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  • Writer's pictureMitchell Weitzman

2024 Mazda CX-50 Meridian review: Upping the ante

This CX-50 Meridian Edition reinforces and diversifies the CX-50's perch on the throne

2024 Mazda CX-50 Turbo Meridian Edition review

2024 Mazda CX-50 Meridian review by The Road Beat

Words and pictures: Mitchell Weitzman

For the money, Mazda's CX-50 is the best driving everyday crossover. While the price is very much not premium, the CX-50 does a brilliant job in still providing a premium experience; Toyotas are dour and dreary in comparison when the CX-50 exists. The Meridian is more or less a style and appearance package for the majority of consumers, but it's a utilitarian look that will appeal to those who have only ever considered Subaru in the past. In all frankness, some of the inclusions of the Meridian actually make it worse for me, but this is an achingly good car despite some minor annoyances.

What do you mean by annoyances? Mazda is the bread winner now when it comes to beeps and bongs galore, blaring like an alarm for any reason possible. Door locks are odd, too, unable to unlock an exterior door while the engine is running, even with the key right in your pocket or by pressing the buttons on the remote, not to mention the outside door handles feeling too hollow in operation. Some of the infotainment can be annoying and is reliant on you setting up favorites/presets, which is not just recommended but mandatory with its operation. Gas mileage could some improvements, drinking gas to the tune of 22 miles for every gallon, which is worse than the larger and more powerful CX-90 even. You might also have noticed the aggressive, all-terrain tires this Mazda is wearing, and while they do lend a hand to off-roading ability, they do lessen efficiency. And while the roof rack looks cool on here, it creates a vortex of wind noise. Oh well, we can't all be perfect.

2024 mazda cx-50 meridian interior

Pros? Many, chiefly the swell driving dynamics of this attractive, AWD crossover. With talkative and direct steering, the CX-50 has the bones of an enthusiast's car. In other words, it's easy to tell this comes from the same people that make the MX-5. Despite such accomplished control over its chassis and eagerness for corners, the ride quality is never uncomfortable either. There's few other ways of saying this: the CX-50 drives sweet. And this is done despite having an 'archaic' live rear axle, which gives it extra towing capacity (3,500 pounds here) over its CX-5 stablemate and other chief rivals. Even with its older rear suspension layout and those tires that give up grip in exchange for off-road performance, the CX-50 handles possessively well and runs rings around its direct competitors.

Paired to that tight chassis is a turbocharged, 2.5L inline-four that makes 227 horsepower on regular 87, but can churn out 30 more if you fill up with premium. Torque is a towering 310 lb-ft, making this a highly flexible and satisfying mill in daily driving. 0-60 MPH also blitzes most all other contemporaries, taking a shade over six seconds. Yeah, it's thirsty, but the power is fun and the CX-50 has the handling to utilize and take advantage of its inherent pace. I do, however, wish the six-speed automatic were both quicker shifting and had two additional gears, which would hasten it further and likely improve the fuel economy.

2024 mazda cx-50 meridian exterior

What many will find unexpected is the relative luxury of its interior. Sumptuous leather and other soft-touch materials adorn the cabin and makes for a classy and hospitable environment. Again, think your RAV4 is nice? It's a dungeon compared to the Mazda. Granted, this does bring another point of concern: price. At $44,010 as-tested, I wouldn't exactly call it affordable, but given the luxurious nature and gifted dynamics, you could go so far as to call it decent value if you compare it more to the glamor end of the market, like Mercedes and BMW.

Would I recommend the Meridian Package? Only if you live in a climate that frequently gets snow or mud, as that's where those all-terrain tires will pay dividends. But for the most of us, the Meridian sacrifices function for form, and especially the (optional) noisy roof rack above. If you care about driving and want a modern and quality cabin, any flavor of CX-50 ought to be at the top of your shopping list for consideration.

Comparison to CX-5

You might be wondering what the differences are between this new CX-50 and the older CX-5. Don't worry, you're likely not alone. The CX-50 is longer, wider, and lower by a couple inches in each direction for better looks, but apart from the exterior, they are difficult to tell apart. Both have luxurious interiors, the same engines, same deft handling properties (despite the CX-5 having independent rear suspension and the CX-50 missing this modernity), but the CX-50 can tow 3,500 pounds vs 2,000 pounds thanks to that stronger rear end. Further, the CX-50 has increased versatility thanks to its subtle capabilities when you venture off fresh pavement. After trying both in close proximity, I would lean to the newer CX-50 without a doubt, if anything for just the looks alone.

2024 Mazda CX-50 Turbo Meridian Edition

As-teste price: $44,010

Pros: Nice interior and excellent performance/dynamics

Cons: Not the most spacious; Power requires fuel unfortunately


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