The Mazda CX-50 is a compact SUV that first debuted as a 2023 model.
It’s Mazda’s take on a rugged and outdoorsy SUV that boasts good ground clearance, with the same premium interior, agile handling, and value for money as the other models in its current lineup.
In this article, we’ll take a quick look at some of the most common issues, problems and complaints Mazda CX-50 owners have had since it was released.
Table of Contents
1. Poor Ride Quality
Many owners and reviewers have been disappointed with the CX-50’s ride quality when driving over anything other than smooth roads.
Here is how a few owners described their experience on CX50Forums.com:
“I have the Premium Plus with a few options. Compared to the 5, the 50 ride is very, very bumpy and stiff. I do have the 20 inch wheels.”
“I have owned my 50 Turbo for 1.5 months now. The ride is firm, no doubt, but not rough, and will say with no doubt it is an absolute joy to drive. It handles somewhere between a sports car and a higher end suv. If you are looking for a suspension that floats over every bump this may not be your car.”
“It is firm compared to your run of the mill SUV, but not as bad as a sporty sedan or coupe.”
Complaints about the firmness of the suspension seem to be limited to trim levels fitted with 20-inch wheels which are paired with low profile tires that have thinner sidewalls. While these tires offer improved handling and grip on winding roads, they also don’t have much cushioning on rough roads and bumps.
The 20-inch wheels are standard on the Premium Plus model and all the Turbo models (except the Meridian Edition).
All other CX-50s equipped with the naturally aspirated 2.5-liter engine come with 17-inch wheels paired with tires that have thicker sidewalls while the Meridian Edition comes with 18-inch wheels and all-terrain tires.
If you’re not satisfied with the CX-50’s overall ride quality, you can swap out the larger wheels for smaller ones and get properly sized tires with thicker sidewalls. When changing wheels or tires, you have to make sure the resulting overall diameter is roughly the same as the stock ones.
Simply fitting new tires that have thicker sidewalls on the 20-inch wheels will increase the overall diameter of the tire which might cause clearance and rubbing issues. It will also make your speedometer and odometer readings less accurate.
2. Jerky Transmission
A number of CX-50 owners have complained that the transmission will sometimes make the car jerk forward when lightly stepping on the gas at speeds below 5 mph.
The abrupt jerking or lurching can feel like somebody lightly hit you from behind, or as if you momentarily stepped on the accelerator too hard and then backed off, even though your foot didn’t move at all.
The problem has been observed in both the turbo and naturally aspirated models of the CX-50. The current generation Mazda3 and CX-5 have also had similar complaints.
Here is how a few owners on the CX-50 subreddit described their experience:
“I purchased a CX50 TP back in September this year, I have a little over 3000 miles on my vehicle. In November I started to notice that my car would start jerking at slower speed but couldn’t nail down when it happened. Tonight I figured it out, it happens consistently going around 5 – 6 mph. This doesn’t happen if I have it in manual mode, only happens in automatic.”
“Mine does the same thing. I-stop is off, no cruise control on, and only in low speeds or from a crawling stop. It definitely jerks forward as if you’d just tapped the gas pedal and let go. It’s extremely annoying when you’re in traffic.”
“I purchased a CX-50 premium plus turbo a few weeks ago and I love it. I have noticed kind of an odd thing while driving the past few days though. When I accelerate from a stop, right about when the car hits about 1800 RPMs in 1st the car jerks forward a bit. It never happens after this, and the RPMs don’t seem to drop during it.”
In a lot of cases, the problem only shows up after driving the car for a few thousand miles. Although others have reported that they’ve also noticed it in brand new CX-50s that were sitting on the dealer’s lot.
It’s also more likely to occur if the engine hasn’t fully warmed up yet, but some owners have reported that it’s more noticeable when driving in bumper-to-bumper traffic or going up or down an incline.
The transmission doesn’t have any jerkiness if you step on the gas aggressively or put it into manual mode before taking off.
If you’re experiencing transmission issues, take the car back to the dealer and get a technician to ride along with you so that you can demonstrate the problem.
Mazda eventually addressed this low speed transmission shock issue in a TSB (Technical Service Bulletin) released in May 2023 which recommends reprogramming the TCM (Transmission Control Module) with the latest software.
Before the TSB was released, some owners reported that replacing the transmission valve body fixed the issue, while other dealers recommended replacing the entire transmission.
