Here are Worst Years Mazda CX-5 Years to Avoid, CX 5 Problems & Best Reliability by Year

Patrick Oziegbe
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The Mazda CX-5 is relatively new boy in the compact SUV market designed with adaptive cruise control for safety, infotainment features like apple carplay so it has quickly catch with older brands.

The CX-5 is not only competing favorably with top older compact SUV like the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V, so shopping for used but reliable car is possible, but you must also be aware of the worst years.

However, not all Mazda CX-5 models are made of equal standards as some model years have experienced common problems and few serious issues that will set you back!

This guide contain facts about Mazda CX-5 years to avoid, pointing out exact concerns, few important common problems associated with specific years.

Our goal is ultimately to help you steer clear of potential regrets, avoid loss of investments, endless repairs, and help you make a sound decision to nail down a reliable Mazda CX5 when shopping for your own compact SUV for that satisfying driving experience you’d been dreaming of.

TIPS:  Our in house researched published details bets and worst years of Honda CR-V models and years with best reliability for Toyota RAV4 to buy!

The Worst Years are: 2014, 2016, and 2018

Mazda CX-5
©Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

It is crucial for potential buyers to identify the Mazda CX-5 years that are best to avoid. The years to watch out for include 2014, 2016, and 2018.

These years are known for a range of issues that may affect the vehicle’s reliability and overall satisfaction for the owner.

Reliability and Most Common Problems

Some of the most common problems reported by Mazda CX-5 owners span across different years and models. These include:

  • TCM (Transmission Control Module) software errors
  • Faulty ignition system causing electrical issues with engine shut off
  • Headlights, taillights, and daytime running light (DRL) issues, particularly in the 2016 model
  • Windshield problems

Electrical Problems

Electrical issues have been identified as one of the common issues affecting Mazda CX-5 vehicles across various years.

Problems with headlights, taillights, and daytime running lights (DRL) are especially prominent in the 2016 model. Owners have reported a loss of brightness, intermittent failure, and flickering in these light components.

Brake Problems

Brake problems, such as premature brake wear and failure, have been reported in some Mazda CX-5 models, particularly the 2016 version. With some vehicles experiencing brake issues at around 27,000 miles, this has raised concerns for owners and potential buyers.


Although transmission problems are not widespread across all Mazda CX-5 models, they have been reported in some cases.

Transmission Control Module software issues have been a concern for some owners, leading to poor engine response and shifting difficulties.

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Best Years to Buy and Why

Some of the best years to purchase Mazda CX5 include:

  • 2017: Major design improvements, introduction of active safety features, and a more upmarket feel.
  • 2019 and 2020: Enhanced standard features, turbocharged engine option, and emphasis on comfort and quietness.
  • 2021: High reliability, outstanding performance, and superior safety features.

The above listed years have stood out as exceptionally noteworthy in terms of reliability, consumer satisfaction, and overall performance. So, buying from within those years will land you a reliable compact crossover SUV will be enjoy.

The CX-5 2021 model year brought out the most improvement among used CX5 in the areas of performance, fuel efficiency, and safety features improvement. We just posted Mazda CX 5 gas mileage on our resource.

Plus, it comes with a well-rounded package, offering the perfect balance between comfort and handling with attendant 1000 of glowing reviews from Consumer Reports for its reliability and owner satisfaction. Read it here!

The 2019 and 2020 CX-5 models also brought out higher levels upgrades and features as well increased value for the price.

They were designed for owners who desire comfortable driving experiences with the great improvement on quietness and smoothness. And if you add the option of a turbocharged engine, the overall performance was taken a step higher!

The 2017 model came before best years of 2019 and 2020, but it did very well but few complaints, encouraging customer satisfaction and reliability ratings.

The 2017 CX5 was not only better then older versions in terms of design and sophistication, but comes with many new safety features and a quieter cabin, making it an appealing choice for Mazda freaks.

TIPS: Discover these negative and worst Mazda CX-7 problems and equally the bad Mazda Tribute problems and common solutions!

Standard and Safety Features

The Mazda CX-5 comes with a variety of standard and safety features that make it an attractive choice for consumers. Let’s reveal details about  the infotainment system, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and rear cross-traffic alert.

  • Infotainment System

The Mazda CX-5 is equipped with an intuitive infotainment system, which includes features such as Bluetooth connectivity, navigation, and a user-friendly touchscreen interface.

It allows drivers to keep their eyes on the road while staying connected and informed. Additionally, the system supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, allowing for seamless integration of smartphones.

  • Adaptive Cruise Control

Adaptive cruise control is one of the Mazda CX-5’s safety features that contributes to a more comfortable driving experience.

This advanced system automatically adjusts the vehicle’s speed to maintain a safe following distance from the car ahead. It effectively reduces driver fatigue on long drives and helps prevent rear-end collisions.

  • Lane Departure Warning

The Mazda CX-5 includes a lane departure warning system to improve highway safety.

This feature monitors the vehicle’s position within its lane, and if the system detects an unintentional drift, it will alert the driver with visual and audible warnings. Lane departure warning can help prevent accidents caused by distracted or fatigued driving.

  • Rear Cross-Traffic Alert

Rear cross-traffic alert is another standard safety feature in the Mazda CX-5. When the vehicle is in reverse, sensors monitor approaching traffic from both sides.

If the system detects a vehicle approaching, it will send an alert to the driver, helping to prevent accidents while backing out of parking spaces and driveways.

The Mazda CX-5’s standard and safety features have been recognized by organizations such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), contributing to its positive reputation among consumers.

Comparing Models and Generations

Second Generation

The second generation of the Mazda CX-5 started with the 2017 model year and brought about significant improvements over the first generation.

Notable updates include a more refined interior, enhanced driving dynamics, and additional advanced safety features.

