Crossovers have taken over the world’s roads. According to Consumer Reports, crossovers’ share in the automotive market has grown from under 4% in 2000 to nearly 40% in 2018. Small wonder that no matter where you look, there is an SUV waiting to catch your attention.
Models like Mazda CX-50 epitomize why this shift is taking place. Here’s a compact SUV that offers the luxurious cabin that was previously the preserve of high-class sedans. Its pleasing drive quality and zesty turbo engine further help explain the rise of crossovers.
A fuel economy of 24 mpg (city) and 30 mpg (highway) shows that crossovers have finally started catching up to sedans and other passenger cars in terms of mileage. Plus, a cushier suspension that ensures plush driving means today’s SUVs can rival cars in ride quality.
Having said that, you’ll need a good set of tires to get the most out of the CX-50. Only the best tires for Mazda CX-50 will give you a comfortable and safe driving experience, regardless of whether you spend most of your time behind the wheel on dry or wet roads.
#1. Michelin Defender T+H – Best Overall
Why is the Michelin Defender T+H our top pick for Mazda CX-50?
Start with its reliable year-round performance. This makes the Defender T+H an ideal fit for the CX-50, an SUV that is as reliable on the highway as it is in off-roading scenarios. An A/S tread compound means the Defender T+H won’t tell you what you cannot do with this SUV.
How can we be so sure? Because this tire comes with an asymmetric tread pattern that helps it grip the road better, regardless of the driving conditions out there. A bonus benefit of the tread design is enhanced steering responsiveness, something not many A/S tires offer.
Next comes Michelin’s IntelliSipe Technology. This technology works by inter-locking the Defender T+H’s sides at higher speeds or when you press the pedal harder. The result? Improved high-speed stability and enhanced traction on wet, snow, and ice-covered roads.
Just like most Michelin tires released in the past few years, the Defender T+H also comes with Comfort Control Technology to offer a plush driving experience on the highway. An 80,000-mile treadwear warranty and availability in multiple sizes further enhance its reputation.
- Excellent treadwear warranty (80,000 miles)
- Quiet and comfortable handling in most conditions
- Reliable in light wintry conditions
- Doesn’t come cheap
#2. Bridgestone Ecopia H/L 422 Plus – Best Runner Up
Many people will tell you that there aren’t many differences between Mazda CX-50 and CX-5. Even though the claim is false – the CX-50 is wider, longer and can tow more pounds with its turbocharged engine – there’s one thing that makes it slightly believable.
We’re talking about the Ecopia H/L 422 Plus. This model is as reliable for the CX-5 as it is for CX-50. And why shouldn’t it be? After all, not many A/S touring tires offer the lightweight construction, low rolling resistance and quiet riding experience that this tire offers.
Its unique tread pattern ensures that the tire’s road contact never breaks. As you might guess, this has a positive impact on the tire’s handling. The traction offered by the tread pattern also makes the H/L 422 Plus more reliable than most A/S tires in rainy conditions.
Speaking of rainy conditions, it is only when you’d be driving through water that you’d understand the importance of this tire’s grooves. These are narrow channels that run along the 422 Plus’s tread area, evacuating water and reducing the risk of hydroplaning.
Yet this tire isn’t our top pick for the Mazda CX-50. Want to know why? The H/L 422 Plus is nowhere near as responsive as the Defender T+H. And while its relatively low asking price might make it a winner in your eyes. This tire isn’t as fuel efficient as our top pick.
- Superb treadwear warranty (70,000 miles)
- Competitively priced for a premium all-season touring tire
- Offers excellent performance in dry and wet conditions
- Isn’t as fuel efficient as our top pick
#3. Goodyear Assurance WeatherReady – Best All-Weather
The Goodyear Assurance WeatherReady is one of the most dependable year-round performers on the market. It offers the kind of dry and wet performance most people associate with Michelins or Bridgestones. Plus, it performs reliably in light wintry conditions.
Goodyear’s Evolving Traction Grooves help the Assurance WeatherReady provide sure-footed traction throughout its life. These grooves achieve this by replacing the tire’s built-in grooves when the latter start wearing out, helping this model bypass dangerous loss of traction.
