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2023 Mazda CX-50: Choosing the Right Trim


The 2023 Mazda CX-50 brings more ruggedness to Mazda’s crossover fleet, making it a good choice for those shopping the Subaru Forester, Jeep Cherokee, and Toyota RAV4.   Similar in size and price to the popular CX-5, the CX-50 offers a bit more interior room, a lower roofline, and a vaguely Volvo-like exterior. Buyers can opt for a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter 4-cylinder or a turbocharged version of the same engine. All-wheel drive comes standard, and Mazda provides loads of accessories aimed at customers with “active lifestyles.”

More CX-50 variations include the rugged off-road Meridian Edition to compete with the Subaru Forester Wilderness and Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk, as well as hybrid and electrified models.

2023 Mazda CX-50 2.5 S (starting at $26,800)

2023 Mazda CX-50 2.5 S front left
The 2023 Mazda CX-50 2.5 S starts at $26,800.

The entry-level CX-50 2.5 S serves as the basis for all other CX-50 S trims. It features a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter 4-cylinder Skyactiv-G engine good for 187 horsepower, paired with a 6-speed automatic and Mazda’s i-Active all-wheel-drive. Also included is Mi-Drive, a system that adds two drive modes to the transmission: Sport and Off-road. The CX-50 S is rated to tow up to 2,000 pounds.

When it comes to the CX-50, Mazda places safety front and center. Standard driver assists include automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, a driver attention monitor, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, and rear cross-traffic detection.

The CX-50 S includes all government-mandated safety equipment, including front, front side-impact, and side-curtain airbags, a rear backup camera, electronic stability control, and anti-lock brakes. Features not required but onboard nevertheless include electronic traction control and Hill Launch Assist that keeps the vehicle from rolling backward when stopped on an incline.

The CX-50 S rides on 17-inch gray metallic alloy wheels and features power side mirrors with integrated turn signals, LED headlights, a rear roof spoiler, and dual exhaust. Rain-sensing wipers, an intermittent rear wiper/washer, and automatic high-beam headlights are also standard.

Cabin amenities include cloth seats with manual front seat adjustment, power windows, power door locks, remote keyless entry with push-button start, and a tilt/telescoping steering wheel with buttons for the audio and cruise control. Also standard is manual air conditioning, an electronic parking brake, Bluetooth phone connectivity, and a 7-inch LCD driver information screen.

Unlike most competitors, Mazda doesn’t offer a touch-screen infotainment system. Instead, a console-mounted rotary controller and buttons guide the action on the 8.8-inch color screen. The system includes wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, eight speakers, Mazda Connect services, and two USB ports.

With the $1,225 destination charge, the 2023 Mazda CX-50 2.5 S comes to $28,025. On a 60-month loan at 3% financing and zero down, the monthly payment comes to $504. See 2023 Mazda CX-50 2.5 S models for sale near you

2023 Mazda CX-50 2.5 S Select (starting at $28,200)

The 2023 Mazda CX-50 2.5 S Select
The 2023 Mazda CX-50 2.5 S Select starts at $28,200.

For the money, we think the S Select is the trim that makes the most sense. It comes with all the S trim’s standard equipment, but adds a few more features we think most people want in a small crossover.

The S Select adds dual-zone automatic climate control with rear-seat vents, a 40/60 split-folding rear seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, LED interior lighting, and a larger 10.25-inch infotainment screen. HD radio comes standard, as do two additional USB ports for the rear-seat passengers.

The S Select’s exterior is upgraded with tinted rear privacy glass and 17-inch black metallic alloy wheels.

With the $1,225 destination charge, the 2023 Mazda CX-50 2.5 S Select comes to $29,425. On a 60-month loan at 3% financing and zero down, the monthly payment comes to $529. See 2023 Mazda CX-50 2.5 S Select models for sale near you

2023 Mazda CX-50 2.5 S Select includes:

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – grants access to your phone’s apps, navigation, messages, and music, negating the need for an expensive audio upgrade.

Dual-zone automatic climate control- allows drivers and passengers to choose their temperature settings.

Driver assistance – Mazda’s standard suite of driver-assists helps keep you safe and includes the ability to guide the CX-50 back into its lane or automatically slow or stop in the event of an unavoidable frontal collision.

Rear seat air vents– seem like a trivial thing but will always be appreciated by the rear seat occupants.