3. Clicking Noise in Rear
Some CX-50 owners have had issues with the rear differential making clicking noises at low speeds.
It’s usually not very loud and can only be heard from inside the car in really quiet environments. The clicking gets faster as you speed up, but eventually disappears once you reach 10 to 20 mph.
Here is how a few owners described their experience:
“I had a rotational clicking sound from the rear only heard at low speed… less than 10 mph, mileage at 2300. But it wasn’t always there. Then about a month later (mileage about 3200) sound was much more consistent so back to the dealer… rear differential needed to be replaced.”
“I got my CX-50 3 weeks ago. A week and a half in, there’s clicking from the back, while driving at lower (20mph and lower) speeds. Took it to dealer today, entire rear differential needs replaced. Covered, but parts are backordered and no eta on when it will be done.”
“Have had my CX 50 for a little over 9 months now. Have started noticing a few days ago of clicking/ticking sounds at low speeds whenever come to a stop or start to accelerate.”
“Just had this happen to my 2023 TPP, I took delivery on 2/17. Only heard it at below 20 mph, typically when the car wasn’t all the way to operating temp, did not get worse with increase speed, and really only heard if the radio was off. Sounded like a playing card in a bicycle spoke. 2300 miles.”
If you hear clicking or ticking noises from the rear, it’s best to take it back to the dealer for a proper diagnosis. The only solution dealers have so far is to replace the entire rear differential. The repair should be fully covered under warranty, but you might have to wait for the parts to get in.
In most cases, the clicking doesn’t happen all the time and only becomes more consistent after logging more miles. If you want to get it addressed sooner, you can make a recording so your dealer can actually hear what’s going on.
Fortunately, the sound doesn’t affect the car’s drivability and there haven’t been any reports of catastrophic differential failures as of yet. However, you should still get it checked while the car is still under warranty. Owners have also reported that the car drives noticeably smoother after getting their differential replaced.
4. Wireless Charger Issues
The CX-50’s wireless phone charging pad has been very problematic for many owners.
Aside from making the phone very hot to the touch, the pad itself has a tendency to overheat and will often stop charging the phone altogether after a couple of minutes.
The wireless charging pad is standard on the Turbo Premium Plus model, but can be added as a $350 option on the other trim levels.
Here’s how a few owners described their experience:
“With my old 12 Pro Max, the wireless charger barely worked. It would charge for about 60 seconds, then say “wireless charging unavailable”. It would never actually charge my phone long enough for overheating to become an issue.”
“I’ve had my TPP (Soul Red) for two months and absolutely love it. I have Pixel 6 Android and the wireless charger doesn’t work with it.”
“I have a 12 Pro (not max) and it won’t charge longer than a few minutes with or without a case, till I get the blinking overheating light.”
“My phones (tried both iPhone and Samsung) heat up like crazy in maybe 10-15 minutes. Then the charging stops. The charging pad flashes red and is very hot to the touch.”
If you’re unable to get wireless charging to work with your Android phone, make sure NFC is disabled because it won’t work if it’s turned on.
Overheating is a fairly common issue in many other cars equipped with wireless chargers, so it’s not unique to the CX-50. It tends to get worse with a phone case and if you’re using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto at the same time.
You’ll have less overheating problems if you take off your phone case and make sure the phone is right in the center of the pad, so that the charging coils underneath can get a better connection. You can also check with your dealer if they can replace the charging pad altogether.
One recommended workaround to keep the overheating to a minimum is to go into the Connectivity Settings and enable ‘Prioritize AM reception.’ This setting lowers the wireless charging wattage so it doesn’t overheat as much, but it will charge the phone more slowly. However, this only seems to work with Android phones.
Most people just switch back to charging their phones using a USB cable which is much more reliable and has the added benefit of making Apple CarPlay and Android Auto more responsive.
5. Seat Belt Chime
A common complaint among many CX-50 owners is the continuous chiming of the seatbelt warning even if the vehicle is not moving.
Like many current generation Mazda vehicles, the CX-50’s driver seatbelt warning will start chiming as soon as you turn on the engine. It only lasts for 6 seconds if you’re just parked, but it will continuously beep if you start driving around.
The rear seatbelt alarm will also start chiming if a passenger unbuckles their seatbelt while the engine is running even if the car isn’t moving.
