The 2023 Mazda CX-50 Is Priced Much Closer To The CX-5 Than I Thought It Would Be

Base models are only a few hundred more than the equivalent CX-5

Mazda’s new CX-50 crossover, currently slotted between the CX-5 and CX-9, isn’t as expensive as you might think. (Images: Mazda)

The 2023 Mazda CX-50 brings new styling to the mix and new features as well.

Over the next few years, Mazda aims to further expand and modernize its crossover lineup with three new crossovers (for North America) — the CX-50 being its first. Along with standard all-wheel drive, this new model brings new brand-first tech to the competition, including new “Mi-Drive” intelligent drive modes and a panoramic sunroof. From its reveal, I thought all the updates would raise it out of reach for the entry-level buyer, with pricing far beyond the current-gen CX-5. As it happens, I’m pleased to report I was wrong on that presumption.

In fact, the base 2023 Mazda CX-50, the 2.5 S, starts at $28,050. That’s including the automaker’s $1,225 destination charge, and commands only a $900 premium over the CX-5.

Like its smaller sibling, the CX-50 exclusively uses a 2.5-liter SkyActiv-G engine — at least for now. The standard (non-turbo) mill puts out 187 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque. If you want to get a bit more punch, the turbocharged version puts out 227 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque on standard 87 octane fuel. If you use 93-octane premium gas, you’ll get another bump still, to 256 horsepower and 320 lb-ft.

Apart from some mild changes in the number, we’ve done this song and dance before, so you’ll probably expect these engines to mate up to a 6-speed automatic transmission, and you’d be right. One change you enthusiasts may not expect, given the price structure below: As it’s broadly based on the Mazda3 and CX-30, this CX-50 crossover does not have fully independent rear suspension like the CX-5 does, instead using a torsion beam setup.

Whatever your budget lies above that initial price tag, there’s likely a CX-50 to suit, as you’ll be able to choose from nine available trim levels. A special 2.5 Turbo Meridian Edition will launch later this year to bring the total options up to a nice, even ten.

Price walk for non-turbo models

That $28,050 price tag is for the base trim, which will net you 17-inch alloys, LED headlights and turn signals, as well as standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. Mind you, this version leaves you with the standard 8.8-inch screen, which is feeling a bit small by today’s standards. Fortunately, you don’t have to move far to get the larger, 10.25-inch unit instead.

Pay $1,200 more, and you’ll land at the 2023 Mazda CX-50 2.5 S Select. The name may be a bit of a mouthful, but you do get that larger infotainment screen, four total USB ports, dual-zone climate control with rear passenger vents, tinted glass, LED interior lights, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter and black 17-inch wheels.

The $30,725 Preferred model continues to add in features like heated mirrors and windshield wipers and a power liftgate, as well as eight-way power-adjustable and heated front seats. Rear passengers also get their own center armrest with some extra storage. Unlike some other Mazdas, the CX-50 also has a Preferred Plus model, which ups the price again to $33,165. For that extra cash, you get the much-touted panoramic sunroof. It’s certainly a nice feature to have, but I’ll leave it to your judgment whether it’s worth another $2,440 on top of the standard Preferred trim.

Next up, the 2.5 S Premium kicks off at $35,625. This is where Mazda typically adds their Bose 12-speaker system (up from the standard 8-speaker affair), as well as SiriusXM satellite radio support thanks to the shark fin antenna, and this version is no exception. Other upgrades include an auto-dimming rear-view mirror with Homelink, a six-way power-adjustable passenger seat, and access to the CX-50’s unique terracotta interior as an option, beyond the conventional black seating surfaces.

Finally, the 2.5 Premium Plus rounds out the naturally-aspirated models at $37,625. That brings in larger 20-inch alloys, automatic power-folding mirrors, a full-color head-up display and ventilated front seats.

2023 CX-50 Turbo models

The base 2023 Mazda CX-50 2.5 Turbo starts at $37,625. In addition to the boosted power levels, these versions add in a Towing mode to the Mi-Drive system. Total towing capacity also increases to 3,500 pounds, up from 2,000 pounds on the standard CX-50 models (and the CX-5, for that matter). 2.5 Turbo models get adaptive and auto-leveling LED headlights and larger exhaust pipes. As far as other equipment goes, Mazda implies that the base Turbo falls around the same level as the Preferred package on the 2.5 S version.

Stepping up through the higher trim levels brings the same sort of upgrades as the naturally-aspirated cars. This time, though, only the Premium and Premium Plus packages add to the feature set. The 2.5 Turbo Premium kicks off at $40,775, and adds in the Bose 12-speaker system, SiriusXM satellite radio, the active driving head-up display, a heated steering wheel and ventilated front seats.

Finally, the 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus package tops off the conventional trims, with a $42,775 price tag. This is the only trim that adds in Mazda Navigation System (though, again, you get Apple CarPlay/Android Auto across all models). The Premium Plus also brings in heated rear seats, wireless phone charging, and adds traffic sign recognition to the Active Driving Display.

Colors options

Per Mazda’s other cars, the color palette will be familiar, with the exception of the CX-50’s new Zircon Sand Metallic, a $395 option. Polymetal Gray Metallic, Wind Chill Pearl and Machine Gray Metallic are no-cost colors. Soul Red Crystal Mica will be available on the CX-50 as well, and will set you back an extra $595.

If you want the off-road kit Mazda showed off around the debut, you’ll have to get in on the Meridian Edition later this year. That adds in unique 18-inch alloys with all-terrain tires, as well as special garnish around the rocker panels and headlights. Distinctive hood graphics bring Mazda’s new crossover more in line with other special models like Subaru’s Wilderness lineup. The company will announce Meridian-specific pricing details closer to its launch in the coming months.

Update 2/22/22 (Hey, what a date!): Added the point on the CX-50’s rear suspension, as I received some inquiries on whether it has an independent setup or not (it doesn’t).