2023 Mazda CX-50 Meridan, Almost a Luxury Compact SUV – Review
Mazda is definitely focused on SUVs. This is somewhat demonstrated by the marketing of 2023 Mazda CX-50, a new model that fits into the compact SUV segment, like the very popular Mazda CX-5. You’re probably wondering why Mazda now offers two compact SUVs! The answer is not simple, and it confuses consumers; and in terms of marketing, it’s not very good. I just tried the 2023 Mazda CX-50 Meridian Editiona new, more upscale version aimed at adventurers.
Why a Mazda CX-50?
The 2023 Mazda CX-50 is built at a new plant in Alabama, jointly owned by Mazda and Toyota. The model doesn’t replace the CX-5, at least not yet. They’ll live side by side like the Mazda CX-30 and CX-3 did before the latter was dropped from the lineup this year. Does the same fate await the CX-5? The Mazda manufacturer remains silent on this topic.
The description of the Mazda CX-50 is quite simple: this compact SUV is slightly longer, wider and also lower (by 55 millimeters) than the CX-5. It is also more spacious and more expensive, which allows us to draw the same parallel as with the CX-30 and CX-3 tandem. A small clarification, moreover, the Mazda CX-50 2022 does not use the platform of the CX-5, but instead of the Mazda CX-30, slightly stretched.
While the CX-5’s design is more curvaceous, the CX-50’s is a bit squarer and stockier with its domed fenders. Like the Subaru Outback, it’s more like a family car. Its roofline is flatter, the same observation at the rear with a straighter angled C-pillar. This design sets it apart, but it also enhances its practicality in the CX-5. I just liked the big black plastic fender flares a bit.
As for the CX-50 Meridian Edition I tested, it takes the adventurous character of the vehicle up a notch. It is distinguished by its exclusive 18-inch wheels including black locks and nuts on which the Falken all-terrain wheels are mounted. Its headlights are also unique, as are its graphic elements attached to the hood. An Apex package ($1,400) adds fenders, cross members and a roof rack, all painted black. The whole thing is that it gives the effect of a Land Rover or Toyota FJ Cruiser. This is interesting!
While you have to pay $33,245 to get a basic Mazda CX-5, you have to pay $40,245 for the CX-50, which clearly reflects a higher social rank and, above all, the absence of liveries . Three versions are offered, namely GS-L, GT and Meridian Edition. The GS-L livery is sold with an engine familiar to Mazda, the naturally aspirated 2.5-liter 4-cylinder that develops 187 horsepower and produces 186 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive is standard, as is a 6-speed automatic gearbox, the only one offered across the range. It remains effective; but when will there be a more modern 8 or 9-speed gearbox? We will get fuel consumption.
As for the GT version, it benefits from the same mechanics, but it is possible, for an additional $2,500, to get more power by opting for a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged engine. This mechanism pushes the CX-50’s power to 256 horsepower and its torque to 320 lb-ft. On a side note, however, you have to fuel it with super, which, in the current context, represents a significant additional cost, otherwise you lose some horsepower if you choose regular fuel with octane number 87.
There is no electrified motorization for the moment in the case of the CX-50, it will be necessary to wait for the CX-70 or a future hybrid version for the CX-50.
More modern interior
The 2023 Mazda CX-50’s cabin is quite familiar despite some additions, including more prominent air vents. The instrumentation remains classic, nothing too innovative. Same observation for the central part of the dashboard which includes, in its upper part, the screen of the infotainment system. At 10.3 inches wide (8.8 for the basic version), it’s wide, but it fits the dashboard very well. Only Apple Carplay and Android Auto modes let you use it by touch, and that’s a shame. The Japanese have always been reluctant to touch screens, it’s even worse with Mazda.
The rear offers a little more legroom, but, contrary to what I expected, the search is not the same for headroom as it is less than what we saw in the case of the CX-5; we must remember that the car is inferior, this is where we pay the price.
The Mazda CX-50 offers less cargo space than the CX-5, 883 liters compared to 824 for the CX-5, but the vehicle’s slightly more family-friendly design provides more practical carrying space. of greater things.
The fun of a turbocharged engine
The good news in the case of the CX-50 Meridian Edition is that it benefits from a standard turbo engine. It’s rare that I find an SUV that inspires driving, but I must admit that the CX-50 made a good impression on me. I love this mechanism under the hood of the CX-30, I really fell in love with it during the last season of the RPM show. This engine completely changes the behavior of the CX-50. The power effect was present at all revs, and I was never short of torque, whether passing or facing other cars.
The only downside? I got an average fuel consumption of 10.8 litres/100 kilometers without getting too excited, I know it’s lower for an SUV like this and with the current price of premium fuel, it’s hard not to make your stomach hurt when you fill up you
The roof deck included in the Apex package is practical and beautiful, but it also causes significant wind noise at higher speeds. It took me a while to figure out where the deafening noise I heard on one side of the highway was coming from.
Still, it’s one of the most dynamic compact SUVs I’ve tested. It sees itself at the height of luxury models equipped with powerful mechanics. In addition, Mazda has an arsenal of technologies, including the G-Vectoring Control Plus system, which improves vehicle behavior and rewards the driver.
The driving position is also lower than the CX-5, I had the impression of being well connected to the road, and this, despite the slightly higher ground clearance (by 4 millimeters) which should be in favor of CX-50 off-road . Its suspension is on the firm side, but the 18-inch wheels of the Meridian version provide a bit more flexibility thanks to the increased tread thickness.
Another advantage of the Mazda CX-50 over the CX-5 is its superior towing capacity, 1,600 kilos (3,500 pounds) compared to 900 kilos (2,000 pounds).
I thoroughly enjoyed my experience driving the CX-50. Rarely has the manufacturer disappointed us in terms of driving pleasure. The model carries additional arguments compared to the CX-5 such as style, practicality and modernity, but you have to be prepared to pay the price. Since this is a new model and the CX-50 failed our emission obstacle avoidance test, our purchase recommendation remains under review for now.