The Mazda CX-5 is a smart and stylish compact SUV. But does it have the power it takes to tow a trailer? We've done the research, and here's what you need to know about towing a trailer with your Mazda CX-5:
The Mazda CX-5 has a maximum towing capacity of 2,000 lbs. While this isn't enough for most camper trailers, there are a number of lightweight trailers on the market your Mazda CX-5 can handle.
In this article, you'll learn more about the CX-5's towing capabilities and some of the best travel trailers for the CX-5. We'll also look at getting your CX-5 set up with a towing hitch, towing jet skis with the CX-5, and more. Keep reading to get the full story.
How big of a trailer can a Mazda CX-5 tow?
While the CX-5's payload capacity has drifted slightly throughout the years, its towing capacity has stayed at a consistent 2,000 lbs. However, instead of buying a 2,000-lb. trailer, we recommend looking for trailers under 1,600 lbs.
Why the 400-lb. difference? In RV circles, you'll often hear references to the 80% rule. In essence, by only using 80% of your maximum towing capacity, you will put less strain on your vehicle. This will help maintain your CX-5's longevity and make the job of towing easier.
Fortunately, we are living in a golden age of lightweight and ultra-lightweight campers. In recent years, more people have been looking for campers they don't need a heavy-duty truck to pull. Manufacturers old and new have stepped up to the plate to deliver for these customers.
This means that you can find an awesome camper without maxing out your towing capacity. We'll look at some of the best ones for the CX-5.
A note on weights
One quick note before we continue. For these campers, we have listed the unloaded vehicle weight (UVW), which does not include any cargo. We've chosen trailers that leave plenty of leeway for cargo weight, but it's best practice to know the specific weight of your trailer at the time of towing.
You can weigh your cargo before loading it and add that to the UVW. Alternatively, you can weigh your trailer after loading it to get its exact weight. Read this article for more information on this topic: How and Where to Weigh Your Travel Trailer (Complete Guide)
Now, let's take a look at some awesome lightweight campers!
The TAG by nüCamp
Teardrop trailers are a popular choice for lightweight campers, and the TAG is among the best. It manages to include a lot of excellent features in just 1,269 lbs.
Though it may look small, this travel trailer makes the most of that space. The clamshell galley kitchen on the back of the camper is particularly impressive.
It has a two-burner stove, a microwave, an offset counter, a sink with an 8-gallon water tank, a YETI cooler, and even an outlet with USB plugs.
The interior features keep comfort in mind. Learn more about them and the TAG's other features in this video from the manufacturer.
The Bushwacker Teardrop from Braxton Creek
Another top-tier teardrop trailer, the Bushwacker Teardrop has a dry weight of 1,300 lbs.
The galley kitchen doesn't include a microwave, but it does have a plugged-in refrigerator and a sprayer port for the sink.
The Tigermoth by TAXA Outdoors
Our next trailer, the Tigermoth, is a little bit heavier but similar to the TAG, starting at 1,310 lbs. It looks a little different from the trailers we've seen so far, and it functions a bit differently too.
It has large doors that swing up, letting the interior feel more like a patio. There's even a removable cafe table for relaxing or working.
Instead of the clamshell galley kitchen, it features a slide-out kitchen counter with a camp stove. You won't find a sink or fridge, but there is plenty of storage and counter space.
One of the more unique features of the TigerMoth is the optional rooftop tent. You can use it for guests or fair weather.
You can see a video tour of the TigerMoth directly from TAXA Outdoors below.
The MeerKat by MeerKat Trailers
The Meerkat offers more interior space than the other campers we've seen so far, but it also weighs less at just 900 lbs.
Inside you'll find a dinette that converts into sleeping quarters and a kitchen counter with a sink and lots of storage space. Like the TigerMoth, the Meerkat uses a camp stove instead of built-in burners.
One of the more unique features is the Meerkat's namesake pop-up. It increases the headroom and offers a bit of ventilation and natural light to the interior.
You can get a tour of this unique camper in the video below.
The HC1 by Happier Camper
Combining retro aesthetic and a modern modular design, the Happier Camper HC1 is one of the best lightweight campers. It starts at a dry weight of just 1,100 lbs.
