I expect the Ministry of Transportation to call me up to put a snow plow in front of my CX3 and go clear up the highways after a huge snow storm. That's how much I expect from my new baby. Gave her the right snowshoes for the job too.This is the very first auto I have owned in the last 30 years that doesn't have 4-wheel drive, and 6" ground clearance. I live in NYC and spend a lot of time in South Jersey, and I am wondering just what to expect from this AWD. And ideas?
Not wishing to contradict but the AWD is active for a large proportion of the time. For example, the car ALWAYS sets off from rest in AWD then backs off gradually as the speed increases and the torque reduces until it settles back to FWD. I'm told by the administration manager that I can now upload a file which I will do when I get chance.The 6" clearance should be fine for generally-maintained city/metro roads. I never had issues bottoming out (in snow) in my Infiniti, which I believe had a bit less than 6" of clearance.
The primary difference between the CX-3 and your previous 4x4's is that the Mazda has automatic AWD, which (basically) only activates when it detects the front wheels slipping. Mazda says there's some "predictive" intelligence to it, but you ultimately just have to trust it to send power back on its own rather than flip a switch to lock 4WD. There's another thread where @anchorman gives a good explanation of how it works.
That said, I don't think anybody has actually driven these things in the snow yet because the northern hemisphere is just now starting to see some. This will be the first winter that the car has been available. I expect it to handle plenty well for the aforementioned maintained metro roads, but this obviously isn't an off-road vehicle.
For the majority of people, snow tires are not practical, and the situation doesn't warrant getting snow tires. If you live in some mountainous/rural region where there's heavy snow 10 out of the 12 months, then sure you need snow tires on permanently.Snow performance is 80% tires. 2WD with snow tires will outperform AWD or 4x4 with all seasons.