2017 CX-5 Aftermarket Cross Bars (and a bit of a Thule AeroBlade review)

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2017 CX-5 GT w/ Premium Package
When I received my 2017 CX-5, the dealership installed the factory flush style rails, but were not able to provide cross bars, as they were not available; as far as I know they are still on backorder. I have use for the cross bars, and did not want to wait for the factory bars, so I started searching for aftermarket cross bars. As of this writing, Thule and Yakima (I know there are others) did not have information available regarding the fitment of their cross bars for a 2017 CX-5.

After some guesswork, I found the following combination works for a 2017 CX-5, at least from a Thule perspective.

Front Crossbar - Thule AeroBlade Edge 7603 (Large)
Rear Crossbar - Thule AeroBlade Edge 7602 (Medium)
Fit Kit (needed to attach the crossbars to the flush rails) - Thule Fit Kit KIT3160

Pros/Cons

1. The factory cross bars are designed to hold 100lb, the Thule weight limit is 165lb.

2. The Thule cross bars are an investment, all in all this is a decent set back cost wise after purchasing the two cross bars and the fit kit.

3. The factory cross bars might give a sleeker, more OEM look. But I feel like these come in a close second.

Installation Notes

1. The Fit Kit KIT3160 is designed for a Mazda CX-9 with the flush rails. However, I looked at the CX-9 rails and noticed that they had the same mounting holes for the rails as the CX-5.

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That noted, both the factory cross bars and these aftermarket ones are fixed mount-point style on the rails. In my research I noticed that for similar style flush rails, on say an Audi, they make adjustable cleat style fit kits, but I did not investigate their fitment.

2. The front and rear cross bars are not the same size, at least for the AeroBlade Edge series. The minimum width of the 7603 is too wide for the rear, so the 7602 is needed and should be adjusted out 10mm on both sides to be centered.

3. The fit kit itself was easy to attach to the cross bars, and subsequently was relatively easy to attach to the rails. One thing I would note, as it appears from reading roof rack threads, that the cross bars need to be mounted with the rounded part forward facing (they can easily be mounted 'backwards' by mistake).

4. The Thule lock kit itself doesn't protect anything that actually attaches the cross bars to the roof rack, the four screws into the rails are the only thing that hold it to the vehicle. It might be hard to take the cross bars off themselves without access to the internals to loosen bolts, but just mentioning it, as you'll see I have the lock kit in my pictures. But that is primarily to secure the cross bar attachments to the rail (which otherwise could easily be slid off).

Installation Pics

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The fit kit attached to the rail without the installation cover

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Side view after install

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Front view after install

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View from inside the car

Quick Review

Having come off of an older CX-5 with factory cross bars, I would just say these definitely seem stiffer (as they should); after a year+ of cinching a kayak down to the roof of the CX-5, the factory bars were starting to show some sag. That being said, these *seem* nosier, even with their aerodynamic design. They sit higher as well, which could be conceived as a pro or con depending on your view. Initially the fit kit seems like a bit of an expensive item for a few pieces ($100), but figure with the number of fit kits they have out there, it's probably expected that the engineering and manufacturing into each kit, I wouldn't expect it to be cheap. And like noted above, this definitely is not a cheap cross bar solution, but then again from looking around, it appears they usually are not for quality aftermarket cross bars. I did purchase the conversion kit for a set of Thule Hull-a-port Pro J-hooks I have for my kayak, and the kit was pretty straightforward, and I like the way the hooks slide into the channel on the AeroBlade cross bars.
 

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2017 Mazda CX5 GT
looks pretty nice. you're the first person i've seen with the side rails lol. mine should be coming in this week. might have to check out these cross bars.
 
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2016 MX-5 / 2017 CX-5 GT AWD
Thank you for posting - this is exactly what I needed to know.

On the noise issue, are you aware they are up there even with the sunroof closed? I used to hear a slight whistle with mine on the Subaru.
 
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2017 CX-5 GT w/ Premium Package
Thank you for posting - this is exactly what I needed to know.

On the noise issue, are you aware they are up there even with the sunroof closed? I used to hear a slight whistle with mine on the Subaru.

