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On The Road: 2023 Mazda CX-50 Premium Plus

By Peter Perrotta

For 2023, the folks at Mazda have come up with an all-new crossover SUV for their lineup, the CX-50.

This new crossover is a bit bigger than the CX-5 Mazda currently makes and is designed to be more rugged and off-roadish.

I recently popped behind the wheel of the 2023 Mazda CX-50 Turbo Premium Plus, the top-of-the-line trim level for this model, for one week to see what this new offering had.

This new five-set, two row SUV gives you what we’ve come to expect from Mazda – a very solid SUV, with a good quality build that gets high marks in almost every measurable category.

However, all that being said, it falls just a tad short in the “Wow” factor – as one might say, it lacks some pizazz.

However, pizazz may not be what a lot of the motoring public is looking for. If you are just looking for a really good, solid vehicle that has a great dependability record and checks all the right boxes, then this new CX-50 model may be just what the doctor ordered for you.

The new CX-50 looks a lot like the current CX-5 model except it’s a bit longer and wider and has some more rugged looking side trim and wheels.

The new CX-50 has two available engines, a naturally aspirated 187 horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine or a turbocharged version of that same engine that puts out 256 horsepower.

The folks at Mazda are also working on providing this same model in a hybrid version.

The turbo premium plus model I drove for one week had more than enough power to get you where you want to go. It has three drive modes you can select – normal, sport and off road.

The sport mode adds plenty of pop to the drive and while I didn’t do any heavy-duty off-roading with it, the off-road mode came in handy on some sandy Pinelands trails I took it on.

The most confusing thing about buying or leasing the new CX-50 might just be trying to decide which trim level to buy – it comes in a mind boggling 10 different trim levels.

It starts at the base CX-50 which carries a modest base sticker price of $28,825 and goes all the way up to the top-of-the-line Turbo Premium Plus model I drove that carries a base price of $43,575.

Any of the four trim levels that offer the turbo charged engine come standard with a panoramic moonroof, a 10.3-inch infotainment display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, leather seats and heated front seats.

My overall impression of this new CX-50 is very positive. It has plenty of leg and head room, rides smoothly and handles quite well.

The folks at Car and Driver that also test vehicles were extremely impressed with the CX-50, giving it a 9.5 overall rating out of a possible 10.

According to the folks at Car and Driver the CX-50 offers up a “zesty turbo engine, high class cabin and is very pleasing to drive.”

However, the CX-50 has a very competitive arena to compete in as it goes up against the Honda CR-V, Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson. These are all very worthy competitors in this segment.

The most fuel efficient CX-50 model to drive is the base four-cylinder model which gets 24 miles per gallon (mpg) in city driving and 30 mpg on the highway.

The turbocharged version of the CX-50 gets 23 mpg in city driving and 29 mpg on the highway.

The CX-50 comes standard with many driver assistance features including lane keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control.

If you want automatic high beam head lamps and a 360-degree exterior camera system those are optional features.

Both Kia and Hyundai offer better factory coverage than Mazda.

Mazda offers a bumper-to-bumper limited factory warranty for three years or 36,000 miles, powertrain coverage for five years or 60,000 miles and no scheduled maintenance.

Peter Perrotta’s On The Road column appears every other week. He can be contacted at pperrotta@comcast.net.

On The Road is sponsored by Capital Motor Cars of Springfield, N.J.

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