What car company has the best AWD system

bosi77bosi77 Member Posts: 37
Exactly what the title asks^ Also retains to Subaru AWD system and Audi AWD system.


  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganMember Posts: 14,014

    Acura has the best AWD system bar none. Next topic ! ;)

  • proudamerican8proudamerican8 Member Posts: 16
    My title said it all. Jeep and Land Roverare the best when it comes to all wheel drive. Just because subaru advertises about how all of its vehicle have all wheel drive, that doesn't mean that its good. When it comes to off road, military climates, etc. Jeep and land Rover are the rulers.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaMember Posts: 31,450
    Acura has the best AWD system bar none

    I would think owners of Porsche, Mercedes, Audi and BMW AWD cars would argue that point.
  • brightness04brightness04 Member Posts: 3,148
    Most car companies pedelling AWD systems have several completely different systems, either at the same time or over time. The qualification for "Best" is also dependent on what you are looking for in the system: best for handling, best for snow road travel, best robustness and best for rock crawling all demand quite different systems.

    Subaru has at least two different systems:
    (1) A viscous coupling system used on manual models; it's reactive, but is 50-50 when not locking up.
    (2) Clutch packs on automatic models; it's pro-active, but is 90-10 divide on most models when no wheel is about to slip.

    Audi has used at least three different systems:
    (1) The models in the early years involved manual engaging locking . . . not recommended;
    (2) Torsen system with mechanically pro-active response, but heavy with the complex worm gear etc..
    (3) Haldex system on some if not all models in the last few years . . . lighter but robustness is yet to be long-term observed.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,555
    if I'm going to go to the trouble of having AWD, I want it working all the time. Give me the 50/50 system of the Subarus (or the proactive 90/10 VDC) over any of the FWD systems that only engage the rear wheels when they detect slippage.

    But Subarus don't get traction/stability control to go with their AWD unless you are spending a gazillion dollars.

    NOW, in the gazillion dollar range, we have lots of good systems, although I still prefer the Audi Torsen, which again can be set up to run the wheels 50/50 all the time, or any of a number of other ratios if the manufacturer prefers.

    As for trucks, I still prefer the old-school systems, but those are mostly going away in favor of electronics that decide too much stuff for you. The new Land/Range Rover systems really go over the top, with variable mapping for the throttle and suspension settings and all the rest of the mumbo-jumbo. They are nothing more than a ton of very expensive repairs waiting to ruin your day in the near future, and for what? These $50-75,000 trucks are never going anywhere but the mall anyway, and even if they did, they've got what - 35-series tires on $2000 18" alloy rims? I give those about a minute before the first puncture, and probable rim destruction at the same time.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaMember Posts: 31,450
    As for trucks, I still prefer the old-school systems

    I agree with your whole assessment of 4X4/AWD systems. every new device that is added will be a repair bill. You can expect it to last at least 2 months past the warranty. Then get your wallet out. We had very little trouble with our 4X4 trucks until they added electronic activation of the hi/lo transfer case. And of course ABS is useless with 4 wheel drive. It may be different with continuous AWD. I have never owned one.
  • british_roverbritish_rover Member Posts: 8,502
    Actually the Land Rover ABS system takes into account different terrains and adjusts the ABS system accordingly.

    ABS is only useless off-road if it doesn't know it is off-road. If the ABS computer has different braking algorithms for different surfaces then it does fine.

    For example in sand mode the ABS system actually allows the brakes to lock up for a split second so that sand builds up in front of the tires and you stop sooner.
  • scape2scape2 Member Posts: 4,123
    Subaru or Audi can claim best AWD systems by far. These two companies have been hard at work on this technology way longer than Honda/Acura or Toyota/Lexus..
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganMember Posts: 14,014
    Honda's SH-AWD, is by far the most advanced in the world.

  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaMember Posts: 31,450
    Honda's SH-AWD, is by far the most advanced in the world

    Can you be more specific? Has it been used in racing vehicles and proven? I would have to drive it on glare ice to give an assessment for myself. I don't plan on being anywhere near icy conditions now that I am retired. I did my 37 years on ice and snow.
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganMember Posts: 14,014
    It's been proven. Go to the acura site and see how it works. It's banned from racing like the quattro system of Audi's from what I understand ;)

  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaMember Posts: 31,450
    Go to the acura site

    Do you think Acura will give an objective performance rating? Has any of the car mags done a head to head comparison?
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganMember Posts: 14,014

    Edmunds did a AWD comparo and the SH-AWD won by a landslide pal. How couldn't it ? The system doesn't just send power to the front or rear wheels, it also send torque to the outer wheels that need it most. This uniqueness is what makes it #1 and improves the handling of the vehicle. The RL has a 0.90 g's on the skidpad pal. ;)

  • british_roverbritish_rover Member Posts: 8,502
    Can you point us in the direction of this comparo?
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganMember Posts: 14,014

    I'll try to find it on inside line, hold on pal.

  • mirthmirth Member Posts: 1,212
    ...just for sport sedans however, not SUV's.
  • dilldill Member Posts: 31
    I know this is probably going to get alot of negative responses. I read an article about a month ago that said of all the vehicles a particular publication had rated, they were most impressed by the AWD layout and system of the Buick Rendezvous. It was the only CUV/SUV out there that had a completely flat floorplan versus all the others. No hump means greater comfort and more space for the occupants.
  • habitat1habitat1 Member Posts: 4,282
    Fred Flinstone's car has no hump in the middle, as well. I don't think that's the metric for "best AWD system" that I would use.
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganMember Posts: 14,014
    Yeah I I agree with you habitat. Acura's SH-AWD is by far the benchmark for AWD systems period. Next Question ? ;)

  • dilldill Member 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 AreaMember Posts: 12,555
    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...

