Considering purchasing a new CX-5

I recently posted this on another forum that I frequent:

Seeking advice on new SUV

Looking to purchase a new mid-size to small SUV type of vehicle. Primarily her car, main usage would be daily commuter of 40 to 50 miles a day. Must be able to navigate forest roads & desert dirt roads, plus the occasional road trip. We typically keep our vehicles for 15 to 20+ years. I perform basic maintenance such as oil changes & filters. Interested in models that require the least amount of trips to the dealer or mechanic. I’ve typically purchased American vehicles, but did own a Toyota truck for a while. It was nice, but underpowered (3.0 V6) for work.

We have been looking at the Subaru Forester, Outback & possibly the Crosstrek. I’ve recently read several reports/complaints about the CVT transmission failing, excessive engine oil consumption & head gasket problems that have made these vehicles look much less appealing.

We live at 5K elevation, have many steep grades, over 100 degrees in summer & some ice in the winter. Thinking along the lines of front wheel drive or AWD with a solid reliable automatic transmission & an engine in the +/- 200HP range.



A few replies suggested the Mazda CX-5. I'm not very familiar with Mazda's products. I recall the rotary engine, the RX-7 & the Miata. That's about it. We test drove a loaded turbocharged CX-5 the other day & I was impressed. We've also tested the 3 Subarus listed, plus a Toyota Rav4.

Anyone care to discuss the pros & cons of the CX-5? How is the reliability & longevity? I saw a few posts on this forum about excessive oil consumption & an internal engine coolant leak. I find those problems unacceptable. How durable is the transmission?

How is the new car purchasing experience with Mazda dealers? Is it possible to locate models at or below MSRP? Which trim levels offer the best value in a naturally aspirated model?

Thank you
 

cx5boo333

2021 Cx5 GT AWD
These are my opinions after 1.5 years and 25k miles of ownership:

I have the naturally aspirated engine (187hp) at 6k elevation, and while it's totally usable, I'd recommend the turbo if you live at elevation and your wallet can allow it (but the NA engine is 100% adequate for me and I like it's high-rev-happy personality).

I take my car on dirt, forest, and snowy roads with stock tires and it does completely fine. It's not the most comfortable or capable off road (ground clearance 7.5") but it gets the job done easily, it's just a stiff vehicle so it's not the comfiest vehicle ever off road. I have followed subarus easily on dirt roads with decently thick snow, so I'd say it's decently good off pavement.

I really enjoy the simple tried and true 6 speed auto, as it's easy to learn the gears when shifting yourself and it is responsive enough in auto mode as well. I have heard and read that it is very reliable.

The handling, as you probably felt in the test drive, is amazing for an SUV of it's size. Very precise and enjoyable on curvy roads.

Overall ergonomics are great as well: the knob and hot keys for the infotainment are easy to get used to, every button/knob is really satisfying and clicky, the safety systems aren't too intrusive and easy to turn off, etc

Since you also mentioned road trips: When driving cross country I have gotten around 30mpg and I enjoy the simple to use ACC. Comfy enough for me, even on 10 hour drives.

I have had no reliability issues in my short ownership time, but I just love how the cx5 is a mazda at heart with it's engaging ride while also being a practical and capable SUV. The Rav4 and forester/outback might have more space, but the fit and finish in the cx5 as well as the fun to drive characteristics are why it's a winner for me. (and it's reportedly just as reliable)

The only cons I can think of are the stiff ride and firm seats, both of which are subjective and I don't find to be problems myself. Also, there's less space than competitors (back seats and cargo) but if you're looking at a crosstrek, then comparably it's plenty spacious.
 
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Southwest Ohio
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'19 CX-5 diesel
We keep vehicles a long time around our house as well. With that in mind when I car shop, I look around under the hood and picture myself working on it. How accessible are parts that need replaced ... Battery (yeah .. Check out a Ford Escape that requires a lot if work to get too!!) Belts, fluid changes, filters, starters, alternator, water pump, light bulbs, etc. I think the cx5 is easy to work on.

Reliability has been fantastic in my experience (3 3's and two cx5's (16.5 touring and a 19 2.2 diesel)

It'll have a firmer ride and not "shine" as much on off pavement excursions as other brands might ... It's more on road sportiness focused.
 
:
18 Mazda CX5 AW
Am happy with my Mazda CX5 NA.
Have owned Ford's and Toyotas which got over 14+ year and 200,00 miles with only minor problems.

Bought a used 2018 CX5 before learned of the engine problems but got an extended warranty and hope for the best.

The cylinder head was redesigned to fix the warranty repairs and should have been integrated into their new production line. Doubtful that the newer 2022 and 2023 models have any engine deficiency.

Live near the appalachians. The 2018 CX5 NA was sluggish with 19 inch tires but accelerates well and is more powerful with lightweight 16 inch rim/tires combo. The 235 70r16 Firestone destination AT tires perform well for my highway driving, as well as the car handled well in the hilly, curvy mountain roads, gravel river roads, dirt trails, and muddy terrain.

