2023 Mazda CX-50 Review – Dress Up – zimo News


2022 Mazda CX-50 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus AWD

2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine (227 hp @ 5,000 rpm, 310 lb-ft @ 2,000 rpm, regular unleaded, 256 hp @ 5,000 rpm, 320 lb-ft @ 2,500 rpm, 93 octane)

Six-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive

23 city/29 highway/25 combined (EPA, MPG rating)

10.4 city/8.1 highway/9.4 combined. (NRCan class, L/100km)

Base Price: $42,775 / CAD 47,431

Tested: USD 43,170 / CAD 47,681

Prices include US $1,225 destination charge and Canada $2,081 shipping, PDI and air conditioning taxes, which cannot be directly compared due to differences in equipment across borders.

Americans have a fever, and the only remedy is more crosses. Almost every automaker trying to do business in this country has some kind of forklift truck — if not a few. Big, small, efficient and economical. Thankfully, there are no more convertible crossovers. They create an intersection in almost every possible segment.

Here we have the 2023 Mazda CX-50, whose name sounds a lot like their popular CX-5. And it’s very close in size to the said CX-5. Of the six different non-electric vehicles Mazda offers, four are crossovers, but why do they give us something so similar to something they’ve been selling for years without replacing it?

Oh please don’t give Mazda a clue about the Miata crossover.

Mazda says the development of the CX-50 – let me talk about marketing here – “supports the customer’s active outdoor lifestyle…” The images accompanying the press release show the CX-50 in nature – retouched trails and beside trees. Yes, I know in my photo the car is parked on gravel by the river as well.

Therefore, the CX-50 features an additional black plastic underside cladding. Styling is evident beyond the plastics too – with more ground clearance and a lower roofline compared to the CX-5 – which makes the whole car look longer. I won’t deny it looks good, especially with the wheel covers filled with 20-inch wheels on this Premium Plus version.

But I’m not sure if it has to do with the rugged outdoorsy lifestyle. Aside from standard all-wheel drive and an optional drive mode with an off-road mode, I don’t see anything on this car that makes it more capable at the end of the pavement than a typical crossover. No skid plates, no off-road tires, no locking differential.

Will CX-50 buyers care? I’m not sure if they will. Because once driven, they will find a family car that is comfortable, spacious, and most importantly, luxurious. Ride quality is excellent, with minimal wind and road noise, and no harshness is transmitted into the cabin due to the effects of expansion joints. A panoramic sunroof brings in a bit of nature if desired.

The turbo engine has plenty of power to get up to speed, and while the six-speed automatic transmission has a few fewer gears than some rivals, it shifts smoothly and feels well suited to the nature of the engine and the CX-50, the driving experience and the CX-5 Basically the same, it’s fun.

The infotainment system is an improvement over the Mazda, with a display that’s sharper and more responsive than in the past. But it’s still controlled by a central dial near the gear lever, with several buttons to toggle between music or navigation. Wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are welcome additions.

So what to consider should Be the best comparison in the entry-level compact crossover market – the Lexus NX. Tim took a look at the NX 350 last week. Size-wise, the NX and CX-50 are very close inside and out—the Mazda has a slightly longer wheelbase (110.8 inches, the Lexus 105.9 inches) and roughly the same length (185.5 inches for the Mazda, 183.5 inches for the Lexus). Cargo space is also a win for the Mazda — 31.4 cubic feet behind the rear seats versus 22.7 for the Lexus.

However, opting for the NX 250’s entry-level trim and adding only all-wheel drive will cost $41,025 to deliver—without the many features Mazda is giving away on this $43,170 Turbo Premium (like heated/ventilated seats, a sunroof and leather) plus a package. Matching the two shows the value here, with the quality of materials and appointments inside the Mazda (the infotainment cave here) at least on par with the Lexus.

Mazda is now a luxury brand. This isn’t my father’s GLC-era Mazda, it’s lined with repurposed rat fur. I’m sure Toyota isn’t thrilled that they’re helping (joint plant in Alabama) build such a car that can be cross-shopped across their own high-end lineup, but that’s what Mazda is doing well here good reason.

To be fair, no amount of black plastic coating makes it an off-roader—not to mention the sleek 20-inch wheels and low-profile tires fitted here. Never mind – a slight nod to trail fashion is like the nice pair of running shoes I used to buy thinking I could get off the couch and start running to lose weight. Do not. They were relegated to very comfortable sneakers to mow the lawn – at least until they turned green, they looked like they were doing well.

With the 2023 CX-50, Mazda strives to appeal to those who think they have an active outdoor lifestyle. Whether he succeeded is a question to be answered.

[Images: © 2022 Chris Tonn]

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