Mazda CX-5 Vs. Acura RDX

sm1ke

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Sorry, but I'm scratching my head on this. A lot of people, maybe most, who buy a luxury car strictly for luxury (or a status statement) wouldn't know the darn difference. And it doesn't explain Audi's popularity or some of the FWD Lexus and Infiniti models.

I should clarify - Modern luxury AWD systems that are based on RWD platforms behave differently from AWD systems based on FWD platforms. @zroger73 explained the difference between the RDX and the CX-5's AWD systems in a previous post, but here it is again:

With only one clutch, Mazda's AWD system can only send power to the rear axle through an open differential - not to each wheel on command and there's no overdrive so there's no torque vectoring. While accelerating through a hairpin turn, the CX-5's inside tires will spin. In the RDX's overdriven, twin-clutch system, more power is sent to the outside rear wheel which helps create a yaw moment and gives it somewhat of a RWD feel.

I won't assume what other people's preferences are when they buy their cars (or why they buy the cars that they do), but the fact is that the AWD systems are different. If you were to go from XXX vehicle with RWD-based AWD, to a Mazda with i-Activ AWD, you would definitely be able to tell the difference - if you were driving the cars in conditions that would allow you to explore the capability of each system. It's not that the Mazda system is inadequate by any means, it's just that there is a difference. IMO, Mazda appears to be targeting the luxury audience that prefers Lexus interiors and BMW driving dynamics. Thus, Mazda should be aiming to compete with BMW's AWD system, and it's mechanically limited to braking the inner wheel to regain traction while other systems have actual torque vectoring capabilities.
 
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CX5 GT-R
I should clarify - Modern luxury AWD systems that are based on RWD platforms behave differently from AWD systems based on FWD platforms. @zroger73 explained the difference between the RDX and the CX-5's AWD systems in a previous post, but here it is again:



I won't assume what other people's preferences are when they buy their cars (or why they buy the cars that they do), but the fact is that the AWD systems are different. If you were to go from XXX vehicle with RWD-based AWD, to a Mazda with i-Activ AWD, you would definitely be able to tell the difference - if you were driving the cars in conditions that would allow you to explore the capability of each system. It's not that the Mazda system is inadequate by any means, it's just that there is a difference. IMO, Mazda appears to be targeting the luxury audience that prefers Lexus interiors and BMW driving dynamics. Thus, Mazda should be aiming to compete with BMW's AWD system, and it's mechanically limited to braking the inner wheel to regain traction while other systems have actual torque vectoring capabilities.

Not really, my CX5 behaves very similar to my Jeep Grand Cherokee with HEMI regarding low traction surfaces, etc. and even dry weather. Both just hook and go, or will get sideways if you want to do crazy things in the rain/ice, lol. In snow and ice, the Mazda may actually be better than my Quadradrive II was. Also, you're really selling it short. Go look up how the Mclaren P1 manages its system and what the drivers have to say about it when pushed. Mazda has an excellent system for pavement. Now for actual offroad? Well, wrong vehicle.
 
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...Thus, Mazda should be aiming to compete with BMW's AWD system, and it's mechanically limited to braking the inner wheel to regain traction while other systems have actual torque vectoring capabilities.
and interestingly, when Acura SH-AWD was introduced, both BMW and Audi worked on their own torque vectoring systems ....
 

sm1ke

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Not really, my CX5 behaves very similar to my Jeep Grand Cherokee with HEMI regarding low traction surfaces, etc. and even dry weather. Both just hook and go, or will get sideways if you want to do crazy things in the rain/ice, lol. In snow and ice, the Mazda may actually be better than my Quadradrive II was. Also, you're really selling it short. Go look up how the Mclaren P1 manages its system and what the drivers have to say about it when pushed. Mazda has an excellent system for pavement. Now for actual offroad? Well, wrong vehicle.

Like I said before, it's not that the Mazda system is inadequate by any means, it's just that there is a difference. How much of a difference and whether or not it is a factor is up to the buyer - and we do have at least a couple of people who have driven both systems to compare.
 
