Mazda is raising the price of its CX-50 SUV, while offering a new Meridian Edition trim level for its latest crossover.
The brand said it is raising prices $750 Tuesday, with the 2023 Mazda CX-50 2.5 S now starting at $27,550, and topping out at $42,300 for the CX-50 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus. Mazda is also increasing the destination charge $50 to $1,275 and $1,320 in Alaska.
The Hiroshima, Japan-based automaker is also introducing the CX-50 Meridian Edition, a new trim level with a starting price of $39,950.
The CX-50’s newest trim level
Similar in size to a Porsche Macan, the CX-50 is basically a longer, wider version of the CX-5 crossover with a more rugged appearance. Whereas the CX-5 is consummate cosmopolitan cruiser, the CX-50 is designed with an eye towards driving places once the macadam ends.
Like the CX-5, the CX-50 comes with a normally aspirated “Skyactiv-G” 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine rated at 187 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. However, there another option: a turbocharged version of the same power plant. Using premium fuel, it’s rated at 256 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque using premium fuel, or on regular gas performance drops to 227 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive and a 6-speed automatic transmission come standard. Towing is rated at 3,500 pounds with the turbo mill.
The 2023 Mazda CX-50 Meridian Edition endows the crossover with a more off-road-oriented appearance. While not engineered to tackle the Rubicon Trail, it should be more than capable enough for more modest adventures. It starts with a Mazda CX-50 2.5 Turbo model, adding “outdoor-focused” black metallic 18-inch alloy wheels and Falken tires. Exterior trim gets updated with a large Meridian Edition-branded matte black hood graphic, black wheel locks and lug nuts, and black side rocker panels.
Meridian Edition customers can further upgrade their ride with the $1,235 Apex Package, which adds roof-mounted black crossbars, a roof platform, and front and rear splash guards. This allows you to secure additional outdoor gear on the roof platform, or install Mazda’s optional rooftop tent.
Mazda will also offer a $1,899 Meridian Choice Package. This dealer-installed option includes most of the Meridian Package’s murdered-out trim, including includes roof-mounted black crossbars, roof platform, front and rear splash guards, side rocker garnish, headlight garnish, and wheel locks and lug nuts. This allows non-turbo CX-50 drivers to endow their vehicles with a tough, off-road look, but without the higher price tag.
Mazda now offers 10 different packages on the CX-50, but most of them are interior accoutrements, such as illuminated sill plates and such.
An American-built Mazda
The Mazda CX-50 is manufactured in a new plant that Mazda shares with Toyota near Huntsville, Alabama. It’s designed to build 300,000 vehicles annually, with half of the plant’s capacity earmarked for Mazda.
In the first six months of 2022, Mazda sold 4,787 CX-50s. Only the MX-30 is less popular at 316 units. But while that sales number seems low, keep in mind that the Mazda CX-50 has only been on sale for four months, and it is being produced in a new assembly plant.
So, sales should pick up noticeably for the rest of the year now that the assembly line is up to speed. And given that the CX-5 is Mazda’s most popular vehicle, selling 81,804 units through June 30 of 2022, the CX-50 is likely to be nearly as popular, if not more so.
Think of the CX-50 as Mazda’s Bronco Sport, with the CX-5 being Mazda’s Ford Escape. In addition to the Fords, competitors include the Jeep Cherokee, Hyundai Tucson, Nissan Rogue, Subaru Forester, Honda CR-V, Kia Sportage, Volkswagen Tiguan and Toyota RAV4.