You may be wondering if the world really needs another compact SUV, but an appealing new option has entered the arena. The Mazda CX-50 is mechanically similar to the popular Mazda CX-5 but has a lower, longer, and wider wagon-like body and a bit more of a rugged personality.
This isn’t a hardcore off-roader, but it does have standard AWD, decent towing muscle, and an off-road drive mode. Even if you never venture off the pavement, the CX-50 has a lot going for it as a comfortable and practical daily commuter.
Legroom and headroom are pretty good in the front seats of the Mazda CX-50. The seats are supportive and comfortable for short commutes and long road trips alike. Meanwhile, you’ll hear few complaints from the back-seat occupants. They have a good amount of legroom, and the flat roofline yields plenty of headroom.
Although the CX-50 is best classified as an SUV, it has a lower seating position that almost makes it feel like you’re driving a sedan or wagon. If you like sitting up higher with a commanding view of the road, you may prefer the CX-5.
Even the base 2.5 S trim comes well-appointed with standard features. Before we step inside, you should know that it has a standard 2.5-liter inline-4 engine and standard all-wheel drive on every trim.
Standard features include Sport and Off-Road drive modes, push-button start, air conditioning with pollen filter, remote keyless entry, cloth seats, 60/40-split folding back seats, a rear center armrest, 17-inch alloy wheels, and the basics you would expect like power windows.
The standard infotainment system is an 8.8-inch display with Bluetooth, Android Auto, wireless Apple CarPlay, and dual front USB ports. All but the base trim feature a bigger 10.25-inch screen, HD Radio, and dual rear USB charging ports.
Other features you get when you upgrade to the Select trim include dual-zone automatic climate control, half leatherette seats, an overhead console with an LED room lamp, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.
The Preferred trim adds heated front seats, heated mirrors, and a power liftgate, while the Preferred Plus model further adds a power moonroof.
The CX-30 enters luxury SUV territory with the Premium trim. It has leather seating, a memory driver’s seat, a power front passenger seat, an auto-dimming mirror with a universal garage door opener, SiriusXM, and a Bose 12-speaker premium audio system. Premium Plus adds even more luxury with 20-inch wheels, a head-up display, ventilated front seats, and power-folding mirrors.
Three trims come with an exciting turbocharged engine that brings a significant upgrade in performance. All turbocharged models come with a tow mode, and they can pull up to 3,500 pounds, which is a lot for an SUV this size. Turbo models also come with paddle shifters, LED combination taillights with signature lighting, and an adaptive front lighting system.
The 2.5 Turbo model is the most affordable turbocharged CX-50. Other than the engine, its list of features is similar to the Preferred Plus trim. On top of that, the Turbo Premium and Turbo Premium Plus trims are equipped similarly to their non-turbo counterparts.
The interior design and material quality are among the many strong suits of the Mazda CX-50. The Mazda brand has been building premium cars and SUVs without premium prices for a while now. The all-new CX-50 continues that trend. You’ll feel like you’re sitting in a more expensive vehicle, especially in the upper trims.
Cloth seats are standard, but the mid-range trims have more upscale half leatherette, half cloth seats, while the higher trims are full leather. Also, most trims come with a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. Meanwhile, there’s a pleasant lack of cheap, hard plastics throughout the cabin. Everything the driver touches feels nice.
As for the interior design, it has a lovely simplicity to it. You can control the infotainment system with a knob, but while using Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, you can use touch controls like a tablet. All other controls are easy for the driver to use without a learning curve.
The wagon-like body of the Mazda CX-50 yields a pretty roomy cargo hold. It also has a respectably low load floor for an SUV in this class, making it easier to load and unload. Standard 60/40-split folding back seats allow for some customization of passenger and cargo space.
With the back seats in place, you get 31.4 cubic feet of cargo room. That increases to 56.3 cubic feet with the back seats folded down. That’s more space than the Mazda CX-5 but less than the roomiest SUVs in this class like the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4.
Build and price your own 2023 Mazda CX-50 to see this week’s Fair Purchase Price, 5-Year Cost to Own, and more, or see CX-50 models for sale near you.