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To help members understand the latest automotive technology so they can purchase vehicles that best suit their needs, the Automobile Club of Southern California's Automotive Research Center (ARC) began testing and reviewing vehicles over a decade ago

For the 2024 edition, we include testing and ranking cars and light trucks with the latest technology, including having at least one advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) feature. In addition to vehicle evaluation, the guide covers a number of pertinent automotive topics in detail—for example, the latest advanced safety features, how to properly maintain your vehicle, and new vehicles coming to market in the next few years.

2023 Mazda CX-50 2.5T Premium Plus

Vehicle Type: Midsize suv Gasoline
 overall score
Category Ranking: 12

Vehicle Price

Base Price: $41,550
Price as Tested: $43,170

Fuel Information

Fuel Type: Regular
Fuel Capacity (gal): 15.8
EPA City mpg23
EPA Highway mpg29
EPA Combined mpg25

Advanced Safety Features

  • Adaptive Cruise Control [S]
  • Advanced Headlights [S]
  • Automatic Emergency Braking [S]
  • Blind-Spot Warning [S]
  • Driver Monitoring [S]
  • Forward-Collision Warning [S]
  • Lane-Departure Warning [S]
  • Lane-Keeping Assistance [S]
  • Rear Cross-Traffic Warning [S]
  • Reverse Automatic Emergency Braking [O]
  • [S] Standard, [O] Optional

Overall Observations

In the case of the CX-50, Mazda likes to keep things in the family. The new-for-2023 crossover shares a platform with the Madza3 sedan/hatchback and the CX-30 SUV. In fact, courtesy of prominent fenders, faux air scoops front and rear, and black body cladding around the perimeter, it looks like a more rugged version of the CX-5, with which it shares a drivetrain. (Two engines are available, a naturally aspirated and turbo inline 4.) The CX-50, available in 10 trim levels, is a well-rounded small SUV. First and foremost, it's fun to drive, providing confidence-inspiring handling, commendable steering feel and road feedback, and good stopping power and brake feel. The ride is sporty and comfortable, though perhaps too firm for some. The cabin is roomy enough for all passengers. The interior fit and finish and materials quality are decidedly upscale, with good cargo room and storage options. Adaptive LED headlights with auto high beams, remote entry and keyless start, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a temporary spare tire are standard, as is a full suite of ADAS features, especially on the upper trim levels. The MX-50 could use some improvement in a few areas, though. Large rear roof pillars impede visibility, the infotainment system is difficult to use, fuel efficiency (25 mpg) and range (395 miles) are subpar, and the backseat is hard to get in and out of.

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Pros and Cons


  • Good steering-wheel feel, road feedback, and braking
  • Comfortable, sporty ride (albeit a bit firm)
  • High-quality interior materials, fit and finish
  • Lots of standard tech and ADAS features
  • Comfortable seating, plenty of storage and cargo space


  • Unintuitive infotainment system
  • Difficult rear-seat entry and exit
  • Restricted rear visibility
  • Unimpressive fuel efficiency and range

Vehicle Specifications

Model year tested: 2023
Number of passengers (F/R): 2/3
Curb weight (lbs): 3907.0
Exterior L / W / H (in): 185.8 / 75.6 / 63.9
Wheelbase (in): 110.8
Number of air bags: 10
Warranty (months/miles): 36/36,000
Tire manufacturer and model: Goodyear Eagle Touring
Front and rear tire size: 245/45 R20
Max towing capacity (lbs): 3,500
Headlight type: LED
Transmission type: Auto 6-speed
Drivetrain type: All wheel
Engine/motor: 2.5L I4 turbo
Engine horsepower @ RPM: 256 @ 5,000

Test Data

Test Vehicle Scores

Advanced Safety Features:


Fuel Efficiency:


EPA Emissions Score:





Handling: 6.40
Quality and Drivability: 6.75

Ride Quality:


Interior Size:


Easy of Entry and Exit:




Interior Noise:


Cargo Capacity:

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