11 Best & Worst Mazda CX-5 Years (With Facts & Stats)

The CX-5 is a compact SUV that was first introduced as a 2013 model.

It’s Mazda’s best-selling vehicle in the U.S. thanks to its distinctive styling and engaging driving dynamics.

In this article, we’ll to a closer look at its best and worst years…

2023 Mazda CX-5

Here’s The Short Answer To What The Best And Worst Years For The Mazda CX-5 Are:

The best Mazda CX-5 model years are 2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2017, and 2015. The worst model years of the CX-5 are 2018, 2016, 2014, and 2013. This is based on auto industry reviews, NHTSA statistics, reported problems, and consumer feedback.

What Are The Best Years For The Mazda CX-5?

2023 Mazda CX-5

The 2023 CX-5 is one of the greatest and freshest addition to the nameplate. As far as reviews and feedback are concerned, this model year knocked it right out of the park.

It secured high ratings across various reputable car websites, possesses a modern interior and exterior, and has a selection of two efficient and powerful engines.

This model is a superb choice, especially for those who appreciate an engaging driving experience.

A new color, named Rhodium White, was also introduced for this model year. 

  • Edmunds: 4.3 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.4 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 83 / 100

2023 CX-5, Edmunds review:

“So I’ve been shopping for a new SUV for almost a year now, I’ve looked at everything from the Ford Bronco Sport to the Toyota RAV4. I decided on the CX5 premium plus and so far couldn’t be happier! It’s fun to drive, very comfortable leather heated and ventilated seats, a great sounding Bose sound system and on and on! Definitely check this one out.”

2022 Mazda CX-5

Another top choice is the 2022 CX-5 which comes with all-wheel drive as standard, an updated suspension, and a smoother more responsive transmission.

It also received moderate updates to its exterior, particularly the design of the front and rear.

The grille became bolder with a new three-dimensional mesh texture with outward wings, reshaped LED headlights, and more comfortable seating that provides better lumbar support. 

New driving mode settings were also introduced making the driving behavior more customizable.

  • Edmunds: 4.4 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.4 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 83 / 100

2022 CX-5, Edmunds review:

“Just helped my in-laws buy the new 2022 CX-5 Preferred trim. I did a ton of research and Mazda came out on top for compact SUVs. it is loaded with all the safety features and fun to drive. In addition, the Preferred trim provides all the upgrades needed including full leather seats. I hope I get to borrow it once in a while!”

2021 Mazda CX-5

The 2021 CX-5 is another top pick, offering a luxury driving experience without the luxury price. Owners and auto critics alike gave this model the thumbs up.

This model may not have the latest design cues however it is still handsomely styled, inside and out.

For 2021 the infotainment display was increased to 10.3 inches compared to the previous 7-inch display.

The infotainment system featured the Mazda Connect interface, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Mazda Connected Services.

  • Edmunds: 4.4 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.4 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 82 / 100

2021 CX-5, Edmunds review:

“I moved up, way up, from a 2013 GMC Terrain. The CX5 GTR is great! The power is fantastic, the ride is soooo much smoother , and the build quality is in a different universe from the GMC. The CX5 is very quiet, the Bose sound system superb, and the turbo flat out hauls a….. I looked at RAV4, CRV, ENVISION, Santa Fe, and RDX. The RDX was the only one even close, but was way more expensive.”

2020 Mazda CX-5

The 2020 Mazda CX-5 boasts top safety ratings and impeccable reliability.

This model comes with a responsive 187-hp, 2.5-liter engine as standard, although a quicker, turbocharged, 250-hp, 2.5-liter engine is also available.

For the 2020 CX-5 steps were taken to reduce noise, vibration and harshness and the formerly optional i-Activsense was made standard.

This package contains a number of features such as lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beam headlights, automated emergency braking, and pedestrian detection. 

  • Edmunds: 4.5 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.4 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 80 / 100

2020 CX-5, Edmunds review:

“The Signature model CX-5 has excellent turbo performance and acceleration, and intelligent cruise control that start and stop automatically at stoplights, with sign recognition even and 360 degree cameras to view all around the car for parking and passing. Apple play allows me to play my 2500 songs with no problems and it knows when to auto-connect when I enter the cabin. The sound system rocks. The driver’s seat adjusts up, down, back, forward, with lumbar and multiple pre-sets. On the road, the car is quiet and corners great…”

2020 Mazda CX-5

2019 Mazda CX-5

If you’re looking for an SUV that feels more expensive than it is, you can’t go far wrong with the 2019 CX-5.

The 2019 CX-5 received various updates, including a new high-end trim, the badge’s first-ever turbocharged engine, and performance and safety tweaks. 

Auto critics praised this model for its cabin which was a cut above the mainstream and for its wide-opening doors that make installing a child seat less of a struggle.

