Mazdas’s Inaugural Ice Academy afforded journalists the opportunity to test drive the newest Miata MX-5, CX-3 and CX-5 on ice and snow. Despite frigid conditions (and hanging out in a yurt), the academy was a success, and I walked away with a new appreciation for the differences in car and tire technology.
Mazda vehicles provided an impressive level of driver confidence. Thanks in large part to Mazda’s Active Torque Split All-Wheel Drive System. The system instantly adjusts power between the front and rear axles allowing the vehicle to take advantage of available traction as it’s needed. All cars were on Bidgestone Blizzak winter tires. To demonstrate the advantages of a winter tire, I drove a CX-3 equipped with summer tires, then all-season, and finally winter. The differences in traction and stopping power were drastic with the winter tires providing a significantly greater amount of both.
Mazda designs all of their vehicles from a driver first perspective (a point of emphasis throughout the academy). All driver assist technology is engineered to assist when driver talent fails and this is apparent from behind the wheel. When driving in less than ideal conditions, your vehicle needs the right technology to keep you on the road, and after walking away from the Ice Academy in one piece, I’m a living example that Mazda provides that technology.
Here’s a look inside the first Mazda Ice Academy.