Am I asking for trouble if I tow a trailer with a Mazda CX-5?

In contemplating moving our son back to Virginia Tech from NJ, we are pricing out adding a tow hitch to our 2013 Mazda CX-5. We have access to a small trailer and will be hauling college apartment stuff like a bed, desk, dresser, and kickin’ sound system. We don’t anticipate getting anywhere near the 2000 lb towing capacity. We recognize that the performance will be significantly different, and that Blacksburg, VA is uphill from home, so we don’t expect to set any speed records. My question is will we be putting ourselves at risk with this setup and/or do we stand a chance of killing a perfectly innocent vehicle?

You’d be surprised how easy it is to total 2000 lbs. Which engine do you have?

What kind of previous towing experience? My dad has been towing a small utility trailer behind his '07 CRV and feels very comfortable with it but he stays at least 500lbs under the tow rating for his vehicle just to be on the safe side (he’s been towing trailers for close to 30 years now) towing a small trailer behind the CX-5 for this trip shouldn’t do any damage as long as you drive it carefully and keep in mind that you have an extra weight behind you (as well as a few extra feet to turn)

Keep in mind that 2,000lbs is the maximum tow rating, with the hills and long distance driving I would try to keep the load to 1,500lbs or even less. A rental pickup/Van from U-Haul or similar might be another way to go.

Will you get future use out of the hitch? If not, I’d probably rent a van. Might anyhow.

The engine, already anemic for best MPGs, will strain to pull the extra weight. Transmission strain will also occur, and a trans cooler would need to be added to help prevent overheating.

Has the OP considered the weight of the trailer + the load in order to calculate the total weight to be towed?

Personally, I would go with MarkM’s advice, and rent a van for this task, rather than risk possible damage to the transmission of this new (and somewhat underpowered) vehicle.

Put The Kickin’ Sound System, Clothes And Other Personal Items Inside The Vehicle.
Donate The " college apartment stuff like a bed, desk, dresser " And Leave It Where It Sits.

Use the money saved from not renting a vehicle or buying a hitch to buy some new stuff. Unless it was a decent memory foam mattress or a dresser featured on Antiques Roadshow, the stuff isn’t worth hauling.

I wouldn’t give up my memory foam mattress and when we helped move my son back from college we jammed his into our Dodge Caravan.

You can thank me later.


Having towed two different tent trailers for many thousands of miles including one trip from the upper midwest to the New England states including riding around in Boston plus a few thousand miles towing building materials for a house to a location 100 miles away, I can say that pulling is easy and will not hurt your vehicle. The hard part is stopping without trailer brakes. Most of the time you will be lucky and will not have an emergency situation where you will need all of the stopping power you can muster. Towing anything at all, no matter how lightweight is always more risky than not towing. Use a lightweight trailer and keep the load as light as possible; make two trips if needed. Anticipate anything bad that can happen especially side traffic that might pull out in front of your path and look far ahead for traffic slowdowns.

Addemdum on 7-19-13: All of my trailer towing was done with 1.6 to 2.2 liter vehicles. The further you will go, the lighter you will want your trailer and load total to be. Short distances in a rural area can be risked with a heavy load that is not easily stopped.

I agree with “WhatWho”. And others who say that there should be not problem as long as you stay well under the max TOTOAL WEIGHT CAPACITY. Emergency Handling will be your biggest issue, especially with a front drive car. It is very important you drive at moderate speeds as your brakes can easily be overloaded. DONOT plan on adding to this difficult situation while also loading up the interior of the car. DONOT exceed the maximum total weight which these cars can easily do. It’s not towing alone that causes problems, it’s towing with an already loaded car.