2024 Mazda CX-50 2.5 Turbo Meridian Edition Review: The One to Get

Mike Schlee
by Mike Schlee

Love It

Leave It

Looks Inside and Out

Engine Doesn't Feel Like 256 hp

Ride Comfort

Some Interior Controls

Driving Dynamics

Limited Color Choice

The Mazda CX-50 continued what the CX-30 started, ushering in a new generation of sleeker, more upscale SUVs for the brand. Designated by adding a zero at the end of the name, the new models are tasked with transforming Mazda into more of a premium auto manufacturer. After the CX-50, the CX-90 arrived, and then the CX-60, released in other markets. By the time you read this, the CX-70 will also have debuted.

Eager to test drive the new CX-50, we were impressed by its style, premium interior, and driving dynamics – especially with the 2.5-liter turbo engine. One thing we were not impressed with was how rough the ride was, especially for a small SUV. We were not alone in our criticism of the CX-50’s suspension tuning, and it appears Mazda was listening.

Starting midway through the 2024 model year, the CX-50 receives updated suspension components, most notably new dampers. The goal is to smooth out the ride while not losing the CX-50’s responsive driving dynamics. Unfortunately, we aren’t able to test one of those new units yet, but we will once they arrive on fleet.

In the meantime, we grabbed a 2024 Mazda CX-50 2.5 Turbo Meridian Edition for evaluation. The Meridian already has a smoother ride thanks to its squishier all-terrain tires, and during a comparison in late 2022, we deemed it the best trim in the lineup to get. During a week with the vehicle our goal was simple – to determine if this truly is the best CX-50.

Looks Haven’t Worn Off

Even after over a year on the market, the SUV’s exterior design still impresses us. We consider it one of the best-looking small SUVs on the market. The way Mazda has shaped the vehicle, with its bulging fender flares and low roofline, gives a bit of a rally-raid aura.

The recessed grille and front lighting buck the trend of smoothing everything out into a single blob, which is prevalent throughout the industry. LED lights are featured all around, with Mazda’s signature look front and rear. Our tester is a Canadian unit, so it lacks the Meridian hood graphic which is standard in United States.

Our particular tester arrived in Zircon Sand Metallic exterior paint, one of only two exterior colors available on the Meridian Edition. With the more rugged details on this trim, and the roof tent accessory, the military-like light brown enhances the adventure lifestyle this vehicle is designed to portray.

About that Ride Quality

It didn’t take long for our impressions to be reaffirmed. Although even the Meridian Edition is still on the stiffer side compared to most competitors, it’s not annoyingly so. It’s more than liveable and the driving dynamic trade-off is wholly worth it. Not much in this segment can hold a candle to the CX-50 in terms of engagement, which is odd to say about a small SUV.

It's pleasantly quiet inside the car as well, other than excessive wind noise caused by that large roof tent attached up top.

The Meridian wears 225/65R18 all-terrain tires and includes standard all-wheel drive. To emphasize its more rugged nature, the Mi-Drive includes Sport and Off-Road modes. If overlanding is on the docket, the CX-50 with the turbo engine can tow up to 3,500 pounds (1,588 kg), perfect for a small travel trailer.

Torque Be Thy Name

Standard on the Meridian Edition is the CX-50’s upgrade engine, a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. When drinking premium fuel, it’s good for 256 horsepower and 320 pound feet of torque. If one chooses to save a few bucks at the bump, the engine drops power to 227 hp and 310 lb-ft torque on regular gas.

As mentioned, the Meridian comes with standard all-wheel drive which has power sent to all four wheels from a six-speed automatic transmission. In this guise, Mazda claims the CX-50 will return 23 mpg (10.4 L/100 km) in the city and 29 mpg (8.2 L/100 km) on the highway. That’s not too shabby for a 3,913 pound (1,777 kg), AWD, turbocharged SUV.

We're firm believers the CX-50 really does need this engine. It better suits the premium looks and feel inside. It also compliments the above average driving dynamics of the CX-50. That stated, the engine doesn’t feel quite as powerful as the numbers suggest. It may be the engine mapping at initial acceleration, or the way the transmission is geared, but we expected a bit more from it.

Above the Class

With Mazda looking to move upmarket to battle premium brands, the interior fits the bill. Finished in Teracotta brown, there is contrasting orange snitching on the seats, doors, and dashboard. The latter is a nice detail as the stitching is located dead center, running the length of the dash.

Being one of the CX-50’s higher trim levels, the Meridian Edition includes standard power driver and front passenger seats that are heated and ventilated. The steering wheel is also heated as is the windshield de-icer.

