As perhaps the most distinct crossover in Mazda’s lineup, the 2017 Mazda CX-4 looks sharper and has a more intense presence compared to the CX-3 and CX-5 that it sits between.

One thing that should be similar for all three Mazda crossovers – which makes the CX-4 an ideal contender to the Jeep Renegade – is the i-Active predictive AWD system.

Tested against competitors on the other two crossovers, the smart system makes for really confident handling on all sorts of challenging off-road situations.

On icy and snowy ground, where its typically really difficult for vehicles to manage sufficient traction, the folks at Car Connection tested the i-Active system of the Mazda CX-5 against the equivalent versions of the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, and Subaru Forester.

2015 Mazda CX-5 in snow (Photo Credit: Car Advice)

2015 Mazda CX-5 in snow (Photo Credit: Car Advice)

Predictably, the Toyota and Honda SUVs flunked the test while the CX-5 held its own against the off-road focused Forester. The only difference was that the Forester always sends power to all wheels, which makes the more nuanced AWD system of the CX-5 look more graceful in handling loss of traction. Furthermore, the Mazda SUV performs in a way that conserves more fuel.

Mazda CX-4: Immense Potential With i-Active AWD

With the same system in the upcoming CX-4, Mazda has created a worthy adversary to the Jeep Renegade.

Labeled as a ‘real Jeep’ by many reviewers, the 4WD subcompact from Jeep is also a real force to be reckoned with in traction-compromised conditions.

For those wanting a more diminutive off-road crossover, it is probably worthwhile considering the CX-4 besides looking at the Renegade or the Crosstrek.

It would be easy to overlook the fact that it is quite suitable for off-road use based on its sporty, urban appearance. Perhaps with a ground clearance that’s not that high it won’t be too ready for traversing the rocky hillside, but it’s would be a fine choice for winter conditions.

Staff Reporter

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