2023 Mazda CX-50

Mazda CX-50
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2023 Mazda CX-50 Test Drive Review: Take A Walk On The Wild Side

The Mazda CX-5 is our reference compact crossover for style, quality, and sophistication at family car pricing. Now, the Japanese brand has added a new quality to its format with the adventure-seeking Mazda CX-50. The CX-50 inserts ruggedness into the equation by adding off-road chops to a standard all-wheel-drive system and a longer wheelbase for enhanced practicality. The new CX-50 is available with two of Mazda's proven Skyactiv-G engines - a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder unit making 187 horsepower or a more powerful turbocharged version making 256 hp in ideal conditions. In both instances, power is sent to a clever all-wheel-drive system via a six-speed automatic transmission.

Mazda is making a bold move by adding a new line to its deliberately well-pruned model lineup. It looks like a smart one. It's a market generally ruled by Subaru, and the CX-50 is clearly set to go up against the Outback, but TRD trims from the Toyota RAV4 lineup are also in its sights. Mazda has its own philosophy for building an adventure vehicle, so we took ourselves up to Santa Barbara to give the new CX-50 in Turbo Premium Plus guise a workout on some of Northern California's roads and dirt tracks.

2023 Mazda CX-50 Changes: πŸš™What’s the difference vs 2022 CX-50?

The 2023 Mazda CX-50 is an all-new arrival, introducing a Mazda SUV for outdoor enthusiasts. 10 trims will be available (although the Turbo Meridian special edition will be a late release) along with two powertrains. The CX-50 comes with a 2.5-liter engine that is either naturally aspirated or turbocharged. In the case of the latter, and provided it's running on premium gas, the CX-50 delivers 256 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque. Every model in the lineup comes with a standard all-wheel-drive system plus an off-road driving mode. Mazda's signature Kodo design language works well on the CX-50, and for the first time on any Mazda, a panoramic moonroof will be available.

Pros and Cons

  • Rugged yet classy styling
  • More capable than CX-5
  • Strong turbocharged engine
  • Upscale interior
  • Appealing starting price
  • Decent towing capacity
  • Effective driving modes
  • Turbo models priced much higher
  • Still not intended for hardcore off-roading
  • Smaller trunk than Honda and Toyota rivals

Best Deals on CX-50

2023 Mazda CX-50 Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
2.5 S
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$26,800
2.5 S Select
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$28,200
2.5 S Preferred
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$29,500
2.5 S Preferred Plus
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$31,940
2.5 S Premium
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$34,400

CX-50 Exterior

Whereas you wouldn't want to get splashes of mud on the classy CX-5, the CX-50's more rugged design hints at its greater capability. Compared with the CX-5, the CX-50 has a broader stance, prominent black cladding around the wheels, and bold fender flares. But despite the rugged add-ons, it still comes across as a sophisticated product that fits right in on the road too.

Lower trims ride on 17-inch wheels, but pricier models have 20-inch alloys. All-season tires are standard across the lineup, and there's a temporary spare tire if you're stuck far from home. LED headlights, a rear roof spoiler, dual exhaust outlets, and roof rails are standard features. On upper trims, the manual-folding side mirrors can be folded automatically, and all turbocharged models have signature LED taillights. A power-sliding panoramic moonroof is a first for a Mazda and is equipped from the Preferred Plus Package and above.

2023 Mazda CX-50 Front View CarBuzz
2023 Mazda CX-50 Rear View CarBuzz
2023 Mazda CX-50 Forward Vision CarBuzz
See All 2023 Mazda CX-50 Exterior Photos

Dimensions

The Mazda CX-50's dimensions make for a generally larger vehicle than the CX-5. The newcomer is 6.7 inches longer than the CX-5, and its body - excluding the mirrors - is three inches wider. Interestingly, the CX-5 is taller despite the CX-50 having more ground clearance. The Mazda CX-50's length works out to 185.8 inches, it has a width of 75.6 inches without the mirrors, a 110.8-inch wheelbase, and a height of 63.5 inches with the shark fin antenna. Upper trims are marginally taller at 63.9 inches.

