Off-Roading

2020 Mazda CX-30's all-wheel drive makes confident off-road adventuring possible

Mazda has employed an all-wheel drive system in the CX-30 that makes off-roading possible.

Photo courtesy of Mazda

At first glance, the 2020 Mazda CX-30 doesn't look like a vehicle you'd take off the beaten path. Its features are that of a city-focused crossover designed for strong fuel economy and chic style, not a vehicle that an owner would take it camping or fishing. Yet, the 2020 CX-30 is designed to do just that, thanks to a new setup for the vehicle's all-wheel drive system.

Under normal situations, the all-wheel drive system works as you'd expect it to. Power is shifted to the front or rear of the vehicle depending on conditions and driver input. Traction control maintains full alert, and the driver's aids are on standby in case they need to intervene. It's pretty normal stuff.

When the driver activates the off-road setting from the dash, the computer changes the parameters of the vehicle to make better use of the all-wheel drive for the non-road conditions.

To begin, the computer automatically sends 90-percent of power to the rear wheels. From there, it'll shift power forward if necessary. Additionally, the all-wheel drive system has a brake-based torque vectoring system that can apply the brakes to a spinning wheel to send power to the wheel that has traction. This prevents freewheeling off road.

Additionally, when on two wheels, power ends up going to the two wheels without traction – often the opposite corner of one wheel without traction – so the system will grab the brakes on those wheels to help regain power.

The traction control system stays active in the off-road setting, but the system doesn't intervene is quickly as it would on normal pavement. In sand and mud, a little traction is actually desired in order to keep the vehicle's momentum up. Understanding this, the engineers programmed in some slip to compensate.

While it's not as sophisticated as the all-wheel drive systems on some dedicated off-roaders, the system is there to make sure that the driver doesn't get stuck on the way to a campsite or can't get back up a hill that they found themselves down.

This is important because Mazda expects buyers of the CX-30 to be folks who want to go kayaking or mountain biking on the weekends. They may have a favorite campsite they want to visit. Because off road conditions can change, they want a vehicle that can adapt with it.

It's not a dedicated off-roader, like a Jeep Wrangler, but it should be able to handle most of what the typical customer will throw at it.

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Tesla quietly released the "toy" today.

Tesla

Tesla is known for being unpredictable, so today’s news is not totally shocking, despite being extremely cool. The automaker released a new vehicle today, but not for use on the road, and not for use by grownups. The Cyberquad for Kids landed today with a sophisticated feature set and a very adult price tag of $1,900.

The Cyberquad for Kids checks in at 122 pounds and can carry a person that weighs as much as 150 pounds. Two forward speeds include 5 and 10 mph settings, and reverse can reach 5 mph. Depending on the rider’s weight and speed, the Cyberquad for Kids can travel up to 15+ miles on a charge. Tesla says that an empty battery can take up to five hours to fully recharge.

A full steel frame underpins the quad, and though it’s being pitched for kids, the ATV features adjustable suspension, rear disk brakes, LED light bars, and a cushioned seat. The futuristic EV looks almost identical to the larger Cyberquad we saw during the initial Cybertruck demonstration.

A thorough set of assembly and troubleshooting directions are available on Tesla’s site, but despite the Cyberquad for Kids’ complexity, don’t get any ideas about using it on the street. Tesla recommends using it on sidewalks and for stunts, but I think we’re all looking forward to the eventual tidal wave of YouTube videos this thing is going to generate.

Tesla Cyberquad for Kids Kids 8 years and older, and up to 150 pounds can ride. Tesla

If you’re hoping to get a Cyberquad for Kids, you might be out of luck. Though it only launched today, it’s already out of stock. There’s no word on if more will become available. Those that were lucky enough to snag one should start receiving them in early 2022.

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New hot hatch

Toyota teases GR Corolla hatchback

The Instagram teaser contains many hints at the new GR Corolla.

Toyota

Toyota isn't always top of mind when it comes to performance cars, but the Japanese giant has a few tricks up its sleeve. There's the Supra, which the automaker partnered with BMW to produce and there's also the not-for-the-U.S. GR Yaris. The hotted-up hatchback features tremendous power and a four-wheel drive system, but buyers here can only watch jealously as our friends in Europe and elsewhere get all the fun. That's about to change for U.S. buyers, however, as Toyota has begun teasing the GR Corolla hatchback, which we will get.

The automaker posted a cryptic image to Instagram a month ago, but it's still making the rounds on the internet today, with users of the GR Corolla Forum still discussing the post today. The teaser, which is of the Corolla's interior, features hints as to what we might see when the car debuts. The navigation screen shows GR Four road, which points to the car's four-wheel drive system, while a G:16 on the clock in the gauge cluster represents the G16E-GTS engine that the car is expected to get. The GR Yaris also sports that engine, where it produces 268 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque.

Toyota GR Corolla GR, or Gazoo Racing, is Toyota's motorsport armToyota Europe

The GR Corolla should break cover next year, but we don't yet know if it will be a 2022 or 2023 model. As far as pricing goes, Toyota may pull out some surprises, but the car will likely be far more expensive than an everyday Corolla. The smaller GR Yaris is priced starting at nearly $40,000 in Europe, so the Corolla's price tag should be around or slightly above that number.

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