Meet the first-ever 2023 Mazda CX-50, the first Mazda vehicle produced at the new joint Mazda Toyota Manufacturing Plant in Huntsville, Alabama. I recently had a chance to spend a little time with Mazda's newest crossover SUV for the first time during April's 2022 Texas Auto Roundup in Fort Worth, Texas. While I only spent a few minutes behind the wheel, I didn't need more than that to be impressed both with its driving dynamics and wow-worthy interior.
First Look: Exterior
First let's consider its looks. Mazda says designers spent two years crafting the exterior. The result is Mazda's sculpted sophistication with an added ruggedness to it (by that I mean all of its thick black body cladding). But that's the whole point of the CX-50 - to give Mazda a more rugged crossover offering to meet the demand for drivers looking for a bit of outdoorsy adventure.
You'll also note the CX-50's wide stance and its ground clearance. Turbo model features include larger exhaust pipes, LED taillights, and an adaptive LED front lighting system with LED auto-leveling headlights. While the exterior color looks on this model looks a bit blue to me depending on the lighting, it's official color is Polymetal Gray Metallic and it sets off black 20-inch aluminum alloy Black Metallic machine-finished wheels extremely well.
First Look: Interior
The CX-50 interior does not fail to impress from the minute you open the door. It more than lives up to the near premium interiors we've come to expect from the automaker. The Turbo model's exclusive Terracotta leather-trimmed seats are exceptional and feel as great as they look.
Some other quick initial impressions:
- I liked the unique position of the wireless charger, tucked and semi-hidden underneath the top to the console bin. Very innovative, space saving design.
- The panoramic sunroof is great, but the thick black beam detracts from the open feeling I expect Mazda was going for.
First Look: Technology
The Mazda CX-50's technology is familiar if you'd driven other models in the current lineup. It's well designed and integrated well into the vehicle's interior design.
The 10.25-inch multimedia display, which isn't a touchscreen, hosts a nice large rearview camera and also supports wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
First Look: Ride, Drive and Performance
The CX-50's top-of-the-line 2.0 Turbo engine delivers up to 256-horses and a respectable 320 pound-feet of toque when you fill up with 93 Octane Premium fuel. (It drops to 227 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque on 87 Octane. I do wonder why Mazda hasn't updated from a 6-speed automatic yet. Fuel economy is 25 combined.
The CX-50's great driving dynamics and sporty handling are a highlight. They're terrific, which is no surprise of course, as it is a Mazda. It's equipped with Mazda's G Vectoring Control Plus, i-Activ All-Wheel Drive and MiDrive with Sport, Off-Road and Towing modes. The Turbo engine can tow up to 3,500 pounds.
Utility-wise, cargo space is impressive. On its website Mazda says it designed the cargo area to be deeper than it is wide to "fit coolers, packs, and gear lengthwise."
First Look: Pricing and Verdict
From my initial impressions, the Mazda CX-50 2.0T is poised to for success in my book - thanks to its terrific driving dynamics and fantastic Terracotta interior. The MSRP on this model as equipped is $43,170 with destination. That pricing does make it more expensive than the 2022 CX-5 Turbo model I recently reviewed. You can check out my CX-5 review here.