In November, Mazda revealed the latest SUV to join its growing lineup, the compact 2023 CX-50 soft-roader. Looking like a CX-5 with squared-off fenders and a lot of plastic cladding, the CX-50 aims to go off-road — but probably not too far off-road; think more “where we can unload the mountain bikes or the kayak” and less “taking on the Rubicon Trail.” Now we know how much nearly every CX-50 will cost, with a starting price of $28,025 for a base model (all prices include a $1,225 destination fee).
We also (finally) have powertrain specs. Mazda says the base CX-50’s 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine will make 187 horsepower and 186 pounds-feet of torque, while the optional turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder will be more potent: 256 hp and 320 pounds-feet when using 93-octane gas or 227 hp and 310 pounds-feet on 87 octane. Both engines will pair with a six-speed automatic transmission, and all versions of the CX-50 come with standard all-wheel drive.
In addition to the standard Sport and Off-Road modes, turbocharged models gain a Towing drive mode and have a maximum towing capacity of up to 3,500 pounds, up from the naturally aspirated 2.5’s 2,000-pound maximum.
Trims, Pricing and Release Date
Mazda says the CX-50 will go on sale in the spring, and production has already started at the automaker’s new Huntsville, Ala., factory. With 10 trim levels — including a late-arriving, not-yet-priced Meridian trim — the CX-50 offers buyers a wealth of choices. Here’s what each will come with and what nearly all of them will cost:
2.5 S: $28,025
The base CX-50 comes standard with an 8.8-inch central display with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity, as well as two front USB ports. Exterior features include 17-inch gray wheels, LED headlights, body-color side mirrors and a rear roof spoiler. Standard safety tech for the CX-50 includes low-speed forward emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning with lane keep assist and a driver attention monitor.
2.5 S Select: $29,425
Building on the S, the Select adds mostly interior comfort and convenience features, including a larger 10.25-inch display, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, dual-zone automatic climate control, rear passenger vents, two rear USB ports and a 60/40-split, folding rear seat. On the outside, the gray 17-inch wheels are replaced by black 17-inchers and standard tinted windows.
2.5 S Preferred: $30,725
The Preferred adds a power liftgate, heated front seats, an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, front and rear center armrests with storage, and heated side mirrors and windshield wipers.
2.5 S Preferred Plus: $33,165
Upgrading from the Preferred to the Preferred Plus adds a one-touch, power panoramic moonroof, Mazda’s first.
2.5 S Premium: $35,625
The 2.5 S Premium trim is where things start to get, well, premium, with leather upholstery — including a new terra-cotta color — and ventilated front seats, a six-way power-adjustable front passenger seat, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with Homelink and a 12-speaker Bose stereo. The 2.5 S Premium also includes SiriusXM satellite radio with a three-month trial subscription.
2.5 S Premium Plus: $37,625
Building off the 2.5 S Premium, the 2.5 S Premium Plus adds ventilated front seats and a full-color head-up display inside, and 20-inch alloy wheels with black accents and power-folding side mirrors complete the exterior upgrades.
2.5 Turbo: $37,625
Besides the increase in power and towing capacity, the turbo engine’s entry trim gives the CX-50 adaptive LED headlights, LED taillights, larger exhaust pipes and 2.5 Turbo-specific badging. Inside, the CX-50 Turbo adds steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles.
2.5 Turbo Premium: $40,775
Like the naturally aspirated S Premium, the Turbo Premium adds the 12-speaker Bose stereo, SiriusXM satellite radio with a three-month trial subscription, as well as the head-up display, heated steering wheel and ventilated front seats.
2.5 Turbo Premium Plus: $42,775
The current priciest CX-50 takes everything in the 2.5 Turbo Premium and adds heated rear seats, front wireless phone charging, built-in navigation, a head-up display with traffic sign recognition and a frameless, auto-dimming rearview mirror with Homelink.
2.5 Turbo Meridian Edition: Price TBA
Added to the CX-50 lineup since the reveal in November, Mazda says the Meridian Edition will come with exclusive 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped in all-terrain tires. It will also feature distinctive exterior trim and hood graphics, as well as what Mazda calls “a host of outdoor accessories.” Mazda says pricing and additional details about the Meridian Edition will be announced closer to its on-sale date.
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How Does It Compare?
We haven’t yet driven the CX-50 to compare it to other compact SUVs, but in terms of price, the CX-50 is on the pricier side of the class, competing against the likes of the Honda CR-V, Subaru Forester, Toyota RAV4, Volkswagen Tiguan and the winner of our last compact SUV comparison test, the Nissan Rogue. While those SUVs are more likely to jockey for sales with Mazda’s CX-5 compact SUV, some of the aforementioned models, such as the Forester and RAV4, offer more rugged variants that are better competitors for the CX-50.