The 2023 Mazda CX-50 is an all-new compact SUV that exhibits a more robust character than its CX-5 sibling. Considering it’s slightly cheaper than the CX-5 and offers more utility, it’s arguably better value. However, some critics are already divided on whether or not the CX-50 is a good off-road vehicle.
On the other hand, Jeep has decades of proven adventure fun to boast. Sure, the 2022 Jeep Compass probably isn’t as rugged as the Renegade. Still, we have at least three reasons why the Compass beats the 2023 Mazda CX-50.
1. The 2022 Jeep Compass has a slightly better price
According to Mazda, the 2023 CX-50’s starting price is $27,550. That price includes wireless smartphone integration, 17-inch wheels, roof rails and a long list of safety features.
This model also comes with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 187 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque. Edmunds reports that this engine comes with a six-speed automatic transmission and AWD. You also get two optimized driving modes: Sport and Off-Road.
The Mazda CX-50 2.5 S Select, which adds leather upholstery and dual-zone climate control, is another affordable option at $28,950. Splurging on the 2.5 Turbo Trim (priced at $37,150) gets you a larger turbo engine with 256 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque. This trim adds a towing mode, allowing this SUV to tow up to 3,500 pounds.
Oddly, none of the available CX-50 models have notable off-road capabilities. Mazda states that the upcoming Meridian Edition will have a roof rack, roof platform and regular all-terrain tires. Splash guards and garnish for the side rockers and headlights are also optional.
Jeep says a base 2022 Jeep Compass will cost at least $26,785. The Compass has just one engine, a four-cylinder with 180 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque. It also has a longer nine-speed automatic transmission, but Consumer Reports says to expect slow shifts.
Consumer Reports also wasn’t a fan of the Compass’ overall ride quality and the fit/finish of the interior. But testers praised the Trailhawk model for its above-average off-road capabilities. Other trims can also be equipped with a traction management system to handle snow, mud and sand.
Stellantis says the Jeep Compass Trailhawk has an upgraded ground clearance of 8.6 inches and a competitive 30-degree departure angle. The Jeep Compass Trailhawk also has more off-road accessories, but it’s cheaper than the Mazda CX-50 Meridian. The Meridian will cost $39,950 without any optional packages, but the Compass Trailhawk will cost just $34,605.
2. Jeep Compass offers more maximum cargo capacity
Car and Driver says the Mazda CX-50 has more cargo space behind the rear seats, about 31 cu-ft. However, the Jeep Compass has almost 60 cubic meters of storage space in total, beating the CX-50 by almost four cubes. The compass also has an extra storage compartment under the cargo floor.
3. The 2023 Mazda CX-50 is heavier
Car and Driver lists the Jeep Compass’ curb weight at 3,470 lbs, nearly 400 lbs less than the Mazda CX-50. Car and Driver found the Jeep Compass to be surprisingly light on its feet, with minimal body roll and strong feedback from the steering wheel.
But while a heavier vehicle usually has worse fuel economy, the Mazda CX-50 proves otherwise. It has an EPA-estimated mileage of 27 mpg combined city/highway, but the Jeep Compass gets just 25 mpg combined, according to Edmunds. But while the CX-50 gets better city mileage, the Compass has a slight edge on the highway.
Consumer Reports had a higher opinion of the Mazda CX-50 overall but found that the stiff suspension makes for an uneasy ride. The 2022 Jeep Compass isn’t perfect, but its tweaked performance and upgraded storage options give it a decent edge.
RELATED: Do You Need the 2023 Jeep Cherokee or the Jeep Compass?