2023 Mazda CX-50 2.5 S Preferred (starting at $29,500)

2023 Mazda CX-50 2.5 S Preferred front right
The 2023 Mazda CX-50 2.5 S Preferred starts at $29,500.

The S Preferred takes the CX-50 up another notch, adding roughly $1,500 to the S Select’s price in exchange for features considered must-haves by those living in cold-weather regions.

The S Preferred adds heated side mirrors and windshield wipers, heated front seats, a power rear liftgate with programmable height adjustment, and an 8-way power driver’s seat with power lumbar support. Mazda’s Advanced Key keyless entry is also part of the Preferred package, as is a front and rear center armrest with storage and rear cup holders.

With the $1,225 destination charge, the 2023 Mazda CX-50 2.5 S Preferred sells for $30,725. On a 60-month loan at 3% financing and zero down, the monthly payment comes to $552. See 2023 Mazda CX-50 2.5 S Preferred models for sale near you

2023 Mazda CX-50 2.5 S Preferred includes:

Heated side mirrors – help prevent frost and snow from building up on the exterior mirrors.

Heated front seats – keep driver and passenger comfortably warm without the need to superheat the cabin.

Heated windshield – keeps ice from building up on the wiper blades.

Power liftgate –automatically opens the rear liftgate, a handy feature to have when your arms are full.

2023 Mazda CX-50 2.5 S Preferred Plus (starting at $31,940)

To the S Preferred, the Plus adds a power-sliding panoramic moonroof.

With the $1,225 destination charge, the 2023 Mazda CX-50 2.5 S Preferred Plus costs $33,165. On a 60-month loan at 3% financing and zero down, the monthly payment comes to $596. See 2023 Mazda CX-50 2.5 S Preferred Plus models for sale near you

2023 Mazda CX-50 2.5 S Premium (starting at $34,400)

2023 Mazda CX-50 2.5 S Premium front left
The 2023 Mazda CX-50 2.5 S Premium starts at $34,400.

The S Premium trim begins to move the CX-50 closer to the luxury segment, adding leather seat upholstery in black or terracotta, 2-position driver’s-seat memory, and a 6-way power-adjustable front passenger seat.

Audio upgrades include a 3-month trial subscription to SiriusXM satellite radio and a 12-speaker Bose audio system.

With the $1,225 destination charge, the 2023 Mazda CX-50 2.5 S Premium costs $35,625. On a 60-month loan at 3% financing and zero down, the monthly payment comes to $640. See 2023 Mazda CX-50 2.5 S Premium models for sale near you

2023 Mazda CX-50 2.5 S Premium Plus (starting at $36,400)

The Premium Plus adds a few more features to the Premium trim, most notably heated and ventilated front seats, a color head-up display, power-folding heated side mirrors, and 20-inch alloy wheels.

With the $1,225 destination charge, the 2023 Mazda CX-50 2.5 S Premium Plus costs $37,625. On a 60-month loan at 3% financing and zero down, the monthly payment comes to $676. See 2023 Mazda CX-50 2.5 S Premium Plus models for sale near you

2023 Mazda CX-50 2.5 S Premium Plus includes:

Color head-up display – projects information such as speed and navigation onto the windshield’s lower edge, helping drivers keep their eyes on the road.

Ventilated front seats – pass cool air through the perforated leather, keeping occupants cool and dry on hot summer days.

Bose audio – this 12-speaker system includes the Bose Centerpoint and Audiopilot system, a must-have for audiophiles and fans of outstanding bass.

6-way power front passenger seat – allows the passenger more options for finding a comfortable perch.

2023 Mazda CX-50 2.5 Turbo (starting at $36,400)

2023 Mazda CX-50 2.5 Turbo front right
The 2023 Mazda CX-50 2.5 Turbo starts at $36,400.

The Turbo brings a more powerful turbocharged 2.5-liter engine producing an impressive 256 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque when using premium fuel. Power figures come down a bit when running on less-expensive regular gas, dropping to 227 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque.

The Turbo’s AWD Mi-Drive gains an additional Towing mode, increasing the CX-50’s towing capability to 3,500 pounds.

Equipment levels mimic the Preferred trim, adding features such as adaptive auto-leveling LED headlights, larger exhaust pipes, LED taillights, and Turbo badging.

