For 2020 the Mazda CX-5 receives an electronic rear differential lock by way of the ‘off-road traction assist’ function. How does it go off-road? Let’s find out.
But before we hit the rough stuff – there are some other changes of note on the 2020 CX-5 range too.
The biggest update being a new headliner that Mazda claim achieves a 10 per cent improvement in low-frequency sound absorption. Additionally, cars with the 2.5-litre petrol engine also benefit from exhaust noise suppression.
What that means in the real world though – is a much quieter cabin, particularly at highway speeds. Making the CX-5 a more pleasant cruiser.
Speaking of which…
While the engine and overall fuel consumption characteristics haven’t changed, there is now a new way of monitoring fuel use in cars equipped with the Skyactiv-G 2.5-litre petrol engine – with a cylinder deactivation screen in MZD connect.
This shows – at cruising speeds – when the car shuts down cylinder 1 and 4 for more efficient running.
The entry-grade CX-5 MAXX receives an 8-inch screen, but on all models, the autonomous emergency braking or AEB system has been enhanced to include night-time pedestrian detection.
All of this, plus the off-road traction assist function in AWD models – comes at a price increase of just $200. Not bad.
OK – so into the woods we go.
For those who haven’t ventured off the blacktop in their Mazdas, the CX-5 is actually quite competent as a mild off-roader. You get 193mm of clearance in the Akera due to its bigger wheels. Other models can clear 185mm.
There’s an approach angle of 17-degrees and departure of 22.5 degrees.
Where the new system – called Off-Road Traction Assist – comes in handy though, is where you have a scenario where diagonally opposite front and rear wheels are in a low – or no friction state.
Here, the differential will put power to the easiest spin – and you’ll go nowhere.
Off-Road Traction assist – a single button on the dash - uses software to instantly ‘lock’ the rear differential – and you can feel the system working out the lay of the land before applying power to the wheel with grip, and getting you on your way.
It's not something you’ll need all that often, but on the off chance you do venture off the beaten track, as they say, it is better to have and not need than need and not have!