  • Edmunds: 4.3 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.4 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 81 / 100

2019 CX-5, Edmunds review:

“I love this car. I bought the 2019 signature edition in Machine Gray. I looked at some of the competing compact luxury SUVs and I really couldn’t find much that those had that this car doesn’t have. On top of that, I liked the feel and size of the CX-5 more. Thus, I couldn’t justify paying $8-10k more just for a luxury brand. I love the way the car handles and accelerates, as well as the luxury features–heads up driving display, heated/vented front and rear seats, heated steering wheel, etc…”

2017 Mazda CX-5

The 2017 Mazda CX-5 was the first installment of the 2nd Generation, and it got off to a strong start with relatively few complaints.

It was heavily revised end-to-end and its base 2.0-liter engine was swapped for a 2.5-liter instead.

New sheet metal was applied, the interior was redesigned to be sharper and sleeker, and driving dynamics were bolstered thanks to a lower center of gravity.

  • Edmunds: 4.4 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.4 / 5.0
  • JD Power: NA

2017 CX-5, Edmunds review:

“If money was no object, I’d be driving a Porsche Cayenne S. But since my current car budget did not have room for a $90K SUV (and the associated high maint costs), I feel I did the next best thing and got a Mazda CX-5 GT with prem pkg. No, it’s not nearly as fast as a Cayenne, but for about a third the the price, this little SUV acts a lot like that Swabian icon of the road…”

2015 Mazda CX-5

If you’re looking for a slightly older, first-generation CX-5 we would highly recommend the 2015 model, which is the most reliable.

This model carried over mostly unchanged from 2014 however it received far fewer complaints than many of its first-gen counterparts.

The first gen models have a slightly higher roofline which means the handling isn’t as good, however, they do have more cargo volume.

The 2015 CX-5 was praised for its fuel-efficient engines and stellar crash test scores.

  • Edmunds: 3.9 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.6 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 81 / 100

2015 CX-5, Edmunds review:

“Bought the Grand Touring AWD in August now has 5,000 miles. I bought the reflex blue color which is hard to find. Get a lot of good comments on it. I love the ride, the stereo sounds great. Good acceleration for a 4 cylinder. Others have complained about the touchscreen but I have no problem with it. I just saw the 2016 is coming out in June. Classic Mazda dealership was great. Will most likely buy another one when i get tired of this one…”

2015 Mazda CX-5

Consumer Scores For Best Mazda CX-5 Years

Model YearEdmunds
Consumer Rating
Kelley Blue Book
Consumer Rating
JD Power
Consumer Rating
2023 Mazda CX-54.3 / 5.04.4 / 5.083 / 100
2022 Mazda CX-54.4 / 5.04.4 / 5.083 / 100
2021 Mazda CX-54.4 / 5.04.4 / 5.082 / 100
2020 Mazda CX-54.5 / 5.04.4 / 5.080 / 100
2019 Mazda CX-54.3 / 5.04.4 / 5.081 / 100
2017 Mazda CX-54.4 / 5.04.4 / 5.0NA
2015 Mazda CX-53.9 / 5.04.6 / 5.081 / 100

Related: 6 Most Common Problems With Mazda CX-5 (Explained)

What Are The Worst Years For The Mazda CX-5?

There were a few problematic model years for the CX-5, we’ve detailed these below.

2018 Mazda CX-5

The 2018 CX-5 had several problems related to the engine system. The most common of which was oil leaking due to a cracked cylinder head.

Here’s one owner’s account:

“Engine light came on, pulled over to the side to open the hood. Engine was smoking and oil was leaking all over the floor. Checked the oil dipstick, still had oil but could smell the burnt oil. Towed the truck to the dealers and said its engine head cylinder is cracked.”

Owners have also reported sudden stalling, refusal to turn on, and foul odors accompanied by grinding or whining noises. 

Another common issue was that the brakes would malfunction and the vehicle would lurch forward on its own and the engine would rev uncontrollably.

Here’s an owner’s testimony:

“Unintended acceleration. I entered the office parking building as usual. Parking spot was on the right. Slowly approaching I started to turn right with foot on brakes. Suddenly car accelerated by itself and hit a concrete wall.”

The 2018 CX-5 had a total of 43 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 194 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Brakes dragging
  • Vibrates in cold temperatures
  • Oil leak
  • Revving and excessive noise

2016 Mazda CX-5

The 2016 CX-5 is statistically the most problematic and complained-about model year ever produced. 

Headlights, taillights, and daytime running lights (DRL) were the biggest problems for the 2016 CX-5. 

Owners reported loss of brightness, intermittent failure, and flickering.

Here’s what they had to say:

“Daytime running light (led halo) on rider’s side flickering. Vehicle has under 50k miles. Has aged out of warranty. Entire unit must be replaced at a cost exceeding $1200. A flickering light is a safety concern and reduces visibility. Can also be seen as a distraction to other cars on the road.”

“Vehicle has less than 33,000 miles and the driver-side daytime running light has gone out. This is a safety issue and should not happen with led lights this early in the vehicle’s life.”

Owners also reported failure of the electric parking brake module and sudden unintended acceleration of the vehicle after applying the brakes.

