All of this turkey chasing might make you hungry. Hopefully, you already went through your leftovers – especially the ones you were given by your hosts.
This year, we’re chasing turkeys…
By “turkey chasing,” I mean heading out to a Thanksgiving feast – or, several.
Some decades ago, that was exactly what I did. With a premium European rented car in tow, I bounced between my home and a friend’s family home. Two different parts of Los Angeles, two different meals, two different families, and two different experiences.
I was a rebellious college student back then.
That’s not the only way you chase turkeys. Over the course of a few years, I found myself finding places to dine for Thanksgiving. One such “turkey chase” sent me to somewhere in rural southern Minnesota. A down home place that offered the basics found on many family feasts. It was delicious and filling.
All of this turkey chasing might make you hungry. Hopefully, you already went through your leftovers – especially the ones you were given by your hosts. C’mon, do you need to consume more stuffing days after Thanksgiving?
I digress. This year, the “turkey chaser” arrived in the form of the 2024 Mazda CX-50 Turbo Meridian Edition.
This most rugged version of Mazda’s ruggedized SUV/Crossover/Wagon looked like it wanted to chase down some turkeys – the real live ones – and strap them to the roof rack on this tester. That did not happen…
Instead, the CX-50 Meridian Edition looked like it wanted to play over Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday – all weekend long. Perhaps. Let me get into that in a bit…
By now, you would’ve read the original review on the CX-50, along with our video on it. What’s different this time around is the Meridian Edition itself. It is a package that gives you permission to find a dirt road somewhere and play.
To do so, Mazda added visual cues, including a larger plastic side rocker piece with an additional satin chrome trim on it. On the hood is a decal that has the CX-50 Meridian Edition lettering ghosted in satin black. To cap things off, the CX-50 Meridian Edition wore a set of 18-inch alloy wheels shod with Falken Wildpeak all-terrain tires.
Mazda provided us with another part for this CX-50 Meridian Edition tester. The roof rack and available platform looked beefy and can hold a plethora of items up there. Think of what you can put on that roof rack. A Christmas tree? Canoes and/or kayaks. Camping gear. Maybe a roof rack mounted tent – which Mazda offers among its accessory list.
Or, a dozen turkeys…
Let’s say that the CX-50 Meridian Edition was ready to play somewhere off the highway. The roof rack adds to the vehicle’s image with that right dose of adventure one needs in your life. The rest of this vehicle’s visual presentation affirms this perfectly.
All Meridian Edition models are powered by the 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Horsepower ranges from 227 to 256, depending on which fuel you fill it up with. Torque is more robust, ranging from 310 to 320 pound-feet. Power is channeled through a six-speed automatic transmission and its all-wheel drive system.
To augment this driveline is the Mazda Intelligent Drive Select system – also known as Mi-Drive. It enables the driveline to be preset for Off-Road and Towing modes by remapping the drive system for each purpose.
I experienced the Off-Road mode back in May at the Midwest Automotive Media Association Rally. Using one of two off-road courses inside of Road America, a 2023 CX-50 Meridian Edition was put through the test and did exceptionally well. The mix of dirt and greenlane tracks tested the system’s capabilities to specification.
Now that this 2024 CX-50 Meridian Edition is in our hands, how did it do the second time around?
Mazda did not upgrade the suspension or increase the ground clearance for the Meridian Edition. In fact, Mazda showed a ground clearance decrease of just 0.1 inches. Even at 8.5 inches, there’s plenty of space underneath the under carriage to manage rougher and uneven surfaces.
Ride quality-wise, it was on the firm side. One could blame the tires equipped on this model. Handling was fine, with nominal lean and roll when pushed to the limit. It is not entirely quiet
The steering was actually quite good with a very good radius managing tighter maneuvers. The on-center feel was fine. The brakes responded solidly and had good pedal feel. Normal and panic stops returned great results with solid action down to the wheels.
The one thing to note about this round in the CX-50: The Meridian Edition is not the top-level trim of this lineup. Compared to last year’s Premium Plus, there were a few less luxuries to enjoy. We only had six speakers for infotainment playback. The head-up display was not available. And, a few other omissions.
But, is it such a bad thing? No. Not with a sticker price of $43,860. Included in that sticker price is the Roof Platform for $899.
The 2024 Mazda CX-50 is offered in eight trims, compared to last year’s ten. Four of 2024’s trim levels are turbocharged models, including this Meridian Edition. Pricing starts from $30,300.
The idea of adding the Meridian Edition to Mazda’s CX-50 lineup was ambitious. They want to play in the same sandbox as other off-road aspiring vehicles. You can add all-terrain tires and a drive mode program for better traction away from the highway, but you have to do more.
If you’re looking for something different that does a few things to fulfill your active lifestyle, you certainly have choices. The Mazda CX-50 Meridian Edition is certainly a choice a consumer could make.
DISCLAIMER: Vehicle provided by Mazda North American Operations
All photos by George Torline