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Here Are The Mazda CX-5 Years To Avoid

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The Mazda CX-5 debuted in 2013 as a compact crossover SUV. It came with Mazda’s new design theme dubbed “KODO – Soul of Motion” and carried on its distinctive fun-to-drive character and new engine technology for agility and efficiency.

Over the years, the CX-5 has evolved into one of the best-looking crossover SUVs available on the market. It now has a more aggressive and modern look, proven popular with consumers. The vehicle itself is a new entrant into the market compared to other makes and models.

At CoPilot, we want to ensure you end up with the right Mazda CX-5. Today’s article will highlight the Mazda CX-5 years to avoid. This information is based on the number and types of complaints reported for each model year.

Quick Answer: Avoid Mazda CX-5 Year Models 2014 and 2016

There have been only two generations for the Mazda CX-5 so far. This makes it a relative newcomer compared to other competitors like the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V. We recommend staying away from the 2014 and 2016 Mazda CX-5.

These recorded more complaints compared to the 2013, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 model years. The most common complaints cover electrical problems, engine problems, interior accessories, and issues with the lights.


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Which Year Models of Mazda CX-5 Are Safe to Buy Used? 

The Mazda CX-5 was not Mazda’s first trial at making a compact SUV. The company launched the CX-7 and the Tribute back in the 2000s. When the CX-5 debuted, it benefited from prior attempts and proved quite a charm in its market segment. 

There are several Mazda CX-5 models that you can pick if you’re looking to buy a used compact SUV. We recommend considering the following model years:

  • 2013 Mazda CX-5
  • 2015 Mazda CX-5
  • 2017 Mazda CX-5
  • 2018 Mazda CX-5
  • 2019 Mazda CX-5
  • 2020 Mazda CX-5
  • 2021 Mazda CX-5

These Mazda CX-5 model years have recorded fewer complaints over the years and are likely to require fewer repairs and less maintenance to keep them running.

The newer models in the second generation (2017 - present) benefit from a lot of the older model’s feedback. In 2017, Mazda overhauled the CX-5 by redesigning its exterior and including additional features to help the car perform better. 

The new features included a new 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produced more power and a six-speed automatic transmission. Users reported very few problems with the 2017 model year. Issues were rare and inexpensive to repair.


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In 2018, Mazda added two new features: blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and low-speed forward collision warning and mitigation. Here, complaints were rare and included a few engine problems, brake problems, and drivetrain problems.

For 2019, Mazda added more standard features for the CX-5, including a 250-horsepower turbocharged engine, wood accents, and leather upholstery. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration received very few complaints about the engine and electricals.

The 2020 and 2021 Mazda CX-5 model years have more significant changes, including lane keep assist, pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure warning. Most cover the engine, brakes, and electrical systems. Problems here are widespread and also few.

Which Mazda CX-5 Model Years to Avoid?

Of the nine Mazda CX-5 model years made so far, only two versions fall short when considering reliability. They include the 2014 and 2016 Mazda CX-5. The 2014 model has the highest number of electrical problems, engine problems, brake problems, exterior accessory problems, and other miscellaneous problems. 

The worst issues reported are:

  • The engine that did not completely shut down at 55,000 miles.
  • The engine would rev and clunk into gear when stopped at 17,000 miles.
  • Premature brake wear at 29,000 miles. 

As for the 2016 Mazda CX-5, the most popular issues covered the lights, brakes, electrical systems, engine problems, and drivetrain problems. The worst problems reported include failure of the daytime LED lights at 43,000 miles, a broken windshield at 19,000 miles, and premature brake wear at 27,000 miles.

Common Mazda CX-5 Problems

As with most car brands, not all the Mazda CX-5s are built to the same standards. However, many persistent issues have affected the CX-5 across model years. Here’s a quick rundown of those reliability issues:

  • Faulty daytime LED running lights - This issue was so bad that Mazda had to issue a recall. Daytime running lights typically last for around 100k miles, but it happens earlier in the case of the 2016 CX-5. These lights were built as one unit, so when they fail, you can’t simply replace one bulb – making the issue more expensive to fix than needed.
  • Windshield issue - Common in the 2014-2016 models, many CX-5 owners reported that their windshield cracked for no apparent reason. Once again, this CX-5 windshield issue warranted a recall from Mazda. Apparently, the windshield bracket for the laser sensor may detach and disable the Smart City Brake Support system.
  • Engine failure - Although not as common, some owners have reported that their CX-5 engine just shut off without warning. Meanwhile, other drivers said that the engine wouldn’t shut off even after pushing the park button. Several drivers claimed that they had to drive a few more miles to shut down the vehicle.


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Mazda CX-5 Problem Counts by Year

Below is a breakdown of the number of complaints reported by Mazda CX-5 owners on platforms such as Car Talk Community, carcomplaints.com, and carproblems.com. 

Overall, the most common problems that plague the Mazda CX-5 include the LED daytime running lights installed in the first-generation lineup, a creaking windshield that eventually cracks, and brake pads that wear out faster than other components. 

As for the daytime running lights, Mazda released a statement saying that failure resulted from improper materials used in the making of the ceiling gasket. This allows moisture to pass through and damage the light circuit. A cracking windshield and worn brake pads can also be attributed to poor materials and design.

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