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Mazda CX-50 Driven: I Came, I Towed, I Went Off Road!

Every Mazda SUV owner I’ve ever known loves their car. That is so great. But what if that person wants to go off-road on their way to camping? Skiing? Or, God forbid, to tow something in the process? Yeah, that’s a job for their other car, until now. In a time when Subaru’s Wilderness Edition Forrester and Outback are all the rage, and RAV4 owners are getting their TRD Pro on, Mazda is officially throwing its hat in the off-road ring with the all-new CX-50. I’m here to tell you all about it.

The All-New Mazda CX-50 By The Numbers

  • Standard AWD (yeah, I know that’s not a number)
  • 3,500-pound towing capacity
  • Two powertrains, ten packages
  • 2.5L 4 cylinder: 187hp, 186 lb-ft of torque
  • 2.5L turbo: 227hp, 310 lb-ft of torque
  • $26,800 = Starting MSRP for the 2.5 S
  • $36,400 = Starting MSRP for the 2.5 turbo
  • $41,550 = Starting MSRP Turbo Premium Plus package

Off-Road—Ya Sure About That?

            You bet I am, and I have the video to prove it (please watch and push that red subscribe button).

Did You Really Tow Sh*t?

         Sure I did. About 3,500 pounds which means the CX-50 can tow most of the following things:

  • A Chevy Malibu
  • An Adult Black Rhino
  • A 2,000 Gallon Propane Tank
  • Roughly 14 250 cc 2-stroke Motocross Bikes

Yeah, But Is It Safe?

            Although we don’t have official safety ratings from the IIHS, the CX-50 comes standard with some great safety features, including:

  • Auto braking with pedestrian detection
  • Blind Spot Monitoring
  • Driver  Attention  Alert 
  • Lane  Departure  Warning System
  • Lane Keep Assist
  • Rear Cross-Traffic Alert

The Good

  •             The pricing: Even at $42,000, the CX-50 is a lot of car for not much cash.
  •             The drive: Despite a lot of new engineering, the drive felt very Mazda, and that’s a great thing.
  •             The drive modes: The engineering team worked hard to ensure that the drive modes wouldn’t be dramatically different. Their approach was for the driver to employ them easily yet not feel that the vehicle drove differently but was very capable. At first, that didn’t sound very good to me. But after experiencing it, I get it and think many of you will really appreciate that subtlety.
  •             Every CX-50 is made in Huntsville, Alabama (‘Meruka).
CX-50 Mazda

The Bad

  •             Road noise: There was just a little too much for my taste.
  •             The stupid interface almost ruined a really great ride. See my video above for more details.

The Verdict

            The CX-50 is certainly a worthy contender in this fast-growing capable CUV category. They’ve put so much attention into the way it drives, solidifying Mazda’s driver-first reputation. If they’d only turn their sights toward improving the overall interface, this would be the car to beat. Either way, it is certainly worth your consideration.

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