Here is how a few owners described their experience:
“There’s no reason I need to have my seatbelt on if I’m sitting in a parking lot eating my lunch or waiting for someone.”
“It goes off when the car is parked, and a rear passenger takes off the seatbelt. That one doesn’t even make sense. And it doesn’t stop until I either turn the car off or the passenger gets out.”
The rear seatbelt warning can also sometimes go off on its own even when there’s no one sitting in the back seat.
“I’ve had to fasten the seatbelt in the backseat a couple of times now when there’s no one or nothing on the backseat, due to the audible notification not stopping. Sometimes it happens when one of my children is on the passenger side of the back seat but no one is in the middle, yet the middle seat alarms that the seatbelt needs to be fastened.”
There’s no way to completely disable the seatbelt warning, but you can lower the volume of all audible warnings by going into the ‘Sound Settings’ and adjusting the ‘Vehicle Notification and Warning Volume.’
The seat belt warning can also start chiming if you place enough weight on one of the passenger seats. If the warning continues even when the seats are unoccupied, you should take your car to the dealer to check if there is anything wrong with the seat sensor.
Some owners have opted to use a dummy seat belt or a buckle extender to make the car think that the seatbelt is properly fastened.
6. Sub Par Fuel Economy
The Mazda CX-50’s doesn’t have the best fuel economy especially when compared to other compact SUVs from other brands.
EPA estimates for the base 2.5-liter engine is 24 mpg city and 30 mpg highway, while the turbo models get a slightly lower 23 city and 29 highway.
In stop-and-go traffic, fuel economy can drop below 20 mpg.
Here are some real-world fuel economy numbers from several owners:
“We have two CX-50 turbos. My wife does mostly local trips, suburban roads and trips between 2 – 10 miles. She’s getting 22 mpg. I do a mix of 20% local and 80% highway. When I’m on the highway, if I have my kid in the car, I’m going 70 – 80 mph and I get around 26 mpg. Otherwise, I’m usually going 90+ mph and get about 22mpg.”
“I picked up my CX-50 TPP a week ago. It was a demo vehicle, but in great condition. It had 2300 miles. I’ve been driving it daily and I get 16 – 18 mpg in the city. I live in Boston and traffic here is terrible, but I am not an aggressive driver.”
“13k miles TPP and 17 mpg all city. When I get to stretch my legs on the highway I can get up to 28.”
“I have a non-turbo and my commute is roughly 130 miles round trip and I average 36 mpg on 90 hwy/10 city. Overall, I average 27-30 mpg on 65 hwy/35 city. I’m at 7000mi now and mpgs have gotten better the more i drive it.”
Despite the reports of poor gas mileage, it’s worth noting that fuel economy gets better after the car reaches 5,000 to 10,000 miles. During the car’s initial break-in period, there’s more friction between the engine’s internal components, which makes the engine less efficient overall.
In general, you can maximize fuel economy and get more miles out of a tank of gas if you avoid driving in ‘Sport’ mode, maintain a consistent speed, and anticipate traffic to avoid aggressive acceleration and braking.
7. Road Noise and Rattles
Many CX-50 owners have noticed that their cars have more cabin and road noise when compared to the similarly priced CX-5.
One of the main issues is that unlike the CX-5, the CX-50 doesn’t have dual-pane acoustic glass for the driver and passenger window, so you’ll hear more wind and ambient noise while driving.
With the OEM roof racks fitted, you’ll also hear more wind noise when you’re driving at higher speeds on the highway. This can be fixed by adding a fairing in front of the rack.
CX-50 owners have also complained that the CX-50 doesn’t seem to have as much sound deadening. This is most noticeable with the doors which sound hollow and can rattle when slammed shut.
Here’s how a few owners described it:
“The car doors seems hollow. Doesn’t seem solid at all and the body of the door rattles when closing. Just surprised as it doesn’t seem solid. Happens more on back doors than front.”
“Went back to the dealership and started opening and closing the doors of other models. Only the cx50 sounded like this and the Cx5 for example was solid.”
Owners have also noticed rattles in the following areas:
- Sunglass compartment
- Behind the dashboard
- Rear liftgate/hatch
Mazda released a TSB to fix the rattles in the sunroof which recommends removing the trim pieces and checking if all the bolts and plastic clips are properly installed. Dealers will also add foam or sound deadening material in certain places to get rid of the rattles. The same fixes should also work on other parts of the car that have loosely fitted pieces.
