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What car company has the best AWD system



  • rockyleerockylee Posts: 14,011
    Yeah I I agree with you habitat. Acura's SH-AWD is by far the benchmark for AWD systems period. Next Question ? ;)

  • dilldill Posts: 31
    What specifically about Acura's SH-AWD system so good? It would be good to give at least one reason besides your possible bias towards Acura products. Period. Next Quetion?
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    SH-AWD is a REactive system. My vote for best AWD system would go to a PROactive system. Subaru comes to mind, but I don't know anything more than the PR hype about Subie's best systems...

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • rockyleerockylee Posts: 14,011
    Acura's SH-AWD system is the best IMHO because it not only powers the wheels with the most traction but when going into a turn it sends the most power to the rear wheel that will shoulder most of the g-force load powering you out of a curve and if their is any slippage it won't allow the wheel to turn faster than the others which keeps the tires from squealing and sending you into the ditch or in a spin. If I was a physics major I might be able to explain it better with more statistical detail. ;)

  • rockyleerockylee Posts: 14,011
    I agree subie has a good AWD system but better than Acura's SH-AWD ?????? I don't see any evidence of advantages over SH-AWD.

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    We need the hard-core Subie fans to post here, but I believe the Subaru VDCs can shift engine torque side to side like the Honda SH-AWD system. And of course, Subaru had that on production models several years before Acura's SH-AWD. It's just that Subaru doesn't have the PR money to make a big fuss about it like Honda does.

    And honestly, I don't see much advantage in the Honda system over a simple old-school 50/50 viscous center coupling with a limited-slip on the rear axle. The Honda system might see some small weight savings, I suppose, but considering they are only installing it on vehicles weighing near 4000 pounds or even more, I am not that excited.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    "SH-AWD is a REactive system. My vote for best AWD system would go to a PROactive system. Subaru comes to mind"

    Please explain your distinction between reactive and proactive as you are using the terms here. I would have thought the best AWD systems would be reactive in that they can vary the amount of power to certain wheels or axles based upon actual slippage input from the cars computers. Now if there is a "pro-active" system that can tell in advance when I'm going to hit a patch of snow or get my left rear wheel stuch in mud, I want to know about it. Not that I'd buy the vehicle, but I'd get the engineers to rig me up a stock trading computer for the hedge fund I'll start. ;)

    P.S. The unfortunate reality with Subaru not getting much credit for anything is that they just don't have an upscale image. My father in law swears by his Subaru Legacy Wagon which he logs 20,000 miles a year in Maine. But it's not a common sight in more affluent areas and doesn't have the demographic support of an Acura, Audi, Mercedes, BMW, etc. to get much press. And they have the aesthetic appeal of a tool belt - which suits my FIL perfectly, but not the neighborhood soccer mom.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    Well, my answer to your question has two parts:
    (1) I prefer systems that run ALL the wheels ALL the time, because they don't wait for wheels to slip before engaging, which is my definition of reactive. Audi's Torsen-based system, as well as old-school center-VCs, get my vote here.

    (2) Beyond that, I have been lead by PR hype to believe that some systems are more proactive than others, including Subaru's VDC. I must confess I do not know all the details of this, which is why I need one of the hard-cores to chime in (I assume default torque splits of 50/50 help, as well as yaw sensor input and the like).

    But SH-AWD is proactive in one sense, which I like: when you stop, the computer automatically routes part of the power to the rears until you reach a certain speed, meaning that in hard launches you will have all four wheels trying to get traction. Now unfortunately, the power split in those conditions is like 80/20 I believe, so you don't have MUCH of the power going to the rears, but it reduces the amount of time the system needs to react when the fronts begin to slip. Several magazines testing the RL when it came out stated they could slip the front wheels a lot more than they liked before the vehicle would find traction.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,403
    I prefer systems that run ALL the wheels ALL the time, because they don't wait for wheels to slip before engaging, which is my definition of reactive. Audi's Torsen-based system, as well as old-school center-VCs, get my vote here.

