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A green 2023 Mazda CX-50 is shown parked near a lake.

Mazda Hits It Out of the Park (Again) With the Dynamic Ten-Trim 2023 CX-50

If your compact crossover SUV hunt includes searching for a Mazda CX-50 for sale, you’re in good company. Mazda SUVs consistently receive high ratings from trusted automotive review sites like Car and Driver and MotorTrend. To save time and simplify your shopping experience, consider doing a deep dive into the CX-50’s multiple features and trims, so you can hone in on the ideal configuration for your needs and budget.

As the newest model in Mazda’s award-winning crossover lineup, the all-new 2023 CX-50 delivers the same premium driving experience as its popular siblings but arrives with a sportier, more rugged vibe intentionally designed to stand out from the competition. Standard all-wheel drive means you can choose any trim without paying extra to upgrade the drivetrain. The CX-50’s extensive available trims range from the high $20,000s to over $40k, making it attractive to a diverse buyer base.

The CX-50 is lauded by expert reviewers for its capable and technologically advanced ride handling, which is nothing new for Mazda, an automaker known for building driver-centric vehicles with excellent road manners. With two powerful engines and a slew of sought-after features, the CX-50 is a standout in the cluttered compact crossover category. Use this handy buyer’s guide to decide which CX-50 trim works best for your budget and lifestyle.

A blue 2023 Mazda CX-50 for sale is shown parked off-road.

If You’re Looking for a Great Deal…

Mazda bakes in tons of standard features on the base CX-50 2.5 S, so choosing it for its affordability won’t leave you behind the wheel of a barren crossover with minimal comfort and convenience accommodations. Starting with standard i-ACTIV all-wheel drive, the CX-50 2.5 S delivers day-to-day reliability and safety. It features a 2.5L four-cylinder engine that makes 187 hp and achieves a respectable 24 MPG in the city and 30 MPG on the highway.

Standard interior features include wireless Apple CarPlay (Android Auto is available but wired), remote keyless entry, and a push-button start. Cloth seating and manual four-way and six-way adjustability for the driver and passenger seats, respectively, combined with an 8.8-inch display screen and an eight-speaker audio system to deliver comfortable cabin accommodations. Mazda includes a three-year trial subscription to its robust suite of connected services, making it easy to integrate your smartphone with the vehicle’s onboard infotainment system.

Best of all, the CX-50 2.5 S starts at just $27,550. Despite the base model’s affordability, it still includes premium features like LED headlights and daytime running lights, rain-sensing wipers, and LED turn signals embedded in the side mirrors. The 2.5 S also includes 17-inch gray metallic finished wheels and a set of all-season tires. With seating for five, it’s a great daily driver for families—and thanks to the generous rear headroom and legroom, as well as its fuel-sipping manners, the CX-50 also makes a great vehicle for commuters and carpoolers.

The black and brown interior and dash of a 2023 Mazda CX-50 is shown.

All the Bells and Whistles

Among the 2023 Mazda CX-50’s ten available trims are diverse variants with luxury features you’d typically only expect in an import costing twice the price. All trims except the base 2.5 S come with a large 10.25-inch infotainment screen. If you prefer a high-end audio system, the 2.5 S Premium Plus is the least expensive trim that offers a standard Bose 12-speaker surround sound audio system that includes Centerpoint 2 and AudioPilot 2, two technologies that radically improve sound quality.

Sitting at the top of the lineup, the CX-50 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus starts at $42,300 and includes some pretty unique features, including a frameless rearview mirror that adds to the cabin’s ultra-luxury aesthetic. Rear-seat passengers will enjoy heated seats with three settings, and the standard wireless phone charging deck eliminates annoying power cords for the driver and co-pilot. Navigation is also included on the 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus, as is a Traffic Sign Recognition System that recognizes when speed limits change.

The 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus and the 2.5 S Premium Plus include leather-trimmed seats, and most upper-level trims add a standard leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. Other upscale niceties include a remote fold-down 60/40 rear seatback, extra charging ports in the back, and a power rear liftgate, which can be programmed to open to different heights. Heated side mirrors are included on most trims, as well as a windshield wiper de-icer to help on frosty mornings.

When Performance Matters

If acceleration and sports car-like cornering matter, opt for a CX-50 trim that includes the more powerful turbocharged engine, including the 2.5 Turbo, 2.5 Turbo Meridian Edition, 2.5 Turbo Premium, or the top-of-the-line 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus. These four trims include Mazda’s SKYACTIV-G 2.5L motor, a twin-scroll turbocharged engine that achieves 256 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque. Four driving modes—Normal, Sport, Off-Road, and Towing—put more control in the driver’s hands and help customize handling to suit road conditions.

Each of these trims includes special turbo badging and a large dual exhaust for a more aggressive exterior curb presence. A set of 20-inch wheels replace the smaller sizes found on non-turbo trims, except on the off-road leaning 2.5 Turbo Meridian Edition, which has all-terrain tires and 18-inch wheels. All turbocharged trims are also outfitted with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters and a power sliding panoramic moonroof. Inside, the Meridian Edition features unique, trim-exclusive terracotta-colored leather seats.

Mazda mates the powerful turbocharged engine to a six-speed automatic and includes all-wheel drive for a refined driving experience that Car and Driver calls “crisp,” “joyful,” and “fun.” This review site also clocks the turbocharged CX-50 at a zero-to-sixty time of just 6.6 seconds, a capability that’s hard to find in the practical compact crossover segment. Mazda includes its Mi-Drive technology to optimize traction and performance across the four available drive modes, further evidencing the automaker’s commitment to building driver-centric vehicles.

A blue 2023 Mazda CX-50 is shown off-roading.

Finding a CX-50 That Works for You

Thanks to a dynamic and diverse 2023 Mazda CX-50 lineup, buyers should have no trouble finding a version with the features they want within a set budget. Priced from between the high $20,000s and mid-$40,000s, the spectrum of available CX-50 trims allows buyers from varied financial backgrounds to join the Mazda family without busting their budgets. Mazda is one of only a handful of manufacturers that generously equip its base model trims—so rest assured you’ll get plenty of upscale features even if your budget keeps you at the entry end of the lineup.

As an adventure-oriented crossover SUV, the CX-50 tilts away from the elegant, urban design feel of Mazda’s other models, but only slightly. An earth-toned color palette, a wider stance, and up to an 8.6-inch ground clearance hint at the CX-50’s off-road capability, but as you slide behind the wheel, you’ll still be met with the premium cabin environment Mazda is famous for, netting a genuine best-of-both-worlds outcome for buyers. If finances allow, opting for a turbocharged version pays dividends on the road, but the 187-hp base engine is plenty powerful.

Overall, Mazda offers a practical yet premium compact crossover SUV with the all-new 2023 Mazda CX-50. Many buyers in this category find the ubiquitous vanilla styling of most entrants a bit boring; for these buyers, Mazda’s design team delivers big with a model that stands out. Who says practicality must be boring? Whether you’re looking for a near-luxury crossover or your priority is affordability, choosing the CX-50 is a solid decision.