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What car company has the best AWD system



  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,993
    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: 12,726
    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.

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

  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,993
    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: 12,726

    I have had to tow friends off the beach before in my 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 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: 12,726
    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, MichiganPosts: 13,993
    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?".
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    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, MichiganPosts: 13,993
    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 Posts: 1,986
    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 Posts: 4,124
    would go to Audi for its AWD system, and Subaru...
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,875
    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.

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  • alltorquealltorque 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 Posts: 1
    Came across this thread by accident and I thought I would share something with you guys. ?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, MichiganPosts: 13,993
    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 Manson, WAPosts: 7,129
    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.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • bubaabubaa 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' 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.

  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Something tells me that every manufacturer out there could make a similar video making them seem like the king of handling.

    I'd really like to see an independent tester like Road and Track or Automobile do the test, not Subaru's (or Audi's or Volvo's, or Honda's) marketing department. What the heck did you expect the video to show?
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,619
    What about the C4S or 911T? Does anyone have feedback on these babies? Here's something from Automobile:

    Sir Mix-a-Lot, the rapper who famously praised big butts, must have been reading Porsche's mind. The new 911 Carrera 4 with all-wheel drive sports an extra 1.7 inches of rump. It's a fashion statement, an engineering solution, and an anticipation of customer enthusiasm for the wide-body look wrapped into two curvaceous Carreras. The fat rear fenders are standard on the C4, whether you opt for the 325-hp edition or the 355-hp S we had the joy of flinging down Monte Carlo Rally roads in the French Alps.

    The meat accompanying these potatoes includes at least 5 percent but not more than 40 percent of the available torque sent to the front wheels via a viscous coupling, major structural changes, revised brakes, a 1.3-inch-greater rear track, and fatter rubber. The C4S's rear tires grow from 295/30YR-19s to 305/30YR-19s, and curb weight is greater by 122 pounds. Dual-mode dampers with new suspension calibrations are standard on the C4S. Adding the 4 insignia to the deck lid costs $7970 in a Carrera S and $7770 in the regular 911.

    The engineering changes yield what feels like a whole new 911. The C2's bobble-head front-end motion is gone; the handling dynamics reek of confidence. The steering is more communicative, with the front axle carrying an additional 75 pounds. Yank the wheel, and the nose dives aggressively for the apex while the tail hangs tight. Hammer the gas early to exit, and the front tires haul you forward instead of wide of the desired arc. No matter how you play the right pedal, the C4S drives where it's pointed.

    But the extra traction and poise don't improve straight-line acceleration or top speed. That will change next year, when Porsche boosts the 911's wide booty with a turbo.

    Now that's what i'm talkin' about!

  • Habitat will likely tell you he prefers the lighter RWD version to the heavier, but more stable AWD version in the 355 hp 911S. The C2S is definitely quicker than the C4S off the line - I'd peg the difference as about the same as the difference betewwn a base 911 and an "S" version. Meaning that a base C2 is about as quick off the line as a C4S.

    Now as a 2007 911 Turbo owner, you would think I would be a fan of AWD. True enough, in the Turbo, it is almost a necessity in order to put all of that power to the pavement without stripping all the rubber off your tires.

    ...But, I drove a RWD GT3 last week in Germany and fell in love. Probably not enough to ditch my blisteringly fast 911 Turbo and it's more civilized interior / ride. But there is no 911 that handles like the GT3. And with it's non-turbo 8,400 rpm redline, it is an absolute hoot to drive.

    Forget the "wide booty" thing. The difference is not that noticable. Get a C2S or C4S - or a GT3 or Turbo - based upon what you will enjoy driving for the conditions you will be driving in. As much as I like my Turbo and the PASM button that switches the suspension between normal and sport settings, it would be sheer nirvana if I had a button that could toggle between AWD and RWD, with a way to ditch 300-400 lbs for the latter. :)
  • howl42howl42 Posts: 1
    Someone was asking for a Subaru person?