    You hit the nail on the head, Nippon.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I appreciate your answer, but I wouldn't have termed "Full Time 4-Wheel Drive" as a proactive AWD system. If fact, some of them are neither proactive or reactive - it's just on all the time. That's what our old Isuzu Trooper had. Also, if I'm not mistaken full time 4-wheel drive is also the least fuel efficient system compared to "on demand" systems that transfer power as needed. However, I do agree with you that, as in the case of our 2005 MDX (not SH-AWD), the pause until the rear wheels kick in when the front wheels start slipping is a little discomforting.
  • rockyleerockylee Posts: 14,011
    nippon, The Subie System to the best of my knowledge doesn't send power to the outer wheels like the SH-AWD. It's not a big fuss but rather a engineering marvel with real physics applied which gives impressive track results. Acura's have always employed some of the best suspensions in the world and when you add a system like SH-AWD you get BMW like handling without sacrificing ride comfort not to mention the all-weather safety and security of AWD. ;)

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    Hehe, Rocky, you ARE a fan! You sound like one of Acura's advertising guys. I could just as easily say than when you add a system like SH-AWD, what you get is being able to try to go head to head with your luxury competitors without actually having to go to the trouble and expense of developing a real RWD platform like they all have! LOL

    But the truth lies somewhere in between. Honda has had various evolutions of the SH-AWD system going all the way back to the Preludes of the late 90s, where it was a special trim that almost no-one bought. And at the time the press said the same thing they still say - you can't detect the difference on the street, and while you can feel it working on the track, it is only good for a gain of fractions of a second, not worth the extra expense most of the time.

    And I dunno about you, but I never took my brand new Acura to the you routinely go to the track?

    Bottom line: this is an AWD discussion, not a Honda discussion, so I will just say that I think SH-AWD gives Honda the bare minimum it needs in order to avoid having to pony up for a larger RWD platform for its luxury cars, but in the world of AWD it is just one of many systems that are just as capable.

    edit...BTW, I went and looked at Subaru's own technical explanation of VDC, and I will give you that one. Theirs is merely a brake-based traction- and stability-control system with a center diff. While this will accomplish the same thing as SH-AWD, I have always felt that systems that sent power to the wheels with traction by braking the wheels on the opposite side of the car were rather inelegant (and in fact, I have often wondered if this wouldn't lead to substantially reduced brake life if one were an aggressive driver). So I will give that one to SH-AWD, but I still prefer Audi's Torsen-based system to both.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • rockyleerockylee Posts: 14,011
    So nippon, you really like those AWD systems that continuously power all 4 wheels at the same time and pretty much the same balance like 40/60 ? That's like selecting 4WD-high on a truck :P

    I see GM has a so-called "intelligent AWD system" on the GMC Acadia I'd like to learn more about that. I wonder if its a smart track knock-off from the olds bravada, or its the same system used on the Cadillac STS ? The STS employs a F-40/60-R system and that isn't intelligent. I also confidently believe that its a Torsen system also ? IMHO that is old school and even infiniti, and subaru, have better systems than that. I'm not sure how good the 4-matic system is from Mercedes, or BMW's AWD system really is. However based on my limited knowledge on the subject I'm yet to find a more advanced system then Acura's SH-AWD. If you can find me one that's technically better I'm all ears. :)

  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    SH-AWD gives Honda the bare minimum it needs in order to avoid having to pony up for a larger RWD platform for its luxury cars

    The thing I never understood is that the Legend and Vigor and the first-gen RL (and maybe the first TL) were set up like a normal longitudinal RWD-based AWD system, except that they were missing the main driveshaft and rear pumpkin. The transmission had a parallel shaft inside the case to drive the front wheels. Honda could have made them true AWD anytime it wanted.
  • So my idiot brother buys himself a new Subaru wagon (and thinking he has a REAL 4WD) drives it out to the beach and promptly buries his "grocery getter" in the sand...

    So he calls me on his cel phone and after I laugh for several minutes (he hates that), I drove out to the beach in my Land Rover LR3, wrapped a tow strap around his chassis (had to dig down almost two feet to get there), and pulled him out pronto...