I'm barely aware with the sunroof cover closed. With the sunroof cover open at ~40mph they tend to whistle, once you get above 65mph they tend to just create a lot of 'wind' noise. I forgot to put that part up above, the factory cross bars on my old CX-5 definitely were quieter, but once you end up with any sort of rack attachment on them anyway it makes enough noise on it's own regardless. I do find the noise slightly annoying though in that the car was so quiet on the highway, and I love having the cover open on the sunroof. First world problems I suppose.
 
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2017 CX-5 GT FWD Machine Gray
... both the factory cross bars and these aftermarket ones are fixed mount-point style on the rails.

I thought the whole point of the roof rails were so you could move the crossbars forward and back as needed. Is appearance the only reason then not to just mount the crossbars directly to the roof?:

CAREE2.JPG
vs.
CAREE1.JPG
 
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2017 CX-5
I thought the whole point of the roof rails were so you could move the crossbars forward and back as needed. Is appearance the only reason then not to just mount the crossbars directly to the roof?:

CAREE2.JPG
vs.
CAREE1.JPG

Hmmm, does anyone know if the factory bars will be the same? It's nice to be able to set them far apart for longer roof loads to be more stable at speed.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
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2017 CX-5 GT w/ Premium Package
Hmmm, does anyone know if the factory bars will be the same? It's nice to be able to set them far apart for longer roof loads to be more stable at speed.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

I would bet the farm the factory bars will be the same. Look at the instructions for the CX-9 factory rails:

https://sep.yimg.com/ty/cdn/yhst-24...71.2062191019.1495672515-929585489.1493408302

Fixed mount point.

Plus these rails don't have an inner track as the old CX-5 rails did, so I'm not sure how exactly the cross bars would be able to move along the rail. I understand that it seems like it's cosmetics over function here, but some people seem to indicate they are flush rails for aerodynamic purposes. As far as load stability goes, I can't indicate how things would feel with factory cross bars, but since installing I've driven highway speeds with two 14' kayaks on the roof, everything felt just as good as it did on my prior CX-5.
 
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2017 CX-5 GT w/ Premium Package
I would bet the farm the factory bars will be the same. Look at the instructions for the CX-9 factory rails:

https://sep.yimg.com/ty/cdn/yhst-24...71.2062191019.1495672515-929585489.1493408302

Fixed mount point.

Plus these rails don't have an inner track as the old CX-5 rails did, so I'm not sure how exactly the cross bars would be able to move along the rail. I understand that it seems like it's cosmetics over function here, but some people seem to indicate they are flush rails for aerodynamic purposes. As far as load stability goes, I can't indicate how things would feel with factory cross bars, but since installing I've driven highway speeds with two 14' kayaks on the roof, everything felt just as good as it did on my prior CX-5.

I didn't even look at the link for the med center mazda cx-5 rails. Instructions for them show they are clearly fixed mount point as well.

https://sep.yimg.com/ty/cdn/yhst-24809172479195/0000-8L-R07.pdf

I notice that these have a 165lb load rating though. The old ones had a 100lb rating, so I would suspect the fixed mount point equates to the ability to carry heavier loads.
 
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2017 CX-5 GT FWD Machine Gray
Seems like they have different roof rack options for different markets, not sure why. Those pics I posted above were from the Japanese website. And the ones on the rails really look like they can move forward and back.

The Med Center Mazda pic and linked installation guide apparently show the single OEM option in the US, which requires the rails.

The Australia accessories site shows this one (and they don't seem to have an option that uses the roof rails):

kfacrr-kf11acrr_cx-5_roof_racks_1800x1800.jpg


WTF?
 
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2017 CX5, 2015 981S
Seems like they have different roof rack options for different markets, not sure why. Those pics I posted above were from the Japanese website. And the ones on the rails really look like they can move forward and back.

The Med Center Mazda pic and linked installation guide apparently show the single OEM option in the US, which requires the rails.

The Australia accessories site shows this one (and they don't seem to have an option that uses the roof rails):

WTF?

