Sales Snapshot: Mazda CX-5

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
sales snapshot mazda cx 5

Since we’ve been discussing Mazda the past few days, Timothy Cain, TTAC’s favorite indepndent sales analyst, has taken a look at how well the much-loved Mazda CX-5 is doing.

From Mazda’s point of view, the CX-5 has likely been a roaring success. But Mazda’s point of view doesn’t require success to be measured against other popular vehicles. Other than the 3, Mazda simply does not sell a high-volume product. Even the 3, which accounted for 45% of Mazda sales in the U.S. in 2012, sells once for every two-and-a-half Civics.

To understand the CX-5’s success, you have to understand that Mazda, as a whole, sold fewer vehicles in 2012 than Honda sold Civics. 40,863 fewer, in fact.

So when we say the CX-5 is a roaring success, that’s because it’s not forgettable like the old Escape’s Tribute twin, poorly marketed like the surprisingly fun 5 mini-minivan, or awkwardly sized and priced like the CX-7. Compared with its classmates – Escape, CR-V, Rogue, Forester, for example – the CX-5 has been mostly ignored since it went on sale last February. The CX-5 outsold the Jeep Compass last year, and the Volkswagen Tiguan, and Mitsubishi’s small crossover duo. But even the GMC Terrain sold more than twice as often as the CX-5.

Measuring success on Mazda’s in-house success-ometer, the CX-5 is popular enough to be considered a vital part of the family. With only ten full months on the market, the CX-5 outsold all Mazdas save for the 3, and did so by a hefty margin, beating the soon-to-be-replaced 6 by 9563 units.

The CX-5 accounted for nearly 16% of Mazda USA volume in 2012. Good, right? Unfortunately, “good” at Mazda equals “alright” everywhere else. The CX-5 was America’s 88th-best-selling nameplate last year, behind the Toyota 4Runner, Subaru Legacy, BMW X5, and Fiat 500, to name a few.

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5 of 35 comments
  • Atomicblue Atomicblue on Feb 02, 2013

    When I return from overseas this summer we’re going to buy a CX-5 for my wife. When I was home on R&R we drove the CR-V EX-L and then a CX-5 Grand Touring. She liked the CR-V; it was what she expected from a Honda. She’s had two Accords in the past and loved them. She’s driving an ‘02 Camry now and isn’t that fond of it. When we drove the CX-5, she LOVED it. She appreciated the tighter handling and the loss of a few HP to the CR-V didn’t bother her at all (won’t be an issue with the 2.5). But what she really liked was how much nicer the interior of the CX-5 was compared to the Honda. The Honda just looks kind of dowdy compared to the Mazda. We’ll be ordering one since we have the time to get exactly what we want vs. buying off the lot.

    • See 2 previous
    • Utahdriver Utahdriver on Feb 19, 2013

      @DeadWeight To CelticPete, try a test drive in the CX 5. Has a great suspension and handling. I came from a 2000 Volvo cross country turbo, great handling car and now I love the way my 2013 CX 5 handles and especially the MPG. The 2014 will up the zoom zoom with the 2.5, but for my needs the 2.0 is great.

  • CelticPete CelticPete on Feb 03, 2013

    I kinda get high powered sporty SUVs. Fun and yet practical but not frugal. I don't get sporty underpowered SUVs. Your handling is always compromised by the high ride height. It's not like these things go off-road - so why not let them ride at normal height. This things needs a turbo charger and 'sport suspension' option so it can be a Mazda 3 wagon.

  • Cardave5150 Why oh why are they resurrecting the ZDX name??? It’s not like the last one was anything other than an overpriced freak show. Just use 3 other random letters!
  • Gemcitytm Why does it seem every EV seems to have ridiculous amounts of power? Yes, I know they're heavier than ICE models but who on earth needs 708 HP? How about a nice, compact EV with, say, 250 HP and 350-400 mile range? Is that impossible with today's tech? (I currently drive a 148 HP Mazda 3 ICE and it has all the get-up-and-go I need.)
  • CEastwood I could have bought one of these if I had the cash in 76 for $1000 white , red interior , 3 speed stick with whitewalls/ wire hubcaps - it was mint and gone a day after I saw it . But the real catch that got away was an all original 69 green Camaro RS convertible 327 4 speed with 46K on the clock for 1800 that I saw a few months earlier . Young and poor was not a fun place to be !
  • KOKing I'm in an emissions check only state, and I'd trade that away for a safety check all day.
  • Bd2 The hybrid powertrain in the Sportage and Tucson are the ones to get.H/K should discontinue the base NA 2.5L powertrain and just build more of the hybrid.In the future, maybe offer a 2nd, more powerful hybrid (the hybrid 2.5) which will first arrive with the next Telluride/Palisade.Kia also needs to redo the front fascia for the Sportage's refresh.