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2023 Mazda CX-50 Trim Levels, Configurations & Comparisons.

2023 Mazda CX-50 Trim Levels, Configurations & Comparisons: S vs Select and Preferred, Preferred Plus vs Premium, Turbo and Meridian Edition

What 2023 Mazda CX-50 Trim Should You Buy? What is the Difference Between Trims?

At this point, it is abundantly clear that the SUV craze is not going anywhere. Smaller SUVs have stepped in to straddle the line between capability and comfort, making them ideal for a variety of drivers. For this reason, car manufacturers just keep coming up with new SUVs to offer consumers.

Mazda has already offered the popular CX-5 for many years. For 2023, they are adding the CX-50 to the mix. Like the CX-5, the CX-50 is a small SUV with seating for up to five. Mazda claims there are enough differences between these two vehicles to make them both worthwhile, however. Primarily, the CX-50 is meant to offer more capability.

If drivers get past the hurdle of choosing between the CX-5 and the CX-50, they then have to choose a trim level. There are actually ten versions of the CX-50 to choose from. When comparing these trims, it is clear that there is a lot of overlap between them. That means it is important to truly understand what each of these trims is offering, and for what price, before making a decision.


Compare the CX-50 2.5 S vs. 2.5 S Select Trims. What is the difference?

The naming of the 2023 CX-50 line is a combination of what is underneath the hood and how many features come standard. For the 2.5 S, drivers will be looking at a 2.5L four-cylinder that makes 187 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque. Mazda goes with a six-speed automatic transmission and gives the 2023 CX-50 standard all-wheel drive.

There are many sought-after exterior features to be found on the CX-50 2.5 S. This SUV has automatic LED headlights along with LED daytime running lights. Automatic high beams are also included, making night driving just a bit easier. The side mirrors are black and have integrated LED turn signals. Automatic windshield wipers help add to the upscale experience when driving the CX-50.

Drivers will find 17-inch alloy wheels underneath the 2.5 S. It has dual exhaust outlets with a bright finish, plus a body-colored rear roof spoiler. These touches add validity to the idea that the CX-50 is a more rugged Mazda SUV.

One limitation associated with the entry-level CX-50 involves its available paint colors. Buyers can choose from Jet Black or Ingot Blue for free, or they can pay around $400 for Polymetal Gray. Higher trim levels add many more options to choose from.

Inside, the CX-50 has a push-button start. Otherwise, the interior is pretty lacking in comfort and convenience features. There are straightforward cloth-trimmed seats, and the front seats are stuck with manual adjustment. This SUV comes standard with seating for up to five, and the amount of passenger space in both rows is respectable.

Technology features are better for the 2023 CX-50 2.5 S. An 8.8-inch touchscreen runs the infotainment system, and an eight-speaker sound system is thrown in as well. Android Auto is included and wired, but drivers do get to enjoy wireless Apple CarPlay. There are two USB ports located in the front. There is also a partially digital instrument panel to give the CX-50 a modern feel.

As expected, Mazda gives the 2023 CX-50 a good deal of high-tech safety features. Adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and blind-spot monitoring are all standard across the board. This entry-level trim is also equipped with forward collision mitigation and driver attention alert.

The 2.5 S Select model of the CX-50 adds several nice touches. It has the same engine and the same wheels. The CX-50 2.5 S Select does get rear privacy glass, however. It also is available in more paint colors, including Soul Red and Wind Chill. Inside, a few attempts are made to make the 2.5 S Select more appealing. This model gains a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. It also gives drivers the convenience of dual-zone automatic climate control.

A 10.25-inch touchscreen takes over the infotainment system for this trim and the ones higher. Rear passengers are treated to their own USB ports in the 2.5 S Select, and some LED lighting is added to the cabin. There is also partial leather upholstery to increase the luxury level.

It is an increase of $1,400 when comparing the first two trim levels of the all-new CX-50. This is reasonable, all things considered.

Compare the CX-50 2.5 S Select vs. 2.5 S Preferred. What is the difference?

The 2.5 S Preferred trim level should be popular in colder regions. It does not add any additional mechanical features. The exterior gains heated side mirrors and a windshield wiper de-icer. This is also the first trim level to get a power liftgate.

Inside, the 2.5 S Preferred gets heated front seats. It also has an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat. Otherwise, this trim level is incredibly similar to the 2.5 S Select. The price jump is $1,300, which seems fair for additions such as the power liftgate and heated seats.

Compare the CX-50 2.5 S Preferred vs. 2.5 S Preferred Plus. What is the difference?

Calling the 2.5 S Preferred Plus its own trim level is a bit of a stretch by Mazda. No matter how closely buyers look at this model and the one that came before it, they will discover only one difference. The 2.5 S Preferred Plus gains a power-sliding panoramic moonroof. Despite this, the price jumps over $2,000. Perhaps Mazda thought charging that much for a sunroof as a standalone option was a bit much. Whether or not buyers will step up to this trim level depends on how much they like natural light and fresh air.