The Mazda CX-50's off-road specs won't intimidate Jeep Wrangler drivers, but it's good relative to other Mazda SUVs. Ground clearance is between 8.3 and 8.6 inches, comfortably more than the CX-5's maximum of 7.9 inches. For shoppers who will be using the CX-50 as intended, its approach/departure/breakover angles are as much as 18/25/18.4 degrees, respectively. Lower trims have a slightly reduced departure angle of 24 degrees.

When equipped with the naturally-aspirated engine, the new Mazda CX-50 has a curb weight of 3,706 pounds, increasing to 3,907 lbs with the turbocharged engine.

  • Length 185.8 in
  • Wheelbase 110.8 in
  • Height 63.5 in
  • Max Width 75.6 in
  • Curb Weight 3,706.0 lbs

Exterior Colors

Across the lineup, the handsome Mazda CX-50's color choices are a good blend of subtle and some spicier options. However, these colors are restricted in availability depending on the trim or interior color. The base 2.5 S comes in only Polymetal Gray Metallic, Jet Black Mica, and Ingot Blue Mica, with only the gray adding $395 to the bill. The remaining naturally-aspirated models have access to all these colors plus Wind Chill Pearl ($395), Machine Gray Metallic ($595), and Soul Red Crystal Metallic ($595).

The Soul Red has become something of a signature color for the Mazda brand and looks as good here as it does on the CX-5. However, the most unique color is Zircon Sand Metallic at $395, which we had on our tester. Available only on turbocharged variants, this is a new color and looks like something you'd expect to find on a Subaru SUV; it suits the off-road intentions of the CX-50 perfectly.

  • Jet Black Mica
  • Ingot Blue Mica
  • Polymetal Gray Metallic
  • Wind Chill Pearl
  • Machine Gray Metallic
  • Soul Red Crystal Metallic
  • Zircon Sand Metallic

CX-50 Performance

Mazda's 2.5-liter inline-4 gas engine powers the CX-50, either with or without turbocharging. In all cases, power goes to all four wheels. The base unit on lower trims makes 187 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque, whereas the 2.5-liter Turbo produces 227 hp and 310 lb-ft with regular unleaded. Running on premium gas, these outputs increase to a healthy 256 hp and 320 lb-ft.

While no acceleration figures have been quoted by the manufacturer, we expect the CX-50 to deliver similar performance to the CX-5. We know that the turbocharged CX-5 can go from 0-60 mph in about six seconds and expect much the same from the CX-50. The base engine provides acceptable acceleration and cruising but is occasionally a tad sluggish, whereas the turbocharged engine is much more potent off the mark and when it comes to mid-range acceleration. The manufacturer states that top speed is limited to 127 mph with the base engine, but goes up to 142 mph for the Turbo variant.

The Mazda CX-50's towing capacity is a lot better than the CX-5's, though. The naturally-aspirated engine can tow up to 2,000 lbs whereas the turbocharged models increase this to 3,500 lbs. By comparison, the CX-5 can only tow up to 2,000 lbs.

2023 Mazda CX-50 Front View Driving Mazda
2023 Mazda CX-50 Frontal Aspect CarBuzz
2023 Mazda CX-50 Engine Bay CarBuzz

Engine and Transmission

There are no surprises under the hood, with two Mazda CX-50 engine choices. Mazda's familiar 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G four-cylinder engine with 187 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque comes standard. There are four Turbo models - as the model name suggests, these add a turbocharger to the 2.5-liter engine, for outputs of 227 hp/310 lb-ft with regular gas or 256 hp/320 lb-ft with premium. In all cases, a 6-speed automatic gearbox with a manual shift mode is standard.

The gearbox isn't the most advanced around but it does the basic job of working its way through gears in a mostly refined fashion. The lower-powered engine is adequate, providing linear power delivery but running out of steam a little when the SUV is fully loaded. It's easy to notice the transition to the 2.5 Turbo model as it reaches its torque peak at just 2,500 rpm (with premium gas), whereas the naturally-aspirated model has to be revved a lot harder to extract the power you need when merging onto the highway at faster speeds. The 2.5 Turbo is no street racer engine, but the throttle tuning is impeccable and upgrading the engine adds a genuine swiftness to the CX-50.

Intriguingly, Mazda promises that electrified powertrains will follow for the CX-50 in the years ahead, including a traditional hybrid.