Speaking of traction, this tire’s dual aqua channel grooves ensure this model doesn’t slip on wet roads by quickly and effectively evacuating water from the tread area. Their action helps the contact patch remain dry, which, in turn, prevents the WeatherReady from skidding or slipping.
A Three Peak Mountain Snowflake (3PMSF) symbol guarantees that this model has what it takes to perform reliably in mild wintry conditions. But that’s the most it can do. In the absence of the M+S rating, we won’t recommend using the WeatherReady on hard-packed snow.
Unfortunately, that is where the good news ends. If you’re interested in exploring this tire’s features, you’d have to throw your checkbook at it. The Assurance WeatherReady is pricier than our top two picks, even though its treadwear warranty (60,000) is smaller than the duo’s.
- Comes with the 3PMSF emblem
- Offers excellent traction on wet roads
- Incredibly stable at high speeds
- Relatively small (60,000-mile) treadwear warranty
#4. Toyo Open Country A/T III – Best Tires for CX-50 Meridian Edition
The addition of the Meridian Edition has made the CX-50 the vehicle of choice for off-road enthusiasts. The newly released trim comes with everything to convey to anyone who is serious about off-roading that they should be driving this vehicle to ride off into the woods
As such, if you own the Meridian Edition or are considering buying it in the coming months, installing the Toyo Open Country A/T III tires on this crossover makes complete sense. For, just like the crossover, these tires are also designed to perform off-the-highway.
In contrast to the A/T II, its predecessor and competitor, the A/T III doesn’t struggle on damp roads. An upgrade to its rubber compound has made it more cut-and-chip-resistance than its predecessor ever was. So you can count on this tire to outlast its 65,000-mile warranty.
Multiple void areas help the tire evenly distribute all the pressure your CX-50 can put on it, helping the A/T III wear evenly for a long road life. That said, the void areas aren’t without their flaws – they are to blame for the loud noises this tire makes at higher speeds.
A 3PMSF rating backed by 3D multi-wave sipes means this model can perform reliably in light snow. Multiple circumferential grooves help with water evacuation to keep hydroplaning at bay. And its staggered shoulder logs enhance the tire’s off-road traction.
- Outstanding (65,000-mile) treadwear warranty for an all-terrain tire
- Performs reliably in mud, slush, gravel and even rocks
- Comes with the Three Peak Mountain Snowflake emblem
- Can get loud at higher speeds
#5. Proxes ST III – Best Summer High-Performance Tires
The Mazda CX-50 belongs to the newer generation of crossovers that are as reliable for off-roading as capable as they are for bringing a smile to your face with their aggressive driving. So, if you are into street/sport driving, the Proxes ST III is a must-have for you.
This tire comes with a silica-enriched rubber compound that makes it grip the road reliably in dry and wet conditions, a non-negotiable requirement for a sporty tire. Toyo has molded the tread compound into multi-wave sipes, addressing the noise issue most people have with sporty tires.
Speaking of noise, this model’s directional shoulder blocks should be able to enable this model to roll quietly, especially for a performance tire. But that isn’t their main job. The main reason why the shoulder blocks are where they are is to shorten this tire’s braking distances.
Yet another area where the tread design will make its presence felt is wet traction. Its directional shape allows the Proxes ST III to offer exciting handling and high-speed stability. It is also in the tread area that you’ll find grooves, which are part of this model’s water evacuation system.
A close inspection of the tread area will show that its tapers are designed like arrows. This is done to make the tread blocks stiffer at higher speeds, enabling them to improve this model’s straight-line tracking. A 40,000-mile treadwear warranty further enhances this model’s reputation.
- Phenomenal driving characteristics
- Excellent aquaplaning resistance
- Superb grip and traction levels
- Noticeably quiet for a sport/street tire
- It can be a bit harsh at times
#6. Goodyear Assurance MaxLife – Best Budget Touring
The Goodyear Assurance MaxLife offers excellent value for money. Despite offering high-end features and an extensive treadlife warranty, this model comes at a budget price point. So, if you’re looking for a premium touring tire that won’t empty your wallet, consider this model.
