2022 Subaru Outback vs. 2023 Mazda CX-50: The Numbers

The all-new 2023 Mazda CX-50 is arriving at Canadian dealerships in May and a lot of people are buzzing about this latest addition to Mazda’s crossover lineup. It’s a bit larger and more adventure-ready than the popular Mazda CX-5, making it a direct threat to the Subaru Outback.

How do these two vehicles stack up against each other? Which one is better at what? We’ve compared the numbers and specs. Here’s what we found…

Powertrain: Tie

Photo: Julien Amado

The Mazda CX-50 and Subaru Outback are pretty similar under the hood with a choice of naturally aspirated and turbocharged engines.

In Convenience, Touring, Limited and Premier trim, the Outback uses a 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine rated at 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque. Wilderness, Limited XT and Premier XT models get a turbocharged 2.4-litre mill putting out 260 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque.

Meanwhile, the CX-50 GS-L and GT also offer a 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine, this one delivering 187 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. A turbocharged variant increases output to 256 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque when premium gasoline (93 octane) is used.

Both models come standard with all-wheel drive. The Outback has a continuously variable transmission with eight simulated gears, while the CX-50 relies on a conventional six-speed automatic. In the powertrain department, they are simply equals.  

Fuel Economy: Outback

Photo: Julien Amado

The Subaru Outback’s fuel consumption ratings are slightly better than those of the Mazda CX-50 except for the new Wilderness.

With the Outback, expect to achieve 8.2-9.1 L/100 km combined depending on engine selection. As for the CX-50, you’re looking more at 8.9-9.4 L/100 km.

Cargo and Towing: Outback

Photo: Julien Amado

Subaru wins this battle hands down. The Outback has a 920-litre cargo area that expands to 2,144 litres when the rear seats are folded. The CX-50 has a decent trunk at 878 litres, but dropping the rear seats only gives you 1,586 litres. 

When it comes to towing, the naturally aspirated engines are good for 2,700 pounds (Outback) and 2,000 pounds (CX-50). The turbos are each capable of towing up to 3,500 pounds.

Safety: Tie

Photo: Antoine Joubert

Always a leader in safety, it’s no surprise that the 2022 Subaru Outback received a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

That same organization has yet to evaluate the 2023 Mazda CX-50. However, the closely related CX-5 is a Top Safety Pick+, too.

Both models offer an extensive suite of advanced driver assistance systems—EyeSight for the Outback and i-Activesense for the CX-50—including blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, emergency braking assist with pedestrian detection and lane keeping assist.

Technology: Tie

Photo: Julien Amado

Subaru Outback drivers face a set of analog gauges with a 4.2-litre display, complete with a 7- or 11.6-inch centre touchscreen. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard, while wireless smartphone charging and a 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio system are available.

In the Mazda CX-50, the instruments come alive on a 7-inch digital display flanked by analog gauges. Infotainment goes through a 10.25-inch display. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included. Customers need to pay extra bucks for wireless charging and a 12-speaker Bose stereo.

There’s no real winner, here, so it’s all about one’s preferences.

Price: Outback

Photo: Julien Amado

Subaru offers way more Outback models than Mazda does with the CX-50, at least for now. Also, pricing is cheaper, even for similar equipment. Below is the complete breakdown.

Mazda CX-50 

  • GS-L: $37,900
  • GT: $42,850
  • GT Turbo: $45,350
  • Meridian: TBD

Subaru Outback 

  • Convenience: $31,195
  • Touring: $35,395
  • Limited: $39,595
  • Premier: $41,395
  • Wilderness: $41,995
  • Limited XT: $42,395
  • Premier XT: $44,195

Warranty: CX-50

Photo: Antoine Joubert

Both Subaru and Mazda offer limited vehicle and powertrain coverage for three years and five years, respectively. However, the former stops at 60,000 km and 100,000 km, while the latter gives you unlimited km.

Rust perforation coverage at Subaru is five years or 100,000 km. Mazda’s is good for seven years and unlimited km.   

Watch: First Look at the 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness

Share on Facebook

More on the subject

First Drives2023 Mazda CX-50: Mazda's Answer to the Outback
Mazda has been very successful in Canada for a long time, but the same cannot be said for the U.S. Long considered marginal, the brand's vehicles have not always pleased the average American buyer. In order to fix that, and also to improve its product offer in the compact SUV …
NewsThe Car Guide's Best Buys for 2022: Subaru Outback
Every year, The Car Guide unveils a list of Best Buys covering all the different vehicle categories in the industry. When it comes to midsize SUVs, we need to separate two-row models from three-row models. Among the first group, which one gets our Best Buy award for 2022? Answer: the …
First Drives2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness: The Best Outback Ever
Many outdoor enthusiasts turn to Subaru and we know why: the Japanese automaker has one of the best all-wheel drive systems on the planet, which seems to please adventure-minded drivers and their families. Yet, for some reason, Subaru long hesitated to come to market with a dedicated off-roader and a …
News2023 Mazda CX-50 Available in May, Priced Above CX-5
The all-new 2023 Mazda CX-50 is a more rugged-looking SUV that a lot of people are eagerly waiting for. Built in Alabama at a new Toyota-Mazda joint assembly plant, it will be available at Mazda dealers across Canada in May. How much does it cost? We now have the answer.
New York2023 Subaru Outback Looks Tougher, Enhances Safety and Connectivity
Subaru today debuted the refreshed and improved 2023 Outback at the New York Auto Show . All Outback models except the recently launched Wilderness sport a bold new front end with a larger grille, redesigned LED headlights and fog lights, plus a more rugged-looking bumper cover. The most striking change, …
Test Drives2023 Mazda CX-50: A New Offensive
SUVs are big business, not only here in North America but also in other markets overseas, which is why Mazda is investing big bucks to bolster its lineup. The all-new 2023 Mazda CX-50 is just the start as it will be followed shortly by the CX-70 and CX-90. Similar to …
NewsMazda CX-50 Meridian Edition is Here and Wants to Take You Farther
Just like it promised at the premiere of the all-new 2023 CX-50 last fall, Mazda is now adding a Meridian Edition that aims to further the outdoor experience. Based on the GT Turbo model, this adventure-ready CX-50 features extra equipment and accessories that make the compact SUV a bit more …
First Drives2023 Subaru Outback: Part of the Family
Subaru introduced the sixth-gen Outback for 2020, so a mid-cycle update is in store for the 2023 model year. Nothing major, mind you, as we discovered during a recent test drive around Muskoka, Ontario. In fact, only a keen eye will be able to tell the refreshed Outback apart from …