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Can A Mazda CX-9 Go Off Road?

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The Mazda CX-9 has been a popular mid-size SUV due to its smooth ride and quiet cabin. But how does it handle going off-road? Well, we've done plenty of research and have the answer waiting for you. Let's get into it.

The Mazda CX-9 thrives on dry pavement and icy roads, but it fairs well when being driven off-road. Equipped with the I-Activ all-wheel-driving system, the Mazda CX-9 will distribute power when it senses slippage. You can also easily drive over rocky terrain with 8.8 inches of ground clearance, so that's good to know.

When buying an SUV, you want to make sure that it can handle changing road conditions. In this article, we will take a closer look at the Mazda CX-9's off-roading capabilities. In addition, we will answer other frequently asked questions about the Mazda CX-9 drivetrain, so read on!

Mazda CX-9 near national sports complex, Can A Mazda CX-9 Go Off Road?

Can A Mazda CX-9 Go Off-Road?

The Mazda CX-9 is an SUV that was made for the road. However, it can also go off-road. Because of its I-Activ all-wheel-drive system, it can distribute power to individual wheels when slippage occurs.

This means that you have more traction on uneven terrain and will have a safe driving experience.

Second generation of Mazda CX-9 drives off road in dirt and mud at the test-drive event

The I-Activ can monitor 27 different variables more than 200 times a second. This means that the system can adapt to changing road conditions quickly.

When it comes to engine power, the Mazda CX-9 has enough to get up steep hills and through rough terrain.

The CX-9's turbocharged and fuel-efficient engine provides 227hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. This means that drivers will have adequate power to get up steep hills and through rough terrain.

It may not have enough power as a similar vehicle in its class, such as the Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk, but it's fair to say it can handle its own.

If you come across debris or rocks in the road, the CX-9 has 8.8 inches of ground clearance. So as long as you aren't trying to climb boulders or unmarked roads, then you shouldn't have an issue.

However, if you are looking for a vehicle that can handle more challenging terrain, it is better to look at a car like the Jeep Wrangler. These vehicles are meant for extreme terrain with a suspension that can absorb large bumps.

For marked dirt roads into the mountains, the CX-9 will serve you well nonetheless. If you do come across changing climates of rain or snow, the I-Active AWD system has the capabilities of getting you out of tough situations safely.

Is The Mazda CX-9 AWD Or 4WD?

The Mazda CX-9 is equipped with the I-Activ all-wheel-drive system. This means that each wheel has a control system to distribute power to either side as needed.

A center differential distributes torque between the front and rear axles on a typical all-wheel-drive vehicle. While this system has been used successfully for years, it lacks the speed and adaptability of a modern I-Activ system.

AWD and 4WD are all-wheel-drive systems, meaning that each wheel is powered. However, AWD splits power between the front and rear. 4WD only sends power to the back wheels when additional traction is required - and locks the front wheels for maximum grip on snow or ice.

Additionally, AWD is on-demand, meaning that it will activate when the system detects slippage. This means that you don't have to worry about switching between 2WD and AWD while on the road since this type of system does not need to be manually engaged.

In comparison, 4WD does need to be manually put in. For example, if you were driving in a snowy or icy environment, it may be necessary to engage 4WD low so that power is sent only to the back wheels.

In this case, you will need to come to a complete stop and engage the 4WD low. Also, you can only drive at speeds of 10-15 miles per hour while in 4WD low.

Is The Mazda CX-9 Underpowered?

It is a misconception that the Mazda CX-9 lacks enough power. In reality, the CX-9's engine provides a 2.5 L turbocharged engine with 227hp and 310 lb-ft of torque.

However, most of the CX-9's competitors are equipped with a V6 engine, so it has been a concern if the CX-9 can accelerate as quickly as needed.

Unfortunately, where the CX-9 does come up short is its towing capabilities. It can only tow 3,500 lbs, making it one of the lower in its class.

If you need towing capabilities, it's better to look at other vehicles in the same category since they have much higher tow ratings.

For example, the Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk has a 4,500 lbs towing capacity and the Toyota Highlander 5,000 lbs.

The Mazda CX-9 is sufficient for everyday driving and does its job well. However, it may be better to look for a different vehicle for drivers who are constantly towing or constantly engaging 4WD low.

Silver MAZDA CX-9 car moving on the street

Is Mazda AWD On All The Time?

Yes, the Mazda I-Activ all-wheel-drive system monitors road conditions at all times. It constantly checks the available traction at all wheels, both on dry and wet roads.

It only switches to 2WD when it calculates that it won't be beneficial. For example, if there are no issues with the road surface or tires, Mazda's system will keep AWD activated.

The plus about this system is that it is hands-free. There is no need to do any switching when the roads change. Mazda's system will manage that itself.

What Is Traction Assist?

Traction Assist is an additional feature of the I-Activ AWD system. It is designed to recognize when you are driving on low friction surfaces such as snow and ice.

When this happens, Traction Control will activate, which can brake one or more spinning wheels to allow the vehicle to accelerate. This means that instead of digging yourself into a rut, you can get out of it!

A black sports car on a country road in Oregon

Does The Mazda CX-9 Have A 4WD Trim?

It is important to note that the Mazda CX-9 does not have a 4WD trim. Therefore, there are only two options for this vehicle: front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive.

There are a few times when owning a 2WD may be more beneficial. For example, if you live in an area that does not see a lot of snow or ice, then a 2WD vehicle would be more than sufficient. In this case, you would not need to worry about needing 4WD low or having the extra weight of a 4WD system.

Another time when it may be good to own a 2WD is if you are only driving in the city. Since most of your driving will be on paved roads, you will not need the capabilities that 4WD or AWD offers.

If you do not frequently drive in slippery conditions, owning a 2WD vehicle would be the best option for you.

Another benefit of 2wd is that you will get better fuel economy. This is because AWD and 4WD systems require a lot of power, which will decrease the vehicle's fuel economy.

Second generation of Mazda CX-9 drives on a highway during the test-drive event

Does Mazda Make An Off-Road Vehicle?

Mazda has announced their off-road vehicle for 2023, the Mazda CX-50. The Mazda CX-50 claims to have the exact smooth handling as other Mazda models but can handle rougher terrains.

As for the size, the CX-50 has similar characteristics to the CX-5 but with a rugged look. A feature that Mazda added to the CX-50 is the off-road mode.

This mode will put more weight on the front wheels, so the tires grab more of the terrain and better handle rugged terrain.

The ABS was also enhanced for steep inclines. So in case you let your foot off the gas when climbing, you won't roll backward.

Lastly, Mazda added a "slipperier" torque converter to better torque delivery when climbing over obstacles. If you have been waiting for a more off-road capable Mazda, then the CX-50 will be available to purchase in late spring 2022.

To Wrap It Up

If you are constantly towing or engaging 4WD, then the Mazda CX-9 may not be the best vehicle for you.

However, if you are someone who only goes off-road once in a while and mainly drives on climate-changing city roads, then the I-Activ AWD will work perfectly for you.

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