2024 Mazda CX-50: A Compact SUV with Premium Aspirations

Compact sport utility vehicles are sized larger these days, giving customers ample room for two adults and three children, along with all their gear. The Mazda CX-50 is one such model in this crowded segment but comes loaded with many features, including standard all-wheel drive.

This model also gets expensive as top-trim versions rival premium competitors with generous luxury amenities, including a padded leather dashboard.

2024 Mazda CX-50 Review

The 2024 Mazda CX-50 comes in eight trims: 2.5 S Select ($30,300), 2.5 S Preferred ($31,650), 2.5 S Premium ($34,000), 2.5 S Premium Plus ($37,500), Turbo ($38,000), 2.5 Turbo Meridian Edition ($40,800), 2.5 Turbo Premium ($41,300), and 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus ($43,300). Add $1,420 for the destination fee.

2024 Mazda CX 50 trims
(Click to enlarge)

Shoppers should know that the CX-50 is sold alongside the Mazda CX-5, a model we recently reviewed. The current CX-5 has been on the market for eight years, while the CX-50 is in its second year. Surprisingly, the aged model easily outsells the newcomer and likely will remain available for a few more years.

See Also2023 Mazda CX-50 Review

Exterior Highlights

Features such as alloy wheels, roof rails, and dual-exhaust outlets are standard with the CX-50. Along with LED lighting, a rear roof spoiler, and automatic headlights, these amenities give this SUV a “class above” look.

2024 Mazda CX 50 side

That appearance is enhanced by its gaping maw, handsome design lines, and carefully placed sculpting. That Mazda targets premium models such as the Audi Q5 and Volvo XC40 becomes apparent when placing these models side by side.

Heated side mirrors and a windshield wiper deicer are included on all but the base model. Moving up through the trim range expands the features list accordingly.

A power-sliding moonroof, power-folding side mirrors, and larger wheels are available. Some models add hood graphics and side rocker garnishment, with additional wheel design choices included. 

Interior Highlights

The CX-50 offers excellent room for the driver and front passenger. But the rear space is tight and best used by two or three children. Models such as the Hyundai Tucson and the Ford Escape offer marginally more room.

2024 Mazda CX 50 front seats

Cargo space measures a respectable 31.4 cubic feet behind the second row and 56.3 cubic feet with the seat folded. The Toyota RAV4 and Volkswagen Taos, though, offer at least 10 percent more space than the Mazda.

Mazda equips the CX-50 with standard dual-zone climate control, imitation leather seats, and manually controlled front seats. Move away from the standard trim and such amenities as a power liftgate, heated front seats, and an 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support arrive.

2024 Mazda CX 50 rear seats

Leather graces most trims and comes double-stitched and generously padded. Our top-trim test model showcases what Mazda can do with its interiors, rivaling Lincoln, Lexus, and Acura in looks and feel.

Available features include a heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, a power-controlled front passenger seat, and paddle shifters. 

Technology and Safety

From the onset, the 2024 Mazda CX-50 comes equipped with a deep bench of tech features. These include an 8-speaker audio system with HD Radio, four USB ports, and a 10.25-inch display.

Until recently, the display was not a touchscreen, requiring a center command knob for control. But for customers with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, their smartphones supply connectivity and touchscreen control. It is a “mostly win” in this department, although without the integration, the old ways persist. 

2024 Mazda CX 50 interior

Move up the trim range and a 12-speaker Bose audio system comes in, along with satellite radio and wireless phone charging. Mazda’s navigation system is standard with the top model, but unnecessary with smartphone connectivity. 

Regarding safety features, every model above the entry level includes an adaptive front-lighting system with automatic leveling. Additionally, an active driving display (head-up display) becomes standard for models beyond the base version.

Other standard driver-assist features include blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. Adaptive cruise control with full stop-and-go and lane control are included. Choose the top trim and Mazda adds a surround-view monitor, traffic jam assist, and smart brake support (rear). 


It is common for Mazda to offer two four-cylinder engine choices for its small models. The CX-50 is no exception as shoppers have a choice of two engines displacing 2.5 liters.

2024 Mazda CX 50 engine
2.5L turbo engine

Half of the trims get the naturally aspirated version, while the other half gain the turbo. Power routes to all four wheels utilizing a six-speed automatic transmission.

The standard engine makes 187 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. Choose the turbo and this one delivers 227/256 horsepower and 310/320 pound-feet of torque. The first numbers are for regular fuel; the second for premium-grade gasoline.

Models equipped with the standard engine average an EPA-estimated 30 mpg to 29 mpg for the turbo. The towing differences, though, are much more noticeable as the standard four pulls up to 2,000 pounds, while the turbo rates 3,500 pounds when properly equipped.

Driving Highlights

Mazda supplied us with a top-trim turbo model for our week-long evaluation. We have extensively tested both engines in a variety of models and have noted the distinct performance differences.

That said, the base engine delivers ample power corresponding to what competing models deliver. You just won’t achieve the level of exhilaration offered by the optional engine.

The turbo offers ample step-off acceleration and generous passing power. This engine delivers copious amounts of low-end power, enabling this SUV to pick up speed fast and stay there.

2024 Mazda CX 50 rear

We need to point out that the six-speed automatic transmission seems unusual in a segment where two to four more cogs are common. But that shouldn’t deter anyone as the transmission matches well and shifts smoothly.

A few more mpg might be gained with a modern unit, but at least it is an automatic and not a continuously variable transmission, as found in the Subaru Forester and Nissan Rogue.

One of the traits of small SUVs is bland steering and just-average handling. Thankfully, in this SUV, Mazda utilizes the same platform and suspension package that underpins the fun-to-drive Mazda3 hatchback and sedan.

You can expect and will receive driving feedback with its crisp steering and capable handling. Body roll is kept to a minimum and that means the CX-50 manages twisting roads and corners with distinction.  It is doubtful you would head to the track with one, but at least the Mazda performs capably on the road.

On one road trip, we experienced the CX-50 in all its glory. The interstate beckoned, we responded, and the Mazda proved itself. We were especially impressed whenever we had to enter the highway and do so with maximum power at the ready.

This SUV shoots to highway speed and above with ease, the transmission sensing the right gear for the moment. Ride comfort is decent, but not its strong suit – no small SUV can swallow every bump with ease. Otherwise, the CX-50 has a quiet and well-insulated cabin that makes taking long trips enjoyable. 

Mazda CX-50 Considerations

While the turbo models offer a performance edge along with excellent amenities, we realize for budget-conscious consumers, the added cost may be a bit too much to swallow.

Starting your search with the 2.5 S Premium adds $1,350 to the cost, but it also brings in many upgrades. From there, it is easy to opt for upper trim levels, with a CX-50 costing as much as $45,000 when fully equipped.

Read Also2024 Mazda CX-30 Review

Photos courtesy of Mazda (due to non-cooperative weather).

Matthew Keegan

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