CHATHAM, Mass. – The all-new 2023 Mazda CX-50 2.5 Turbo with Premium Plus Package brings Mazda’s driving dynamics, well-integrated technology and flowing styling to an American-influenced compact sport-utility vehicle designed to have a more rugged than previous SUVs from the zoom, zoom brand.

“This new Mazda vehicle has been developed for North America, particularly to support the active and outdoor lifestyles of customers in this region,” Jeff Guyton, President and CEO of Mazda North American Operations said. “The CX-50 encourages people to immerse themselves in nature without compromising on the premium design and outstanding on-road performance Mazda is known for.”

A recent week in a zircon-sand version was at once familiar – Mazda’s interior layout is carried through virtually all models – and new. It is more upright and angular than its compact CX-5 stablemate, feeling roomier and more open. The CX-50 is more akin to a traditional American SUV than the CX-5.

Driving retains the Mazda dynamic personality

As I said, getting behind the wheel of the CX-50 was comfortable because it felt like the other Mazdas I had driven in the past. And like those, this is an easy vehicle to drive quickly; it goes where you want it to go without drama, begging to let the horses run.

Providing those horses, 256 along with 320 pounds-feet of torque on premium fuel (using regular reduces output to 227 hp and 310 lb.-ft respectively), is the Skyactiv-G 2.5-liter twin-scroll turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

As in all CX-50s, this power goes through a Skyactiv-Drive six-speed automatic transmission to a standard i-Activ all-wheel-drive (AWD) system. The driver can tailor this system to driving conditions and environment through the Mi-Drive system with Sport and Off-road modes. Towing mode will allow for trailers up to 3,500 pounds.

Managing the CX-50’s smooth power – virtually no turbo lag during acceleration – is a well-engineered chassis featuring MacPherson-type struts up front and a torsion beam in the rear. Dynamic-stability control and traction-control systems help keep things under control.

The power-assisted anti-lock (ABS) braking system with electronic-brake distribution (EBD) has 12.8-inch ventilated rotors in the front and 12.8 solid ones in the back. An electronic parking brake completes the package.

The Turbo version includes 20×8-inch black alloy wheels shod with 245/40R20 all-season tires.

As I said, all the parts work wonderfully together to provide a confident, comfortable driving experience.

Modern ADAS Technology

Befitting a fully equipped model, the CX-50 2.5 Turbo with Premium Plus Package comes with a comprehensive suite of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) including lane-departure warning; lane-keep assist; blind-spot monitoring; rear cross-traffic alert; radar cruise control; traffic-jam assist; front and rear parking sensors; blind-spot prevention; traffic-sign recognition surround-view camera; front and rear brake support with pedestrian detection (AEB), and driver-attention alert.

Cabin filled with amenities, technology and conveniences

Again, the Turbo Premium Plus package means a very well-equipped passenger compartment.

The leather covered seats feature heat at all locations (three levels and ventilation in the front along with power adjustment and, for the driver, memory) face a sleek, well-designed dash, with easily reached and operated buttons for the automatic climate-control system.

A 10.25-inch center display set into a well on the top of the dash (providing a more cohesive appearance than many of the screens in other vehicles) is the heart of the MAZDA CONNECT™ infotainment system with standard navigation system.

A multi-function, multi-direction rotary control supplemented by specific buttons for the home, audio, navigation and favorites screens, allows easy operation of the infotainment system after a bit of practice and reading of the owner’s manual. In addition, the system can be operated with either steering-wheel controls or voice activation.

MAZDA CONNECT brings WiFi; remote services (remote start/remote lock/remote hazard light); vehicle status; navigation services (vehicle finder, send-to-car, map online update); vehicle-connect services (vehicle-health report, online update, push notifications, malfunction notifications and recall notifications); automatic 911 dialing; Mazda Roadside Assistance; wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto; SiriusXM satellite radio; Pandora, and more.

One of the best heads-up displays on the market, the Mazda Active Driving Display includes much of the information available in the digital instrument cluster as well as major ADAS alerts including blind-spot alert.

A solid value from a sold SUV

The Mazda CX-50 delivers a fun, comfortable modern experience; one of the better compact SUVs on the market. As part of the experience, I was delighted with the vehicle’s fuel economy, topping 30 miles to the gallon during my week behind the wheel (the federal Environmental Protection Agency rates it at 25 mpg overall, 23 city and 29 highway).

I also thought the $43,170 for this much compact SUV (including $395 for the zircon sand paint and $1,225 for delivery, processing and handling) represented good value.

Mazda’s take on an SUV designed for the North American customer, one who wants to the ability to leave suburbia behind and head for the outdoors, works without any compromises to the company’s commitment to a well thought out, well integrated vehicle. Next week TBR Drives the two-door Ford Bronco Sasquatch edition