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2023 Mazda CX-5 and CX-50 Finish on Podium In Car and Driver Rankings

In Car and Driver’s latest ranking of compact SUVs, the 2023 CX-5 and the CX-50 both earn a very high spot.


Car and Driver is all about rankings. The publication loves to tell you which minivan has the least likelihood of suffering from lift-throttle oversteer and which three-row SUV has the best handling “at the limit.” Typically, the publication ranks its vehicles according to the vehicle's sporty driving attributes, whether it was intended to be sporty or not. Its latest ranklings mostly hold to that.

Which SUV Beat the Mazda CX-50 and CX-5
The CX-5 and CX-50 both earn a podium spot, but neither is in first place. Rather, the all-new Honda CR-V takes first place. In its notes on why the CR-V was selected, Car and Driver noted that the CR-V “ not half bad to drive…” The author also said, “Honda's CR-V isn't the sportiest or best-looking compact SUV…” Maybe CD is starting to evaluate vehicles based on other criteria?

Mazda CX-5 and CX-50 - Which Ranked Higher?
The Mazda CX-50 earned the second spot on CD’s list. The CX-5 was ranked third. No explanation was given for this. CD did mention the CX-50 is “Bigger than” the CX-5, but did not point out that the CX-5 has more interior passenger volume and more overall cargo space.

Which Were the Lowest-Ranked SUVs?
In CD’s rankings, which ran from 1 to 17, the Jeep Compass was dead last. Interestingly CD sings the Jeep’s praises, saying in part that the Compass “ surprisingly capable off-the-beaten-path…” The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is second to last on the list. Interestingly, CD says the Outlander Sport is worse but didn't rank that model at all. The GMC Terrain is third-worst in CD’s opinion. The reason listed is that its “...the build quality inside is less than stellar.”

How would you rank the CX-50 and CX-5 from Mazda? Do you feel that they should have beaten the all-new CR-V in a ranking of the best SUVs this size and type? Tell us in the comments below.

Image of 2023 Mazda CX-50 by John Goreham.

View the full CD list here.

John Goreham is an experienced New England Motor Press Association member and expert vehicle tester. John completed an engineering program with a focus on electric vehicles, followed by two decades of work in high-tech, biopharma, and the automotive supply chain before becoming a news contributor. In addition to his ten years of work at Torque News, John has published thousands of articles and reviews at American news outlets. He is known for offering unfiltered opinions on vehicle topics. You can follow John on Twitter, and TikTok @ToknCars, and view his credentials at Linkedin


Todd (not verified)    March 18, 2023 - 9:01AM

The CVT in the Honda is a deal breaker for me. In Canada at least, Mazda has an unlimited mileage 3 year powertrain/5 year comprehensive warranty. I own a 2016 Mazda 6 with 220,000 Km of trouble free driving. Mazda dealership service leaves something to be desired, but they are ridiculously easy to work on. So please post warranty (non-dealer) servicing is “affordable” and/or DIY friendly. In my experience Honda dealerships are arrogant and I’ve never made it past the salesperson first contact.

Matthew Ball (not verified)    May 18, 2023 - 2:40PM

Honestly, I only want the quietest midsize SUV. Our 2013 CR-V is fantastic on great roads, but on the shitty roads where we live, it is very loud.