Winter driving

L
East Iowa
V
'19 CX-5 GT-R
So, my first winter with my CX-5, and my first winter with any AWD vehicle. It's kind of alarmed me when taking a turn and there's snow on the ground, that the back end of the car tends to keep swinging around. This didn't happen with any of my fwd casr before. My question is, am I doing something wrong? Is it just something I need to get used to? I'm used to pointing the wheels where I want to go and the car straightens itself out. The first time I almost slid the rear into the curb. I'm not giving it excessive gas but I do have the turbo so it does have quite a bit of torque. Any advice would be appreciated.
 
V
'14 Mazda CX-5 GT
A few questions to help narrow the suggestions:
-What part of the country do you live in?
-How much snow was on the ground a d what was the temp?
-What kind of tires?
-How many miles on those tires?
-How spirited were you driving at the time?

FWD by nature tend to understeer/push through corners.

RWD oversteers/swings out

AWD usually leans towards understeer, but will oversteer with throttle. However, your stability control should intervene pretty quick. Also, AWD only helps with accelerating, not cornering or braking. You may have been driving faster than what you normally would have if it had been a FWDer.
 
V
2014 Mazda CX-5 Touring AWD
Driving in the snow with my CX-5 with proper tires seemed to be very predictable with regards to how the car turns on the snow. With the traction control on the car was very easy to control and was hard to get the back to swing out, even when trying to. Even with the traction control off it was still very easy to control.
Of course, tires are key.
Depending on your location, you might really need snow tires.
It is shocking how bad all season tires take to stop on snow and ice. Speed must significantly be reduced.
AWD does not do magic and its overall impact is small compared to the tires you are using.
 

Avoidin Deer

Zoom Zoom, baby
Contributor
L
Central Virginia
V
2019 CX-5 Reserve
I recall reading that the AWD drive has a steady state of 98% power to the front wheels and 2% power to the real wheels, and increases rear wheel power when required.

The steady 2% is to prevent any such transition from being too sharp.

I don't know if this helps any. The only thing the manual says about AWD (and SUVs in general) is "Thou Shalt Not Drive Like A Redneck."
 
L
East Iowa
V
'19 CX-5 GT-R
A few questions to help narrow the suggestions:
-What part of the country do you live in?
-How much snow was on the ground a d what was the temp?
-What kind of tires?
-How many miles on those tires?
-How spirited were you driving at the time?

FWD by nature tend to understeer/push through corners.

RWD oversteers/swings out

AWD usually leans towards understeer, but will oversteer with throttle. However, your stability control should intervene pretty quick. Also, AWD only helps with accelerating, not cornering or braking. You may have been driving faster than what you normally would have if it had been a FWDer.
- I'm in the Midwest. Iowa.
-There was about 4 inches of snow. Temps were around 15.
- Factory tires with 8000 miles.
And I wasn't driving spirited at all. Driving exactly the same as I would have in my last car, a Sonata.
I wasn't expecting AWD to help with cornering. I wasn't trying to race around the corner. Just driving how I've always driven in the snow in 25 years of driving.
 
Sounds like you gave it to much throttle and cut the wheel too fast. I can get the cx5s to step out, but I have to try.

Assuming you’ve a never driven a rear wheel drive vehicle in the snow before, or ever pulled the e-brake to spin around .

Go to an empty parking lot when there is snow to get a better understanding of what the vehicle will do.

Don’t worry, the cx5 will only step out so far before the stability control kicks in, even with the traction control disabled.
 

MazMetalhead

I like manuals, Mazdas, and metal music.
L
New England
V
3 MT, 5 AT, 6 MT
Just my opinion: You need snow tires. AWD is superior for acceleration in snow, but worthless for cornering and braking over FWD in snow if you don't have snow tires.
 
L
North of Toronto
V
2019 CX-9 Sig
I would dispute that. All other things being equal (suspension) a front wheel drive car will tend to understeer, a rear drive, oversteer. Mazda AWD leans more toward FWD.
This is how I understand it, if the AWD can send power to outside wheels, why wouldn't understeer be mitigated? At least somewhat?
 
