Review: 2023 Mazda CX-50 Meridian Edition

The CX-50 is a brand-new nameplate in the Mazda lineup. It shares a platform with the smaller CX-30 and is positioned to compete with the Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue, and Toyota RAV4. Wait, what? Isn't that the purpose of the CX-5? There is some overlap in the stable, you are right. Although not technically a replacement, the CX-50 is bigger and has more room than the CX-5 because it is built on a different platform. The CX-50 costs more as well, with an upstream cost of at least $5,000. After all, there is a cost associated with the extra zero at the end of the badge.

The new CX-50 is precisely the Mazda we have always wanted: a tough, roomy, and agile road companion with enough interior space to comfortably seat five adults. The CX-30 and CX-5, on the other hand, failed to impress us with their odd exterior proportions and poor ride quality. The CX-50 seems prepared for the outdoors with the addition of the new Meridian Edition with Apex Package, similar to what Toyota does with the RAV4 TRD Pro. A hybrid version will also be available soon to compete with the CR-V and RAV4 hybrid models.

At first glance, the CX-50 can be a little unsettling due to its features that have a very human appearance. If you look too long into the headlights, which resemble human eyes, you'll begin to believe that they are sentient beings. We love how much more macho it is compared to the somewhat thin and skipped-leg-day CX-30. The muscular silhouette is equally sleek and purposeful.

The Meridian Edition comes with 18-inch Falken all-terrain tires, black alloy wheels, hood graphics, and darkened side rocker and headlight surround components. It can only be painted in Zircon Sand and Polymetal Grey; other paint colors are available for the lower trims. Front and rear splash guards, a roof rack, and other features are included in the $1,400 Apex Package, which is an optional add-on.

As with all contemporary Mazdas, the interior never ceases to astound us. Excellent material quality, tasteful appointments at all touchpoints, a gorgeous leather dashboard, and some of the softest leather imaginable covering the steering wheel. Each dial and knob feels either metallic to the touch or made of high-quality plastic, and each button has a satisfying "clicky" resistance that is appropriate for a BMW or Mercedes. The CX-50 really does feel more upscale than its rivals at this $40–50,000 price point. This is probably how a car interior would appear if it were created by Uniqlo or Muji. There are no issues with the CX-50 cabin at all when the supportive seats and excellent outside visibility are taken into account.

The CX-50 is loaded with amenities like wireless phone charging, a 360-degree camera, and a heated steering wheel, but the majority of them are only available on the top Meridian Edition trim. It's unfortunate that the center display is smaller than that of the RAV4 and CR-V, but the rotary dial, which controls the user interface, is effective and has a short learning curve.

The GS-L ($38,250), GT ($43,200), and Meridian Edition ($48,200) are the three trim levels available for the CX-50. The other trims receive the same 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, which has been turbocharged to produce 227 hp and 310 lb-ft, while the GS-L receives a 187-hp version with cylinder deactivation. Additionally, cylinder deactivation is eliminated in favor of a start/stop function known as i-stop by Mazda. Although Mazda does state that 93-octane fuel will increase those outputs to 256 horsepower and 320 pound-feet instead, we doubt many owners will spend an extra $10 per fill-up to get those extra horses, especially with cars at this price point. Still useful information. Whatever the engine, the CX-50 always has an all-wheel drive system and a 6-speed automatic transmission.

Although the turbo engine we tested is not the most powerful four-cylinder on the market, it is polished and enjoyable to use. In addition, the 6-speed is a more entertaining travel companion than the CVTs employed by its competitors. When the boost picks up, the acceleration is decent in the mid-range and doesn't run out of breath too soon when it reaches triple-digit speeds. With more city driving than we had hoped for, we were able to achieve a yield of 12.3 L/100 km, which is less efficient than we had hoped. However, we can probably attribute at least 1.0 L/100 km of that difference to the roof rack's inefficient aerodynamics. On the plus side, when traveling at speeds under 100 km/h, we did not hear any excessive wind noise caused by the roof rack. You will begin to hear some turbulence above that.

Even at slow speeds, it takes considerable effort to turn the steering wheel due to the steering's lack of life and connection, but it is accurate and simple to position the front wheels where you want them. Although being heavy doesn't always result in better steering response, the rigid chassis more than makes up for it with a solid and secure ride and a responsive front end. Even with these optional all-terrain tires, it absorbs small and large impacts well and displays an excessive amount of traction in snowy conditions. Despite favoring understeering, this results in a safer and more predictable driving experience.

The Mazda CX-50, which has one of its class's most luxurious interiors and one of its most rugged exteriors, is a welcome addition to the compact crossover market. If you prefer a little more zest in your drive, we wholeheartedly recommend the turbo engine over the base engine. And even though we don't anticipate it to outsell the well-liked RAV4 and CR-V, we believe it earns a spot on the shortlist.


  • Model: 2023 Mazda CX-50 Meridian Edition with Apex Package
  • Paint Type: Polymetal Grey
  • Base Price: $48,200
  • Price as Tested: $49,850
  • Wheelbase(mm): 2,815
  • Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,720 / 1,920 / 1,623
  • Curb weight (kg): 1,777
  • Engine: 2.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder
  • Horsepower: 256 hp @ 5,000 rpm (with 93-octane) - 227 hp (87-octane)
  • Torque: 320 lb-ft @ 2,500 rpm (with 93-octane) - 310 lb-ft (87-octane)
  • Transmission: 6-speed automatic
  • Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD
  • Fuel Consumption ( City / Highway ) L/100km: 10.4 / 8.1
  • Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 12.3
  • Tires: 225/60R18

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