At this point I have driven both the Mazda CX 5 and the 50. And honestly, given how similar they look and feel you cannot review one without the other. You can’t talk about the CX 50 without referencing its quasi-predecessor the Mazda CX 5. And that is even with the CX 50 that I test drove being their Turbo model.
The Mazda CX 50 Turbo is Mazda’s cross over SUV with some off-roading capabilities. The Turbo means it has additional horsepower and torque for the ability to handle more challenging terrains and the unexpected that an unpaved surface provides.
The CX 50 is based off of Mazda’s top selling SUV the CX 5 with a “0” to separate them. One is not replacing the other, nor is one better than the other. They simply serve different functions for their targeted demographic.
Under the hood they both have the same engine and what feels like the same fuel economy. With the same six-speed automatic transmissions and standard all-wheel-drive, they even handle the same.
Although the CX 50 is wider and therefore looks more robust, giving you more room per person, as a people mover. And the need to review your clearance on narrower roads. The driver seat is lush with more thigh room, as the seat extends to support. Not to mention it has a more appealing aesthetic in the soft tan leather with cross stitching. And as personal preference? I love the unique grey-olive green hue of this SUV. It definitely adds to its outward appeal, giving it a more sporty vibe, which is in line with its sports and off road mode, available at the toggle of a switch. These modes allow the 2023 Mazda CX 50 to more easily transition from your weekday vehicle to your weekend play mate. A must have for many of the outdoor inclined folks calling Beautiful British Columbia their home, and taking to the great outdoors whenever they can.
Oddly enough, the before mentioned additional width in the CX 50 is redistributed to the height of the Mazda CX 5, as the taller model of the two. Although this doesn’t make much difference for myself, as a short to average height woman.
Where I wanted more room was in the arm rest. In the Mazda CX 5 it was only just an elbow rest, where only my elbow was at rest. A more raised centre console that extended forward more would have remedied this. Much like that of the CX 50 with its wide and thick leather padded arm rest. It provided ample room for both driver and passenger to lean across.
Both 2023 Mazda models are outfitted with Bose, where you can feel the quality of the speakers. The audio is crisp and clear. And even so with windows open, as it is hard to hear the other vehicles on the road passing by.
With both you also get all the modern safety features and all the modern conveniences that you would expect from a daily driver. Blind-spot monitoring and lane-departure warnings, heated and cooling seats and heated wheel. But the infotainment system for both look basic and sparse. Nothing inspired, with design style, minus the wireless charging pad in the CX 50.
Given how closely related the two are, your choice betwixt them boils down to your necessities. Are you looking for a budget friendly point A to B sort of ride? Or something a bit more on the luxurious side, without it feeling like it on your wallet. For me, my vote would go to the 2023 Mazda CX 50 Turbo with its good power and response, coupled with a decent fuel economy. Rugged for those excursions into nature, and yet luxurious when you feel like you are spending more time than you ought to sitting in traffic, waiting to slowly inch forward.