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CX5 GT-R
Like I said before, it's not that the Mazda system is inadequate by any means, it's just that there is a difference. How much of a difference and whether or not it is a factor is up to the buyer - and we do have at least a couple of people who have driven both systems to compare.
I punched it around a corner today. Flat out. I felt a clunk as the diff went solid, and it just hooked and went. Approached the corner at around 20ish, left it doing 35 accelerating hard. I could not ask for more honestly. It made use of every bit of power it had.

I think the tq vector may help with complex maneuvers like parking lot SCCA type stuff, where weight transfer and shift rapidly is a thing, but for 99% of my driving like windy roads, etc. The mazda system is just as good, and less complex mechanically.
 

sm1ke

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Interesting.. Motortrend published a recent article that states:

The 4,365-pound, 16.6-foot-long CX-9 handles like something much smaller, and the numbers prove it. Around our figure eight, the big 3-row managed a 27.2-second lap at a 0.62 g average. Not only is it quicker than the aforementioned Pilot, it's actually quicker than the smaller Audi Q3, Acura RDX with SH-AWD, and Lincoln Corsair 2.3T—all of which have far superior weight-to-power ratios.

Granted, it is just one controlled test by one publication. They did the same test for the turbo CX-5 and it somehow managed a 27.7-second, 0.61 g average, so that says something about the test and/or the CX-5.

As they say, the only way to know which you prefer is to drive them for yourself.
 
I should clarify - Modern luxury AWD systems that are based on RWD platforms behave differently from AWD systems based on FWD platforms. @zroger73 explained the difference between the RDX and the CX-5's AWD systems in a previous post, but here it is again:



I won't assume what other people's preferences are when they buy their cars (or why they buy the cars that they do), but the fact is that the AWD systems are different. If you were to go from XXX vehicle with RWD-based AWD, to a Mazda with i-Activ AWD, you would definitely be able to tell the difference - if you were driving the cars in conditions that would allow you to explore the capability of each system. It's not that the Mazda system is inadequate by any means, it's just that there is a difference. IMO, Mazda appears to be targeting the luxury audience that prefers Lexus interiors and BMW driving dynamics. Thus, Mazda should be aiming to compete with BMW's AWD system, and it's mechanically limited to braking the inner wheel to regain traction while other systems have actual torque vectoring capabilities.
Can you answer a question for me? I have just come off a spree of owning 6 Subarus. I always thought that Subaru Symmetrical AWD meant that ALL of the tires were turning at once. BUT when my wife got her Outback stuck in two feet of snow only one wheel in the front and one wheel in the back spun. I was (and am) really confused, how can that be "symmetrical" if only one wheel on each axle is spinning?
 

sm1ke

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Can you answer a question for me? I have just come off a spree of owning 6 Subarus. I always thought that Subaru Symmetrical AWD meant that ALL of the tires were turning at once. BUT when my wife got her Outback stuck in two feet of snow only one wheel in the front and one wheel in the back spun. I was (and am) really confused, how can that be "symmetrical" if only one wheel on each axle is spinning?

Not sure, I'm not familiar with Subaru's AWD system.
 
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Haven't had much rain here since I bought it last April. I'll admit I play more than I should and like giving it the beans at a stop light when a Mustang tries to beat me away from the light in the rain but just spins his wheels. Before we reach legal speed limit I'll slow down and let him feel proud about passing me. - Yes, I know I'm playing. No, I don't nee to hear about street racing or being irresponsible.
 
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We know from the roller tests (google it) that you will get wheel spin on 3 wheels simultaneously, and the Mazda, as well as others, did have the one grounded wheel pull them off the rollers


 
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Can you answer a question for me? I have just come off a spree of owning 6 Subarus. I always thought that Subaru Symmetrical AWD meant that ALL of the tires were turning at once. BUT when my wife got her Outback stuck in two feet of snow only one wheel in the front and one wheel in the back spun. I was (and am) really confused, how can that be "symmetrical" if only one wheel on each axle is spinning?

