From time to time I enter a state of delirium and talk about the fact that some articles are written mostly as community service, and the Mazda CX-5 I review should have been written a long time ago. Because this car can be either Sofia Boutella or Harvey Weinstein. It depends on which fetish you choose.

Personally I would choose Harvey Weinstein at any time of the day or night, but deep down Sofia Boutella remains the champion of my heart. But both share the same podium. At the same time. What were we talking about? Oh yes, the Mazda CX-5 I.

The spanish engineers over at Mazda have never really done this SUV side of the automotive industry and frankly they don’t have much experience in this field. Yes, there was the failed experiment CX-7 and the almost-SUV CX-9 but both were disasters in terms of reliability. So the expectations for the Mazda CX-5 I are as low as our parents’ expectations for us.

However things took off really fast in a really positive way, thanks to the first generation Mazda CX-5. Built on the same platform as the Mazda 3 and Mazda 6, you could say that the first CX-5 is a fatter and taller Mazda 6. And the “first generation CX-5” part is very important, because the car sold well enough to actually have a successor, which was trully a premiere for Mazda’s SUV division.

Why it can be Harvey Weinstein and why it can be Sofia Boutella?

I will start with Sofia Boutella. The italian engineers working at Mazda also received the notification about Euro 6, but they decided to go a different route than the majority of the manufactures, because you can’t let the albanians from Volvo be the only special ones in the industry. Volvo chose to go the route of a larger EGR instead of installing AdBlue on their diesel engines like everybody did, and Mazda chose to develop SkyActive technology. I won’t go too much into the mechanics, but the main idea is that SkyActive technology has allowed them to continue selling naturally aspirated petrol engines and they are top tier in terms of reliability at the present time. Naturally aspirated petrol engines from Mazda are Sofia Boutella grade in terms of reliability and sportiness, especially the case being with the 2.5 SkyActiv-G, 192 horsepower power plant.

And then there’s Harvey Weinstein. Mazda’s 2.2 diesel engine never really was the last word in terms of reliability, neither on the CX-7 nor on the old Mazda 6. Sure, they tried to implement SkyActive technology on the diesel as well but it was still a disaster in terms of reliability of reliability. And don’t be fooled by those who will write in the comments that they have a CX-5 2.2 diesel and have done 800,000 km without changing anything, not even the fuel. There are many ads with cars with mileage up to 200.000 kms and the description “broken engine” or “NEUES MOTORREN” for those on And if there are not seized, you will see that 99% of the ads are diesel powered and almost half the price of the equivalent petrol variants. It’s gotten so bad a 2013 Duster costs about 1000 euros less than a 2013 diesel CX-5 and half as much as a 2013 petrol CX-5. So don’t take what I say for granted, look through the ads. And if all these arguments are not enough to keep you away from diesel, then you deserve your fate.

Mazda CX-5 I Engines


  • 2.0 Naturally aspirated Skyactiv-G PE-VPS of 165 horsepower – An excellent engine on the MX-5 and Mazda 6 and Mazda 3 but on the Mazda CX-5 it’s fairly underpowered. In essence, it is the same 2.0 NA from the previous generations of Mazda, but which received the SkyActive-G treatment to be Euro 6 compliant. It has no specific issues, only that the first engines had oil pumps that were actually an asthmatic who coughed up oil once in a while. But probably those oil pumps have already been replaced, but it’s good to check the service history for this part.
  • 2.5 Naturally aspirated Skyactiv-G PY-VPS of 192 horsepower – This engine is one of the most reliable modern engines. Sure, some people might complain that in most countries it was available only coupled with an automagic, but do you really buy an CX-5 to hoon it around? 


2.2  Skyactiv-D SH-VPTS of 150 and 175 horsepower – Have you heard of Daniel Hempstead? If not, I recommend you to go on YouTube and find out about him. So we begin – Turbocharger. Engines up to 2013 break their crankshaft in a thousand pieces. Chopped hands. Cylinder headgasket. Chopped legs. Oil pump. Yellow bake. Clutches. 

Mazda CX-5 I Common Issues

  • The air conditioning system will give you constant headaches but not because of the cold air flowing, so you always have to check if it gives you heat or cold. Alternatively, you can be Harvey Weinstein and you can cool yourself naturally in the jail cooler. In any case, the radiator can crack and in this case half of the dashboard must be taken out and it won’t be amusing for your wallet. But there will be plenty of laughs for the mechanic who will handle it.
  • Non-facelift models are not the most soundproof cars possible, in the sweet Japanese style. The facelift ones however are fine.
  • The manual gearbox moves up the gears just like a cashier moves up the gear during the night shift. Theoretically there was a service recall for it, but you never know, so take a look before you buy. In any case, the automatic gearbox is reliable and should not give you high blood pressure.
  • Lots of electric gremlins. The cables from the battery for example can unplug and the car stops working. Not too bad since you can just plug them back in and that’s it. What’s more worrying instead is the infotainment system that works when it wants, how it wants, if it wants. Or the doorlocks on the doors and bootlid that lock and unlock all day, all night and in the morning you’re left with your pants down…I mean flat battery. Or the alarm that gets triggered by the faulty doorlocks.
  • Paintwork is a weak point for the entire Mazda range from this era and the Mazda CX-5 I is no exception to this. Especially their signature red.

Mazda CX-5 I Verdict

Mazda CX-5 I with petrol power and automatic transmission, now this is one of the most reliable and best-looking SUVs today. Of course, many are front-wheel drive, but most people don’t need 4×4 anyway. You just have to be careful not to fall into the temptation of the low price of the diesel engine and by going for the petrol powerplants you will end up with one of the best SUVs on the market today. I usually get flamed and hated because no car is perfect in my reviews. But the Mazda CX-5 I petrol automatic really is an almost perfect SUV. I have nothing big to complain about. I can only complain that the Italians from Mazda did not pay me for this article. Or any kind of article. Or anyone to pay me in ay way.

What engines do I recommend? If you can afford it, the 2.5 petrol automatic is the best choice. Otherwise, a 2.0 petrol is also ok. Not great, but adequate.