Chasing the active lifestyle crowd, or perhaps cluing in that the CX-5 is an excellent machine but there’s room on the lot for a variant with a smidgen of off-road cred, Mazda introduced the CX-50 earlier this year. Think of it as a CX-5 in hiking boots and an L.L. Bean coat.
Now, the brand is taking it a step further with the CX-50 Meridian, a trim that brings all-terrain tires and a smattering of exterior accents to imply it’s ready for the trail – or at least that gravel patch at the mall.
Jokes aside, the CX-50 is a good-looking rig. It takes the razor-sharp Mazda family fascia and, with a few tweaks, makes it sufficiently different to arguably appeal to a customer type who may not cotton to the snazzy CX-5. This new Meridian Edition builds on a turbocharged CX-50 whose mill makes 256 horsepower and 320 lb.-ft of torque (or 227 horsepower/310 lb-ft if you feed it anything less than 93 octane). The aforementioned 18-inch Falkens are part of the Meridian deal, as are black metallic wheels and a gunshot of matte black around the exterior. That trailer hitch is good for 3,500 pounds.
For shoppers who like to sleep in a tent atop their vehicle, Mazda will offer the Apex package as an option on Meridian. It includes gear like roof-mounted black crossbars and a roof platform. The parts department, meanwhile, will be more than happy to sell you a rooftop tent from the Mazda accessory catalog to perch on all this – a decision which the finance clerk will surely be more than eager to roll into your monthly payment. Cheapskates not popping for the turbo can opt for some of these same add-ons in a so-called Meridian Choice package, but the exterior addenda will be slightly different to distinguish them from the more expensive (and more powerful) turbo cars.
Sneer if you want, but this is a smart play by Mazda. OEMs are waking up to the concept that they can sell this type of gear before the customer drives away and finds it at the aftermarket place down the street. By offering these kinds of kit, dealers stand a better chance of not leaving any money on the table, and alert members of the B&B will recognize these add-ons could hike the average price of a CX-50. That’s a metric that always looks good on the year-end financial report.
The CX-50 gets a small mid-year price hike, amounting to $750. The new Turbo Meridian is $39,950, which is $2,800 more than the standard Turbo but on par with the Premium trim. Layering on the Apex package will add $1,235 to yer note.
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