4 Reasons the Meridian is the Best Mazda CX-50 Trim

Mike Schlee
by Mike Schlee

The Mazda CX-50 is a stylish, well-appointed compact SUV that blurs the lines between mainstream and luxury. It also offers a whole lot of choice. Currently, there are no fewer than eight trim levels available.

Since its release last year, we’ve driven plenty of different CX-50 models. After sampling various trims and drivetrain combinations, we have concluded that the Mazda CX-50 Meridian Edition is the one to get. Combining all the best elements of the CX-50 in a mid-trim package, we’ll explain in more detail the four elements that make us such fans of the Meridian trim.

Ride Comfort

The CX-50 came to market with a stiff chassis that favored vehicle dynamics and handling over passenger comfort. A bit too much in fact. Many found it overly harsh for a SUV, including us, and Mazda has made a change to the dampers on every 2024 CX-50 made after November 2023.

The Meridian though never had this issue. With slight suspension tweaks and squishier, higher profile all-terrain tires, it’s the perfect balance of comfort while retaining superior-for-the-class driving dynamics.


The CX-50 is available with a choice of 2.5-liter four-cylinder engines. The entry level engine is naturally aspirated and produces 187 horsepower and 186 pound feet of torque. It’s adequate to propel the CX-50 and is very class competitive.

But it’s the optional engine, which is standard in the Meridian, that better suits the CX-50. The extra oomph from the turbocharged 2.5-liter engine is more in line with the SUV’s looks and handing prowess. Developing 256 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque, it’s the final element that makes the CX-50 feel like a value-packed alternative to small German luxury SUVs. As a bonus, it is only 1 mpg worse on fuel economy compared to its non-turbo siblings.

Price Point

As pointed out above, the CX-50 is a much better vehicle when equipped with the turbocharged engine. At a price of $42,625 after destination charges, the Meridian is the second most affordable way to get this SUV with the upgraded engine.

Even though there are two more steps up the trim hierarchy, the Meridian still comes very well equipped. Included are heated and ventilated leather front seats, a stylish stitched dash, large infotainment screen with navigation, all the safety equipment expected, and much more.


Mazda positions the Meridian as the most rugged member of the CX-50 family, and for the most part, that’s true. It’s the only trim level to come with all-terrain tires standard, making it more capable off-road. Strangely, it has a fraction of an inch less ground clearance compared to other CX-50 trims, most likely due to the Meridian’s side rocker garnish.

But we don’t think anyone who’s buying a CX-50 is planning to do moderate-to-hard-core off-roading. They’re more likely to drive across some sandy/muddy trails to that perfect camp site or hiking spot. Here, the A/T tires will be a large help.

Become an AutoGuide insider. Get the latest from the automotive world first by subscribing to our newsletter here.

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