  • Engines
    2.5L Inline-4 Gas, 2.5L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
  • Transmission
    6-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrain
    AWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

Mazda has taken a very definite approach to the CX-50's dynamics. According to the automaker, the car should perform the same whether you're cruising on backroads, working through a tight dirt track, or towing a heavily-laden trailer. Hence, the CX-50 has four drive modes. There's Normal, Sport, Off-Road, and if you connect a hitch, Towing mode appears. Starting in Normal mode, as Mazda understands the vast majority of its journeys will be on tarmac, the CX-50 drives like the CX-5. The ride is firm but smooth, it's quick when called upon, and everything from the throttle control and braking is precise and responsive without having any sharp edges. That sounds like faint praise until you've driven a modern Mazda and realize what a brilliant achievement that is. The same translates into the dynamics, which are fun while remaining predictable. The Mazda CX-50's size also isn't so large that it feels unwieldy. One of the neat tricks Mazda's all-wheel-drive system pulls off is managing weight transfer electronically while still feeling natural. The CX-50 might be adjusting torque to shift a little of its weight balance to the front wheels when it knows you're going to corner, but you won't feel it, and if you're pushing the car, you still need to be able to drive.

Sport mode isn't a violent change in the CX-50's attitude, but the gears hold for longer under acceleration and downshift earlier when decelerating. On-center steering becomes more responsive, and the CX-50 becomes eager to tackle a twisting road. As advertised, the Off-Road mode doesn't make itself apparent until turning into a corner on a dusty track, and it just turns. Put it back in Normal mode and take the same corners at the same speed, and you're suddenly making the corrections you were expecting. It's not a miracle worker, but it brings a genuine consistency to cruising a dirt road. On steep inclines, the AWD system shifts torque around to where the weight has shifted to and keeps the grip consistent.

Towing mode is a new one for Mazda, and again, the keyword here is consistency. The AWD starts paying attention to the fact that heavy load on the back lightens the load on the front wheels and adjusts accordingly while on the move. The result is that you find a 3,000-pound trailer doesn't need the usual constant small inputs into steering to keep the vehicle in a straight line. Simply turning off Towing mode with a trailer hitched up quickly confirmed this.

CX-50 Gas Mileage

With more size and off-road bias than the CX-5, the CX-50 takes a slight hit in terms of its gas mileage. Mazda anticipates gas mileage figures of 24/30/27 mpg city/highway/combined for the base engine and 23/29/25 mpg for the turbocharged models. Those numbers are not quite as good as the most capable Toyota RAV4 - the TRD Offroad - which can attain 25/32/28 mpg.

With a 15.8-gallon gas tank, the CX-50 will be able to cover between 395 and 427 miles on a full tank.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    15.8 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 24/30 mpg
* 2023 Mazda CX-50 2.5 S AWD

CX-50 Interior

Mazda has been on a roll with its interior designs over the last few years. The learning curve inside a new Mazda product isn't steep because everything is exactly where you'd expect it to be and the instruments are clear. Mercifully, Mazda has retained physical controls for the CX-50's ventilation system. As standard, the base model comes with a six-way manually-adjustable front seat, an 8.8-inch color infotainment display, and a seven-inch TFT LCD meter display. Upper trims come with leatherette or leather upholstery, and there's a new Terracotta color scheme that's especially appealing. There are also high-end features like a head-up display and ventilated front seats on upper trims. Overall, the Mazda CX-50's interior is a great place to spend time.

2023 Mazda CX-50 Dashboard CarBuzz
2023 Mazda CX-50 Central Console CarBuzz
2023 Mazda CX-50 Infotainment System CarBuzz
See All 2023 Mazda CX-50 Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

The CX-50 is a five-seater, and the increased wheelbase over the CX-5 translates into added legroom and cargo space in the back. There's a generous 41.7 inches of legroom up front and 39.8 inches in the back, plenty for tall adults who'll also appreciate generous headroom. Hip room in the back is also generous, but you'll still want the smallest and slimmest person in the center of the back row. The base model gets a manually adjustable driver's seat, but it's not until the Premium Package that you get six-way power adjustment.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater
  • Front Leg Room 41.7 in
  • Front Head Room 39.1 in
  • Rear Leg Room 39.8 in
  • Rear Head Room 38.6 in

Interior Colors and Materials

Only the entry-level 2.5 S comes with cloth upholstery, whereas mid-range trims have half leatherette and the upper models boast leather upholstery. Most models have a black interior color scheme, but Terracotta is available for turbocharged derivatives. This interior can't, however, be paired with the Jet Black Mica exterior. On turbocharged models, the black leather has attractive camel stitching, whereas the Terracotta leather comes with orange stitching.

