Hey guys, it's been fun and I wanted to say that I really thought I would love the CX-50 and I just don't think it was a good fit for me. There are just some things a test drive won't be able to uncover until owning a vehicle long term and I ultimately traded the CX-50 Turbo Premium in for a 2023 CX-9 Touring but I think it was worth it in the end. There's just so many build quality issues with the CX-50 cropping up every other week to the point where I felt like Mazda just half-assed this vehicle and rushed it in addition to my other gripes.
At the time of the trade in, I was deciding between the Acura RDX/MDX, Toyota RAV-4 Hybrid/Highlander, Lexus RX-350 or the CX-5 Turbo Premium and I settled on the CX-9 as it had the best price/features ratio with little to no markups compared to Toyota in addition to being very spacious, quiet and comfortable. After nearly 6,000 miles of driving the vehicle, here's some of my observations.
What I liked:
What I didn't like
- Appearance: I really like the wide body stance of the vehicle along with the 20 inch wheels, front/rear tail lights as it really stands out.
- Lumbar Support: The lumbar support on this car is phenomenal as it has a very deep adjustment setting that can dig into the lumbar if necessary and it provides a lot of support.
- Auto Adjusting Side Mirrors: I liked how the mirrors would automatically point downwards when the car is reversing. It would've been cool if both sides of the mirror could reverse instead of having to manually select the individual mirror.
- Horn: The horn on this vehicle is very loud and not anemic like the CX-5/CX-9.
- Headlights: The headlights look very cool at night when walking away from the vehicle and when cornering (thanks to the auto adjusting headlights).
- Bose Centerpoint Speakers: The sound from these speakers are very good compared to the CX-9 with stock speakers. I had a chance to test drive a 2020 Lexus RX-350 F-Sport with the Mark Levinson as well and the Bose sounded much better overall.
- Infotainment: I really liked how the system uses Wi-Fi to enable Android Auto instead of the traditional USB cable that plugs into the phone. Another thing that I liked was the volume knob that has the ability to skip tracks.
- Heads-up Display: I've never had a car with a heads up display before and I thought it was cool. It can be distracting at times but it's especially helpful when using Google Maps and instead of following turn-by-turn directions on the center console/cell phone, it was right in front of my face.
- Tire Pressure Monitor System (TPMS): Being able to see the PSI of each tire was very nice, especially on the My Mazda app.
- Backup Camera: I don't know what resolution the camera is but it seemed like 720/1080p as it was very high resolution. It definitely blows the CX-9 out of the water on this aspect.
(I guess I don't really like majority of the car 😅?)
Lessons I've learned from this whole ordeal
- Steering Wheel: This is one of my biggest gripes with the car so far. There's really no need to make the steering wheel so stiff as it's very fatiguing to drive on long road trips that are 3-7+ hours. Some people don't have an issue with it but I am guessing they take short trips with the vehicle only or maybe they're used to it. Coming from a CX-5 and now CX-9, I much prefer the light steering wheel that doesn't require much effort. Another thing that I do not like is the fact that only the left/right hand portion of the steering wheel is heated and the top and bottom are cold.
- Cup Holders: It was originally a massive issue for me until I got a shorter length charger + L-shaped USB-C cables that stopped obstructing the cup holders. However, this is still a very poor design as the cup holders are not only small but they are literally right in front of the cigarette port and they're barely big enough to hold larger sized bottles.
- Visibility: I am not sure if it's just me but each time I drove in the CX-50, I felt like the visibility for the car isn't so great. The windshield feels very narrow and the angle is awkward compared to that of a CX-5/CX-9 and combined with the super stiff suspension, it makes me feel sick.
- Suspension: This car is easily more harsh than the 2016 CX-5 as every bump on the road can be felt throughout the vehicle due to the stiff suspension/torsion beam setup as opposed to the softer independent rear suspension that is in the CX-5/CX-9. Some people reported that the 20 inch wheels may be the factor while others reported that installing 17-18 inches didn't make a drastic difference so I am not sure....
- Seatbelt Chime: This is another extremely annoying thing about the vehicle that I cannot really tolerate. The chime is very intrusive and unfortunately, there's no way to change this sound.