The same issue when I had the mazda 3. I had to order new roof molding with holes in order to install a roof rack. I'm sure there is a part number out there that has fixed point holes where you can fit a Thule or any other bran rack on there. Would anybody have the part number?
 
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2016 MX-5 / 2017 CX-5 GT AWD
Wow, I just googled the aerobar edge cross bars to compare prices. They sure are proud of those things! Then again, Thule and Yakima stuff seems to always wear well so you get what you pay for I suppose.
 
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2017 CX-5 GT FWD Machine Gray
I just noticed that etrailer has some aftermarket options for cross bars from a company called Malone:

https://www.etrailer.com/roof-2017_Mazda_CX-5.htm

These require the roof rails, but at least one of them (the MPG215) seems to allow for adjustment of the crossbars forward and back, according to the installation instructions:

http://maloneautoracks.com/pdf/MPG215-216-217.pdf

Price seems right, too ($144 from etrailer, not including the cost of the OEM roof rails). Anyone have experience with this company's products?

Still investigating options without the roof rails, though, as my preference would be to not have those chrome rails permanently on the roof.
 
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2017 CX-5 GT w/ Premium Package
Wow, I just googled the aerobar edge cross bars to compare prices. They sure are proud of those things! Then again, Thule and Yakima stuff seems to always wear well so you get what you pay for I suppose.

Yeah it definitely is not the cheapest option. And seeing that the OEM cross bars may support the same weight, I probably would have explored my options more if I didn't have as urgent of a need for cross bars. Urgent being relative of course.
 
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2017 CX-5 GT w/ Premium Package
I just noticed that etrailer has some aftermarket options for cross bars from a company called Malone:

https://www.etrailer.com/roof-2017_Mazda_CX-5.htm

These require the roof rails, but at least one of them (the MPG215) seems to allow for adjustment of the crossbars forward and back, according to the installation instructions:

http://maloneautoracks.com/pdf/MPG215-216-217.pdf

Price seems right, too ($144 from etrailer, not including the cost of the OEM roof rails). Anyone have experience with this company's products?

Still investigating options without the roof rails, though, as my preference would be to not have those chrome rails permanently on the roof.

I have not measured the distance between the front and rear fixed mount points on the factory rails, but for those that are looking to adjust the crossbars forward and back, the manual for the Malone cross bars indicates that they should be installed 700mm apart.

To the point made earlier by MKF242 about the cross bars being spaced further apart for load stability, I would pose a counterpoint that is there any proof that the load would be more stable with the cross bars spaced further apart? I would believe that perhaps a larger fore-aft distance between the crossbars might help deal with lateral forces on the roof load, however, what sort of roof load are we talking about that we are concerned about such lateral forces? A few 2x4's? A bike? Those likely wouldn't create enough wind resistance. A 17' kayak? Sure. But at that point if you are honestly concerned about load stability you should have the load tied down to the front and rear of the vehicle. You also have to factor in whether there is more strength in a cross bar that is physically attached to the rails vs one held in place with friction, and whether Mazda engineered the rails to have their highest points of strength at the fixed mount points... just because the rails run the entire length of the roof doesn't mean they necessarily intended for them to be supportive the entire length of the roof.

Unrelated to my tangent, a guy I work with has used Malone roof rack equipment for his kayaks and said it has held up well so far.
 
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2016.5 CX-5 Sport
If you can't adjust the mounts for/aft it doesn't bode well for snowboarders depending on where you have your bindings set so that would be a deal breaker.
 
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2017 CX-5 GT FWD Machine Gray
Yeah it definitely is not the cheapest option. And seeing that the OEM cross bars may support the same weight, I probably would have explored my options more if I didn't have as urgent of a need for cross bars. Urgent being relative of course.

FWIW, your option looks a lot better than the (U.S.) OEM option to me, because the OEM option mounts the crossbars behind the rails. I realize both options are functionally the same, but it just looks wrong (IMHO) to have those crossbars behind the rails -- the bars look better when they (at least appear to) sit on the rails. This is a better picture of the OEM option (as implemented on the CX-3):

0000-8L-S01.png
 
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