Subaru uses the term symmetrical to refer to the equal-length half-shafts - not the application of power to the wheels. From a functional perspective, there's no significant difference between Subaru's AWD system and others'.

The only vehicles that can turn all four wheels at identical speeds at the same time are those equipped with locking front, center, and rear differentials. You can't use locked differentials on dry (or wet) pavement since skidding, binding, or damage will result.

Subaru has four different AWD systems with the most significant variable being how power is transferred to the rear axle. Fundamentally, your Outback's AWD system is similar to Mazda's in that the vehicle is primarily FWD with an open differential and a center clutch that can transfer power to another open differential in the rear when front wheel slip is detected or expected. Power can only be transferred from side to side by applying the brakes to the spinning wheel.

Again, Honda's iVTM-4 and Acura's SH-AWD systems offer superior traction because they can drive both rear wheels and one of the front wheels without the need to apply the brakes. The slight overdrive allows for a rear-handling bias and helps the vehicle corner by overdriving the outer rear wheel which takes some of the burden off of the front wheels.

Here's a video that explains the differences between Subaru's AWD systems.

 
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CX5 GT-R
Can you answer a question for me? I have just come off a spree of owning 6 Subarus. I always thought that Subaru Symmetrical AWD meant that ALL of the tires were turning at once. BUT when my wife got her Outback stuck in two feet of snow only one wheel in the front and one wheel in the back spun. I was (and am) really confused, how can that be "symmetrical" if only one wheel on each axle is spinning?
 
Subaru uses the term symmetrical to refer to the equal-length half-shafts - not the application of power to the wheels. From a functional perspective, there's no significant difference between Subaru's AWD system and others'.

The only vehicles that can turn all four wheels at identical speeds at the same time are those equipped with locking front, center, and rear differentials. You can't use locked differentials on dry (or wet) pavement since skidding, binding, or damage will result.

Subaru has four different AWD systems with the most significant variable being how power is transferred to the rear axle. Fundamentally, your Outback's AWD system is similar to Mazda's in that the vehicle is primarily FWD with an open differential and a center clutch that can transfer power to another open differential in the rear when front wheel slip is detected or expected. Power can only be transferred from side to side by applying the brakes to the spinning wheel.

Again, Honda's iVTM-4 and Acura's SH-AWD systems offer superior traction because they can drive both rear wheels and one of the front wheels without the need to apply the brakes. The slight overdrive allows for a rear-handling bias and helps the vehicle corner by overdriving the outer rear wheel which takes some of the burden off of the front wheels.

Here's a video that explains the differences between Subaru's AWD systems.

THAT answers my question! Thank you very much. Very interesting.
 
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Virginia
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2021 CX-5 White
Subaru uses the term symmetrical to refer to the equal-length half-shafts - not the application of power to the wheels. From a functional perspective, there's no significant difference between Subaru's AWD system and others'.

The only vehicles that can turn all four wheels at identical speeds at the same time are those equipped with locking front, center, and rear differentials. You can't use locked differentials on dry (or wet) pavement since skidding, binding, or damage will result.

Subaru has four different AWD systems with the most significant variable being how power is transferred to the rear axle. Fundamentally, your Outback's AWD system is similar to Mazda's in that the vehicle is primarily FWD with an open differential and a center clutch that can transfer power to another open differential in the rear when front wheel slip is detected or expected. Power can only be transferred from side to side by applying the brakes to the spinning wheel.

Again, Honda's iVTM-4 and Acura's SH-AWD systems offer superior traction because they can drive both rear wheels and one of the front wheels without the need to apply the brakes. The slight overdrive allows for a rear-handling bias and helps the vehicle corner by overdriving the outer rear wheel which takes some of the burden off of the front wheels.

Here's a video that explains the differences between Subaru's AWD systems.

The video is great, thanks for the link!
 
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CX5 GT-R
Thank you for posting that. It really doesn't answer my question though.
Short answer is that the WRX Sti is the only one Subaru makes that competes in a class higher than Mazda, regarding its AWD. The others are all more or less similar, but Mazda is better in my opinion because the transmission is an inescapable part of the equation, and CVT's are trash.
 
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