Mazda’s 2023 CX-50 compact SUV is an attractive, roomy compact vehicle that looks and drives far above its price point. It features an appealing array of amenities in its cabin as well as standard all-wheel drive. Mazda also opted to keep physical buttons for climate controls instead of capacitive touchscreens for most climate controls. But how reliable is the Mazda CX-50?
Torque News conducted an in-depth test drive of a top-of-the-line Premium Plus model equipped with a turbocharged engine that produces 227 horsepower – one of the most enjoyable SUVs to drive in its class.
Mazda’s CX-50 SUV was created to tackle rough terrain with the same enjoyable driving experience as other Mazda vehicles, including CX-5. Owners who have spent time exploring off-road trails report that its small cargo area provides enough room for all their gear while its smooth ride has earned rave reviews from owners.
Contrasting other SUVs in this segment that use off-road suspensions that sacrifice ride quality for capability, the CX-50 feels agile and comfortable on the road or trail. Its i-Active all-wheel drive system’s 27 sensors reliably anticipate wheel slippage to direct power to wheels that grip best while its four-wheel disc brakes feature 12.8-inch ventilated rotors in both front and rear – larger than rival models – ensure efficient stopping power.
2023 CX-50 can be powered by either a naturally aspirated four-cylinder that produces 187 horsepower, or by its turbo version that delivers 256 horsepower on 93-octane gasoline. Both models can tow up to 3,500 pounds, which makes it one of the more capable compact SUVs on the market today.
The standard features of the vehicle are impressive and include a rearview camera, lane-departure warning system, and active driving display. The optional i-ActiveSense safety bundle adds adaptive headlights, driver attention alerts, and smart brake support features designed to keep drivers focused on driving without taking their eyes off of the road and hands off the wheel.
The 2023 Mazda CX-50 is built to handle rough terrain while still offering a comfortable drive on paved roads. As its larger sibling, it offers more front seat room as well as rear legroom and cargo capacity. Furthermore, its suspension has been engineered to absorb shocks and vibrations over uneven surfaces to make driving even longer trips more comfortable and relaxing.
The SUV boasts an extensive suite of driver-assistance features that come standard in all trim levels, such as a backup camera, radar-based cruise control with stop/go functionality, blind spot monitoring, and blind spot detection. For the top tier 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus model there is also an additional 360-degree view monitor, parking sensors at both ends of the car as well as smart brake support.
Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, or ADAS, have become more prevalent in cars and trucks as a way of reducing errors by giving drivers more time to react, according to Car and Driver. Some benefits of this technology include pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning, adaptive front lighting systems, and pedestrian tracking.
The CX-50 SUV hasn’t yet been crash tested by the Environmental Protection Agency but is expected to be among the safest in its class. It has ample cargo and passenger room for such a compact model and its doors open wide for convenient entry/exit. Drivers will also appreciate its responsive steering that makes maneuvering it through tight spaces a breeze.
The CX-50 features plenty of upscale touches, from its attractive styling and wide fenders that create a rugged aesthetic, to high-quality materials used throughout its interior and user-friendly controls.
The 2.5 S model starts at $28,025 and includes a normally aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine capable of producing 187 horsepower that sends power directly to the front wheels unless all-wheel drive is necessary. Those seeking a more refined experience may upgrade to Mazda’s turbocharged version, producing 227-256hp depending on the octane level of fuel used, paired with a six-speed automatic transmission which should deliver 27mpg city driving.
Mazda’s infotainment system is easy to use, with touch inputs for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus native functions being controlled through spinning a dial on the console – unlike competing systems found elsewhere.
Our test found the Mazda CX-50 to be responsive on the road, with an engaging ride and responsive handling. Although it’s heavy steering and less-than-responsive brake pedal may be minor drawbacks compared to rival models, its tow rating of 2,000 pounds with its base engine and 3,500 with its Turbo is among the highest in its class; furthermore, it comes equipped with three year/36,000-mile basic warranty coverage as well as five year/60,000-mile powertrain coverage which compares favorably against its competition.
How reliable is the Mazda CX-50? You have to think about technology The 2023 Mazda CX-50 may be the inaugural vehicle of its type, yet it fits seamlessly with Mazda’s larger SUVs and smaller CX-30 hatchbacks. Like these cars, it delivers an engaging driving experience within its sleek cabin design; premium Terracotta leather trim can be found on its more expensive Premium Plus versions and other luxurious touches such as panoramic moonroofs add further refinement to its atmosphere.
The standard 187-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine provides ample power while still offering competitive fuel economy ratings of 23/29 mpg among compact SUVs. You may opt to upgrade to the more powerful turbo model which generates up to 256 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque from an extra tankful of 93-octane gasoline; additionally, it features sporty driving modes to maximize power output as well as towing modes to increase trailering capabilities.
All models of the CX-50 come equipped with advanced driver assistance technologies, including hill-start assist, lane departure warning/keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, radar cruise control, and Mazda’s i-Active system which monitors 27 sensors 200 times a second to detect wheel slip before you lose an inch of traction – then transfer engine torque back onto other wheels to restore it and maintain forward progress. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded superior ratings to this vehicle during front crash prevention/daytime pedestrian protection tests, while those equipped with adaptive headlights received higher-tier Top Safety Pick+ awards.