2023 Mazda CX 50: More Dashing and Brave For Off-Road Mode

2023 mazda cx 50

The promised 2023 Mazda CX 50 crossover will be an example of the Japanese brand taking a bolder stance with its SUV.

The North American exclusive will also be the first Mazda to be built at the new Mazda Toyota manufacturing facility in Huntsville, Alabama.

Designed for both on- and off-road comfort, the 2023 Mazda CX 50 features a unique Mi-Drive with a dynamically changing off-road mode instead of offering specific sub-modes.

This is also included in its Kodo theme with a “Search Partner” theme, which aims to allow owners to explore more and take advantage of the features built into the CX-50.

2023 Mazda CX 50 will also be available with a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder developing 187 hp or a turbocharged version of the 250 hp engine.

All models will be equipped with a six-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. A hybrid model is also in the works and will use a Toyota powertrain.

Mazda CX 50 2023 has always shared a platform with the sub-compact crossovers CX-30 and Mazda 3, so we expect sporty handling.

While the CX-50 is barely larger than the existing CX 5 SUV, it features a more robust design that marks a departure from Mazda’s more refined designs elsewhere in the lineup.

Shared chassis with Mazda CX 5

Mazda CX 50 2023 uses Mazda’s small platform chassis, which means it shares parts with the Mazda CX 30 and Mazda CX-5 SUV.

“While the Mazda CX 50 vs CX 5 are both compact crossover vehicles,” says Mazda, “the CX-50 has been optimized for outdoor use.”

To put it mildly, the 2023 Mazda CX 50 is said to be a butcher and less road-oriented than Mazda’s other small crossovers.

It has a higher ground clearance and a wider stance than the Mazda CX 5. In addition, the roof of the Mazda CX 50 is reinforced and the suspension is stronger to “cope better off-road”.

Read also: Mazda CX-50 Release Date: More Stylish Appearance Compared to the CX-5

What kind of engine does a Mazda CX 50 have?

All models come with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, but you get a more powerful turbocharged variant that puts out 250 horsepower. The base non-turbo offering will only produce 186 hp.

A six-speed automatic is standard, as is all-wheel drive, and the 2023 Mazda CX 50 will undoubtedly brand sharp handling, continuing the company’s tradition of offering affordable, fun-to-drive vehicles.

A hybrid model that will later join the lineup with a powertrain sourced from Toyota. We expect this to be found in the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, a 2.5-liter four-cylinder with two electric motors that produce a combined 219 horsepower.

Exterior Mazda CX 50 is Longer and Slimmer


The design exterior Mazda CX 50 is instantly recognizable and clearly reflects the Mazda “Kodo” imagery.

From the front wing grille to the sleek profile, you wouldn’t confuse it with anything else in the compact crossover category except the Mazda CX 5.

However, the original Mazda CX 50 was about inspiring drivers to explore new places, experiences, and challenges that can only be found in the great outdoors,” said Yasutake Tsuchida, Senior Director, Mazda Design America.

In other words, it looks more masculine outdoors than the Mazda CX 5, with sharper lines, plastic trim, and broader shoulders alluding to its broader stance.

Again, there are many Mazda signature touches, including the round headlights and taillights, that you’d expect to see on other CX models, but everything’s a bit more steroidal here.

The Mazda CX 50 also gets a moody new Zircon Sand paint finish option, further enhancing the rugged appearance without going all the way to desert tan; Later, this paint color will spread to other Mazda models.

Despite the 2023 Mazda CX 50 off-road stakes, the roof remains low enough to be easily accessible, making stacking items on the roof rails less difficult.

For longer items that cannot be bestowed on the roof, the rear seats can be folded flat and the seatbacks lowered parallel to the main cargo floor, creating a continuous surface to slide over.

Mazda CX 50 Interior Has a Bigger Dashboard

mazda cx 50 interior

Just because the Mazda CX 50 mission is less road-centric than other Mazdas doesn’t mean it’s abandoned its driver-centric interior design.

The cockpit still embodies “Jinba Ittai”, Mazda CX 50 philosophy of striving for unity between car and driver.

The models on display during the unveiling sported a new terracotta color for the interior. It’s a rich, almost tanned leather tone that provides a nice contrast to the rest of the interior, which is mostly black.

The same brown color is found in the stitching on the dashboard, seats, front center armrest, and door panel stitching and armrests.

A panoramic sunroof is available. Inside, the larger square vents give the 50 a slightly more truck effect than the smaller CX-30, but we can see the familiar 8.8-inch infotainment screen from the dash.

If Mazda releases more information on the CX-50 cabin and infotainment features, we’ll update this article with more details.

