Join Date: Nov 2014
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The two-wheel drive petrol variant put its power to the ground with minimal torque steer or loss of traction, and felt more chuckable through corners due to its lighter kerb weight (Mazda declined to give out official weight figures), while the diesel all-wheel drive felt surefooted and controlled. Its on-demand all-wheel-drive system is similar to that used in the larger CX-5 in that it brings the rear wheels into action when front tyres slip – though we couldn't properly assess the system based on our 12 minute drive.
On gravel roads, both vehicles benefited from cleverly calibrated stability control functions and an ABS system that worked well but appeared a little flustered when pushed to the limit.
The general drive experience is punctuated by stellar overall refinement. Despite obvious road noise (a lingering trait among Mazdas) and engine noise infiltrating the cabin at speed, plus some expected squeaks and rattles, both pre-production cars felt solid and sound during our initial foray.