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How does i-ACTIV AWD Work in Mazda Vehicles?: What You Need To Know!

How does i-ACTIV AWD Work in Mazda Vehicles

Everyone who has lived in this era has probably seen people go crazy over safety and protective measures, especially in this trying time. We can’t blame them. This generation has experienced many things that amplified their need to protect their family and anyone close to them. That is why lots of things that help people feel secure and safe have been made or invented. Lots of it has been introduced to the market. It is not wrong to feel cautious, right? Remember the saying “It’s better to be safe than sorry.” It is the truth. With the safety of the car owners and their family in mind, Mazda and their team of engineers developed i-ACTIV All Wheel Drive (AWD) by redesigning their vehicles’ system hardware and software. They also took a proactive approach in controlling the amount of power to all four wheels, making their idea of an autonomous AWD system come to life. It was first introduced in 2013. It was and still is Mazda’s unique all-wheel drive system. The i-ACTIV AWD also known as the Predictive i-ACTIV AWD is an independent AWD system that combines superb ability in all road surfaces and at the same time possesses a great fuel economy. 

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How does it work? 

The Predictive i-ACTIV AWD system monitors the different factors around the moving vehicle through its 27 sensors that can check road conditions for 200 times per second. Because it constantly checks the surroundings, it can predict approaching road conditions, weather, g-forces, wiper activity, and even the input of braking and steering patterns of the driver. From this information, the i-ACTIV AWD measures the correct amount of needed power delivery for both the acceleration and braking. It always monitors, controls or adjusts the amount of torque that is sent to the wheels, distributing it to where it is most needed – diverting the torque from the front wheels to the rear wheels and vice-versa when necessary. This was made possible thanks to the sensors that monitor the wheel spin and activates the system automatically. This gives security to the drivers as it enables a secure take-off and acceleration. It also prevents the tires slipping in any direction from cornering and braking. 

The Sensors

The 27 sensors do an amazing job in securing both the vehicle and the driver. Its robotic eyes never rest. It can predict what the driver plans to do by carefully studying a lot of factors. Is the driver planning to start moving the vehicle or accelerate? The sensor can determine the answer by checking the position of the accelerator. Does the driver want to go for a turn? It checks the angle of the steering. Maybe the driver wants to stop? For this, the sensor checks the pressure of the brake fluid. This method works like the system is psychoanalyzing the driver’s head in a microsecond. Remember, the sensors can monitor the vehicle and its surroundings for 200 times per second and deliver the needed actions before the driver can even see the upcoming obstacles. The system is also aware of the weather conditions outside the vehicle so it can consider the possibilities it might encounter along the way. The wipers are on, it is probably raining. If the temperature is cold outside, it is probably snowing.  With this, the system can measure how slippery the road or any surface is by comparing the amount of current that goes through the electric power steering with the steering torque and the inclined part of a slope by the degree of acceleration. The system also measures with exactness the speed of all four wheels and sets out an alarm or a warning sign that the wheels may be in danger of slipping. When in a dry surface, it then minimizes the torque sent to the rear wheels making it like a front-wheel drive that has a great fuel economy and emits less carbon dioxide. All of the things needed to make sure that the vehicle maintains its optimum control, stability, and forward momentum. 


The i-ACTIV AWD uses the latest technology to achieve this level of intelligent and fully-autonomous all-wheel drive structure. This includes the Front-wheel Slip-warning Detection System and the Torque Control System.  The Front-wheel Slip-warning Detection System is responsible for calculating the ground speed and the front wheel speed that helps detect early the wheel slips that the drivers can’t see. This in turn, warns the system for a potential tire slip. It also enables control drive force with a high level of accuracy. The Torque Control System works hand in hand with the Front-wheel Slip-warning Detection System. While the Front-wheel Slip-warning Detection System sensors, calculates and detects, the Torque Control System is the one responsible for reacting instantaneously. It immediately responds to the call of warning by transferring the needed amount of torque to the rear wheels even when the vehicle is in a front-drive setting. This allows a smooth and prompt transition to All-Wheel Drive mode immediately after receiving a command to send torque to the rear wheels. To make it simple, the system distributes the torque to the front wheels when the vehicle is driving in a perfect road and weather conditions and sends torque to the rear wheels that functions the All-wheel drive mode if a wheel slip is detected and the driving road condition becomes progressively worse. It is the same technology that gives your vehicle the best amount of traction no matter what surface it is driven on. The i-ACTIV AWD also helps the vehicle’s fuel economy, it by using an electromagnetic clutch to control rear wheel engagement that in turn reduces frictional losses that lead to decreased fuel consumption. The distribution of torque to the front wheels when the rear wheels are not needed also helps lessen the fuel economy. With all these features that keep the vehicle and its passengers safe, don’t even think that it will be a boring ride. Mazda made sure that you will still be able to have a fun ride across all possible scenarios.

Which Mazda Vehicles Have i-ACTIV AWD?