These improvements make the second generation Mazda CX-5 more attractive in comparison to both its predecessor and competitors like the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V.

Older Models

The 2014 and 2016 of the first generation had some issues, like there were reported electrical issues for 2014 and the 2016 model suffered from daytime running light failures.

Pre-2017 models also lack some of the advanced technology features found in more recent models, making them less appealing to those looking for a more tech-savvy SUV experience.

The Newer Models

Starting with the 2018 Mazda CX-5, the SUV saw continuous improvements in both technology and performance.

Some standout features in 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 models include updated infotainment systems, enhanced safety features, and superior driving dynamics. These enhancements have successfully addressed previous concerns with the first-generation models.

Pros of newer models:

  • Improved technology offerings
  • More refined interiors
  • Advanced safety features
  • Better driving experience

When shopping for a used Mazda CX-5, keeping the differences between the first and second generations in mind can help guide a decision.

The second generation models offer significantly more advantages in terms of technology, safety, and driving dynamics compared to their predecessors.

Buying a Used Mazda CX-5

  • Used Car Considerations

As mention few times above, the 2014 and 2016 model years are the ones to avoid and generally pay attention to any potential issues.

Also ensure to test drive it and thoroughly inspect the car for any signs of damage, wear, or questionable maintenance history.

Feel free to ask the seller any questions about the vehicle, and don’t hesitate to request service records to ensure the car has been well-maintained.

  • Common Issues to Look For

The 2015 and 2016 models have a higher number of consumer complaints, with random windshield cracks and daytime running light failure being among the most significant issues.

As a new buyer, you should keep this in mind and inspect the car for any signs of these issues during the test drive.

Better you focus more on the brighter and more reliable model years 2013, 2017, 2020, and 2021 Mazda CX-5. When well-maintained, a Mazda CX-5 can last up to 250,000 miles with the original engine parts.

The summary is to test drive the vehicle, and be aware of potential issues. By doing your due diligence and checking for common problems, you can make a more informed decision and increase your chances of finding a reliable and enjoyable vehicle.

Additional Features and Options

  • Interior Comfort and Space

The Mazda CX-5 offers a comfortable and spacious interior that caters to both the driver and passengers. Leather seats are available in higher trims, providing a premium feel to the cabin.

The front seats offer ample space and support, while the rear seats can comfortably accommodate adult passengers on longer trips.

The Mazda CX-5 cargo space delivers a respectable amount of room for its class. With the rear seats in place, you can expect a decent amount of storage for luggage or groceries.

Folding down the rear seats can further expand the cargo space, making it more versatile for carrying larger items.

  • Fuel Efficiency and Costs

One of the key strengths of the Mazda CX5 is its fuel efficiency. The SkyActiv engine technology helps the vehicle achieve impressive mileage, making it an economical choice for daily commuting or long-distance driving.

Exact fuel efficiency numbers may vary depending on the model year and engine option, but generally, the Mazda CX-5 performs well in this category.

While fuel costs play a significant role in the overall ownership experience, it’s essential to consider other expenses such as insurance, maintenance, and potential repairs. As a compact SUV, the Mazda CX-5’s costs should be relatively affordable compared to larger or luxury SUVs.

  • Technology Enhancements

The brand has gone through many technology enhancements over the years, making it more connected and convenient for drivers.

The integration of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto has been a game-changer, allowing owners to seamlessly connect their smartphones and access various apps, navigation, and entertainment options through the vehicle’s infotainment system.

Other available technology features include advanced safety systems such as lane keep assist, pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure warning, as seen in the 2020 and 2021 models. These features work together to create a safer and more enjoyable driving experience.

A Quick Mazda CX-5 Overview

The Compact SUV

This compact SUV was first manufactured and sold in year, 2013 with interior seat for up to 5 persons, offering very stylish and comfortable ride for lovers, friends and families alike.

It competes favorably with older brands like the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V giving you more choice and options to spend wisely. Check out the Toyota RAV4 top and best years to buy with confidence.

Engine Options

When it comes to the Mazda CX-5, potential buyers have three engine options to choose from:

  • 2.0L SKYACTIV-G: A 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder gasoline engine offering 155 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque. This engine is known for its fuel efficiency and smooth performance. Here is more info about sizes of gas tank for CX-5 models!
  • 2.5L SKYACTIV-G: For those seeking more power, the 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder gasoline engine delivers 187 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. This engine strikes a balance between performance and fuel economy.
  • 2.2L SKYACTIV-D: The 2.2-liter, 4-cylinder diesel engine option provides 173 horsepower and a robust 310 pound-feet of torque. Although diesel-powered vehicles aren’t as popular in some markets, this option provides an alternative to those seeking a different kind of performance and fuel efficiency.

Trim Levels

With the Mazda brand, you have few trim levels options for the CX-5 model, so there are more options and features to suit your desires and driving preferences:

  • Sport: The base model comes standard with features like 17-inch alloy wheels, a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system, and LED headlights.
  • Touring: Upgrading to the Touring trim adds dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless entry, and a six-speaker audio system.
  • Grand Touring: The more luxurious Grand Touring trim includes 19-inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery, and a premium Bose audio system with 10 speakers.
  • Grand Touring Reserve: Exclusive to the 2.5L turbocharged engine, this trim level features all-wheel drive as standard, along with heated and ventilated front seats.
  • Signature: The top-of-the-line Signature trim adds premium touches like ambient interior lighting, genuine wood trim, and a surround-view parking camera system.

Let’s summarize again. Remember the Mazda CX-5 is not just a well received and popular compacts SUV for even second hand used value, it however, has some worst years you must avoid, due to reliability issues.

Your best bet to secure your investment and avoid headaches, unending repair costs is to purchase a model from any of the best model years!


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