TredLife Technology helps this tire by expanding its contact patch every time the rubber comes into contact with the road. This results in increased treadlife and, by extension, improved fuel economy. You can thus count on the MaxLife to save you from punishment at the pump.
A symmetric tread design enables this model to soak up road vibrations and deflect road noise for a comfortable driving experience. In addition, multiple circumferential grooves evacuate water quickly and effectively, resisting hydroplaning and improving wet traction.
Goodyear’s decision to equip this tire with a stiffer center rib goes both ways. On the one end, the center rib’s stiffness translates into better stability and steering feedback. However, the increase in responsiveness means its ride is a bit firm than that of premium touring tires.
A class-leading 85,000-mile treadwear warranty shows that this model won’t need replacement anytime soon. Which seems a bonus when you consider its affordable asking price.
- Class-leading 85,000-mile treadwear warranty
- Decent braking distances in slippery conditions
- Excellent tread life and fuel economy
- Ride could feel a bit firm at times
#7. Continental CrossContact LX25 – Best All-Season
The CrossContact LX25 is Continental’s flagship all-season touring tire for crossovers and SUVs. Continental claims that this model offers the complete package by combining confident, all-season handling with a comfortable luxurious ride. Here’s why we believe it.
This model features various improvements over the one it replaced. Compared with the LX20, this all-season touring tire is backed with a longer treadwear warranty (70,000-mile vs. 60,000-mile). This model also features additional grooves for enhanced wet and snow performance.
Comfort Ride Technology is another addition. This technology uses the additional layer placed underneath the tread area to improve the LX25’s ride characteristics. An alignment verification system and wear performance indicators are other features you didn’t get in the LX20.
Having said that, it isn’t only its predecessor the LX25 can outperform. This model’s rolling resistance (among the lowest in class) helps it offer one of the best fuel economies in the category. Plus, its plush ride would make you think you’re driving a Michelin or a Bridgestone.
That is not to say that this tire is faultless. For spirited drivers who are keen to test this SUV to its limits, the performance tires mentioned above are a better option. That said, if you’re searching for tires for everyday driving, the LX25 is one of the best models you can buy.
- Backed with a generous 70,000-mile treadwear warranty
- Excellent ride quality and handling in all conditions
- Best-in-class hydroplaning resistance
- Not the best for spirited driving
#8. Michelin CrossClimate SUV – Best All-Weather
Many things are common between the Michelin CrossClimate SUV and Mazda CX-50. Both are extremely quick when it comes to acceleration, offer sharp handling that you won’t get from their competitors, and have the looks to be the center of everybody’s attention on the road.
A winter-specific tread compound makes it clear where this tire’s preferences lie. The tread compound helps shorten the tire’s braking distances in wet and wintry conditions. It also enables the tire’s rubber to maintain its flexibility, no matter how much the temperatures drop.
Circumferential and lateral grooves complete the CrossClimate SUV’s water evacuation system. They also play their part in enhancing the tire’s wet traction, albeit with the help of the self-locking grooves, which help increase this all-weather tire’s grip in inclement and harsh weather.
Tread Wear Indicators (TWI’s) let you inspect how much treadlife is still remaining in this tire. 3D self-locking sipes give this model the biting power it needs to plow through snow and ice. However, we’d have liked this model more had it come with a bigger treadwear warranty.
- Winter-specific tread compound
- Short braking distances on light snow
- Superb dry and wet handling
- Lackluster treadwear warranty (50,000-miles) for an all-weather tire
#9. BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 – Best All-Terrain Off-Road Tire
The BFGoodrich is a must-have for anyone who regularly drives this SUV on extreme off-road tracks. This tire will complement whatever power your CX-50 trim has to safely and reliably take you from point A to point B in the most rugged of terrains.
A double-thick tread compound gives this model all the toughness any tire could ever need to thrive on hard, soft, and even loose surfaces. And while you’ll be traveling on such rough terrains, its doubly-thick sidewall will keep the risk of cuts and punctures at bay.
The sidewall’s thickness will translate into an enhanced steering response and feedback. Aside from that, this model features mud-buster bars to keep this tire rolling in sludge. Side-biter lugs are also on offer. They enable this tire to keep going through snow-laden conditions.
