Mazda AWD Vehicles a Solid Choice for Slick Conditions

In many parts of the country, winter driving can be troublesome. Having a vehicle that performs well on slippery snow-covered roads provides not only peace of mind but also an increased level of safety.

Mazda has upped the ante on safety in many realms the past couple of years, including all-wheel-drive in their crossover vehicles. Their 2016 CX-5 comes with both 4-wheel drive and all-wheel drive in their automatic transmission vehicles. The Mazda CX-3 and CX-9 both come available with Front-Wheel Drive or AWD.

 What is 4-Wheel Drive (4WD)?

Four-wheel drive means that maximum torque is distributed evenly to each wheel. Because the power is evenly distributed to each wheel, the wheels all turn at the same speed.

4WD has its advantages and disadvantages, leading to the modern system most cars have that allows a driver to turn the setting on or off. While 4WD can really help a vehicle’s traction and forward motion in certain conditions, such as mud or snow, it can also add weight to a vehicle reducing the fuel economy. It's also unnecessary in normal driving conditions and can even hold a vehicle back at higher speeds.

What is All-Wheel Drive (AWD)?

A newer innovation than 4WD, AWD addresses some of the limitations of 4WD and improves upon them. AWD is a system drivers don’t need to be manually turned on or off.

AWD sends power to each individual wheel instead of all four wheels evenly. This allows the wheels to act autonomously instead of as a complete system and is safer to use during normal driving conditions. It also allows the power to be split amongst the wheels with the most traction to ensure more control in slippery driving conditions.

AWD is not as good for off-roading as 4WD, and it does add weight and complexity to vehicles, reducing fuel economy. However, AWD can be used all the time, provides better control and traction under all road conditions, and gives better handling and traction to a large variety of vehicles.

An advanced driving aid is nice to have when you need it, and anything that can help when winter or wet weather hits is usually welcomed by drivers. However, unless you live in a climate where winter weather can affect the roads, 4WD and AWD is an unnecessary driving tool unless your hobbies include off-roading.

Categories: Mazda