 hp and 320 lb-ft on premium fuel or 227 hp and 310 lb-ft on 87 octane. Both engines come with a six-speed automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive is standard. A hybrid model is also in the works.

The naturally aspirated engine achieves fuel economy ratings of 24 mpg city, 30 mpg highway, and 27 mpg combined, while the turbocharged version is rated at 23/29/25 mpg.

When on the road, the CX-50 offers a sportier feel compared to the CX-5 due to its wider stance and lower center of gravity. The vehicle feels more stable with minimal body roll, providing a more enjoyable driving experience than many of its competitors. The turbocharged engine delivers ample low-end torque, making acceleration from a standstill or merging onto highways effortless.

Additionally, the CX-50 is equipped with four driving modes: Normal, Sport, Off-Road, and Towing. The Sport mode enhances the steering response and powertrain agility. The Off-Road mode is a novelty, aimed at improving the vehicle’s performance on trails, although it lacks specialized settings for sand or mud.

For towing enthusiasts, the S models can tow up to 2,000 pounds, while the turbo version can tow up to 3,500 pounds.

The starting price for the 2023 Mazda CX-50 is $28,825, including destination charges.

Despite its name, the CX-50 distinguishes itself from the CX-5 by offering a more sophisticated design, a luxurious interior, and sportier driving dynamics that are not typically found in this segment.

Image Source: O P Z Creative / Shutterstock

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