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LAST UPDATED:  March 16, 2021

Mazda CX-5 Reliability

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PUBLISHED ON March 16, 2021

Mike Ditz/Mazda

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Though its sales have been on an upward trend in recent years, Mazda is still a niche manufacturer. It’s not as big as Ford, Chevrolet, or VW, but it’s not as small as Mitsubishi. It sits in a zone where it has happily played to its strengths of driving dynamics and sporty looks for years. And one of its most important models, its cash cow, is the brand’s CX-5 compact SUV. 

The CX-5 has now been through two generations, the first beginning in 2012 and the second in 2017. In that time, it’s had a few complaints, issues, and things to be aware of when considering either used or new. Understanding those issues will lead to better purchasing decisions, including whether or not to even consider a CX-5 as your next car.

Diving into the details, The Drive has put together this guide on the Mazda CX-5’s reliability just for you. 

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What Makes a Reliable Brand?

Reliability depends on a host of variables, but the two biggest structural supports are the development and manufacturing of a vehicle. When auto manufacturers spend the time and money developing a car and its manufacturing line, a car tends to last longer. Hastily designed, poorly manufactured, and cheaply constructed materials will all reduce a car’s longevity and reliability.

There’s also a work ethic variable that cannot be ignored. Honda and Toyota’s cultures of reliability-over-all embody that ethic and have thus kept each’s legendary reliability in the minds of consumers for decades. Lexus spent 15 years creating the perfect paint, for goodness’ sake. Add longer-than-normal warranties and good customer service, and it’s easy to see why these Japanese companies have enjoyed their strong standings for so long.

Yet, once a car leaves the dealership lot, outside factors impact a car’s durability.

What Impacts a Car’s Reliability

Short answer: you. The longer answer is a car’s reliability and longevity are inextricably tied to how you take care of your vehicle, your maintenance schedule (if you have one), your conservative or brash driving habits, and whether or not you live in climates where extreme weather could affect the car’s construction.

Preemptive maintenance like regular oil changes, fluid flushes, tire rotation, and fuel system cleaners, along with keeping the exterior and underside of your car clean, will all increase the life expectancy of your car. Keeping it out of the harsh desert or tropical sun, as well as away from the rust-inducing salted roadways of winter, will also extend its life.

And lastly, keeping the Mario Andretti driving antics to a minimum will keep your brakes, engine, tires, and chassis under-stressed and happy for far longer compared to hitting every trip to the grocery store like it’s the Indy 500. 

Mazda CX-5 Specs

Vehicle Type: SUV

Doors: 4

Engine options: 2.0 L SkyActiv-G PE-VPS I4, 2.5 L SkyActiv-G PY-VPS I4, 2.5 L SkyActiv-G PY-VPS I4-T

Total internal combustion range: 367 miles

Is The Mazda CX-5 Reliable?

As detailed above, reliability is generally something that depends on the person, the car, and the situation, so we can’t make a definitive statement that the Mazda CX-5 is reliable or unreliable. 

To better assess its reliability, however, we’ve assembled several data points from numerous sources to present you with as much information as possible. Let’s start with common problems, as told by comments listed in the CX-5’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) archives.

The CX-5’s NHTSA History

As collected by the NHTSA, these are the CX-5’s issues throughout the years.

2021

Recall: NA

Complaints: 3

2020

Recall: NA

Complaints: 16

2019

Recall: Software Error May Cause Engine Stall

Complaints: 25

2018

Recall: Software Error May Cause Engine Stall, Curtain Air Bags May Not Deploy Properly/FMVSS 226

Complaints: 64

2017

Recall: Trailer Hitch Wiring Harness May Short Circuit

Complaints: 51

Common Mazda CX-5 Problems and Repair Costs

As with other car brands, not all CX-5 models are built to the same exacting standards. Here’s a quick rundown of problematic CX-5 offerings, including the issues, customer complaints, and repair costs that will help you make the best decision when purchasing your next car.

