Best and worst Mazda 5 years — which to avoid
Discover the best and worst Mazda 5 years in our guide through detailed research and owner feedback to guide your vehicle choice.
The Mazda 5 is a pretty unusual compact van, mostly remembered for its straightforward handling, design, and spacious interior. While it has decent reliability ratings, some driver reports state otherwise, which is why our team decided to scan through the consumer ratings and complaints.
We wanted to look past the biased negative comments by objectively looking into Mazda 5 recalls and general impressions of former owners. Our team also scoured through the NHTSA complaints and we’ve checked the number of complaints by year to come up with a complete guide on the best years to buy and worst Mazda 5 years to avoid to help you make an informed decision about buying this car.
Why you can trust REREV’s advice on which car model years to avoid: Our car experts look at official data, ask real drivers what they think, and talk to experienced mechanics to make sure our list is useful. This reliable info can make buying a car easier for you. Want to know how we do it? Find out more about our research methodology.
How we rated the best and worst Mazda 5 years
Listening to random comments and varying opinions on Mazda 5 won’t get you far when buying one, so our team wanted to give you a guide you can trust. To make it, we first set out to explore the NHTSA reports and general complaint reports filed by previous owners.
After that, we cross-referenced it with recorded recalls on sites like Cars.com and NHTSA recordings to see which issues were so big they required a recall. Next, we checked the driver reports and reviews along with complaints databases for certain Mazda 5 years, and that’s how we finally came up with the worst-rated years you should avoid.
|Mazda 5 Generation
|Best Mazda 5 years
|Worst Mazda 5 years
|2006, 2008, 2009
|2011, 2013, 2015
Most common Mazda 5 problems
Mazda 5 had some issues that were bound to spring up at some point. You must know these issues so you can know how best to approach them, so here’s a list of the most common problems for Mazda 5 according to consumer reports and Car Complaints platform reviews:
1. Faulty AC
Some drivers reported air conditioning problems as early as 40,000 miles. One of the earliest symptoms of this problem is a loud vibration and squealing noise when the AC is turned on. The cause of the problem is sometimes linked to an electrical malfunction or refrigerant leaks.
2. Shattering windshields
The 2016 Mazda 5, in particular, had sensitive windshields. Any slight external force like the impact of debris and contaminants touching it at high speed was enough to shatter it. In extreme cases, there have been reports of injuries caused by flying shattering windshield pieces.
The only fix to this issue is replacing the entire windshield, which is an expensive procedure. If you are buying a 2016 Mazda 5 off the used market, endeavor to check if the windshield has been replaced so you don’t get caught up in an unfortunate scenario.
3. Failed liftgate prop
The piston on some Mazda 5s easily corroded, causing the struts holding the liftgate to fail. 2013 to 2016 Mazda 5 models were most affected by this issue.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recalled all vehicles with this problem based on drivers’ complaints. Even after replacements, some of the new struts could not hold the liftgate.
If you are buying a Mazda 5 from any of those affected model years from the used market, ensure you check to see if it has responded to the recall or not. You can do this by running the vehicle’s identification number (VIN) on NHTSA’s website.
4. Clutch problems
Many Mazda 5 drivers complained of acceleration problems after an average of about 50,000 miles. Drivers suspect the cause of the acceleration issue is a slipping clutch. Mazda gave no response as to the cause of the inhibited acceleration, but later advised drivers to use the right transmission fluid to avoid acceleration problems.
Resolving this issue includes replacing the clutch. It is an expensive fix, costing more than $1,000. Thankfully, if you own a Mazda 5 containing any kind of transmission besides the manual one, you should not expect to experience this problem.
5. Failed LED lights
Mazda 5 is equipped with stylish daytime running lights (DRLs) which illuminate when the handbrake is pulled down. Mazda had to issue a recall for the DRLs to be fixed after the driver complained of the lights shutting down completely.
Repairing the problem is an expensive affair because the light bulbs could not be replaced alone. The design of the vehicle required drivers to replace the whole lighting system. Later on, Mazda discovered that the major cause of the problem was the sulfur that the gaskets were emitting, which blocked the wiring of the light system.
6. Clogged DPF
The Diesel Particulate Filter reduces emissions from diesel cars by seizing and storing exhaust soot. When the car remains idle for a long time or is not used often, the DPF will clog and cause the DPF warning light to illuminate on the dashboard.
Heating the DPF using a drive is all you need to do to unclog it. A ten to fifteen-minute drive is enough to burn all or most of the contaminants, depending on the level of blockage.
7. Engine failure
Many Mazda 5 drivers reported engine failure which caused the car to shut down mostly after 100,000 miles. The issue was most dominant on the 2006 Mazda 5 model and occurred suddenly, without much warning like decreased acceleration.
The cause of the problem is a malfunctioning timing chain. Since there was often little to no warning, by the time the problem was discovered, there was usually nothing much that could be done to save the old engine.
