2024 Mazda CX-50 Turbo Meridian Edition - A fine choice

Sometimes people ask me "What should I buy?" I tell them the choice is theirs, that there are no bad cars, and to do their homework. It is my opinion that if you do the proper maintenance there isn't a car available that won't give you years of reliable service. 

So why am I writing this opinion in a review of a Mazda? Because I think Mazda is often an overlooked brand. So let's take a look.

Perhaps the biggest problem I have with Mazda is their model names (it's the same complaint I have about other makes). You have to be a Mazda aficionado to know what is what, especially with the SUVs. They are all CX-something, CX denoting "crossover" but what do the numerals mean? The smaller the number the smaller the vehicle, except for CX-5. I don't know, maybe it's just me but I like names or at least numbers that mean something. But it is what it is. 

The CX-50 is the third largest of the four current SUVs Mazda offered (there is a CX-70 coming). That doesn't mean it is huge. It is 185.8" long, about the same size as a Honda CR-V. It has seating for five, and cargo room behind the rear seat of 31.4 cubic feet. Fold down the rear seat and that goes up to 56.3 cu. ft. Mazda provides some useful measurements as well; the cargo area is about 30" high, the liftover into that area is just under 30", the length from the tailgate to the back of the rear seat is 42.6", and the tailgate opening is 41.7" wide. 

The Turbo Meridian Edition is not the top of the line but it is nice, really nice. The leather trimmed seats are gorgeous, I particularly like the stitching. I am getting to the point where I don't think real leather is needed though. 

As with so many vehicles now the center of the rear seat's usefulness as a seat is impaired by the center armrest. I'd love to see the return of a seat fit for three adults.

There is a real shift lever and for the most parts the controls were easy to find and use.

The gauge layout is nice and easy to read. 

Under the hood is a Skyactive-G 2.5-liter 4-cylinder with a Twin Scroll Turbocharger. That's Mazda-speak for it has power! Okay it isn't ground shaking horsepower but with premium gas there is 256 horses and 320 lb-ft of torque (use regular fuel and the power goes down 29 h.p.

The power goes out through a 6-speed automatic transmission to all four wheels. The CX-50 felt muscular especially when the transmission was in Sport mode. I usually leave the transmission in normal or econo mode because that is the most economical. In Sport the shifts were crisper but it hung onto a gear too long for my liking unless you were accelerating. You can't please everyone right?

You can tow up to 3,500 lbs. with the turbo engine. In the less expensive non-turbo versions the limit is 2,000.

The Mazda CX-50 Turbo Meridian Edition is a fine driving vehicle. The exterior styling isn't for me but that's subjective. There was one minor item that bothered me. My wife has a habit of undoing her seatbelt before I've shifted into park. She did this in a parking lot and of course the "PUT YOUR SEATBELT ON" chime came on - but it didn't go off when I put the shifter into park, it just kept making that annoying sound until I shut the car off. 

I have no hesitation recommending a CX-50, or for that matter any Mazda. The test CX-50 Turbo Meridian Edition starts at $40,800, the roof platform is part of what Mazda calls the Apex Package that also includes splash guards and black wheel locks. The base 2.5 S Select starts at $30,300. There are a total of eight versions of the CX-50 so there should be something for you.


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