2024 Mazda CX-50 vs. 2024 Subaru Forester Contrast

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By Car Brand Experts

The 2024 Mazda CX-50 and 2024 Subaru Forester are small SUVs that impress us with their nimbleness, feature offerings, and standard all-wheel drive (AWD).

Unveiled for the 2023 edition, the CX-50 falls between Mazda’s smaller CX-30 and the larger CX-90 with three rows. There’s also the CX-5, a similarly sized model that is narrower than the CX-50 with less interior space and ground clearance.

The Subaru Forester takes a comparable mid-range position, above the smaller Crosstrek and below the bigger Outback and 3-row Ascent. Recognized for its rugged image, the Forester underwent a significant redesign for its 2022 edition. The off-road-themed Wilderness trim was also added to the lineup during this update.

Let’s examine how the 2024 Mazda CX-50 and the 2024 Subaru Forester stack up against each other.

2024 Mazda CX-50

2024 Mazda CX-50 Meridian Edition with hills in the backdrop.
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2024 Mazda CX-50 Meridian Edition with hills in the backdrop.
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Commencing at $30,300, the 2024 Mazda CX-50 is offered in eight configurations and provides a choice between two engines. The lower trims are equipped with a 187-horsepower 4-cylinder engine paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission.

Starting with the 2.5 Turbo priced at $38,000, the CX-50 is equipped with a turbocharged variant of the same 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine. This engine generates 227 horsepower with 87-octane gasoline and 256 horsepower with 93-octane. It is also mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Although it is only in its second model year, Mazda has reconfigured the suspension of the 2024 CX-50 to improve its ride and handling. Additionally, a wireless device charging pad and Bose audio system are now standard on more trims.

Noteworthy Features of Mazda CX-50

Turbocharged powertrain: While the standard 187-hp 4-cylinder satisfies many Mazda customers, the turbocharged engine adds more pep to the CX-50. This more potent engine does not significantly impact the CX-50’s fuel efficiency. The base 4-cylinder achieves an EPA-rated 27 mpg combined, compared to 25 mpg combined for the turbo.

Mi-Drive: This selectable system offers modes like Normal, Sport, and Off-Road. It is beneficial for individuals planning to engage in off-road driving with their Mazda. Sport mode enhances the CX-50’s performance with quicker acceleration and a firmer steering response.

Agile handling: The CX-50 is nimble, providing a driving experience more akin to a finely tuned sedan than a large and heavy SUV. This attribute is also found in the CX-5 and other Mazda SUVs, which prioritize an enjoyable driving experience.

Check the current Fair Purchase Price or explore the available CX-50 models near you.

2024 Subaru Forester

2023 Subaru Forester in green with red hills in the background.
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The starting price for the 2024 Subaru Forester is $27,095. It is offered in six different trims: Base, Premium, Sport, Limited, Wilderness, and Touring. There have been only a few minor updates to trims and features for 2024. For instance, the Premium trim now includes a small rear spoiler and LED fog lights as standard. All Foresters are equipped with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine delivering 182 horsepower to all four wheels through a continuously variable automatic transmission.  

Key Features of the Subaru Forester

Wilderness trim: The Wilderness variant enhances the 2024 Subaru Forester’s off-road capabilities. It comes with redesigned bumpers for improved approach and departure angles, all-terrain tires, increased ground clearance, and an upgraded X-mode driving system. This optimizes the transmission and AWD system for enhanced traction both on and off the road.

Interior Space and Cargo: While some competitors may offer more modern designs and luxurious trims, the Forester’s spacious and bright cabin provides a comfortable environment. It offers excellent visibility, generous legroom for rear passengers, and over 28 cubic feet of cargo space behind the split-folding rear seats.

EyeSight Safety Package: Every Forester model comes equipped with Subaru’s EyeSight safety package, which includes features like automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control with lane centering, and automatic high-beam headlights.

Explore this week’s Fair Purchase Price or browse available Forester models near you.

Shared Characteristics

The Mazda CX-50 and Subaru Forester share many similarities, such as comparable power, standard AWD, excellent maneuverability in various driving conditions, and similar sets of active safety technologies. They also boast identical warranties, adult-friendly rear seating, and ample cargo space to meet your hauling needs. 

Wrapping Up

Both the 5-seat compact SUVs, Mazda CX-50 and Subaru Forester, offer compelling features. The Forester, popular for its all-terrain capabilities, commanding driving position, and affordable pricing, has a dedicated fan base. In its base configuration, it is more budget-friendly than the entry-level CX-50. With a comfortable ride and good ground clearance, the Forester appeals to a wide audience. The Wilderness model, in particular, attracts adventure enthusiasts with its enhanced off-road performance.

On the other hand, the Mazda CX-50 is a refined product featuring a sophisticated cabin and a choice of powertrains. The turbocharged 4-cylinder engine is lively, outperforming the Forester. The Mazda showcases an elegant design, especially in the higher trims equipped with leather upholstery, heated and ventilated seats, head-up display, and bird’s eye parking camera.

Despite the Mazda CX-50’s advantages in refinement and premium feel, the Subaru Forester remains a dependable choice, backed by a loyal customer base in regions like the Northeast, Northwest, and Colorado.

  2024 Mazda CX-50  2024 Subaru Forester
Starting Price $30,300  $27,095
Popular Powertrains  
Engine 2.5-liter 4-cylinder 2.5-liter 4-cylinder
Horsepower 187 hp @ 6,000 rpm 182 hp @ 5,800 rpm
Torque 185 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm 176 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm
Transmission 6-speed automatic  CVT
Fuel economy 24 mpg city/30 mpg highway/27 mpg combined 26 mpg city/33 mpg highway/29 mpg combined
Also Available Turbo 2.5-liter 4-cyl.  
Basic Warranty 3 years/36,000 miles  3 years/36,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty 5 years/60,000 miles  5 years/60,000 miles
NHTSA Overall Safety NA  5 star
Max Seating Capacity 5  5
Wheelbase 110.8 inches  105.1 inches
Overall Length 185.8 inches  182.7 inches
Width 75.6 inches  71.5 inches
Height 63.5 inches  67.5 inches
Turning Diameter 36.0 feet  35.4 feet
Headroom, Front 39.1 inches  41.2 inches
Headroom, 2nd Row 38.6 inches  39.6 inches
Legroom, Front 41.7 inches  43.3 inches
Legroom, 2nd Row 39.8 inches  39.4 inches
Shoulder Room, Front 55.9 inches  58.1 inches
Shoulder Room, 2nd Row 53.6 inches  57.2 inches
Cargo Volume 31.4 cubic feet   28.9 cubic feet

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