    Subaru's system is not the most advanced, but it is simple, strong and effective. It's not intended to be used off-road (or on the beach). It's on gravel roads and snow it really works well. Unlike reactive systems most Subaru's send power to all wheels all the time. This means that you can take advantage of the AWD at higher speeds, which is why so many rally people use Subaru's. And I'm not just talking about high-dollar performance rallying; I'm talking about the grassroots navigational rallies and rallyX events that people enter with their daily drivers. Check out the entry list of any of your local rally events and you'll find probably half the cars entered are Subaru's. I've yet to see a SH-AWD Acura signed up (perhaps they're too new).

    The Audi torsen system and the Mitsubishi Evo system are probably the only systems that work as well or (arguably) better in a reasonably priced car, but then Subaru's also have other advantages like better balance, lower center-of-gravity, interchangable parts and overall price.

    If you want an AWD luxury car get an Audi or BWM. If you want to go off-roading get a Jeep. If you enjoy driving on twisty backroads get a Subaru.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    I'll toss in a vote for SH-AWD.

    Other systems can route power from left to right, but they do so "reactively" and accomplish the task by braking the wheels. To date, Acura's AWD is the only one steering the car by overdriving the outside wheel. Audi and others have openly admired the torque vectoring properties of SH-AWD and are actively developing their own systems.

    Somewhere in earlier posts, I read a few remarking that SH-AWD doesn't distribute all that much power to the rear. We might as well correct that.

    Depending on the vehicle, the default torque split for SH-AWD is either 70/30 (RL) or 90/10 (MDX and RDX). That is how power is split when cruising.

    When you stomp on the gas from a standing start, power is split between 60/40 and 50/50. It varies from vehicle to vehicle and seems to match up with the vehicle's weight distribution. The RL, which is the most nose-heavy, get the most power to the front wheels. So, each wheel gets as much power as it needs to move the weight it bears.

    In corners, upwards of 70% of the power is routed to the rear, and may be sent to the outside rear wheel. That wheel is also overdriven by either 1.7 or 5%, depending on the vehicle. This is accomplished without braking. The front wheels retain 30% to pull the vehicle out at the end of the corner. (The last is similar to the way Nissan's ATTESA works.)

    Of the 3 vehicles currently using SH-AWD, only the MDX has programming which automatically routes power to the rear for hill-climbing. It also has algorithm's for towing.

    But it's kinda hard to divorce the AWD system from the car. For example, while SH-AWD is a better system than your basic torsen Quattro, I might take an A6 over an RL because the RL's chassis isn't up to par.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,137
    It looks to me like the real winners are Mitsubishi and Volkswagen. They won together 7 or the top 10 places in the grueling Dakar race. No Acura's or Subaru's in the mix. The only other vehicles in the top 10 best off road vehicles was Ford, BMW X3 and a Hummer 3. My only reason for wanting power to all 4 wheels is when I get in a sandy wash and want to get home by dinner. I don't think all the fancy electronic AWD vehicles are good for real off road driving. KISS is a better way to go.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    No doubt. For off-highway driving, 4WD is better than AWD. But the question posed in the title is "Which car company has the best AWD system".

    FWIW, a Honda Ridgeline passed many Fords, Hummers, and other 7S class competitors in the 2005 Baja 1000.
  • Tires man, it's all about the tires...

    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 answer to this question is Citroen, World Rally dominating champion for years now. Subaru had their day in the sun a few years ago, but downhill since then.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326 rmance-control-in-detail

    Here's another AWD system with lateral torque vectoring not unlike Acura's SH-AWD. Couple of observations...

    BMW's rear diff routes power even during lift-throttle situations (SH-AWD does not). The X-drive AWD system can send up to 100% of the engine's torque to the rear drive shafts (SH-AWD will not).

    On the other hand, SH-AWD will route 100% of the rear axle's torque to an outside wheel (it appears DPC will not). Acura's SH-AWD will not only route power, it will also over-drive the rear axles (it appears DPC will not).
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