A dark grey 2022 Mazda3 is shown driving on a mountain road after visiting a Mazda dealer.

What Makes a Mazda Premium?

Prospective car buyers at a Mazda dealer may notice that some models have a “Premium” trim. These cars are more expensive than their lower-trim counterparts, but are they worth it? The answer to that question will be different for everyone because every driver has their own unique priorities. Plus, the features included in the Premium trim differ from model to model. So let’s break down what upgrading to Premium means for each Mazda.

Which Mazdas Have a Premium Trim?

While all Mazda models have different trims, not all of them have a “Premium” option. For instance, the Mazda MX-5 Miata is available in either Sport, Club, or Grand Touring. For the purposes of this article, we will be focusing on models that do have a Premium option. For the sake of clarity, here are the exact models we will be referring to as the “standard” or “basic” versions of these models:

  • CX-30
  • CX-5
  • CX-50
  • Mazda3 Sedan
  • Mazda3 Hatchback

We’ll also be focusing on comparing each car’s Premium version to its most basic trim. If we were to include everything from Select to Preferred to Turbo Premium Plus, we would be here all day.

Basic Features

We’ll start with some differences that really affect how the vehicle functions before getting into some of the more fun and flashy add-ons. For the Mazda3 models, the basic S trim comes with front-wheel drive (FWD), while the Premium is available in both FWD and all-wheel drive (AWD). For the CX models, on the other hand, AWD is a standard feature. Most of the cars we’re discussing feature Mazda’s 2.5-liter engine in both the base and Premium trim, but for the Mazda3 Sedan, the base trim comes with a smaller 2.0-liter engine.

Entertainment Options

Upgrading to Premium may be especially tempting for audiophiles, as it provides extra speakers and a Bose surround sound system for all of the models we’re discussing. When it comes to hooking up a smartphone, Apple Carplay and Android Auto integration comes standard for the CX models and the Mazda3 Hatchback but is a Premium feature for the Mazda3 Sedan. However, the Sedan, like all of these models, does come standard with Bluetooth capability for phone calls and audio streaming, as well as two USB audio inputs.

A phone, shifter, and HVAC controls are shown in a 2022 Mazda CX-9.

Climate Control

Every model comes with air conditioning with a pollen filter, but upgrading to Premium gets you dual-zone automatic climate control. This means that there’s an “auto” setting that can take over and control the temperature, amount of airflow, and whether the air is coming in from outside or being recirculated. “Dual-zone” means that the driver and front seat passenger air vents can be set to different temperatures. The CX-5 Premium also includes air conditioning vents for passengers in the back seat. For all of these models, upgrading to Premium will get you heated front seats.

Interior Materials & Exterior Aesthetics

All of the standard models come with black cloth seats. The Premium versions come with leather seats, and some models give you a choice between two colors of leather. Each of these models also features a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear selector in its Premium version; these come standard only with the CX-5.

Another thing that Premium versions of all these models have in common is that they’re available in a wider variety of exterior colors than their standard counterparts. The specific hues differ from model to model, and some paints (like Soul Red Crystal Metallic and Snowflake White Pearl Mica) cost extra. Premium models also feature a roof-mounted “shark fin” antenna, which only comes standard on the CX-5.

Safety Features

Of course, basic safety features like airbags, seat belts, anti-lock brakes, and child safety locks come standard across the board. Newer technology like lane-keep assist, driver attention alerts, lane departure warnings, and rearview monitors are also included in the basic versions of all of these models. However, there are a few cutting-edge features that are included with Premium (though they come standard for the CX-5 and CX-50). Blind-spot monitoring helps you keep track of cars coming up alongside you, while rear cross-traffic alerts handle what’s happening in the back. An adaptive front-lighting system uses input from the steering wheel to point the headlights left or right in order to help drivers see what’s coming while rounding turns at night.

The Premium versions of the CX-30 and both Mazda3 models feature a windshield-projected Active Driving Display. The display puts important information front and center for the driver. It provides the car’s current speed and cruise control settings and can also show alerts from features like blind-spot monitoring and lane-keep assist. If you have a route set up in the Mazda navigation system, it will show you your next turn as well. Finally, it features a traffic sign recognition system, which senses and displays speed limit signs, stop signs, and do not enter signs. It can also notify the driver if the car is going too fast.

A person is shown holding a cooler while opening the liftgate of a light blue 2023 Mazda CX-50.

Rear Power Liftgate

One feature that is only relevant to the CX models is the rear power liftgate with programmable height adjustment. The liftgate is the door on the back of the car that gives you access to the trunk. Since the Mazda3 has a more standard trunk, this feature isn’t applicable.

In a basic CX model, you need to manually open and close the liftgate. But in the Premium, the process can be done automatically. You can also program it to open to a specific height so that it will never be out of reach when you’re ready to close it.

Side and Rearview Mirrors

The CX-5 and CX-50 feature auto-dimming rearview mirrors if you upgrade to Premium. This helps to reduce glare from reflected headlights while driving at night. When it comes to side mirrors, there are a few different features that vary from model to model.

Integrated turn signal indicators are standard offerings for the CX-5, CX-50, and Mazda 3 Hatchback but are a Premium feature for the CX-30 and Mazda3 Sedan. The Premium versions of the CX-5 and CX-50 have heated side mirrors as well, which is quite useful for drivers in colder climates. On the other hand, the CX-30 and both versions of the Mazda3 offer side mirror memory positioning in their Premium trims, so those who share a car don’t have to manually adjust the mirrors every time they switch drivers.

Adjusting the Front Seats

Premium versions of all of these models feature an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support. This offers a wide range of positions so that people of all shapes and sizes can get comfortable in the driver’s seat. In addition, these cars have two-position memory, which is a great feature for couples who share a car. Essentially, the vehicle can “remember” two unique seat positions. These can be programmed and accessed using either the key or a set of buttons on the side of the seat. The Premium CX-5 and CX-50 also offer 6-way power-adjustable front passenger seats.

Rear Seat Features

Rear privacy glass is included in the Premium version of the CX-30, CX-5, and CX-50, so passengers in the back can have some peace of mind. The Premium versions of the CX-5 and CX-50 also have dual rear USB charging ports. This is useful for carpool drivers, parents of teenagers, and anyone who regularly drives with larger groups of people.

The moonroof in a 2023 Mazda CX-50 is shown from a low angle.


Nothing says “premium” quite like a moonroof. All of the Premium models offer one, and its one-touch open feature makes it easy to use. This allows more natural light into the car and gives drivers the option to let some fresh air in without opening the side windows.

Is Premium Worth it?

Whether or not upgrading to Premium is worth the extra cost is a personal decision that will differ from person to person. Some features offer practical advantages, some offer comfort or convenience, and some simply increase the car’s aesthetic appeal. Since every driver has their own set of priorities, it’s important to carefully look through the different elements and come to your own conclusion.