The i-ACTIV AWD performance feature is made available on all of the Mazda SUVs. It comes as a standard feature on the higher trims but it is optional for the lower trims. Here are the list of trims and models that offer AWD: 

  • Mazda CX-3 –   CX-3 Sport, CX-3 Touring & CX-3 Grand Touring

The Mazda CX-3 is the smallest and most compact SUV that Mazda offers. It sets apart from the others as it has a unique design, spacious cargo and interior, a modernistic dashboard design, and a G-Vectoring Control that helps improve the driving dynamics. The G-Vectoring Control also improves stability, increases traction and reduces the workload of the driver and makes sure that the passengers are comfortable with the ride – all of which are done simultaneously. It is a great car to drive with its precise steering and an excellent body control. It also has an impressive fuel economy for an SUV. The CX-3 Sport is the base model and the Grand Touring is the premium one. All of the three trims are equipped with a 148 HP, 2-Liter 4-Cylinder engine. The Sport trim has cloth-trimmed sport seats, the Touring trim with its leatherette-trimmed seats, and the Grand Touring trim offers comfort with its leather-trimmed heated seats and a sliding-glass moonroof. The three trims all offer a long list of standard features and equipment. It also has a good selection of available driver aids and active safety features. It is up to you if you want to take advantage of the available add-ons. 

  • Mazda CX-5 –    CX-5 Sport, CX-5 Touring, CX-5 Grand Touring, CX-5 Grand Touring Reserve & CX-5 Signature

The Mazda CX-5 is a compact SUV that delivers a luxurious feel and convenience. Elegance you can experience for a relatively affordable price. It offers a lot of standard features like the LED daytime running lights, LED taillights, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a six-speed automatic transmission and the active safety equipment. The CX-5 has two options for the engine. You can either choose a 2.5-liter, 187 hp four-cylinder engine or a 250 hp turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder.  The All-wheel drive is still optional for the base trim but is the standard for the crossover’s entire turbo edition. The Mazda CX-5 has an upscale interior that creates a more premium vibe. It is simple and uncluttered but displays a superior quality. It is quiet inside the cabin even at highway speed. Its space and cargo are not the most spacious but the body is wide enough to allow three adults to sit in the back row comfortably without rubbing shoulders with each other. The Mazda CX-5 has a long list of standard features and equipment, but as the trim model gets higher, the features get better and better too. For example, the Touring trim has a standard feature that includes heated front seats, but with the Grand Touring Reserve trim, you can also have heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel. Ventilated front seats are available too. All of this features plus more – that is comfort at its finest.  The Signature trim on the other hand is downright luxurious. Its interior upholstery looks elegant in Caturra Brown Nappa leather with layered wood trim accents. It also has a unique steering wheel stitching, and a black cloth headliner. The exterior is as handsome as the interior with its dark silver finish 19” wheels. The Mazda CX-5 is really an excellent all-around yet stylish crossover.   

  • Mazda CX-9 – CX-9 Sport, CX-9 Touring, CX-9 Grand Touring & CX-9 Signature

The Mazda CX-9 is a three-row crossover SUV. It has been dubbed as a beauty both inside and out, the most stylish crossover on the market. Its interior is made out of high quality materials and it boasts a very attractive design. The cabin muffles the outside noise that makes your ride quiet and comfortable. Just like the CX-5, the CX-9 is not very spacious but you can fold the second and third rows to get the maximum of 71.2 cubic feet of cargo space. All CX-9 trims have a SKYACTIV-G 2.5T Dynamic pressure turbo engine with a 320 lb-ft torque at 2,500 rpm. The first three trims have an option with either a Front-wheel drive (FWD) or an i-ACTIV AWD with Off-road Traction Assist drivetrain and the highest trim has a standard i-ACTIV AWD with Off-road Traction Assist drivetrain. The Mazda CX-9 has many standard features like the LED headlights with auto on/off and auto height control, LED daytime running lights and combination taillights, rain-sensing variable-intermittent windshield wipers, intermittent rear wiper or washer, and heated side mirrors. It also has an incredible list of high-tech safety features and technologies that help you avoid collisions, lessen an impact, and warn you from road hazards. All of this plus many other features can help you ensure the safety of everyone while you are driving. As for the driving performance, trust Mazda to deliver a great driving experience. It is what they are known for. You will be impressed with its handling, its smooth ride, its fuel economy and its well-controlled body motions. Overall, the Mazda CX-9 delivers an enjoyable and comfortable ride that holds a head-turning style.

The special features of these Mazda models are already amazing on their own. Adding it with the i-ACTIV AWD feature will make it even more superior. It will make your vehicle one of the smartest vehicles on the road. It gives the driver confidence when driving on uneven surfaces and extreme weathers. With these features made available to all the drivers or car owners, always remember to still be cautious whenever you are on the road. Always check the state of your vehicle before and after every long trip. Keep in mind that no amount of safety features can help a reckless driver. With you being careful plus the safety features of the i-ACTIV AWD, a great journey is bound to happen.

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