A leather-wrapped steering wheel is standard on all but the base model. In terms of trim inserts, these are silver-painted on lower trims or have a black metal look on pricier models. Like other Mazdas, the use of soft-touch materials gives the cabin an upscale appearance.

Mazda CX-50 SUV Trunk and Cargo Space

The Mazda CX-50's cargo space doesn't set any new benchmarks for the segment, but it's still useful. With all the seats in their normal position, the CX-50 provides 31.4 cubic feet of trunk space. That's just a smidge larger than the CX-5 but lags behind the more spacious trunks of the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V. A 60/40 split-remote-folding rear seat is standard on all but the base model. When the second row is folded, the CX-50 has 56.3 cubes available for accommodating larger items.

In the cabin, there are four cupholders - two in front and two embedded in the rear fold-down armrest. All models have door pockets in all four doors, a glovebox, and storage consoles in front. From the 2.5 S Preferred and up, a rear center armrest with storage is added. On the passenger side, there's a front seatback pocket, and every model besides the base trim has an overhead console for you to store your sunglasses.

2023 Mazda CX-50 Trunk Space CarBuzz
2023 Mazda CX-50 Armrest CarBuzz
2023 Mazda CX-50 Gearbox Controls CarBuzz

CX-50 Infotainment and Features

Features

Other than the entry-level model, the Mazda CX-50 is generously specified. The 2.5 S ships with air conditioning, push-button ignition, a seven-inch TFT LCD meter display, and a manual day/night rearview mirror. At this level, the driver has a six-way manually-adjustable seat and the front-seat passenger has access to a four-way manual seat. Every other model eschews the basic air conditioning for a more advanced dual-zone climate control system. As you work your way up the trim levels, the CX-50 gets a power rear liftgate, a power panoramic moonroof, advanced keyless entry, a heated steering wheel, heated front seats, and ventilated seats for the passengers up front. Most trims have an eight-way power driver's seat, but only the top Premium Plus with the turbo has heated rear seats.

The safety specification is in line with what one would expect in a modern SUV. As standard, all CX-50s have a rearview camera, blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keep assist, Mazda radar cruise control, and pedestrian detection. Front/rear parking sensors, a surround-view monitor, and traffic jam assist find their way onto the top trim.

Infotainment

Mazda doesn't deliver the best infotainment experience in its segment, but it's far from the worst. The standard 8.8-inch display is good, and Mazda's Connect software is well laid out and easy to navigate. Mazda has allowed touchscreen functionality for standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as they are designed for it, but the screen is positioned for the driver's eyeliner and not to use as a touchscreen. Instead, the rotary dial input system is well developed and easy to use. We prefer that kind of system to touchscreen when driving for the same reason as Mazda - safety. An eight-speaker sound system also comes standard but is upgradeable to a Bose system that we can't get too excited about. We do wish Mazda would partner up with a better and more attentive brand when it comes to in-car sound.

Two USB ports are standard, but two more are added in the back along with a 10.25-inch screen up front and HD Radio when you get to the 2.5 S Select Package. The next bump comes with the 2.5 S Premium Package, which adds AudioPilot, SiriusXM, and the underwhelming Bose system. The Turbo models have their own upgrade tree, but the components are the same. Navigation is standard on the top-spec model only.

CX-50 Problems and Reliability

As it is a brand-new vehicle, the CX-50 hasn't yet established a reliability record. No Mazda CX-50 review has yet been published by J.D. Power. However, the engines have been used in other Mazdas and the CX-50's platform is shared with the CX-30, a vehicle that has not suffered from any serious maladies. Based on this, we expect the CX-50 to uphold the brand's reputation for dependability.

