CX-5 AWD Defeated

Pitter

Pitter
Contributor
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2020 CX-5 Signature Azul Metalico
I was driving up a steep unpaved section yesterday and encountered a large truck unloading materials. It's sort of a shortcut and there aren't many places two vehicle can get past each other. I didn't know how long I would have to wait so decided to try to squeeze by between the truck and a fence. There was enough space just barely for me to clear the truck but my front left wheel entered a depression that created enough resisistence that all the drive went to the right front wheel which just spun and spun. It seemed like the car wasn't getting any drive assistance from the rear wheels although of course I couldn't see if they spun at all. I had to back down a meter or so, the truck pulled up a bit and I was able to get through without entering that depression. I walked back down and looked at it today and was surprised and dissapointed that that shallow depression had defeated the AWD. It surprised me even more because I was already un an up hill incline where I would have thought the car would already be sending drive to the rear. And maybe it was but just not much. I know this is an old complaint but it's shame the front and rear can't be locked together as was the case on my previous car, a Renault Duster which had Nissan's drive system. Just venting.
 
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'16.5 CX-5 AWD
Turn your wipers on high and turn off traction control.

The wipers tell the ECU the ground is slippery and turning off the TCS stops the brakes from robbing the other wheels of what ever torque the are getting.
 
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2017 Mazda CX-5 GT, 2016 Mazda6 iGT, 2014 Mazda3 sGT hatchback
Turn your wipers on high and turn off traction control.

The wipers tell the ECU the ground is slippery and turning off the TCS stops the brakes from robbing the other wheels of what ever torque the are getting.
Interesting about the wipers...
 

sm1ke

Work In Progress..
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Canada
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'18 CX-9 Signature
There was a test that a youtube content creator performed with the CX-9. I think if you search for cx-9 diagonal test, you'll find it. In that test, turning off Traction Control as @ColtX-5 suggested helped with getting the CX-9 moving.

There are also a few "roller tests" that were done with the CX-5 that show that Traction Control Off works best to get the car moving in those situations. See below:

 
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Mazda CX-9 Signature
I think there are many variables that need to be addressed. Tire tread, depth of the depression, type of surface, grade, etc. Did you see tire marks for the rear on the ground?
 
Turning off traction control actually uses the brakes to send power to the wheel that is still in contact with the ground. With open differentials all the power go to the free spinning wheel, so you have to add resistance to it for the power to transfer to the other side.

It was confusing by mazda to add this function to the traction control off button, so they renamed it to off road mode or something similar (forgot the actual term) for the later model years.
 

Pitter

Pitter
Contributor
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2020 CX-5 Signature Azul Metalico
Thanks much. Very helpful responses. Yes I've seen those diagonal tests. Interesting.
 

HardRightEdg

US 2020 CX-5 Touring AWD Soul Red
Turning off traction control actually uses the brakes to send power to the wheel that is still in contact with the ground. With open differentials all the power go to the free spinning wheel, so you have to add resistance to it for the power to transfer to the other side.

It was confusing by mazda to add this function to the traction control off button, so they renamed it to off road mode or something similar (forgot the actual term) for the later model years.
I was not aware of that off-road function so I went looking for it.

The 2020 manual calls it "Off-Road Traction Assist," available on "some models" with an on/off button in the same area as the TCS Off button. Rather than print "Off Road" on the button, Mazda decided to print an icon of a vehicle going uphill on a rutted road.

I don't know how far up the trims you have to go, or if they made it standard for 2021, but it is not present on my 2020 Touring AWD which explains why I was not aware of it. It would stand to reason Pitter's 2020 Sig would have it unless they do something different for models sold in Colombia.

This is what the 2020 manual says about it starting on page 4-111:

"When the vehicle tires become embedded in mud, sand, or deep snow, the Off-Road Traction Assist functions to prevent drive-wheel spinning and to assist in freeing tires that are stuck. Do not drive over rough rocky roads and river beds."

The manual does not say how it works exactly, but turning on that ORTA might have been the answer as you seemed to indicate if the vehicle in fact has that function.
 
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'16.5 CX-5 AWD
Turning off traction control actually uses the brakes to send power to the wheel that is still in contact with the ground. With open differentials all the power go to the free spinning wheel, so you have to add resistance to it for the power to transfer to the other side. .....

True, but if all wheels are on the ground, even a spinning wheel provides some thrust.
 

Pitter

Pitter
Contributor
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2020 CX-5 Signature Azul Metalico
My non US 2020 Signature has TCS with button labelled as such. Probably the newer versions in Colombia have the Off-Road Traction Assist button. Is it really just relabelled TCS or something different? Here's a British youtube video about it. :


Anyway for fun I will go stick my wheel in the same depression, turn the TCS off ,set wippers to high and see what happens. To a question above yes it looked like the same side rear wheel must have spun a little from the impression in the dirt.
 

Pitter

Pitter
Contributor
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2020 CX-5 Signature Azul Metalico
I liked the old Oshkosh brochure copy: "Goes anywhere the wheels touch the ground".
 

HardRightEdg

US 2020 CX-5 Touring AWD Soul Red
Is it really just relabelled TCS or something different?
Evidently not in the 2020 US since some models such as mine have the TCS OFF button without the ORTA button while others according to the manual have the ORTA button. It's hard to see why Mazda would give all the models the same function in the same year but with different buttons. Might be your vehicle's TCS OFF kicks it into ORTA, as @youri suggested was the case in some older US models, I could not say.

In any case, if what you have is just the TCS OFF button it might do the trick whether there's ORTA embedded in it or not. I'd try it first with wipers off and if that didn't work try it with wipers on to see if it makes a difference for future reference.
 
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Pitter

Pitter
Contributor
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2020 CX-5 Signature Azul Metalico
Yes that was fun and I concur with the comments. Would like to have seen how a 4WD vehicle would have managed on the log test. Seems there was just one log that stopped them.
 
Yes i believe it is just a relabelled button between 2020 and 2021.

You can check the video below at about the 9 minute mark to see how the brake grab feature on traction control off was introduced to the CX-9 at about the 2018 model year. The Mazda engineer says the CX-9 was one of the last model to have that function implemented. At some point during the video he admits they are looking to change the name of the function in future model year.