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganMember Posts: 14,014
    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 Wyoming, MichiganMember Posts: 14,014
    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 AreaMember Posts: 12,555
    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.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • habitat1habitat1 Member 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 AreaMember Posts: 12,555
    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.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHMember Posts: 22,755
    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.

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • habitat1habitat1 Member 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 Wyoming, MichiganMember Posts: 14,014
    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 AreaMember Posts: 12,555
    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 track...do 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.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganMember Posts: 14,014
    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 Member Posts: 4,425
    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.
  • stillwatersstillwaters Member Posts: 33
    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 AreaMember Posts: 12,555

    I have had to tow friends off the beach before in my 4Runner...it always makes for a good story to tell later on. :-)

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • john_324john_324 Member 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 AreaMember Posts: 12,555
    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.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganMember Posts: 14,014
    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 Member 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?".
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,555
    I have to agree with you there - the Audi AWD system is a really good one, but all their AWD cars are PIGS in the weight department, and it really detracts from the driving experience.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganMember Posts: 14,014
    Rocky, it's nice to see you admit you might have been wrong about something

    It's really hard for me as you know to admit when I'm wrong or to be convinced I'm wrong. I guess I'm very hard headed and some of you probably think thats a understatement. ;)

    So habitat, you don't like the EVO-X styling ?

    Did you watch the S-AWC hardware in the Lancer test mule ?
    They said there was a huge handling improvement over the last generation. ;) I however do understand the fact remains until mitsubishi does enough things to spice up the interiors, creature comforts, etc the mitsubishi brand will be often be over-looked no matter how good the cars hardware might be because of reputation. I however am willing to stop and sit in one to get my own judgment. I do know I will be impressed with its sub 5 second 0-60 performance numbers. ;) The WRX STI does 0-60 in 4.5 and we all know the EVO-X will want to meet or beat those numbers. ;)

  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Member Posts: 1,982
    I'll give the nod to Audi, based on my S4 experiences and on the new RS4 reviews. On the RS4, the initial bias has been reset 60/40 in favor of the rear wheels, or rather the proper drive wheels...
  • scape2scape2 Member Posts: 4,123
    would go to Audi for its AWD system, and Subaru...
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    AWD, hands down, no contest. Whomever they don't outperform in AWD, they sell to or design for.

    Seeing is believing. Watch an Audi go up against any SUV or other AWD system as long as the ride height is not a factor.
  • alltorquealltorque Member Posts: 535
    For on-road or light off-road use it's Audi or Subaru. Large population of both here. Audi is seen as "classier" but Subaru Legacy, (in particular), is gaining ground and both systems have a long history of reliability. Subaru, of course, have years of WRC experience behind them. Mitsibushi Evo's are comparatively rare and seen more as "boy racer" cars........but seriously quick. Serious off-road goes to Land Rover with Audi following. Only Honda AWD we get here is the CR-V and that's mainly a wife's shopping trolley. Most have probably never even been driven on the grass verge at the roadside. Lots of other AWD stuff, but not in serious numbers.
  • jokmjokm Member Posts: 1
    Came across this thread by accident and I thought I would share something with you guys.

    http://globecareers.workopolis.com/servlet/Content/fasttrack/20070308/WHWINTER08- ?section=Engineering

    Top of the article you will notice Ted Klaus, Honda/Acura chief engineer for research is involved with this article and this is what he says.
    "Every system has its advantages and disadvantages, depending on their intended use. Klaus, for instance, says xDrive is flat-out the best on dry race tracks and Quattro is the king if pure traction is what you want."

    As for Mitsu's AWD technology... Subi has Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC), Variable Torque Distribution (VTD) and Traction Control System (TCS). Pretty much same as Mitsu's yet this has been out for years.

    General Subi's AWD system overview.
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganMember Posts: 14,014
    Ummmmm, you better go look at the 08' EVO-X's AWD Technology as to calling it almost the same because that's not the case. ;)

    The new Mitsu S-AWC is by a large margin the most advanced AWD system in the world. ;)

  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Alamogordo, NMMember Posts: 7,677
    the '09 EVO boys. rockford is right this is the most advanced AWD system in the world. Mitsubishi means serious business and they won't be selling to dorks that felt like defaulting on their new car loan was big-time fun.

    Serious buyers only for the new EVO-and Mitsu is going to find a lot of buyers for this new car toy racer.

    2021 Kia Soul LX 6-speed stick

  • bubaabubaa Member Posts: 2
    I've been facinated with AWD since I drive a subie Impreza wagon. Trying to push it limits on snow and ice but always prevailed. Almost did get stuck when my gf made it loose traction on the front and rear end in 9" snow over our manhole drain because of a height difference. As the weight shifted, traction was lost and I got to see how each tire on one side was turning and the other wasn't..open diff. But of course I got in and rock it..abit of gas and I got it out. Still prevailed nevertheless. Anyways, here's an interesting video:


    I'd bet after watching this there's going to be a whole lot of discussion.

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