Every new Mazda sold in the USA comes with a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. 24/7 roadside assistance is covered for three years or 36,000 miles.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    5 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles

CX-50 Safety

Both the IIHS and NHTSA have yet to evaluate the CX-50 for crashworthiness. However, the CX-50 shares its platform with the CX-30, and the latter attained a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA and a Top Safety Pick+ from the IIHS for 2022. We see no reason that the CX-50 won't be at least equally as safe.

Key Safety Features

Gone are the days when an entry-level model was deprived of basic driver-assistance features. In the CX-50, every version comes with a rearview camera, radar-based cruise control with stop and go, driver attention alert, pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert. The top trim additionally comes with blind-spot prevention, a 360-degree surround-view camera system, parking sensors at both ends of the body, rear smart brake support, and traffic jam assist.

Traditional safety equipment includes a suite of eight airbags. Besides the usual airbags, the CX-50 also has dual front knee airbags and side airbags for both rows.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2023 Mazda CX-50 a good SUV?

Mazda keeps its model range tight, which allows the automaker to spend time on its cars to get everything right. The CX-50 expands the lineup, but Mazda has, again, got things right. It's a beautifully measured car that weaves style, comfort, fun, assured driving dynamics, and a sense of adventure into a family-friendly package. The automatic comparison is to the Subaru Outback, a vehicle that has a solid reputation for rugged reliability. Mazda's CX-50 won't gain that reputation quickly, but we know Mazda has the chops to compete and brings a clever and consistent approach to its all-wheel-drive system. The CX-50 is a brilliant package that won't disappoint, whether you use it for urban adventures or slightly rockier roads.

🚘What's the Price of the 2023 Mazda CX-50?

The Mazda CX-50's price starts off quite reasonably, although top trims are significantly pricier. With the 2.5-liter base engine, the MSRP begins at $26,800 for the S derivative. This is followed by the S Select ($28,200), S Preferred ($29,500), S Preferred Plus ($31,940), S Premium ($34,400), and S Premium Plus ($36,400). The base 2.5 Turbo shares its starting price with the top-spec of the non-turbo derivates at $36,400, Turbo Premium ($39,550), and Premium Plus ($41,550). A late addition to the range is the Turbo Meridian Edition, but pricing has not yet been indicated for it.

The Mazda CX-50's MSRP excludes the destination charge of $1,225.

2023 Mazda CX-50 Models

The 2023 Mazda CX-50 SUV range is composed of nine models with one special edition to be added later on. Mazda refers to "packages" instead of "trims" to differentiate one from the next. The non-turbo models are the 2.5 S, 2.5 S Select Package, 2.5 S Preferred Package, 2.5 S Preferred Plus Package, 2.5 S Premium Package, and 2.5 S Premium Plus Package. Above this, the turbocharged models include the 2.5 Turbo, 2.5 Turbo Premium Package, and 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus Package. The Turbo Meridian Edition is still waiting in the wings.

The 2.5 S models use a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 187 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque, whereas the 2.5 Turbo variants make up to 256 hp and 320 lb-ft when running on premium gas. AWD and a six-speed automatic transmission are standard.

The 2.5 S starts things off with hill launch assist and an Off-Road mode, underlining the CX-50's more rugged nature. It rides on 17-inch alloys wrapped in all-terrain tires. LED headlights, cloth upholstery, air conditioning, an eight-speaker sound system, and an 8.8-inch color center display are all standard.

Next is the 2.5 S Select. It immediately introduces some meaningful upgrades over the entry-level model such as dual-zone automatic climate control, partial leatherette upholstery, a larger 10.25-inch color infotainment display, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

The 2.5 S Preferred has heated side mirrors, a windshield wiper de-icer, a power rear liftgate, an eight-way power driver's seat, and heated front seats.

The 2.5 S Preferred Plus adds a power-sliding panoramic moonroof and larger 10.25-inch infotainment screen, so it's up to you to decide if this feature alone is worth another $2,440.

A more significant step up is the 2.5 S Premium. Here, the CX-50 is lifted by its 12-speaker Bose sound system, leather upholstery, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with Homelink, and a six-way power front passenger seat.

The last of the less powerful lineup is the 2.5 S Premium Plus. It has a more aggressive appearance thanks to 20-inch alloy wheels with black metallic accents. Power-folding side mirrors, ventilated front seats, and a head-up display complete the package.