The modular design gives you a lot of options to customize this camper to fit your needs. Just remember to factor in the weight of the boxes and elements you add.
You can see how this module system works and learn more about the HC1 from Happier Camper in the video below.
The Go by Sylvansport
You might think that the CX-5 doesn't have the towing capacity for a toy hauler. The Sylvansport Go proves that wrong.
It's the lightest camper we've seen, with a dry weight of just 840 lbs. That leaves you plenty of weight for your favorite outdoor vehicles, and the 80" by 110" gear deck makes sure you'll have the space for them.
Unlike the other campers, the Go doesn't have a hard-bodied interior. Instead, it pops up into a large tent. Inside, you'll find a fold-down table for a sheltered dinette. The sleeping quarters can be used as two XL twin beds or a single king-size plus.
The standard Go doesn't include a kitchen setup, but the upgraded "All Out" package does, as well as a solar kit, screen room with a breezeway connector, and more.
For ideas and inspiration for what to bring in your Go, check out this article: How Much Weight Can A Toy Hauler Carry? [Based On 11 Examples] For a tour of the Go, check out the video below.
Does the Mazda CX-5 have a hitch?
Mazda produces a Class 1 trailer hitch as well as a ball mount for the CX-5. These parts can be bought and installed through most Mazda dealerships and are also available for purchase online. When purchasing on your own, be sure to verify the parts fit your trim level and model year.
Aftermarket hitches are also available for the CX-5. These parts will not be covered by the Mazda warranty but come with a lighter price tag. Curt Manufacturing produces Class 2 and Class 3 hitches for select Mazda CX-5 models.
Can a Mazda CX-5 tow a jet ski?
Travel trailers aren't the only way to enjoy the great outdoors. Whether on the lake or the sea, jet skis are just about the most fun you can have on the water.
The Mazda CX-5 has more than enough towing power to get most jet skis to the waves. When getting your setup ready, keep in mind that you'll need to factor in the weight of the jet ski and the trailer.
Jet skis vary in size and weight, ranging from 4oo to 1,100 lbs. Trailers for personal watercraft also vary in weight, with single trailers being predictably lighter than doubles. To see what a typical setup might look like, let's look at a couple of examples.
The Kawasaki Jet Ski STX 160 is one of the most popular personal watercraft. It has a dry weight of 865 lbs. This single watercraft trailer from Karavan comes in at 250 lbs. for a grand total of 1,115 lbs.
You can even take two jet skis if you go for a lightweight model. The Sea-Doo Spark 2up weighs only 423 lbs. You could fit two of them on the 300-lb. Wave II trailer from Triton Trailers. This would put you at 1,023 lbs.
Either of these setups and more would keep you comfortably below your CX-5's towing limit.
Is the Mazda CX-5 a good car?
By just about every measure, the Mazda CX-5 is among the top compact SUVs on the market. The 2021 CX-5 received 8.9/10 points from U.S. News and ranked #2 in their list of the best compact SUVs of 2022.
They cited the CX-5's lengthy list of standard features, luxurious interior, sporty handling, and turbocharged engine among its many pros. One quality that stands out, in particular, is its safety ratings.
The CX-5 is one of the safest vehicles on the market. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named it a top safety pick+ in 2021. Forbes reports that it was the only one of twenty small SUVs to get top marks in a new side-impact test.
It has received top marks for safety outside of the US as well. Euro NCAP gave it a perfect 5-star rating in 2017, the most recent tested year.
Are there any CX-5 model years to avoid?
We've seen that the CX-5 is an excellent vehicle, but not all years are created equally. Car Complaints named 2016 the CX-5's worst year.
This year has the most customer complaints, but that's not the only factor that went into their decision. The cost and severity of the problems were also considered. The 2016 CX-5 had a high rate of problems reported with premature brake wear and daytime running LED light failure.
If you're in the market for a used CX-5, you may want to look for a different model year.
The CX-5's 2,000-lb. towing capacity doesn't have to be limiting. We've seen that, with the right setup, the CX-5 has what it takes to tow jet skis, campers, and even toy haulers. We even saw more about what makes the CX-5 a great compact SUV.
Safe driving and happy hauling!