How Reliable Is the Mazda CX-5?

With positive reviews using words like “dreamy” and “fun,” the 2020 Mazda CX-5 sounds like one to rush out and buy. But is this a crossover SUV that buyers can count on for years to come? For thoughts on reliability, we turn to Consumer Reports and J.D. Power and Associates.

How is reliability measured?

Both Consumer Reports and J.D. Power and Associates rate vehicle reliability using surveys. Consumer Reports surveys its members about any problems in 17 different categories they’ve had with vehicles over the past 12 months. Vehicles are compared to other vehicles from the same model year. Brand new vehicles have their reliability ranked based on brand history or similar models.

J.D. Power surveys owners, and one of their studies, the Vehicle Dependability Study, asks owners about complaints they’ve had on three-year-old vehicles. Their findings are also used by U.S. News & World Reports for their scorecard ratings.

The 2020 Mazda CX-5

Consumer Reports says the 2020 Mazda CX-5’s handling “is responsive and enjoyable.” Car and Driver calls the 2020 CX-5 “a winner” and put it on their 2020 10Best list. The CX-5 offers five trims to pick from: Sport, Touring, Grand Touring, Grand Touring Reserve, and Signature. All-wheel drive is an upgrade for the first three trims and is standard for the Grand Touring Reserve and Signature.

There are currently two four-cylinder engine options. The first three trims have a 187-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with a six-speed automatic transmission. The Grand Touring Reserve and Signature come with a 250-horsepower turbocharged engine. The new highest trim, Signature, will have an additional engine option, a 2.2-liter four-cylinder diesel engine, although it isn’t yet available.

Consumer Reports gave the interior a positive review for appearance and comfort but said the infotainment system took some time to learn. Although there have been mainly minor updates for 2020, the i-Activsense suite of driver-assistance features is now standard for all trims. It includes automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beam headlamps, plus additional features.

Reliability of the 2020 Mazda CX-5

Consumer Reports calls the 2020 CX-5 “one of the best small SUVs.” They gave it an overall score of 84 out of 100 and ranked it number one out of 17 compact SUVs. It has an 80 score for its road test and was given a predicted reliability of five out of five along with a predicted owner satisfaction rating of four out of five. J.D. Power provides ratings for the different trims and configurations, but all received an 82 out of 100 for quality and reliability. The 2020 CX-5 earned an 80 out of 100 overall score.

Reliability in past model years

Since the 2020 model year ratings are based in part on recent past ratings, it’s useful to look at the years since the CX-5’s 2017 redesign. While the 2017 model year resembled the past generation, Mazda made a number of changes and improvements. The engine and good handling were retained, but the cabin noise was reduced.

2019 Mazda CX-5
2019 Mazda CX-5 | Mazda

Reliability and owner satisfaction ratings from Consumer Reports were both solid for 2017 through 2019 model years. Model year 2017 had fours for both, while 2018 and 2019 received five out of five for reliability and four out of five for owner satisfaction. Looking in detail at the 2019 model year, Consumer Reports ranked the CX-5 number two of four in reliability among 2019 SUVs, including the Hyundai Tucson, Toyota RAV4, and Subaru Forester.

All potential trouble spots earned the highest green mark, except for in-car electronics. J.D. Power also gave the 2019 CX-5 good marks. Like the 2020, it earned an 80 out of 100 overall score and an 82 out of 100 for quality and reliability. There is a recall on the 2019’s automatic transmission, which can unexpectedly stall.

It appears that Mazda took a solid car and made some positive adjustments to the driving experience. In addition, Consumer Reports and J.D. Power and Associates give it strong ratings for reliability.