A Glorious Road Trip in a Mazda CX-50 Turbo Premium Plus

The lingering winter weather outside of Philadelphia was how we started our road trip. The Mazda CX-50 Turbo Premium Plus provided a bounty of features that made the excursion completely enjoyable. Many of the appointments only revealed themselves when needed, others were evident at first glance.

As to the former, tooling the backroads outside Newtown, PA in the late evening we discovered a subtle feature of the headlights, they adjusted slightly in synch with the steering wheel. In anticipation of making the upcoming turn my eyes invariably swept ahead to where I was headed and here the headlights did likewise. Sublime and satisfying.

Having been a fan of Bose since my college days, I was pleased to hear the multi speaker array in the vehicle. While far more concise than the girth of the 901 speakers in my college apartment, the CX-50’s audio system provided smooth and robust playback across various volume levels. I pushed the sound to the rear cabin for a fuller experience when we dialed up the latest from St. Paul and The Broken Bones. When it came time to pull in the latest installment from Malcom Gladwell’s podcast we brought the sound forward.

Mazda Connect is a system-wide control for radio, Bluetooth, hands-free calling and Short Message Service. Also available are inputs such as USB and SD. I expect secret agents use those inputs after visiting a dead drop. Me? I enjoyed the quickly connecting Bluetooth. Various vehicle monitoring information is fed through the system for status updates.

An immediately noticeable feature of the CX-50 is the Active Driving Display, which projects onto the windshield data such as speed and traffic sign recognition. I found this feature a bit disconcerting for the first dozen miles, and then began to rely on it as a safer way to keep my eyes away from the instrument cluster.

A range of additional features made the driving experience even more enjoyable, such as lane-keep assist system and dynamic stability control. The former leveraged the forward-facing camera to track the lane markers and gently nudged me back into the lane if I strayed. The haptics are impressive. The dynamic stability control is hopefully used less often, to enhance stability of slippery surfaces.

The model we drove included features for off-pavement touring, which we did not test. Also on duty was the driver attention alert, which detects fatigue.

The cabin environment was very comfortable with supportive seats in the front and rapid response cabin temperatures.

Even as we headed south toward the warm pulse beat of our nation, the evenings in Washington, DC and nearby Annapolis were especially cold. We smiled at the CX-50’s quick reaction to my request for heat. The heated seats were especially welcome to we displaced Southern Californians.

The tight turning radius was great for getting me into compressed parking spaces outside the Smithsonian and The Spy Museum.

Storage space? We found plenty!

The CX-50 is classified as a crossover, and competes admirably with the likes of the Honda CR-V, the VW Tiguan and the Kia Sportage. It is a step up from the Subaru Outback. The Mazda package we experienced is a great balance of luxury and sportiness, with a high level of fun.

We look forward to more miles behind the Mazda steering wheel.



Brad Auerbach has been a journalist and editor covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.