The 2.5 Turbo can be identified by its special badging, larger exhaust pipes, LED taillights, and adaptive LED front lighting. Thanks to the additional power, the towing capacity goes up to 3,500 lbs.

The 2.5 Turbo Premium adds the 12-speaker Bose sound system, a head-up display, a heated steering wheel, and ventilated front seats.

Finally, there's the pricey but fully loaded 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus. It uniquely comes with heated rear seats, wireless phone charging, navigation, front/rear parking sensors, and a 360-degree monitor.

Launching later is the 2.5 Turbo Meridian Edition. Besides having the more powerful turbocharged engine, this model will look unique thanks to exclusive 18-inch wheels, garnish for the headlights and side rockers, a roof platform, and graphics on the hood.

See All 2023 Mazda CX-50 Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

Mazda will offer a range of packages for the CX-50 when it goes on sale but hasn't yet specified the contents of all of them. We do know that Apex, Weather, Accent, Convenience, and Cargo packages will be made available. There will also be a range of accessories like crossbars, bike carriers, a rooftop tent, and a surfboard attachment to customize the CX-50 for your specific outdoor needs.

πŸš—What Mazda CX-50 Model Should I Buy?

With a large range of choices, there should be something for everyone looking at a family hauler-come-adventure vehicle. The naturally aspirated 2.5-liter engine should be enough for most, mainly if your soft-roading is fair weather and particularly mild - only hitting reasonably traveled and kept dirt tracks to camping, hiking, and biking spots, for example. The more adventurous families will want the Off-Road mode and Hill Control functions, but these are standard from the entry-level model, so the base model should get you most places you want to go when things get soft under the wheels. From there, it's a matter of weighing up the desirability and cost of more premium features.

For the particularly adventurous - those that consider it a lifestyle and those that put in the miles - the 2.5 Turbo models will be the most desirable. It will be essential for those towing a trailer regularly, but going up the trim levels from there is a matter of price and desired features. We get a little uncomfortable about the cost of the 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus, but if it's all about family hauling and putting in the miles, there are much worse ways to spend your money than Mazda's idea of style and comfort.

2023 Mazda CX-50 Comparisons

Toyota RAV4 Toyota
Mazda CX-5 Mazda
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Mazda CX-50187 hp24/30 mpg$26,800
Toyota RAV4 203 hp25/33 mpg$26,975
Mazda CX-5 187 hp24/30 mpg$26,250

2023 Mazda CX-50 vs Toyota RAV4

For years now, Toyota has had no trouble selling thousands of RAV4s in the USA each month. The most capable RAV4 is the TRD Off-Road but it starts at a rather expensive $36,465, but a base FWD RAV4 is just over $26,000. The TRD's 2.5-liter engine makes 203 hp, making it more powerful than the base CX-50 but less powerful than the CX-50 2.5 Turbo. Each SUV is similarly capable off-road, both with 8.6 inches of ground clearance and with comparable approach/departure angles. Likewise, they can each tow up to 3,500 lbs. But whereas the Toyota's reliability is legendary and it has a bigger trunk, the Mazda wins you over with its classy styling, both inside and out. Right now, Mazda has no alternative to the hybrid and plug-in hybrid RAV4s that are far more efficient, though. At around the $36,000 mark, the Mazda CX-50 2.5 Turbo is our choice.

See Toyota RAV4 Review

2023 Mazda CX-50 vs Mazda CX-5

Starting at $25,900, the CX-5 is a little cheaper than the newer CX-50. With less ground clearance and no real off-road aspirations, the CX-5 remains a fine choice for many buyers who want the practicality of an SUV but won't ever drive across harsher terrain. The two vehicles offer similar packaging and the same engines, so performance is comparable. However, the turbocharged CX-50 can tow up to 3,500 lbs, 1,500 lbs more than the turbocharged CX-5. Despite its greater capability, it's the CX-50 that's marginally more efficient, managing 1 mpg more across the combined cycles for both engine choices. At $38,650, the range-topping CX-5 is close to $3,000 cheaper than the equivalent CX-50. If you will never go off-road and don't have any serious towing needs, the CX-5 will do just fine. But the CX-50's spread of talents is wider.

See Mazda CX-5 Review

Mazda CX-50 Popular Comparisons

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