2017~2021 CX-5 Trailer Hitch recommendations?

I researched pretty thoroughly and it came down to the Curt and the Draw-Tite (and identical models sold under different names). The Curt give about 1.5" more ground clearance but the Draw-Tite has a small amount of additional theoretical towing capacity, but both exceed the car's specified limit.

The Curt has some fine print in its documentation about not using a non-trailer load (such as a bike rack) without a stabilizing strap. This appears to be lawyerly CYA, and with the hatch spoiler it seems impossible to use a strap without risking damage. Prices are similar; when I checked UHaul offered the Draw-Tite for about five bucks less.

Both get good reviews, so I'd suggest you choose whatever you can find in stock. Trailering stuff, cross-bars and rooftop bins are in very short supply right now as the Covids keep folks off airplanes with the holidays looming.

For reasons of availability and the extra clearance given my steep driveway, I chose the Curt. No regrets.

Don't forget to get the wiring harness too. It's pretty much legally universal that trailer lights must be connected. Installing the hitch is a reasonably straightforward do-it-yourself job if you have a spare 90 minutes and, ideally, a helper. But installing the harness is a bit of a b****. I paid to have both done at my local UHaul while I enjoyed a nice IPA at a microbrewery down the street.
 
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2018 CX-5 Sport
I think the stabilizer 'strap' is one of these bolt on stabilizers, not an actual strap that would interfere with the hatch.

 
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2018 CX-5 Sport
I googled and saw the strap. I guess that is what they meant. On the Curt site is says *Recommended for all hitch-mounted bike racks
*Required for all 1-1/4" hitch-mounted bike racks
I have the 2" and wouldn't use the strap for fear that it would mess up my hatch. Imagine if the strap was on and the automatic lift gate started opening?
Support Strap
 
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Pueblo county CO
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CX-5 Sport 16.5 6M
I googled and saw the strap. I guess that is what they meant. On the Curt site is says *Recommended for all hitch-mounted bike racks
*Required for all 1-1/4" hitch-mounted bike racks
I have the 2" and wouldn't use the strap for fear that it would mess up my hatch. Imagine if the strap was on and the automatic lift gate started opening?
Support Strap
Well, you could be right. The one time I used mine to carry some stuff about 300 miles I decided to use some thin wire. Kind of like picture hanging wire, pretty thin. I attached it to my cargo rack and then to the rear wiper motor shaft.
I wasn't carrying a lot of weight but I thought the wire might help.
When I arrived I found the wire had broken so there must have been significant weight/stress on the wire to do that (probably from bouncing). Everything was ok with the load but I will keep that in mind in the future, especially if I use it for more weight. A strap might be good fir bikes, too.
 

chrisfern23

2017 CX-5 Touring
Just got the hitch installed at u-haul and extremely pleased! Thanks everyone for the suggestions.

C277687C-3AE4-4F64-991B-D1F13106A68D.jpeg
 
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Pueblo county CO
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CX-5 Sport 16.5 6M
Looks good.

I saw an attachment at Wally world that allows you to install a large screen LCD TV on a post supported by the hitch.
Perfect for camping, or football games.

Actually it is kind of hard to imagine what to do with it.
 
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2019 CX-5 GTR
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2018 CX-5 Sport
There's a ton of accessories for a 2" hitch. Winches, bike racks, tv racks, canoe racks, baskets, step ups, etc. Oh yea, and a trailer.
 
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2018 Mazda CX-5 GT
I googled and saw the strap. I guess that is what they meant. On the Curt site is says *Recommended for all hitch-mounted bike racks
*Required for all 1-1/4" hitch-mounted bike racks
I have the 2" and wouldn't use the strap for fear that it would mess up my hatch. Imagine if the strap was on and the automatic lift gate started opening?
Support Strap
There’s no way I’m using that hitch strap. Athough I’m glad someone found this in the Curt fine print. I have the class 3, 2” receiver version. I have the Yakima Ridgeback 4 bike rack and it’s been stable with two road bikes loaded. I’d be afraid the hitch strap would damage the spoiler. I doubt it’s designed to take the load.
 
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2017 Mazda CX-5 GS
Has anyone done the trailer light harness install themselves? I've always installed 2" receivers on our vehicles - Subarus, BMW X5, Toyota pickup, etc. I use them for a two-place hitch mounted bike rack, and for pulling a motorcycle trailer. The electrical harnesses have always been very easy to install - pretty much plug and play at the tail lights. But after purchasing the harness for the CX 5, I discovered that most of it is easy, but it requires one wire to be run under the car all the way to the engine compartment to connect directly to the battery.

I am guessing this has to do with more sensors everywhere on modern vehicles, and the sensitivity to any electrical fluctuations in these newer cars. What a pain. I'm thinking I'll wait until spring in order to avoid breaking too many plastic parts, and do the connections in the back myself, then take it in and have my mechanic run that one wire. He has a lift, i don't.
 
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Pueblo county CO
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CX-5 Sport 16.5 6M
I put my back wheels up on ramps and ran the wire without removing any panels.

It didn't take to long, but I hear you about the cold weather.
 
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2017 Mazda CX-5 GS
I put my back wheels up on ramps and ran the wire without removing any panels.

It didn't take to long, but I hear you about the cold weather.
So, you must have felt that you could find a route that protected the wire? Did you zip tie it to anything, or put any kind of sheath on it? I haven’t had the car long enough to be familiar with the underside. All I have seen was during my first oil change. It looked like they had it pretty well covered with some kind of plastic/rubber shield. If that’s all it takes, I'll do it myself.

I won’t be pulling the MC trailer until spring anyway, so I can wait for it to warm up before removing all those interior panels.
 
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Pueblo county CO
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CX-5 Sport 16.5 6M
I bought some of that wireloom stuff for the travel from the battery down past the steering column then again as it goes over the rear suspension. Zip tied it in several places.
I didn't have to lower the panels but I've thought about it to take a look.
There is a hole with a rubber grommet in the left side cubbyhole area behind the wheel well.
The hard part was loosening the interior panels and then putting them back.
 
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Southwest Ohio
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'19 CX-5 diesel
Has anyone done the trailer light harness install themselves?

Yeah, the wire run up to the battery was the hardest part of the whole hitch / wiring installation. I did see a couple examples on the inter-webs of people tying into that accessory outlet in the right rear of the cargo area as their power source. That could be iffy depending on how much power your trailer draws for the lights. I imagine the reason the wiring manufacturer instructs you to run a wire up to the battery is so they're not running into issues of messing up cars.

I ran a couple of extra wires while I was under there (total of 3 ... a single and a double) for future use. I figured it wasn't really any more work to run 3 than 1. It wasn't really hard to do but rather tedious I guess. I took off the under body panels and used the plastic wire loom stuff from the battery down.
 
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Pueblo county CO
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CX-5 Sport 16.5 6M
I ran a couple of extra wires while I was under there (total of 3 ... a single and a double) for future use. I figured it wasn't really any more work to run 3 than 1.
I agree. I started at the battery and worked back.
 
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