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All-Star Author

Joined:Apr 2012
Message Posted: Oct 18, 2013 5:36:09 PM

If you have driven different AWD cars, can you please vote on which system you prefer, I am not an expert, but I have heard, they work and behave differently. some examples to get started

4Matic - Mercedes
X-Drive - BMW
Quattro - Audi
AWD - Lexus/Toyota
SH-AWD - Acura/Honda
AWD - Infinti/Nissan
Symmetric AWD - Fuji (Subaru)

Or any others ....
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Champion Author Winnipeg

Joined:Oct 2002
Message Posted: Dec 8, 2013 4:23:04 PM

"AWD systems are your typically less capable system"

Not always true, unless you are talking about off-roading.
I do not expect my AWD car to ford streams and go rock-climbing. I expect it to keep me safer on winter streets, and the handling dynamic of most AWD vehicles lends itself more to that than the handling dynamic of most 4WD vehicles.
Driving across the wilds of Siberia in the middle of a Russian winter would be better served by a heavy duty 4WD truck than an AWD sedan. Driving in most cities and on most highways during and after a snow storm is when we see the first vehicles in the ditch are 4WD as many drivers don't realize most actual 4WD trucks are 2WD vehicles first, and take a few ditch-dips to learn 4WD isn't there to let you drive faster, it is there to let get moving better in bad conditions.

The transfer case in AWD lets the front wheels and rear wheels rotate at different speeds, in 4WD it locks the front drive shaft to the rear drive shaft, thus providing each axle a part of the torque and powering all the four wheels.
In part-time 4WDs, the locking hubs disconnect the front differentials and driveshaft from the front wheels when the four-wheel drive system is not in use, and the vehicle becomes a rear-wheel drive vehicle.

The line gets blurred when people, including sales people and advertising writers, don't properly differentiate, and think an AWD drive car like the Cadillac CTS is 4WD, and a 4WD vehicle like a Hummer is AWD.
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Champion Author Montreal

Joined:Apr 2010
Message Posted: Dec 7, 2013 11:32:50 PM

AWD and 4WD is not just for snow driving. It is used extensively in performance cars.....
I have to disagree.Most car manufacturers do make a AWD vehicle that are not performance vehicles.
There are a few exceptions : Mitsubishi, Peugeot, and Subaru WRC, which also was a 4WD Turbo.
While on my way home from Mexico today, and stopping over at Toronto airport, i picked up the National Post, and in the Automotive section the Headline read "AWD & 4WD: What's the difference?", Well this is a complicated question.
AWD systems are your typically less capable system with a fixed torque split between axles.These systems use active brake controls to move torque side to side.
Now 4X4 do the same but offer low range transfer cases and have selectable drive modes,locking differentialls & active transfer cases that move the optimal amount of torque to the tire that needs it the most.
Having said all that,lets go back to when 4WD was a system where 1 had to push/pull/or do something in order to engage both axles to send power.AWD was a system where all 4 wheels received some degree of power constantly.
And i quote from Hayato Mori, Honda Canada "These definitions have become blurred somewhat as nowadays both systems usually engage automatically when one of the axles loses traction.

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Champion Author Providence

Joined:Oct 2006
Message Posted: Nov 16, 2013 1:41:41 PM

AWD and 4WD is not just for snow driving. It is used extensively in performance cars. Such cars rarely see snow and have minimal ground clearance.

I've got a sports sedan with AWD. The front air dam has very little road clearance. (I have to be careful with sloped driveways and parking lot concrete bumpers.) This car is not designed for snow yet it is AWD.
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Champion Author New Mexico

Joined:May 2007
Message Posted: Nov 16, 2013 12:46:01 PM

I prefer the traditional 4wd option, with locking hubs.
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Champion Author South Dakota

Joined:Sep 2006
Message Posted: Nov 16, 2013 12:32:15 PM

I drive my husband's Outback (AWD) during the winter. It will handle quite a bit of snow.. it has just as much clearance as our full sized Chevy 4WD pickup, but gets a lot better mpg. I still use the pickup if there is a LOT of snow and drifting as often the roads where we live aren't plowed at the time I have to go to work.
If you are thinking of an AWD vehicle the clearance is an important factor as a lot of them don't have any more clearance than a regular sedan.
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Champion Author Nashville

Joined:Oct 2005
Message Posted: Nov 16, 2013 10:00:47 AM

I drove an all wheel drive Safari for years. It worked Great in snow and on slippery hills.
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Champion Author Ohio

Joined:Aug 2009
Message Posted: Nov 16, 2013 9:34:14 AM

For my use; AWD with mainly front full propulsion and automatic rear assist on demand, works great on wet pavement Summer/Winter any surface with only all season tires. Never stuck in 13 years, but no blizzards/off road-en.