With the $1,225 destination charge, the 2023 Mazda CX-50 2.5 Turbo costs $37,625. On a 60-month loan at 3% financing and zero down, the monthly payment comes to $676. See 2023 Mazda CX-50 2.5 Turbo models for sale near you

2023 Mazda CX-50 2.5 Turbo Premium (starting at $39,550)

The 2.5 Turbo Premium builds off the 2.5 S Premium Plus equipment list, including the Bose audio system, a color head-up display, heated and ventilated front seats, plus a heated steering wheel.

With the $1,225 destination charge, the 2023 Mazda CX-50 2.5 Turbo Premium costs $40,775. On a 60-month loan at 3% financing and zero down, the monthly payment comes to $733. See 2023 Mazda CX-50 2.5 Turbo Premium models for sale near you

2023 Mazda CX-50 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus (starting at $41,550)

The Premium Plus includes all the Turbo Premium features, plus a frameless auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated rear seats, navigation, a wireless charging pad, and an enhanced head-up display with traffic sign recognition.

With the $1,225 destination charge, the 2023 Mazda CX-50 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus costs $42,775. On a 60-month loan at 3% financing and zero down, the monthly payment comes to $733. See 2023 Mazda CX-50 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus models for sale near you

2023 Mazda CX-50 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus includes:

Heated rear seats – allow the rear-seat passengers to keep warm even if the driver’s being stingy with the climate controls.

Heated steering wheel – a nice upgrade that makes it easy to hold the wheel after a night in frigid temperatures.

Wireless charging pad – allows wireless charging of compatible smartphones.

Traffic sign recognition – allows the navigation to recognize posted traffic signs and inform the driver.

2023 Mazda CX-50 2.5 Turbo Meridian Edition (starting at $39,950)

2023 Mazda CX-50 2.5 Turbo Meridian Edition
2023 Mazda CX-50 2.5 Turbo Meridian Edition starts at $39,995.

This Meridian Edition emphasizes the more rugged side of the new CX-50 SUV. It’s available as a package on the CX-50 2.5 Turbo.

It adds useful gear for the trail, like 18-inch black wheels wrapped in Falken all-terrain tires for added grip on slippery surfaces. Matte hood graphics reduce glare to help drivers focus on the shifting trail. Meridian Edition CX-50s come with Terracotta leather upholstery with black accents.

An optional Apex Package ($1,235) adds a roof platform for securing more gear and splash guards for the wet stuff.

FAQ

What is the best 2023 Mazda CX-50 trim?

If not interested in speedy acceleration, the 2.5 S Preferred gets you most of what is needed to navigate through summer and winters comfortably. If you’re an audio fan, you’ll need to go to the Premium trim to get the Bose audio. Those who like power and need the max 3,500 pounds of towing should move to the 2.5 Turbo Premium.

How many mpg does the 2023 Mazda CX-50 get?

Official EPA figures are not yet out, but we imagine they’ll be close to the CX-5 with the same engine and AWD drive layout. Look for the 2.5 models to get around 24-mpg city/30-mpg highway and 22/27-mpg for the turbo.

Which 2023 Mazda CX-50 trim level offers the most safety?

The CX-50 has yet to be crash-tested by the government or IIHS. We expect it to do well, likely earning a 5-Star NHTSA rating like the CX-5, and earning a Top Safety Pick + from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, also an accolade of the CX-5.

What’s the 2023 Mazda CX-50 like to drive?

Whether it’s a 2-seater convertible or an SUV like the 2023 CX-50, every Mazda has driver appeal. Through suspension-tuning expertise, Mazda has given the CX-50 a comfortable ride quality that still keeps the driver in touch with what’s going on. Naturally, versions with the 256-horsepower (using premium gasoline) turbocharged engine amp up the enjoyment levels and towing capacity alike. The new CX-50 compact SUV also takes Mazda into wilder territory with its standard all-wheel-drive system and Off-Road driving mode.

Joe Tralongo
Joe Tralongo
Joe Tralongo is a longtime contributor who started in the industry writing competitive comparison books for a number of manufacturers, before moving on in 2002 to become a freelance automotive journalist. He’s well regarded for his keen eye for detail, as well as his ability to translate complex mechanical terminology into user-friendly explanations. Joe has worked for a number of outlets as... Read More about Joe Tralongo

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