(Contributing Editor: Tomasz Paluch)
Semi-autonomous motorway cruising are the current rage in driver fatigue reduction across all passenger car segments. From the kind which beeps driver into lane discipline to the type which permits hands-off the wheel.
Meanwhile, Mazda, maker of road cars which implore involvement at the helm, is taking a driver participation approach to fatigue abatement.
Under their Jinba Ittai (unity of rider and steed) credo, theirs is an elegant approach to reduce the traditional fancy footwork and arm-work required to steer through a corner with the greatest stability. It's in the ENGINE.
The technology is called G-Vectoring Control and is incorporated into the brand's SkyActiv power/ drivetrain suite.
When accelerating through a corner otherwise stable gravitational vehicle load is transferred rearward sacrificing much needed front wheel grip.
Mazda G-Vectoring Control:
- Employs throttle, braking steering input and wheel load sensors to assess load distribution change from turning in fractions of a second;
- Responds by reducing the amount of engine power, effectively transferring the longitudinal load to the front wheels enhancing turning grip;
- Reduces the need for excessive corrective counter-steering;
- Once steering straightening coming out of the corner is detected, engine power is automatically re-applied commensurate to the throttle position.
Roadblazing.com / Drive...He Said tried out G-Vectoring Control in a 2018 Mazda3 5-door Grand Touring sporty compact car. No other hatchback strikes as sleek a sanguine silhouette dipped in Soul Red Parchment Metallic.
The gem of a 14:1 compression naturally aspirated 2.5L twincam 16V engine exhaling through headers, churning an agreeably melodic 184 hp, 181 lb-ft of twist to an expedient red-line holding paddle shifting 6-speed torque converter automatic transaxle, moving on one of the most responsively taut yet absorbent front strut rear mult-link suspensions, with such a well damped but lively responsive steering rack and disc brakes which exemplify linear action and progressive feel.
With greater refinement since this generation's 2013 introduction, the Mazda3 cabin cradles occupants with cossetting seats, crafted two-tone contrast stitched soft panels, crisp bejeweled dials, switches and displays. Attention to detail is in the dense carpet weaves, premium webbed pillar and headliner, and padded center console tunnel.
At $28,020 the leathers are perforated aniline, front seats and steering wheel heated, power driver's w/ memory settings. Climate control is 2-Zone automatic. Mazda iConnect brings a more nicely finished dash-top 7"-inch LCD with remote dial control. Onboard infotainment includes native GPS navigation, SMS texting, Sirius XM by subscription and Pandora and aHa internet radio apps. A placid cabin stages Bose's Centerpoint audio exhibits with such sibilance.
Rear camera with parking grid, blind spot, rear cross traffic and lane departure warning, either by beeps or synthesized audio rumble, low speed city collision avoidance braking, adaptive cruise control, autohold parking brake, a modest lane keep assist (nudge) and auto high beam turning LED headlamps round out i-ActiveSense driver assistance. Heads Up Display is supplemental.
Lacking or needing refinement: Android Auto/ Apple Car Play, front passenger seat height adjustment, better voice command recognition a more seductive engine idle note.
Hustling through wider bends, manually paddle shifting, applying throttle, requires less driver steering correction. An added benefit of G-Vectoring Control is reduced lateral body roll on tighter switchbacks or corners. Occupants don't sway as much within their seats = Lower driving fatigue.
Each time Roadblazing.com / Drive...He Said gets behind the wheel of a Mazda3 an utterly refined, unity with steed is expected. With the addition of G-Vectoring Control technology the Zoom Zoom grins become only bigger.
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