2023 Mazda CX-50 GT Turbo: Overview
Mazda’s SUV offensive to fill every subsegment of the market gave birth to the CX-50. The new double-digit model definition may sound a bit confusing for the newcomers. But, it is not to the insiders and followers of the brand. The CX-50 is 6.5 inches bigger, three inches wider but two inches lower than the best-selling model, the CX-5. The CX-50 is a compact crossover positioned below the three-row CX-9.
A similar model offensive took place when Mazda introduced the CX-30, a bigger version of the CX-3 last year.
Mazda already announced that in the new few years it will launch two new “double-digit” models, CX-70 and Cx-90. The SUV offensive will continue and the company is determined to fill every subsegment of the global SUV market.
The CX-50 is built at the Mazda Toyota Manufacturing, a 50/50 joint venture plant in Huntsville, Alabama. Mazda’s newest model shares the same basic architecture as the CX-30 crossover and Mazda3 sedan and hatch but has a unique suspension set-up designed for off-roading.
2023 Mazda CX-50 GT Turbo: Engine and Powertrain
Our tester had the 2.5-litre SKYACTIV-G turbocharged four-cylinder engine, although the naturally aspirated version is available too. Both engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission and the all-wheel drive is standard across the model range.
Mazda’s latest version of its i-Activ All-Wheel Drive with Mazda Intelligent Drive Select has three driving modes: Normal, sport and off-road. Mazda says it simplified its off-road settings to avoid driver distraction and reduces the risk of confusion.
In terms of power output, both engines deliver the same horsepower and torque as they do in the CX-30 and Mazda3. Those figures are 186 horsepower and 186 lb-ft. for the naturally aspirated 2.5 and 250 hp / 320 lb-ft. for the 2.5 Turbo with 93 octane fuel.
Mazda is known as a company that passionately works to harness the full potential of the ICE and drivetrain technology for at least two decades and all the efforts and progress can be summarized under “Skyactiv Technology”. Electrification on the other hand is on top of the agenda for almost every major manufacturer. But, Mazda did not make headlines in this area. Considering the relatively low production scale of the company and the increasing level of cooperation with Toyota, it is not a surprise that Mazda will leverage Toyota technology when manufacturing hybrid vehicles and BEVs. This approach would make much economic sense.
2023 Mazda CX-50 GT Turbo: Design
Dimensionally, the CX-50 is classified as a compact SUV. As for styling, the CX-50 sports a more rugged off-road aesthetic, with a wide stance, flared bodywork and loads of blacked-out trim, including wheel arches, grille and headlight surround, and door trims, and mirrors. The squared-off headlight and taillight elements are unique to the CX-50 and represent an expansion of Mazda’s exterior design language. With all these characteristics an observer would claim that Mazda wants to carve out a market segment Subaru not only dominates but almost entirely owns with its Outback: The high-wagons.
The all-terrain tires, roof rack and hood graphic on the pre-production model shown here are optional. Of note, its exterior colour, Zircon Sand, will be unique to CX-50 at launch, but Mazda has said it may be offered on other models in the future.
2023 Mazda CX-50 GT Turbo: Interior
Having tested almost all models of the current generation Mazda vehicles, we feel very familiar with the cabin. Mazda has been doing a good job by creating appealing high-quality interiors and deserves to be named a premium brand. Inside the CX-50 details such as its stitching take the premium feel a notch higher. The round, analogue / digital instrument cluster with the classic look is ergonomically good and the 10.25-inch infotainment display is legible.
However, we detected some features that require attention or improvement when a model facelift is due: The control lights over the AC buttons are hard to see. And when you open the windows even a bit while driving, wind noise may be disturbing resulting fro the position of external mirrors, which could be closer to the A-pillars.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will be standard on all grades, with Mazda Connected Services – which works in conjunction with the MyMazda smartphone app and offers remote engine start/stop, door locking/unlocking and vehicle health status report – available as an option.
Our tester was equipped power-operated liftgate, heated and cooled front seats, a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, 18-inch wheels and a full panoramic glass roof. Rear doors opening at an almost 90-degree angle give easy access to the rear seats.
2023 Mazda CX-50 GT Turbo: Driving Impressions
We have been testing or driving Mazda vehicles for nearly a decade. Two key words come to my mind before anything else: Fuel economy and driving pleasure. Mazda has been a passionate proponent of ICE technology (in my subjective statement at least) developing this traditional and already mature technology continuously. These efforts largely pay off also in the new CX-50. This is a vehicle that handles well and is fun to drive. However, with some limitations. As this vehicle is bigger but maintains its sharp steering, course corrections may be more necessary often than thought. I felt this, especially on the highway drive north of Toronto. During highway cruising as well as on rougher surfaces with potholes, the torsion-beam rear axle sacrifices some comfort and makes us miss an independent rear suspension which is of course not the best option for an SUV.
In terms of fuel consumption, we came up with an average of 12.4 litres on the mixed-mode drive, which is above the EPA average. Mazda will probably introduce of more-fuel-efficient hybrid version of the CX-50 imported from Toyota.
2023 Mazda CX-50 GT Turbo: Pricing and Equipment
Our tester, in the range-topping GT Turbo trim, has an MSRP of $47,550. This figure includes $2,500 for the twin-turbo engine and $250 for Polymetal Grey Metallic paint. A good value proposition for a well-equipped model of a brand with very high reliability.
2023 Mazda CX-50 GT Turbo: Conclusion
Mazda is stronger than ever in the SUV game. The new CX-50 offers a new, specious alternative in the compact class and the Mazda qualities we know for years.
For more detailed and the most up-to-date information, please visit http://www.mazda.ca