Current highway 34 mpg and average 26 mpg.

The turbo will give you the extra power but less mpg

The 19 inch tires gave passengers a very rough uncomfortable ride. They comment how comfortable and it feels like a different vehicle since switch to 16 inch rims and high sidewalls.

Recommend running at least 17 inch tires, especially for off-road, etc.

Other downsides include
AC fan could be more powerful
Wind noise at highway speeds.
Seats are slightly small and uncomfortable for some.
Center console armrest is too short to support arm.

My Mazda CX5 has handled very well in Emergency situations including an off road recovery situation.

The sleek exterior and topnotch interior is better than the other in-class SUVs.

Mazda have been rated top safety as others on the forum have even shared how the vehicle saved their lives.

Overall, imo, the CX5 handled and accelerated better than other vehicles test drove to include Ford escape, Nissan rogue and Murano, Toyota RAV4 and Forerunner, Hyundai Tucson, Honda CR-V, and Jeeps.

If I don't keep it, the CX5 may be sold/passed down to my children when the Ford mavericks are in full production.

All in all, very good vehicle.
 
I have owned two Outbacks (5 spd and CVT), Impreza (CVT), and my 2016 CX-5.

Other than ride roughness, the CX-5 is *way* better in design and performance than the Subies.

I replaced the stock wheels with much lighter 17" rims, and 225/65 17 Michelin CrossClimate SUV tires. Better ride, cornering is still wonderful (4-wheel slides in fast roundabouts :) ).

The lighter wheels save something close to 12 pounds PER WHEEL IIRC, and give noticeably better accel, ride, and traction in rough corners.

Other than my first car (1976 Honda Civic), I've never kept a car past 6 years. The CX-5 will be kept until the body rusts away in another 10? years (winter road salt).
 
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18 Mazda CX5 AW
I have owned two Outbacks (5 spd and CVT), Impreza (CVT), and my 2016 CX-5.

Other than ride roughness, the CX-5 is *way* better in design and performance than the Subies.

I replaced the stock wheels with much lighter 17" rims, and 225/65 17 Michelin CrossClimate SUV tires. Better ride, cornering is still wonderful (4-wheel slides in fast roundabouts :) ).

The lighter wheels save something close to 12 pounds PER WHEEL IIRC, and give noticeably better accel, ride, and traction in rough corners.

Other than my first car (1976 Honda Civic), I've never kept a car past 6 years. The CX-5 will be kept until the body rusts away in another 10? years (winter road salt).
FLUID FILM. It's not too late.
 

sm1ke

Work In Progress..
Moderator
Contributor
:
Canada
:
'18 CX-9 Signature
I recently posted this on another forum that I frequent:
snip

Let's see..

Basic maintenance on these cars is very easy. I own a CX-9, the larger cousin to the CX-5. Both cars share the 2.5 Turbo engine, but the 2.5 NA engine is pretty similar (if you opt for that engine). Oil drain plug and filter is easily accessible, and engine and cabin filters are very easy to change. The first time I ever changed spark plugs on any vehicle was my CX-9, and it was very easy with basic hand tools. Same goes for the brake pads and rotors. Additionally, we have a lot of documented guides for common maintenance items in the Resources section (in the blue navigation ribbon at the top of the page). Those might give you a better idea of what to expect with the CX-5.

My car has been very reliable, but some of the earlier models with the 2.5T engine ('16-'20 CX-9, '19-20 CX-5) had coolant leak issues from cracks in the cylinder head. Newer models ('21+) have a revised head which is supposed to fix the problem, but I think it may be too early to say that with any certainty. The revised head may also be contributing to the oil consumption issue, but word is that Mazda will be releasing an official fix or TSB in the coming months to address that issue.

As far as I'm aware, the transmission is very reliable. I think there has been only one report of a transmission failure so far (I could be wrong).

The CX-5 is Mazda's cash cow, so if your dealer can't maintain healthy stock levels, you may not be able to find one under MSRP. A few recent buyers were able to get theirs at MSRP - refer to the What did you pay for your CX-5? thread here.

IMO, the benefits of the CX-5 far outweigh the existing (and potential) cons.
 
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2019 Mazda CX-5 GT Reserve
We have been looking at the Subaru Forester, Outback & possibly the Crosstrek. I’ve recently read several reports/complaints about the CVT transmission failing, excessive engine oil consumption & head gasket problems that have made these vehicles look much less appealing.
FWIW, I cross compared The CX-5 to all the similar competition. My wife has and loves her 2018 Outback. It suits her needs & has also been a decent vehicle. I find my 2019 CX-5 GTR more fun & satisfying to drive. My first CX-5 was rear ended & totaled at 4 months. My son & I walked away with no major injuries. The Mazda protected us well. I wound up replacing my totaled CX-5 with it's clone.