BFGoodrich conducted tests on this tire to quantify the improvements brought about by these features. These tests show that the T/A KO2 offers 19% higher traction on snow than the T/A KO. This model’s mud traction has also experienced a considerable 10% improvement.
The only issue one may have with this tire is noise, especially if you use it on the highway.
- Class-leading snow traction
- Performs reliably on mud, rock, and slush
- Backed by a 50,000-mile warranty
Might get loud on the highway
#10. Michelin Defender LTX M/S – Best Highway Tire
There are many reasons why you may want to install the Defender LTX M/S on your Mazda CX-150. This model is available in a wide range of sizes, meaning it can fit almost every trim of this crossover. A big warranty and reliable performance in varied conditions further enhance its suitability.
Michelin has molded this tire’s all-season tread compound into a symmetric tread pattern. The result? Excellent road grip in dry and wet conditions. Aside from that, the tread pattern’s design helps it soak vibrations before they could make their way inside this SUV’s cabin.
Given the fact that the Mazda CX-50 isn’t the most fuel-efficient crossover on the market – Toyota RAV4 and Hyundai Tucson offer better fuel mileages – you might be pleased to note that the LTX M/S has a low rolling resistance. This will help this tire lower the SUV’s fuel consumption.
Unfortunately, this model doesn’t come cheap. A high asking price is its only drawback but one that has the potential to be a deal-breaker. Still, if that helps, a 70,000-mile treadwear warranty means that this model will offset its initial asking price with zero long-term costs.
- Available in a large number of sizes
- Comes with an excellent 70,000-mile treadwear warranty
- Offers excellent levels of grip in wet and dry conditions
- Doesn’t come cheap
#11. Bridgestone Blizzak WS90 – Best Winter Tire
The Bridgestone Blizzak WS90 is one of the best winter tires on the market for SUVs, crossovers, and light trucks. The WS90 belies the myth that only studded tires can keep you safe when it’s snowing. But the absence of treadwear warranty bites.
A stiffened tread compound helps this model plow through snow and ice. Multiple interlocking 3D sipes dig into the snow until they land on the hard surface underneath. Together, the tread compound and the sipes help this model wear evenly for long tread life.
MultiCell Technology deserves all the credit this tire gets for its excellent performance.
On the one end, this technology helps the WS90 with water evacuation, ensuring any hydroplaning risk is kept to a minimum. On the other end, the technology traps snow, exploiting the resulting snow-on-snow contact for enhanced traction in harsh wintry conditions.
All in all, except for the absence of a treadwear warranty, this tire doesn’t have many flaws that might force you to consider other snow tires.
- Offers excellent performance on snow and ice
- Comes with winter wear bars and tread wear indicators
- Grip and traction levels on dry pavement are superb
- Zero treadwear warranty
Best Tires for Mazda CX-50
If you own the base Mazda CX-50 model with standard size tires, the best tires for you are touring tires. These models strike an optimal balance between road comfort, fuel economy, and treadwear warranty. Plus, they are backed by extensive treadwear warranties.
Another thing that distinguishes these tires is that they require minimal regular maintenance. Just make sure that the wheels are properly aligned and the air pressure is adequate, and you can easily get 5, 6 years of everyday driving from any touring tire mentioned above.
If you own the Turbo or more powerful trims of the Mazda CX-50, a set of performance or high-performance tires might be ideal for you. These tires offer the kind of steering response, high-speed stability and cornering performance that driving enthusiasts live for.
Bear in mind, though, that performance tires do not come cheap. It isn’t uncommon for a set of UHP tires to cost twice as much as that of touring or highway tires. Secondly, most if not all of these tires come with lackluster treadwear warranties, pointing towards a relatively short road life.
All-terrain tires are available in two categories: all-terrain, on-road and all-terrain, off road.
The former come with an all-season tread compound that keeps them quiet on the highway even as it enables them to conquer challenging terrains. That isn’t the case with all-terrain, off-road tires, whose preferences only lie with the less-beaten track.
Mazda CX-50 remains one of the best crossovers money can buy. However, to fully take advantage of everything this SUV has to offer, it’s imperative that you install a set of premium tires. Only then would you truly understand why the future belongs to crossovers.