Compare the CX-50 2.5 S Preferred Plus vs. 2.5 S Premium. What is the difference?

The CX-50 2.5 S Premium is where this SUV starts to feel luxurious. A six-way power-adjustable front passenger seat is gained here. There are also two-way memory settings for the driver seat. An auto-dimming rearview mirror is yet another upgrade made to the cabin of this Mazda SUV. Leather upholstery and a 12-speaker premium sound system by Bose help to round out the upgrades. The price increase is right around $2,500.

Compare the CX-50 2.5 S Premium vs. 2.5 S Premium Plus. What is the difference?

The final CX-50 with the base engine is known as the 2.5 S Premium Plus. It only adds a few features, but they are significant ones. This model has power-folding side mirrors, for example, along with 20-inch wheels to ride around on. It also gains ventilated front seats. A head-up display is also standard for the 2.5 S Premium Plus. This trim level adds exactly two grand to the price tag of the 2023 CX-50.

Compare the CX-50 2.5 S Premium Plus vs. 2.5 Turbo. What is the difference?

The CX-50 2.5 Turbo is a more exciting version of this SUV. It has a 2.5L turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes up to 256 horsepower along with 320 lb-ft of torque with premium fuel. The all-wheel drive and six-speed automatic transmission stay the same. While all CX-50 models have sport and off-road driving modes, the 2.5 Turbo adds a towing mode as well.

Speaking of towing, drivers should know that CX-50 models with the base engine can handle up to 2,000 pounds. Models with the turbocharged engine can handle up to 3,500, which may be a deciding factor for some shoppers. Adaptive headlights are gained by this trim level, plus fun paddle shifters on the steering wheel.

It is not all good news for the 2.5 Turbo, however. This trim level loses several upscale features, including the power-folding side mirrors and head-up display. The ventilated front seats are also gone, and this CX-50 goes back to eight speakers rather than twelve.

After adding certain features and deleting others, Mazda decided that the 2.5 Turbo trim level should have the exact same starting price as the 2.5 S Premium Plus. It all boils down to priorities for the driver.

Compare the CX-50 2.5 Turbo vs. 2.5 Turbo Meridian Edition. What is the difference?

If buyers are looking for the most rugged version of the CX-50 possible, they are going to want to focus on the 2.5 Turbo Meridian Edition. It adds roof racks and hood graphics to help it stand out. More importantly, it has 18-inch alloy wheels and all-terrain tires to help drivers tackle some moderately challenging terrain. While there are genuine improvements to the capability of the Turbo Merdian Edition, it cannot keep up with some of the more off-road-oriented SUVs out there today. A price jump of $2,800 happens here.

Compare the CX-50 2.5 Turbo Meridian Edition vs. 2.5 Turbo Premium. What is the difference?

If buyers are wanting more power and more luxury, the top two trim levels of the 2023 CX-50 are where to look. The 2.5 Turbo Premium keeps the more exciting engine, plus starts to bring back some of the upscale features that were missing from the 2.5 Turbo and 2.5 Turbo Meridian Edition. The 2.5 Turbo Premium has ventilated front seats and power-folding side mirrors once again, for example.

The 12-speaker sound system is also brought back by the 2.5 Turbo Premium. This trim level benefits from a heated steering wheel. The price difference between the 2.5 Turbo Meridian Edition and 2.5 Turbo Premium is only $350. Of course, the 2.5 Turbo Premium is missing off-road-oriented features such as all-terrain tires. Once again, lifestyle and driving preferences will determine which of these two trims is the right call.

Compare the CX-50 2.5 Turbo Premium vs. 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus. What is the difference?

The final option for buyers to consider is called the CX-50 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus. As the name implies, it has the more powerful engine and all of the luxury features found in the previous models. It goes further to up the sophistication of the SUV, however, by adding things like a wireless charging pad and heated rear seats. Life is also a bit easier in the 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus, thanks to features like integrated navigation and a universal garage door opener.

Added safety features are a large part of the appeal of the 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus. This is the only version of the CX-50 to come with a surround-view camera system. Both front and rear parking sensors are also gained. Blind-spot intervention, a fancy feature that can automatically steer the SUV back into its own lane when necessary, is also added.

This top trim level costs exactly $2,000 more than the one that came before it. It is also important to be aware that the top CX-50 trim level costs around fifteen grand more than the entry-level version.


Final Thoughts

Buyers will need to test drive both available engines for the 2023 Mazda CX-50 before deciding which model to bring home. For the average driver, the standard engine will do just fine. In these cases, the 2.5 S Preferred is a nice choice. Heated front seats, a power liftgate, and heated side mirrors all make life just a bit easier and more comfortable.

There will be some drivers who need the extra power gained by the turbocharged engine. For them, the CX-50 2.5 Turbo is the right decision. Overall, this trim level is nicely equipped. It is also the most affordable way to bring home the extra accelerating power.

The 2023 Mazda CX-50 Preferred is an SUV with what the modern driver needs, making it a smart buy for a wide range of people.

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