Sitting in front of the driver is a 7-inch LCD display that’s somewhat customizable. We do wish we could adjust the information layouts more than what are available though. Sitting up on the middle of the dash is a 10.25-inch screen for the infotainment system.

We’re getting more use to Mazda’s dial and button controls for this system, but it’s still not overly logical in its layout. Worse though are the forward and back buttons on the steering wheel. When using satellite radio, they do not change channels up or down. Instead, they just rewind or fast forward the song currently playing. The good news is many probably won’t even use satellite radio as both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included with wireless connection.

Expected Space

The CX-50 looks lower and wider than its sibling, the Mazda CX-5, and the interior dimensions reflect this. When it comes to headroom, the CX-50 offers a bit less than the CX-5, with 38.6-inches (981 mm) up front and 37.5-inches (952 mm) for rear passengers.

When it comes to legroom, the CX-50 gains the advantage. Passengers can stretch out with 41.7-inches (1,058 mm) up front while there is 39.8-inches (1,012 mm) for those in the rear. Cargo capacity behind the rear seats also favors the CX-50 at 31.4 cubic feet (889 L). But fold those seats down and the CX-50 with 56.3 cubic feet (1,595 L), holds less gear than the CX-5.

Safety and Pricing

Equipped on the Meridian Edition are all the usual active safety technologies like adaptive cruise, emergency automatic braking, rear cross traffic alert, lane keep assist, 360 degree around view camera, and more.

No safety features, or anything else for that matter, are offered as options as the 2024 Mazda CX-50 2.5 Turbo Meridian Edition. It only comes equipped one way for Canadian and American customers. The only real choice available is picking between the two exterior colors.

As tested, it rings in at $42,625 including destination charges in the United States. Consumers in Canada can expect to pay $51,645, once again including destination charges.

The Verdict: 2024 Mazda CX-50 2.5 Turbo Meridian Edition

As mentioned, our initial drive of a CX-50 Meridian Edition was rather short. Now, after spending a week with it and putting on a lot of miles, we stand by our conclusion.

This is the vehicle’s best all-around trim. It’s the second most affordable way to get the turbocharged engine, yet still has a very well-appointed, feature rich interior. The exterior isn’t hard on the eyes either.

The real selling point for us though is the mix between response and comfort. The Meridian has it dialed in. Maybe the newly updated suspension on other CX-50 trim levels will change our mind down the road, but for now, the Meridian is the golden child.

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2024 Mazda CX-50 2.5 Turbo Meridian Edition


8 / 10


7 / 10

Handling and Drivability

9 / 10

Passenger Comfort

8 / 10

Ride Quality

4 / 5

Exterior Style

5 / 5

Interior Style and Quality

9 / 10


6 / 10

Cargo Capacity and Towing

4 / 5


5 / 5


7 / 10

Emotional Appeal

9 /10


81 / 100

Fast Facts


2.5-liter turbo four-cylinder


256 hp, 320 lb-ft





Fuel Economy (mpg):

23 city, 29 highway

Fuel Economy (L/100 km):

10.4 city, 8.2 highway

As Tested (USD):


As Tested (CAD):


Mike Schlee
Mike Schlee

A 20+ year industry veteran, Mike rejoins the AutoGuide team as the Managing Editor. He started his career at a young age working at dealerships, car rentals, and used car advertisers. He then found his true passion, automotive writing. After contributing to multiple websites for several years, he spent the next six years working at the head office of an automotive OEM, before returning back to the field he loves. He is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), and Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA). He's the recipient of a feature writing of the year award and multiple video of the year awards.

More by Mike Schlee

Join the conversation
  • Jim Jim on Jan 29, 2024

    Like my Bronco Sport Badlands better plus it’s not so pretty that a scratch or two is gonna bother me.

  • Lisa Lisa on Jan 30, 2024

    I purchased a 2024 CX50 Turbo Premium Plus in December (traded in my 21 CX30 Turbo Premium Plus). I can’t live without the 360 degree camera which the Meridian edition doesn’t have. I also love the 20” wheels on this model. I had the Falken Wildpeak AT trails installed in 245/50/20 up from the 45 series that came OEM. I’m not gonna be rock climbing in this car but do want to do a bit of light trail off-roading and camping, etc and now with these tires, I will feel more confident. I love this car. I have a November 23 build which is supposed to have the new dampers and steering but I never drove one with the older suspension and steering so can’t compare. This is my third Mazda and I feel they always have a more sporty and firm ride which doesn’t bother me. The looks of this CX50 hands down blows away anything in its class.