Off-road Mode in 2017 Mazda CX-5: It’s no Secret!

January 24th, 2018 by

off-roadOff-road Mode?

Off-road mode in a Mazda CX-5? “Off-road” and “Mazda” don’t usually end up in the same sentence. However, Mazda has really given us a super surprise hidden deep within the computer logic of the 2017 Mazda CX-5! The new off-road mode is a part of the i-ACTIV® all-wheel-drive (AWD) system in the 2017 Mazda CX-5. It’s designed for loose surfaces and deep rutted trails just off the beaten path.





off-roadAll-Wheel Drive

Mazda know it’s a challenge for the AWD system to know exactly how much torque to send to back wheels at every instant. Much of it depends on the condition of the roads. Are they slippery from a downpour? Has it been snowing? Is the road itself less than perfect? Is there any road to drive on at all? In order for the AWD system to get it right all the time, it must be able to sense the drive and the road in order to not lose traction. Traction control is a wonderful thing. But, what happens when you want to go off-road?




off-roadLeaving the Pavement

It’s possible that a crossover SUV like the 2017 Mazda CX-5 may never leave the road. However, Mazda knows that it’s not always the case. Sometimes families can go camping or just drive down a dirt road. The CX-5’s traction control will kick in, so what if you don’t want that to happen?

According to Mazda:

“In rare cases on uneven paths when a wheel could leave the ground, i-ACTIV AWD® will sense that wheelspin and lock the torque coupling so the front and rear wheels go the same speed.”

But on especially rough terrain, this might not be enough. Imagine a wobbly restaurant table with a matchbook wedged under its short leg to keep it from rocking. If you take that matchbook out, the air under that table leg is like the air under your tire in that diagonal twist. Now, what happens when the table rocks, and that leg comes down? The opposite leg goes up. The same thing happens in a diagonal twist. If one tire comes off the ground, the opposite tire also comes off the ground, or at least gets very light.

off-roadWhat it Does

So even if the torque coupling that drives power to the axles forces the front and rear tires go to the same speed, if one front tire and one rear tire are in the air, those airborne tires can still spin freely. To stop them, we have to use the traction control system to apply the brakes.  This stops tires from spinning, forcing torque over to the tires that are on the ground.

off-roadIn any other situation, we want the traction control system to apply the brakes as smoothly as possible, so there’s no interruption in the driver’s control of the car. But in situations where an abrupt power shift is necessary—like this diagonal twist off-road situation—pressing the “TCS OFF” button actually switches the CX-5 to a mode that simulates locking differentials via the brakes, sending power to the wheels on the ground.”

So there you have it! The 2017 Mazda CX-5 has an off-road mode! Who knew?

Posted in 2017 Models, Technology