    The LR3 wasn't even breathing hard.

    I have been calling him "Sandy" ever since...(He hates that too)

    I believe that settles the arguement...

    Keith :shades:
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669

    I have had to tow friends off the beach before in my always makes for a good story to tell later on. :-)

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • john_324john_324 Posts: 974
    Now that both the Ford Five Hundred and the Fusion have available AWD, what are the opinions of the system?

    AWD on cars seems relatively new for Ford...wondering how the execution went... :confuse:
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    just borrow the Haldex system from Volvo?

    In which case, I say, ehhhh. A decent to so-so AWD system suitable for driving around wet and perhaps snowy but plowed roads.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • rockyleerockylee Posts: 14,011
    Guys, remember when I said Acura had the best AWD system in the world ? Well only until next year...... ;)

    Wanna know who will have the greatest AWD system man has ever seen ? That is none other than Mitsubishi.

    Mitsubishi, has delivered a AWD system that is so advanced I can't even believe it. Hell it might just be the most advanced drive train in the world. It is called
    Super All Wheel Control (S-AWC) The 08' EVO-X will be among the best handling cars in the world. The car also has a improved Active Yaw Control (AYC) and an all-new four-wheel independent active-braking system. ;)

    Well here's a good run down from edmunds on how this system really works. :)

    A hotter platform for hotter shoes

    Just to recap the basics here, the current model's incredible grip comes from its Super AWC system that combines electronically controlled all-wheel drive, Active Stability Control, AYC and an Active Center Differential (ACD) that distributes torque between the front and rear wheels. The ACD works in conjunction with the AYC, which splits torque optimally between the rear wheels, thus enhancing grip and steering response.

    With the Evo X, Mitsubishi has further optimized response time of the AYC unit and fitted a new active-braking system that automatically takes over when the AYC/ACD's grip levels have been compromised, supplying braking force independently to all four wheels and restricting slide and sideways movement.

    At the track, this clever marriage of stronger AYC and independent four-wheel braking combined superbly to deliver just the right amounts of power and steering response, leading us to quicker times through the slippery slalom course. The car's rear end was more composed as it tucked in, cleanly following the line traced by the front wheels. The amount of steering input required was reduced as well, turning in sharper and more precisely than any Evo before it. The system does not and cannot, however, totally restrict slides. Sure, the tail will go when provoked, but the new braking system will engage only when you've exhausted the S-AWC's ability to maintain four-wheel grip.

    Freaky-good control

    If you want to throw the car around, you can, and the feel of the steering is as natural and progressive as the current models. But when you want to bring the car back into line, the task is made that much easier by the revisions. And what of those revisions? Sawase says he's not finished yet. His team wants to further fine-tune the new S-AWC by incorporating steering and suspension upgrades that all work in unison with the central AWD-AYC-ACD-brake package. This will propel the Evo X in the fall of 2007 to the next dimension in cornering potential, a dimension that, well, doesn't exist yet.



    So I might not be necessary wrong now but by next year I'd be wrong if I ignored Mitsubishi's new AWD technology. ;)
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Rocky, it's nice to see you admit you might have been wrong about something ;)

    But I think you may have gone too far towards the accronym addicted side of technology, with your call on the Misubishi. S-AWC? ASC? AYC? ACD? Did I leave any out? I hope these systems don't ever require repairs. Joe Mechanic may replace a Y where a C was needed or vice-versa. ;)

    Bottom line for all of these systems is - let's see how they really work in the cars that people really want to buy. My biggest gripes about the Acura SH-AWD in the RL is that, in spite of great technology, the RL is not "super handling". Give me a 530i sport anyday. And the Audi system, while the cat's meow for some, is in cars that are so heavy they fell like you've taken a water buffalo out on a date (when you are driving alone).

    Mitsubishi has an added problem for me. They don't make a car I would remotely want to drive or buy. Or many others that can afford an Acura, Audi, Mercedes or BMW. So they could have the best system in the world in the EVO, but the likely response will either be "What's that? or "Who cares?".
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