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Thanks for sharing. I thought I heard or read somewhere that it should be left in normal for ice/snow instead of off-road mode.
Yeah, for on road winter driving, that is what they recommend. The off road mode does some tricks for keeping power at the wheels when a wheel lifts and keeps more power going to the rear to help keep you from loosing traction, but on winter roads, probably not a benefit unless the snow is fairly deep, as I understand how it works.
 

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"Switching to Offroad mode optimizes control characteristics for off-road driving as follows: 1. High-traction all-wheel drive (AWD) Offroad mode improves traction by maximizing torque distribution to the AWD rear wheels across all vehicle speed ranges. At low speeds, this achieves greater drivability and escapability on poor road surfaces, and at high speeds, it offers handling characteristics with an emphasis on stability. 2. A sense of the tires gripping the ground that offers peace of mind created by optimizing the G-Vectoring Control (GVC) system for off-roading Optimized for slippery off-road conditions, GVC offers significantly improved tire grip something that gives drivers greater peace of mind. This reduces cornering resistance and instability on rough roads. 3. Smooth traction control (TCS) for excellent traction The offroad mode also optimizes Mazda TCS for off-road conditions. This system coordinates control of the brakes and engine torque to maximize traction, ensuring the driving force is transmitted to each wheel-ground contact point correctly even when the tires are spinning. This offers excellent drivability that is stress-free. 4. Idling control that maximizes climbing capability When hill starting on a steep incline, the system detects the road surface gradient and automatically increases creep torque by raising the engine idling speed. This prevents the car from rolling backward and supports a more powerful starting acceleration. Additionally, when driving off-camber (when approaching a slope on an angle), the system detects and makes calculations based on the steering angle and body tilt and determines whether the direction of travel is uphill or downhill. When climbing, idling control raises the idling speed to increase starting torque and when descending, lowers the idling speed to make it easier for the driver to adjust the vehicle speed. 5. Automatic transmission control that transmits torque smoothly and continuously. even on rough roads"

 
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