- Safety System: Each and every time there is low visibility or some type of terrible weather, the Safety and Driver Support Systems Temporarily Disabled message appears on the center speedometer gauge. Not that I actually rely on these systems but it makes me question the purpose of this system if it gets disabled like this each time the weather turns bad to worse with some fog, snow or rain. This will ultimately disable any features such as Active Cruise Control and some other ones that I don't really use or care about but it's something to keep in mind.
- Rattles: Every time I went over very specific imperfections (e.g. one side higher than the other) on the road, I would hear a rattling noise on top of the headliner and after multiple trips to the same dealership, nothing was ever done to remediate the issue even after escalating my case to Mazda corporate. I was told that there was no insulation or padding in between the headliner and roof to dampen the noise as it's held into place by Velcro clips and to purchase felt lining and to put the material myself to dampen the sound. The run around that I was getting from both the service tech and Mazda corporate was that this vehicle was meant for "off-road usage" and that they've heard of other repeated complaints from other customers as well.
- Panel Gaps: One day after walking around my car, I noticed that the driver side of my vehicle's hood was higher than the passenger side. I slid my hand up and down the panel and felt the raised section that was ultimately fixed by the service technician when I brought it up.
- Noisy Driver (Rear) Window: I noticed this issue when I closed the Driver (Rear) door as it sounded weird compared to the other doors. I rolled down the window and tried closing the door again and the noise went away and after the service technician applied some lubricant to the Window, the noise went away.
- Fuel Economy: I drive 80% City/20% Highway and I was averaging 15.6-15.8 MPG with or without a heavy foot. With my CX-9, I am averaging about 17-18 MPG with or without a heavy foot even though the car hasn't broken in yet. I honestly could barely get 220-240 miles out of each fill up without having to fill up. EPA claims the CX-50 Turbo MPG to be 23 (City)/29 (Highway) but the City MPG did not live up the expectations for me.
- Road Noise: After driving in a CX-9, I noticed that the CX-50 has lots of road noise as there's not much insulation inside of the panels. It feels like the entire car is made of very hard plastic for cost saving measures.
- Brakes: The CX-5 (Raybesto Element 3's)/CX-9 (OEM) brakes that I have stop much better in wet/dry conditions as opposed to the CX-50. In the CX-50, it feels like the brake doesn't really have much bite and I am guessing the material is more on the ceramic side than semi-metallic. Could be the tire differences as well.
- 5-8 MPH Lurch: From what I was told by the service advisor, this was normal behavior that the vehicle does that because it disconnects from the torque converter. It doesn't always lurch but in stop and go traffic, I can feel the car lurching around 5-8 mph and disappearing afterwards. I've read on other Mazda CX-50 forums and they've experienced this issue as well.
- Door Handle: I am not sure if anyone else experienced this but the handle that is grasped to open/close the door has a very cheap feeling to it, especially at the center portion. It almost feels abrasive and I feel that Mazda could've done a better job to polish that area to make it smooth and more refined as it seems like it came straight out of an ABS mold without much touch ups.
- My Mazda Remote Start Feature: Probably one of the worst things to be designed where the car shuts off after the door is opened due to the fear of a vehicle being stolen. The car basically needs to be started a second time after getting in.
- OEM Door Sill Trim Plates: I thought that the front door sill trim plates were cool as they light up but the rear ones do not unfortunately even after having to pay about $200-300 for the whole set.
- Never buy a first year production model as there's too many issues that may come up and ultimately, you will be a beta tester unless time/money is not an issue.
- Best bet is to test drive a car in the winter time as that is when most of the rattles show themselves in a vehicle. During hotter weather, the rattles typically not appear.
- The dealership/Mazda Corporate is not your friend when it comes to fixing small issues like rattles and will lie to your face as there's no money to be made even if you spent $40k+ on a vehicle.
- Dealerships/Corporations typically respond well to criticism or negative feedback through sites such as BBB or other sources that may impact the brands perception.
- If you drive in the city, the Turbo may not be the most fuel efficient even though it may be the most fun.
- The torsion beam setup is awful.....