Is the Mazda CX-50 a Good SUV? 5 Pros and 4 Cons

Is the Mazda CX-50 a Good SUV? 5 Pros and 4 Cons With the launch of the CX-50 in late 2021, Mazda joined other manufacturers in offering a compact SUV with limited off-road credit — or at least by making it look like it was part of the black side trim, fender lamps, wheels and trims. But without much cosmetics to back it up, the top-of-the-line CX-50 Premium Plus we tested recently does little to set it apart from its CX-5 sibling other than a more aggressive, yet agile design.

Is the Mazda CX-50 a Good SUV? 5 Pros and 4 Cons

Riding on a different platform but with dimensions similar to the CX-5 inside and out, the CX-50 offers no noticeable advantage in passenger or cargo room. It inherits some positive traits we love about other Mazda offerings, including decent road handling, responsive steering with good feel and a well-appointed upscale interior.


Is the Mazda CX-50 a Good SUV? 5 Pros and 4 Cons

While the sleek profile with cosmetic tweaks offers a good look and a standard all-wheel drive system with additional drive modes including one for off-road travel, the CX-50 we tested wasn’t really happy about venturing too far off the pavement with its 20-inch street tires . Meridian Design may change that, with its smaller, more aggressive tires and other added equipment. But unless you’re fond of the CX-50’s design and availability of additional features including Mazda’s first panoramic sunroof, you might as well be in a position with the less expensive CX-5.

To take a closer look, click the link above to read Brian Normile’s expert review; to faster Look, read on to learn five things we like about the Mazda CX-50 2023 and four things we don’t.


Mazda - CX-50-2022-03 - Engine Interior Badge

Is the Mazda CX-50 a Good SUV? 5 Pros and 4 Cons

1. Powertrain options

Two 2.5-liter four-cylinder engines are available for the CX-50: a base version with 187 hp and a turbocharged engine with 256 hp on premium fuel and 227 hp on regular basis. Mazda has taken credit for offering compact SUV buyers the choice of an engine with greater performance, which is unusual in this class. Choosing the turbo gives you somewhat faster acceleration and an increased towing capacity of 1,500 lb. to 3500 lb. Even better, the turbo engine extracts minimal fuel economy. Bad News? A turbocharged engine can appear to be straining under load.

2. Feel the steering

From behind the wheel, the CX-50 looks a lot like its sister CX-5—which isn’t a bad thing. Well-weighted, responsive steering and tight suspension play a big part in making the Mazda feel sportier than some competitors. The downside is the ride is less comfortable than some of the alternatives.

3. Decent MPG

With the base engine, the CX-50 is EPA rated at 24/30/27 mpg city/highway/combined; Step up to the turbo drops only slightly to 23/29/25 mpg. These are competitive numbers for the category and represent a small penalty for the extra power of the turbo.

Mazda-CX-50-2022-43-Interior-Front Row

Is the Mazda CX-50 a Good SUV? 5 Pros and 4 Cons

4. Improving information and entertainment

Mazda added touchscreen capability to its infotainment system, which was welcome (albeit frustrating) because this function only works when parked. But the CX-50 also gets compatibility, which Do It allows for touch screen capability during operation, along with a look similar to what users see on their phones.

5. Upscale interior

Mazda continues to outperform most direct competitors when it comes to interior quality, with a more premium look and feel than you might expect in the class. The CX-50 is no exception, with plenty of soft-touch materials, comfortable seating, the solid feel of most controls and an available head-up display that adds to the upscale atmosphere.

Things we don’t like


Is the Mazda CX-50 a Good SUV? 5 Pros and 4 Cons

1. Stiff ride

Choosing a turbo gives you larger 20-inch tires that add to the work-like look at a cost in ride quality and without any noticeable off-road performance advantage. On pavement, however, the larger wheels and tires make the CX-50 feel jittery, with harsh effects on the bumps.

2. Limited off-road capability

Equipped with 20-inch street tires, our Premium Plus trim successfully negotiated a lighter off-road track, but wasn’t too happy about it. Choosing an off-road mode helped, but Mazda doesn’t offer any other options for specific conditions like mud or rocky trails. The $2,700 Meridian Edition with its smaller wheels and larger tires might improve things, but serious off-roaders might want to shop elsewhere.


Is the Mazda CX-50 a Good SUV? 5 Pros and 4 Cons

3. Information and entertainment still need to work

While we applaud the addition of touchscreen capability, allowing it to be used only when standing still is a head-scratcher. Even worse, the screen is positioned high and far away, where tall drivers may have trouble reaching. Overall, the system isn’t among the worst, but it looks outdated and feels not the easiest to use.

4. Admission cost

Starting at just under $29,000, the basic CX-50 will cost you about $1,000 more than a similar, if less elegant, equipped CX-5. Our Premium Plus test car was priced at over $43,000, which is gearing up there for a compact SUV. If you’re looking for the more capable off-road Meridian version with a turbo, the sticker comes in at $41,225 (destination included).

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