L
North of Toronto
V
2019 CX-9 Sig
Just my opinion: You need snow tires. AWD is superior for acceleration in snow, but worthless for cornering and braking over FWD in snow if you don't have snow tires.
Further to the drivetrain side of it, FWD would have trouble swinging rear out (Or not be able to I suppose) and rear would swing it out. So if suddenly the rear has power...oversteer or in extreme cases the oversteer where the butt swings way out.

Rare to meet a person who doesn't feel the difference immediately the first time they put winters on. They might still disagree on whether they're "needed" or worth the $ but the difference in grip on corners is significant.

And when the Oh Sh** moment happens, it is less pronounced. Control regained faster. OP, if you can swing the bucks, might be worth a try.
 
V
2014 & 2019 CX-5 Touring(s)
This is how I understand it, if the AWD can send power to outside wheels, why wouldn't understeer be mitigated? At least somewhat?
Oh, sure, if you have advanced AWD that can do that, it will reduce/remove the natural understeer. But that still goes to prove the point that it's drivetrain affecting it, not suspension.
 

sm1ke

Work In Progress..
Moderator
Contributor
L
Canada
V
'18 CX-9 Signature
- I'm in the Midwest. Iowa.
-There was about 4 inches of snow. Temps were around 15.
- Factory tires with 8000 miles.
And I wasn't driving spirited at all. Driving exactly the same as I would have in my last car, a Sonata.
I wasn't expecting AWD to help with cornering. I wasn't trying to race around the corner. Just driving how I've always driven in the snow in 25 years of driving.
The tires on your Sonata are different than those on the CX-5. I wonder if maybe you had more capable tires on the Sonata?

Check tire pressure as well. When I took delivery of my CX-9, tire pressures were at or above the maximum PSI rating, but I had no idea. When snow started falling, I noticed that I was sliding around much more than I thought I should be, and after some research I found that the PDI tech didn't adjust PSI before delivery. Once the tires had been adjusted to the recommended PSI, the car behaved just fine.
 
V
2018 CX-5 Sport
When I had my turbo AWD Laser, I remember once this guy was following me keeping up and I took a turn very fast. It was a dry road in the summer. I looked in my rear view and his car was fish tailing, I thought he was going to crash. The AWD system in that car helped with cornering on dry pavement. It worked good in snow too but it didn't have that much ground clearance. Was a fun car.
 
L
North of Toronto
V
2019 CX-9 Sig
Oh, sure, if you have advanced AWD that can do that, it will reduce/remove the natural understeer. But that still goes to prove the point that it's drivetrain affecting it, not suspension.
Agreed, Subaru AWD etc. Not sure the CX5 system would really help in cornering scenarios, but my knowledge is limited. Growing, but limited.

I think I misread your post from earlier, but I get what you mean now.
 
V
2019 Cx-9 GT
Mazda AWD in snow should be pretty good as seen on few PRO videos. Tires are the biggest factor and if they Eco tires like I have in my CX-9, they will not have that much grip vs a snow tires or regular tires good in wet conditions. It shouldnt be that worse what OP is saying in the post - there is something else happening there.
Subaru and other so called better AWD systems will act in similar way under OP's circumstances - these AWD will outshine in pretty rough conditions which happens less 1% of a normal road driving.
 
V
2019 CX-5 Signature Soul Red Crystal Metallic
I have the stock tires on my '19 Signature and live in Toronto (Canada), and I have to say, I'm really impressed thus far in the cars handling capabilities in snow.

I don't drive crazy in the snow, and I don't rely on the vehicle to do things that it isn't really designed to do (stop fast, turn fast) in snow, so maybe that's got a bit to do with it?

Normally I put snows on, but with the tires only having 19,000km on them I decided I'd wait until next year to get some snows.

But, I've been impressed thus far.
 

Avoidin Deer

Zoom Zoom, baby
Contributor
L
Central Virginia
V
2019 CX-5 Reserve
I have the stock tires on my '19 Signature and live in Toronto (Canada), and I have to say, I'm really impressed thus far in the cars handling capabilities in snow.

I don't drive crazy in the snow, and I don't rely on the vehicle to do things that it isn't really designed to do (stop fast, turn fast) in snow, so maybe that's got a bit to do with it?

Normally I put snows on, but with the tires only having 19,000km on them I decided I'd wait until next year to get some snows.

But, I've been impressed thus far.
Interesting.

So what kind of snow have you driven in (dry & powdery, wet & slushy)?
How deep?
 
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