Driving

Like the all-new Mazda3, the Mazda CX-30 features the very latest Skyactiv-Vehicle Dynamics and Architecture technology to ensure it delivers new standards of handling, refinement and driver engagement for a Mazda SUV.

With its new-generation Skyactiv-Vehicle Architecture, Mazda has focused on a fundamentally human-centred development process in which the basic functions of the company's Skyactiv technologies have been fine-tuned to ensure that occupants can make use of their natural ability to maintain a feeling of oneness with the car. Over and above the development of individual components such as seats, body, chassis and tyres, Mazda has focused on whole-vehicle coordination, re-allocating functions to create an architecture that works together as a coordinated whole.

Mazda has applied the principles of the human body’s natural balance to the development of the driving position, ensuring that the occupant’s pelvis is supported so as to maintain the spine's S-shaped curve enabling them to make full use of their balance ability. The seat design supports the upper pelvis to ensure that the entire pelvis is positioned correctly. Moreover, the shape and firmness of the seat envelops the gravity centre of the rib cage - corresponding to the upper section of the S-shaped curve of the spine, helping to keep the spinal column in this position.

In addition, the shape and rigidity of the cushioning provide good support for the thigh bones, creating a structure which allows the user to adjust the angle of each thigh independently, ensuring that the seat can accommodate and adapt to individual differences in physique.

Simultaneously, Mazda has increased the rigidity of individual components in the seats and of the attachment points that transfer forces from the vehicle body. This eliminates any lag between the movements of the sprung mass and those of the seats, ensuring that input energy is transferred smoothly to the occupant’s pelvis. The rigidity of the seats’ internal structure has also been increased to ensure that the load is transmitted more directly from the sprung mass to the occupant’s body.

These changes minimise the movement of the seat relative to the sprung mass; the seat moves together with the sprung mass with no delay and forces are transmitted to the pelvis smoothly. All of which delivers a sense of connection with the car and an oneness with the road.

Targeting the ideal path for transmitting input energy from the ground to the body shell, Mazda has taken the basic Skyactiv-Body model - based on the concept of a 'straight and continuous' framework - and fine-tuned it still further. To the ring structures that connect the framework vertically and laterally in previous body shell structures, Mazda has now added front-to-back connections, creating multi-directional ring structures that improve diagonal rigidity.

The front cowl side panel, front and rear damper attachments, and rear door opening have been positioned for maximum effectiveness, based on analysis of energy paths. As a result of this new multi-directional ring structure, the delay in the transmission of input energy to the diagonals stretching from the front to the rear has been reduced by 30% compared to previous body shell structures, with forces now transmitted between all four diagonal corners almost instantly.

This helps maximise the function of the dampers and tyres. By concentrating energy input from the road surface in specific locations and using the damping structure that serves as a buffer material to absorb it, the body effectively reduces vibration that would otherwise cause noise and does so without increasing vehicle weight. The Mazda CX-30 suspension system uses MacPherson struts at the front and a torsion beam setup in the rear. Input energy from the ground is communicated to the body via the suspension.

Traditionally, vehicle architecture has been designed to reduce the magnitude of forces conveyed to the sprung mass. With Skyactiv-Vehicle Architecture, however, Mazda has added a new concept -smoothing out the forces conveyed to the unsprung mass over the time axis- and, based on this, has completely redesigned the allocation of functions among the various components. While the suspension operates in a vertical direction, the suspension arm angle faces downward - in an inverted V shape- at all times, so that the inertial force of the sprung mass pushes the tyres down toward the ground. Meanwhile, the use of a spherical bush ensures that the transmission of energy is perfectly aligned with no slippage, making it easier for the attachment of the suspension arm and link to rotate smoothly.

A more efficient functional arrangement has also been adopted for the tyres. In a radical departure from Mazda's previous approach, which focused on increasing the vertical stiffness of the tyres, the company has softened the side walls and reduced stiffness. Doing so has allowed Mazda to plan for the adoption of its unique vehicle dynamics control technology, G-Vectoring Control (GVC), right from the initial conceptual stage of platform development, resulting in a more effective functional allocation.

