While the Subaru Forester constantly sends power to all wheels, the Mazda CX-5 uses a sensitive system with sensors that takes in a lot of information about the surrounding surface conditions and the state of the vehicle, distributing power to each wheel based on what the sensors reads as a whole. Though the Forester didn't seem as comfortable with loss of traction as the CX-5, both performed admirably on snowy ground. Of the two, the Forester seems a little more suited for rougher outdoor usage, and with such a sleek design it is odd to see the CX-5 tackling wild terrain. Still, Mazda has proven that looks can indeed deceive.
One look at the 2016 Mazda CX-3 and the initial impressions are usually about how the compact crossover thrives on a sporty appeal with purely urban sensibilities. That couldn't be further from the truth – it is the best among its peers off-road. And that assertion is proven by the fact that the CX-3 is the winner of the Best Compact Utility Vehicle category at the 2016 Mudfest held by the Northwest Automotive Press Association (NAPA). At the event, SUVs, trucks, and crossovers had their capabilities tested in grueling mud conditions. The other vehicles competing in the same category as the CX-3 include the Fiat 500X, Kia Sportage, Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, and Subaru XV Crosstrek, which was the favorite to win. Except that the Subaru didn't win. Despite its really low ground clearances, which is part of its sporty handling charm, the CX-3 Grand Touring AWD that was tested was deemed the best compact crossover in handling mud.