8. Remote Start Feature
The Mazda CX-50’s remote start feature has a few quirks that have caused confusion for many owners.
First off, you cannot remote start the car using the key fob. It is only available through the MyMazda app, which is only free for the first three years.
This means that both the car and your phone should be connected to the Internet. If you don’t have good cell reception, it won’t work at all.
There’s also a delay when using the remote start through the app before the engine actually turns on. This delay has slightly improved over time after several software updates to the phone app and the car’s TCU (Telematics Control Unit). The TCU is the module that handles all of the car’s connectivity features.
Another common complaint is the fact that the car will turn itself off as soon as you open the door. This is a security feature that prevents others from driving off with your car after using the remote start feature, and there’s no way to disable it.
If you try to use the remote start feature two times in a row, you’ll have to wait 24 hours or drive for at least 1 mile for it to work again.
Finally, many owners have been disappointed by the fact that you can’t control the AC or the heat using the app. If you want to precondition the cabin temperature before getting in the car, you’ll have to set the climate control to Auto beforehand.
9. Touchscreen Doesn’t Work
Unlike many of Mazda’s current offerings, the CX-50 actually has a working touchscreen when it’s connected to Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
However, it’s configured so that the touchscreen feature only works when the car is stationary. If the car is moving, you can only control the infotainment using the dial on the center console.
Fortunately, you can change this in the settings so that the touchscreen always works using the following steps:
- Connect your phone to Apple CarPlay or Android Auto
- Go to the Home screen
- Select ‘Settings’
- Go to ‘Connectivity Settings’
- Select ‘Bluetooth/Phone Connectivity Settings’
- Under ‘Devices’ and select your phone
- Scroll to the bottom and put a check on the ‘Touchscreen in Motion for All Devices’ option
Mazda disables this feature by default because using the touchscreen while driving can be a distraction, so you should be careful and always pay attention to the road when using the touchscreen to control the infotainment system.
Mazda CX-50 Pros & Cons
- Rugged good looks
- Standard all-wheel drive
- Powerful turbo engine
- Nimble handling
- Upscale interior
- Good ground clearance
- Dedicated ‘Off-Road’ mode
- Affordable starting price
- Lots of standard tech and safety features
- Firm ride
- Cabin materials not as premium as other Mazda vehicles
- Relatively heavy steering
What Do The Reviews Say?
“Much of the CX-50’s adventure abilities can be attributed to the off-road drive mode that cleverly combines the steering and traction control systems to keep the vehicle on its intended path with ease. Depending on the trim level, the CX-50 also has either 8.3 or 8.6 inches of ground clearance; the latter figure is comparable to the outdoorsy Subaru Forester’s (8.7 inches). There’s also the CX-50 Meridian Edition that adds all-terrain tires.”
“The upgraded turbocharged engine, which is what our test CX-50 had, is powerful and helps make the CX-50 one of the quickest vehicles in its class. You’re never short on power, and the transmission is good at finding the right gear at the right time. Zero-to-60 mph acceleration in our testing took 7.2 seconds. That’s slower than a turbo CX-5 we tested but still decently quick for a small SUV.”
“The same suspension that gives the CX-50 its engaging handling gives it a firmer ride than some of the competition. That’s not to say it’s teeth-rattling; you just feel more of the road than you do in others. Bumps are still muted, and the comfortable seats help you settle in even further.”
“Mazda includes a decent array of standard in-car tech and driver aids with the CX-50. Apple CarPlay with wireless connectivity and Android Auto are included on all trims, and there are multiple USB-A ports for charging. A wireless charging pad is available, though we rarely got it to function with an iPhone. Mazda’s built-in navigation system is clear and easy to use, and you can use voice commands to input addresses or change radio stations. The available Bose audio system is among the better ones you’ll find in this class.”
“There’s no getting around the fact that the CX-50 is one of the most expensive vehicles in its class. The flip side is that Mazda includes all-wheel drive as standard and a pleasing collection of features. Like many Mazdas of late, the interior is a step up from what you’ll find elsewhere too. Fit and finish is excellent, and the overall design and choice of materials make it feel worth the premium you’ll pay. There’s soft padding on the dash, and all of the buttons and knobs have a nice feel to them. Details like that matter.”
What’s the Resale Value of a Mazda CX-50?
Here’s a quick look at used car pricing on Edmunds at the time of writing.