Some drivers did report the engine cranking up again after shutting down suddenly. If you are one of these lucky drivers, you should have your mechanic examine the vehicle and nip the problem in the bud before it warrants you replacing your entire vehicle. If not, the bad timing chain symptoms could cause quite havoc and compromise the engine.
Worst Mazda 5 years to avoid
To deliver you a list of the worst Mazda 5 years, our team scanned through the NHTSA reports and consumer reviews of the car. So, are you wondering what are the worst Mazda 5 years to avoid? The worst Mazda 5 years are 2006 and 2008, but there are few other model years that are best avoided:
We’ll also give you the details behind those bad ratings, so you’ll know exactly what to look for, or better said which models and problems to avoid when buying a used Mazda 5.
First-generation Mazda 5 (2006-2008 model years)
The 2006 Mazda 5 gained a reputation as the worst Mazda 5 model year you could get. It had the most suspension problems which are expensive to repair. It also had more severe forms of clutch and accessory problems and a high risk of a blown engine. In total, there were over 126 complaints for the 2006 model year, while the 2008 model doesn’t fall behind by much, as it also has over 100 complaints.
The 2007 and 2008 models inherited some of the 2006 model’s problems, but not with the same severity. Overall, you should avoid these models if you want to get the most out of the vehicle.
Second-generation Mazda 5 (2012 model year)
The 2012 Mazda 5 suffered mostly from clutch slipping problems. Drivers complained that the transmission also slipped sometimes at high speed without warning. If the driver attempted to engage the brakes, the vehicle nosedived.
The model had its share of severe problems including a defective engine mount and a faulty front suspension. In total, more than 50 issues were reported for this one, and although it’s less than the previous two, it still deserves to be placed on the banned list.
Best Mazda 5 years
Contrary to the previously listed years, there are some Mazda 5 model years that have fairly decent ratings. So, if you keep asking yourself what are the best Mazda 5 years, the 2011 and 2015 Mazda 5 are best-rated for their reliability. Still, these are not the only two models on our list, so take a closer look:
- 2011 Mazda 5
- 2013 Mazda 5
- 2015 Mazda 5
These Mazda 5 models are the best in the entire production line. They do have minor issues like other vehicles, but they are more reliable and safe than the others, and we’ll take a look at each of those in more detail.
2011 Mazda 5
The 2011 Mazda 5 only received a few complaints in total which is an astonishing reliability statement. If you are looking for the best possible option out there, it’s certainly one of the main candidates. The only problems reported to NHTSA were related to wheels and brakes, but they didn’t cause any major issues.
2013 Mazda 5
As for the 2013 Mazda 5, this one is widely regarded as one of the best options, although it received about 30 complaints filed to NHTSA. Still, it’s also one of the most sought-after models due to a facelift and that means it still has a good reliability score.
The main problems that this model faced include brakes, engine overheating, and clutch issues that were inherited from the previous generation models, but it overall makes a great option.
2015 Mazda 5
Last but not least, we have the 2015 Mazda 5 and this one marked the end of production for this model. Luckily, it also meant that all the previous issues were finally resolved, so this one didn’t receive any NHTSA complaints, and although it had a fewer amount of cars coming out from the production line than before, it made one of the two best options reliability-wise.
Is the Mazda 5 worth buying?
The Mazda 5 is worth it if you can get the right model. It is comfortable, spacious, efficient and has a good fuel economy. It is a very practical vehicle you can use for a family or a constantly traveling group of friends.
If you view cars as investments, you may want to avoid the Mazda 5. It is not a particularly popular vehicle and unless you are a car collector who has an interest in it, you might not find it in common demand.
Is Mazda 5 a reliable car?
Mazda 5 has good reliability ratings. The minivan gives great performance with few complaints. You only have to avoid its 2006-2009 and 2012 models which are less reliable and more expensive to maintain.
Why was the Mazda 5 discontinued?
Mazda 5 was discontinued because of declining sales. The minivan is quite exceptional when you take a closer look, but by the time Mazda had made giant strides in its manufacture, the driver’s interests had already wandered elsewhere. u003cbru003eu003cbru003eInstead of pushing to regain trust in a market saturated with competition, Mazda simply dropped the Mazda 5 production and focused on their other models that were doing better in the public eye.
Is Mazda 5 an SUV or van?
Mazda 5 is a compact van, designed to accommodate small families. It delivers a good driving experience and excellent fuel efficiency.
Can I fold Mazda 5 seats flat?
If you need extra cargo room, you can fold down the back seats of the minivan. You should only fold the seats as a temporary make-shift arrangement.
When did Mazda stop Mazda 5 production?
Mazda ended the Mazda 5 production in 2015. The reason for the discontinuity is tagged as declining sales. Mazda shifted to focus instead on the then-popular crossover vehicles.