2016 Model Year: Daytime Running Light Failure

Repair Costs: $1,130, according to CarComplaints.

Customer Complaint:

“We are senior citizens and purchased this vehicle thinking it would be our last. We love this SUV but feel like the led lights going out in the headlight on our passenger side is a safety defect & should be fixed by the Mazda dealership. The cost associated with this fix was quoted to be about $1200, As most senior citizens we do not have extra money for this type of repair cost, The SUV was still under warranty when we purchased, but was told this problem was not included in our warranty. So it remains unfixed at this time. Mazda should stand by their products and issue a recall to fix this design flaw.” 

2015 Model Year: Windshield Easily Cracks and Divots

Repair Costs: $780, according to CarComplaints.

Customer Complaint:

“I have never had a window crack this size. I was not even driving behind any big trucks and I do not tail people. Never saw a rock coming, but boy did it make an impact. The shop said it could not be repaired. It would need to be replaced.”

2016 Model Year: Premature Brake Wear

Repair Costs: $660, according to CarComplaints.

Customer Complaint:

“Rear brake pads and rotors need to be replaced. The left brake caliper is frozen and will also need to be replaced at a considerable cost. At 45000+ miles I am disgusted that this has happened. Perhaps the car manufacturer did not grease everything properly. Blah!! I have not been told by the shop what replacing the caliper will cost, but it will be expensive!!”

JD Power Consumer Reliability Score

According to JD Power, this score, “Measures the level of defects, malfunctions and design flaws experienced by vehicle owners. Covers the entire vehicle from engine to infotainment system. A higher rating means fewer problems.”  

2021: 80/100

2020: 80/100

2019: 81/100

2018: 80/100

2017: NA/100

2016: 78/100

2015: 83/100

2014: 82/100

2013: 80/100

FAQs About the Mazda CX-5

You’ve got questions, The Drive has answers!

Q: Is The CX-5 Expensive To Maintain?

A: That depends on how you treat it, how the previous owner treated it, and if you’ve followed the CX-5’s regularly scheduled maintenance. 

Q: Is a CX-5 High Maintenance?

A: It doesn’t seem to be, at least according to CarComplaints and the NHTSA reports, but there is a regular maintenance schedule you need to follow.

Q: How Many Miles Does a CX-5 Last?

A: Consumer Reports states that new cars are all designed to exceed eight years or about 200,000 miles. However, individual mileage may vary based on, as stated above, how you treat your car. 

Q: Are Repairs Expensive on the CX-5?

A: As with all repairs, it depends on the part affected. If it’s deep within the engine, it could be quite expensive. If it’s a loose body panel, likely not. 

EXTENDED WARRANTY COVERAGE MORE … FOR LESS

Endurance

Save $350 on an Endurance warranty plan with coupon code: DRIVE350

Going with a factory extended warranty is a good option for basic protection, but you can get more and save more with Endurance, ranked the top extended warranty provider by Consumer Advocates, Consumer Affairs, and Retirement Living.

Get a Free Quote

Save $350 with coupon code: DRIVE350

EXTENDED WARRANTY COVERAGE MORE … FOR LESS

CarShield

CarShield — USA’s #1 Auto Protection Provider

CarShield pays claims directly to a US or Canadian ASE-Certified® repair facility of your choice. Our contracts have low or no deductibles to prevent stress to your wallet at a critical time. Never worry about being stranded somewhere after a breakdown. All of our vehicle repair contracts include towing services to transport you and your vehicle to a safe repair facility.

Get a Free Quote

EXTENDED WARRANTY COVERAGE MORE … FOR LESS

Carchex

Nationwide coverage for cars new and old

CARCHEX has something for everyone. Have an old car? No problem. Live in California? Not an issue. CARCHEX 's plethora of warranty plans includes options for cars up to twenty years old with up to 250,000 miles, regardless of any existing or expired warranties. Click below or call 1-877-207-3304 for a free quote.

Get a Free Quote