G-Vectoring Control adjusts engine torque in response to steering input in order to control lateral and longitudinal acceleration G-forces in a unified way and smoothly optimise the vertical loading of each tyre during cornering. The latest GVC Plus system is standard on the Mazda CX-30 and it introduces technology that further enhances handling stability by using the brakes to add direct yaw moment control to the conventional engine control of GVC.

As the driver steers out of a corner by returning the steering wheel to the centre position, GVC Plus applies a light braking force to the outer wheels, providing a stabilizing moment that helps restore the vehicle to straight line running. The system realises consistently smooth transitions between yaw, roll and pitch even under high cornering forces, improving the vehicle's ability to accurately track sudden steering inputs and exit corners crisply.

In addition to improving handling in emergency collision avoidance manoeuvres, GVC Plus offers a reassuring feeling of control when changing lanes at high speeds on the motorway. When matched to all-wheel drive, the AWD system will maintain the existing front/rear torque distribution to prioritise better turning response through the GVC Plus unit engine torque control. After the initial turn-in, the AWD system gradually increases the amount of torque sent to the rear wheels to realise neutral steering and more stable vehicle motion.

Harmonisation with GVC Plus also substantially improves rear torque response and linearity with respect to the driver’s accelerator inputs. When accelerating, more torque is distributed to rear tyres where vertical load is increasing. When decelerating, more torque is delivered to the front wheels to maximize the traction performance of all four wheels. It also improves controllability, so the vehicle responds faithfully to the driver’s intentions.

The Mazda CX-30 also adopts a new brake calliper design that ensures constant clearance between the brake pads and discs at all times, even after hard braking. This reduces rolling resistance while increasing control. The resulting vehicle behaviour enables cabin occupants to maximise their innate ability to maintain balance and enjoy a comfortable driving experience.

While the dynamic elements of handling, ride, braking and steering sat high on the priority list, the Mazda CX-30’s development also focused heavily on NVH performance with the aim of class-leading refinement. The NVH development focused on three sound characteristics that directly impact cabin occupants: volume, changes in pitch and tone over time, and the direction from which sounds originate.

In addition to conventional measures aimed at reducing noise by suppressing it at the source, the goal for the Mazda CX-30 was to control changes in the quality and directionality of sounds after they enter the cabin to provide a 'high-quality quietness' that is satisfying to all cabin occupants.

Mazda improved insulation performance without increasing weight by adopting a 'two-wall' structure that leaves space between the floor carpeting and the body panel beneath it, and between the door trim and inner panel. In addition, the amount of fibre material on the backside of the floor carpet was adjusted to match specific locations, to achieve optimum density across the entire floor. The number of holes in the carpeting was also reduced wherever possible to further improve sound insulation performance.

Sound-absorption added to the headliner and floor mats effectively suppresses high-frequency sound. Tyres with optimised vertical spring action absorb vibrations related to increases in noise volume through changes in road surface. In addition, increased structural rigidity at possible entry points further helps prevent vibration from penetrating the cabin.

The side walls and mat of the loadspace have been soundproofed, and holes in the mat eliminated to improve quietness. A small gap around the extractor chamber filled with sound absorbing material further enhances boot space soundproofing without detriment to the chamber's performance. The introduction of a seal inside the tailgate parting lines significantly reduces wind noise.

The optimisation of the engine mounts suppresses unpleasant vibrations during restarts, which are gentle yet clearly audible to cabin occupants. Of particular note is the belt-driven ISG of the Mazda M Hybrid system. When stopping, the ISG enables the system’s motor to move the pistons to a position where they will start again smoothly regardless of the operating environment. Finally, the lag-free transmission of permissible sounds and vibrations fundamental to the driving process helps create a more reassuring and comfortable cabin environment.