Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A grey 2024 Mazda CX-50 is shown driving off-road after visiting a Mazda dealer.

A Rundown of the Mazda CX-50’s Trim Lineup

If you’ve been looking for an SUV at your local Mazda dealer in the last year or two, you’ve probably come across the CX-50. This compact crossover joined Mazda’s lineup for the 2023 model year, slotting in right above the slightly smaller CX-5. While most Mazda vehicles are sold almost entirely based on their luxury feel, the CX-50 is a more rugged option that offers off-road capability alongside its smooth on-road ride and refined sense of style. But exactly what you get when you buy a CX-50 depends on what trim level you opt for.

The 2024 model is available in eight different trim levels: four that come standard with the base engine and four that use a turbocharged version for a more lively driving experience. Trims also come standard with different tech features, interior design options, and more. And, of course, the price varies depending on which one you choose. Keeping all of these differences straight can be difficult, so we’re going to lay it out for you in a straightforward way that makes it easy to find a package that’s just right for your taste, needs, and budget.

#1. S Select

As with all of the trims that start with ‘S,’ the S Select comes standard with a 2.5L SkyActiv engine that can produce up to 187 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque. According to the EPA, this powertrain has a fuel economy rating of 24 MPG in the city and 30 MPG on the highway. That’s not bad, especially considering the fact that every model of the CX-50 comes standard with intelligent all-wheel drive. This i-ACTIV AWD system uses more efficient 2WD under normal driving conditions but automatically switches to AWD when it senses that extra traction is necessary.

All trims also have the Mi-Drive system, which allows you to choose between drive modes, including Sport and Off-Road, so you can adjust the vehicle’s settings for different situations. Other sporty features include a rear roof spoiler for improved aerodynamics and roof rails to help you bring your equipment along for your adventures. For more storage, you can tow up to 3,500 lbs with the proper accessories.

While the CX-50 may have a more rugged aesthetic than most Mazda vehicles, it still has plenty of luxury inside. A Dual-Zone Automatic Climate Control system with separate vents for backseat passengers comes standard, making it easy for everyone inside to get their temperature just right. The shifter and steering wheel are leather-wrapped, and the cabin features LED interior lighting. Infotainment-wise, there’s a large 10.25-inch center display and an 8-speaker audio system, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration to help you use your smartphone’s apps through the SUV’s system.

Plenty of safety features come standard as well, including driver assistance features like Smart Brake Support, Emergency Lane Keeping with Road Keep Assist, Blind Spot Monitoring for highway driving, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Radar Cruise Control with Stop & Go, and Driver Attention Alert to help you know when it’s time for a cup of coffee or a quick break. There are also LED headlights and turn signal indicators to cut through fog and other inclement weather. To handle rain, there are rain-sensing wipers.

#2. S Preferred

The S Preferred trim is mostly similar to the Select but adds a few comfort and convenience features. Instead of a manual liftgate, the rear door can be opened with the push of a button. It can also be programmed to open to a certain height, so it’s never out of reach when you’re ready to bring it back down. Inside, the driver’s seat is upgraded from a 6-way manually adjustable seat to one that’s 8-way power-adjustable with power lumbar support, making it easier to get comfortable and stay that way, even on a long drive. Finally, there are a few different elements that are improved with a little heat: heated side-view mirrors and windshield wipers help keep frost at bay outside, while heated front seats keep you and your front passenger nice and warm inside.

#3. S Premium

While the upgrades on the Preferred trim are largely practical, the ones on the Premium trim are generally more luxurious. For instance, this trim adds on a power-sliding panoramic moonroof with one-touch open and close, bringing in more natural light and giving the cabin an extra touch of class. The audio system is upgraded to a Bose 12-speaker premium system with Centerpoint (which converts the two channels of stereo tracks into multiple channels for a true surround-sound experience) and AudioPilot (which monitors background noise from the road and adjusts the music automatically in order to compensate for it). S Premium models also come standard with wireless phone charging as well.

The black interior of a 2024 Mazda CX-50 is shown.

#4. S Premium Plus

Sitting down in the Premium Plus, you’ll find that the front seats can be ventilated and heated, making it easier to cool down quickly on a hot day. The front passenger seat is 6-way power-adjustable instead of 4-way manually adjustable, and the seating throughout is black leather. There are styling differences on the outside, too: a set of 20-inch aluminum alloy wheels are designed with machine-cut black metallic accents to give the exterior a distinctive look.

The Premium Plus also features two-position driver seat memory, so you can share the SUV with a partner or family member without having to manually re-adjust the seat each time you switch off. Power folding side-view mirrors make it easy to protect your paint jobs from being side-swiped when you park on a busy street. A Windshield-Projected Active Driving Display can project onto the windshield to put safety warnings, navigation guidance, your current speed, and more directly in your line of sight so you can see it easily.

#5. Turbo

All Turbo trims feature a 2.5L Turbocharged engine that can produce up to 227 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque, giving you more thrilling driving dynamics and increasing towing capacity to 3,500 lbs when properly equipped, with a special Towing Mode added to the selectable driver modes. That power comes at a slight fuel economy cost, but not much: figures come down from 24 to 23 MPG in the city and from 30 to 29 MPG on the highway. While these trims come standard with the same six-speed automatic transmission found on the S models, Turbo models also have manual shift mode, with paddle shifters mounted on the steering wheel so you can take more control if you want to. The Turbo trim also features larger exhaust pipes, LED tail lights, and Turbo badging on the exterior, as well as Adaptive Front Lighting with Auto-Leveling Headlights.

#6. Turbo Meridian Edition

If you want to venture off-road, then the Meridian Edition has you covered. It comes standard with a set of all-terrain tires that are ready to leave the pavement behind. This trim also has a unique look, with exclusive graphics on the hood and side rocker garnish to show other drivers that you’re ready for adventure.

#7. Turbo Premium

The Turbo Premium is very similar to the S Premium, but of course, it comes with a more powerful turbocharged engine. It features the 12-speaker Bose premium sound system, as well as the Active Driving Display that projects onto the windshield. It also had a heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, and power-folding side mirrors with position memory.

A brown 2024 Mazda CX-50 is shown towing a trailer on a dirt road.

#8. Turbo Premium Plus

At the very top of the line, the Turbo Premium Plus is the most expensive model of the CX-50 and offers everything on the Premium as well as several extras. The rear seats are heated, so backseat passengers can stay comfortable. Mazda’s built-in navigation system comes standard, and the Active Driving Display features Traffic Sign Recognition. You’ll also get standard Traffic Jam Assist, 360º View Monitor, rear parking sensors, and Emergency Lane Keeping with Road Keep Assist and Blind Spot Assist for added protection.