Read also: 2022 Mazda MX 30 | Equipped With EV And Plug-in Hybrid

A vehicle with multiple surfaces

The CX-50 may look tough but hides Mazda’s traditional handling characteristics inside. Dave Coleman, Mazda North America’s manager of vehicle dynamics, explains that according to Mazda research, even customers who go camping spend most of their time on the sidewalk.

It will run a few hundred miles on the freeway, a few dozen miles on winding mountain roads, and then maybe 10 or 20 miles at the end (of the trip to the campground).

So sacrificing everything highway driving just doesn’t make sense for a slight upgrade on the highway, especially when you’re driving a Mazda with our expertise.”

This idea of balanced performance extends to the driving mode selector called Mazda Intelligent Drive Select or MI-Drive (pronounced “My Drive”).

Which has just four modes: Normal, Sport, Towing, and Off-Road. Each mode adapts to the standard i-Activ all-wheel-drive system, throttle response, Vector-G control, transmission logic, and braking system.

“Now that most companies are using these types of driving mode systems,” says Coleman, “they are trying to make each driving mode different and different. Either way, the car behaves differently.

We have the opposite approach. Mazda has a very consistent approach to driving dynamics, which is important to us and we want to make sure the car behaves well.

In other words, the idea is that the Mazda CX 50 should behave regardless of the mode you’re in, and feels constant.

About The CX 50  Drive Modes

mazda cx 50 towing capacity

Sport mode is just like Mazda’s other sports modes, accelerating throttle response and telling the transmission to hold a gear longer instead of upshifting as soon as you let go of the gas pedal.

Tow mode is self-explanatory, albeit with a Mazda twist to the rear. “So if you hit the hitch really hard, what will raise the nose of the car and lower the weight of the tires?

As a result, steering behavior becomes dull and the driver can intervene more at the steering wheel. You’ll experience a kind of wobbling and queuing state that only gets worse as followers move in to follow.

“So,” says Colemans, “Mazda increased the gain of the G-Vectoring control so that when cornering it helps charge the front tire enough to bring it back to the weight you normally have on that tire and the normal one.” has driven.

G-Vectoring subtly plays with engine torque to initiate some weight transfer to the front end of the car, intended for a better turn-in response on regular Mazdas.

Tow mode also puts a bit of a strain on the AWD system, but it doesn’t for some of the rear-wheel drives, “but because we need to dampen yaw that’s generated to dampen the slight movement that the trailer generates in the rear of the car.”

A quick note: while towing mode is detailed, the Mazda CX 50 a towing capacity is not. Mazda says this will be announced at a later date closer to its official launch.

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Off-road mode only

G-Vectoring Control is also used in off-road mode. Unlike some of the competitor’s off-road modes, the CX-50 has only one all-in-one option – no sand, mud, snow, or other sub-options.

” Says Coleman, “Where real-world conditions always appear to be a vague mix of habitats between alternative configurations and we firmly believe that the smartest vehicle system is the driver.”

“If you want to go off-road, the off-road mode is for you. It’s that simple,” Coleman said. Also unique to Mazda, the system is designed for driver comfort and control.

Using G-Vectoring control to increase responsiveness on loose surfaces and employing an early four-wheel-drive system to maintain traction and slip as far as possible to prevent it.

To cope with heavy grades, the Mazda CX 50 recognizes corners and increases idle speed for a “smooth transition from idle to torque.

According to Coleman, torque converter lockup is delayed for smoother power delivery when pointed at the sky or greater when facing obstacles.

An anti-lock braking system is used to prevent the CX-50 from rolling backward when stuck.

If the Mazda CX 50 lifts a tire in the air as it rotates, the ABS system will hold the brake on the tire that is in the air and “slip”, allowing torque to be transmitted along the diagonal to the opposite wheel.

Driver Performance System

For the time being, only the 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G engines with and without turbochargers have been announced as powertrains for the CX-50.

However, a future hybrid model was mentioned along with other “electrified powertrains”.

When asked if this would result in an electric version of the Mazda CX 50, Mazda limited it by saying that so far we can confirm that this crossover uses a traditional hybrid system.

For now, all other powertrains and their specs will be released sometime before the off-road Mazda officially launches.

Mazda has also confirmed that the CX-50 model will only be sold with i-Activ AWD, not the front-wheel-drive model. For the kind of buyers Mazda is chasing here, standard AWD isn’t a bad thing.

Each Mazda CX 50 will use a six-speed automatic transmission, although there’s been no word on a low-range gearbox for the i-Activ system in the CX-50.

Unlike other Mazdas, the AWD system sends a small amount of torque to the rear wheels, even when power is biased to the front axle on lighter rides like the highway.

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