Lastly, a number of transmission complaints were also reported such as hesitation when accelerating and bucking when starting to accelerate from a standstill.

The 2016 CX-5 had a total of 172 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 501 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • DRL (Daytime Running Light) failure
  • Transmission would not engage
  • Windshield breaks easily
2016 Mazda CX-5

2014 Mazda CX-5

The 2014 Mazda CX-5 was the second most problematic model produced according to NHTSA data.

The most common issue is that the vehicle would not power off when the push button is pressed to turn the car off. The engine would shut down but the accessory power would remain on.

This would lead to a wide range of issues but the biggest issue is that it drains the battery which would mean the car would fail to start. It also prevents the vehicle from locking.

Owners also widely reported that the windshield, rear window and sunroof glass would crack for no apparent reason.

Acceleration without warning was another common complaint.

The 2014 CX-5 had a total of 118 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 454 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Will not completely shut down
  • Windshield flaws, problems
  • Engine revs when stopped
  • Clunks into gear

2013 Mazda CX-5

The 2013 CX-5 was the first iteration of the model and it came with its fair share of teething issues.

Much like the 2014 CX-5, the 2013 model year also had problems when it came to completely shutting down.

Despite owner’s multiple attempts to reboot the system (in an attempt to turn it off), the vehicle’s computer simply was unable to turn off the auxiliary power leading to drained batteries.

One owner even went so far as to attempt to shut down his vehicle 7 times. 

Premature wear of the service brakes was also a common complaint, as described below:

“Brakes needed replacing at 14,000 and 17,000 miles. Mazda has technical service bulletins on the issue but refuses to repair the problem.”

The 2013 CX-5 had a total of 60 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 274 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Lost power while driving
  • Cracked windshield
  • Rotors and pads worn out
2013 Mazda CX-5

Related: How Long Do Mazda CX-5 Last? (9 Important Facts)

What Years Have The Most Complaints?

Model YearComplaints
2023 Mazda CX-5NANA
2022 Mazda CX-5113
2021 Mazda CX-51080
2020 Mazda CX-5441
2019 Mazda CX-52189
2018 Mazda CX-543194
2017 Mazda CX-530107
2016 Mazda CX-5172501
2015 Mazda CX-547147
2014 Mazda CX-5118454
2013 Mazda CX-560274

What Problems Do Mazda CX-5 Have?

  • DRL (Daytime Running Light) failure
  • Windshield easily cracks
  • Engine light on
  • Transmission would not engage
  • Will not completely shut down
  • Engine revs when stopped
  • Clunks into gear
  • Lost power while driving
  • Rotors and pads worn out
  • Whining noise
  • Not shifting properly
  • Brakes dragging
  • Vibrates in cold temperatures
  • Revving and excessive noise

What Are The Best Alternatives To The Mazda CX-5?

Make & ModelScoreMSRPFuel Economy (MPG)
Mazda CX-58.7$25,900 – $38,650City: 22 – 24 /Highway: 27 – 30
Hyundai Tucson8.5$26,450 – $37,210City: 23 – 26 /Highway: 28 – 33
Honda CR-V8.4$31,110 – $35,260City: 27 – 28 /Highway: 32 – 34
Ford Bronco Sport8.3$29,215 – $44,655City: 21 – 25 /Highway: 26 – 28
Subaru Forester8.3$26,395 – $36,495City: 25 – 26 /Highway: 28 – 33
Mazda CX-508.2$27,550 – $42,300City: 23 – 24 /Highway: 29 – 30
Nissan Rogue8.2$27,360 – $38,640City: 28 – 30 /Highway: 34 – 37
Ford Bronco8.1$32,295 – $73,780City: 15 – 20 /Highway: 16 – 21
Toyota RAV48.1$27,575 – $37,280City: 25 – 27 /Highway: 32 – 34
Ford Escape7.9$27,185 – $37,305City: 22 – 28 /Highway: 31 – 34
Kia Sportage7.9$25,990 – $36,790City: 23 – 25 /Highway: 28 – 32
Volkswagen Tiguan7.8$26,590 – $37,320City: 21 – 23 /Highway: 28 – 30
Jeep Cherokee7.7$29,995 – $39,345City: 18 – 23 /Highway: 24 – 31
Mitsubishi Outlander7.7$27,595 – $39,995City: NA /Highway: NA
Chevrolet Equinox7.6$26,300 – $33,100City: 25 – 26 /Highway: 30 – 31
GMC Terrain7.2$29,900 – $38,600City: NA /Highway: NA
Jeep Compass7.2$26,785 – $34,210City: NA /Highway: NA
Jeep Wrangler7.2 $31,195 – $82,495City: 13 – 22 /Highway: 17 – 29
Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross6.9$25,795 – $29,495City: NA /Highway: NA

Source: cars.usnews.com, edmunds.com

Related: 6 Best & Worst Mazda CX-7 Years (With Facts & Stats)










  • Ian Sawyer

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