Try out your 4WD in a grassy with due moisture field, chose the in/out mode if selectable, the motion G-Force should be very noticeable when you stomp the go-pedal. Your best friend's yard may keep you out of trouble for the test.
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Champion Author Boston

Joined:Jul 2005
Message Posted: Nov 16, 2013 8:57:38 AM

I have a 2013 Jeep Wrangler & 2014 Jeep Cherokee
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Champion Author Toronto

Joined:Jul 2013
Message Posted: Nov 16, 2013 8:42:59 AM

My BMW 2005 is Xi, that is All-wheel drive (35%-65%). It is somewhat less powerful at low speed, may consume a little more gaz, but in the snow, what a difference compare to rear-wheel drive, and even front-wheel drive
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Champion Author Ohio

Joined:Jul 2011
Message Posted: Oct 22, 2013 2:37:32 AM

My GMC Sierra has 4WD. Really comes in handy when I'm back in the woods cutting firewood. Feels like it could plow through about anything when 4WD is engaged. But for everyday driving my FWD '11 Chevy Traverse has enough clearence and weight in the right places to go through most NW Ohio snowstorms. I think Volvo uses a Haldex system.
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Champion Author Missouri

Joined:Dec 2008
Message Posted: Oct 22, 2013 1:31:00 AM

4wd - better gas mileage - I have owned both AWD & 4WD
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All-Star Author Indiana

Joined:Apr 2012
Message Posted: Oct 22, 2013 1:13:52 AM

To clarify, I need a second car which can handle light ice and snow, no offroading, so I am looking for a vote on AWD or 4WD, and which AWD is best suited for daily driving in light ice/snow and summer months as well.
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Veteran Author Indianapolis

Joined:Oct 2004
Message Posted: Oct 21, 2013 10:04:21 PM

Jeep AWD
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Champion Author Alabama

Joined:Jun 2009
Message Posted: Oct 21, 2013 2:46:24 PM

I agree with Gas_Buddy, "What are you looking for?"

The 4matic on my ML320 is great in that it requires no attention on my part to activate. Then again I can't turn it off either.

Previously had a 4WD Ford Superduty which also worked great. Its a passive/mechanical system with limited slip so that turning at an intersection the front would hop and skip dragging the outer front wheel which had a longer path. You don't notice that on grass or dirt. If I forgot to turn it off, I quickly remembered upon return to pavement.

The Mercedes-Benz 4matic system uses simple differentials and doesn't have the above problem, works great on pavement. But it uses electronics and the ABS sensors to dynamically apply brakes selectively to the spinning wheel(s). That means you can wear your brake pads faster, but brake pads are much easier to replace than LSD clutch plates.

[Edited by: GrumpyCat at 10/21/2013 2:47:56 PM EST]
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Champion Author New Hampshire

Joined:May 2012
Message Posted: Oct 21, 2013 2:29:40 PM

I like Quattro - Audi and Symmetric AWD - Fuji (Subaru) systems.
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Champion Author Maryland

Joined:Aug 2004
Message Posted: Oct 21, 2013 1:50:30 PM

What, Camry05, are you looking for?

Are you asking people to "vote" on which is better, all-wheel drive or 4-wheel drive? Or are you asking people to vote on specific vehicles? What's your criteria for "which system you prefer"? Are you asking because you're interested in buying such a vehicle? If so, what's your primary driving habits that make you ask the question?

Unless you have some guidelines, all you'll get is people saying "AWD" or "4WD" without any frame of reference or reasoning.

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Champion Author Providence

Joined:Oct 2006
Message Posted: Oct 21, 2013 10:58:24 AM

:::::Would most drivers even notice the differences between these systems?

I sure can't.

My Kizashi has selectable 4WD, meaning I can push a button and select either 2WD or 4WD. I've experimented with it in 4WD mode and feel no difference whatsoever. The only way I'd know its in 4WD is a dash light comes on. The owners manual recommends using 2WD mode though as 4WD consumes more fuel. Mine stays in 2WD all the time per factory recommendation.

That being said , I do select 4WD when going off road - to reach my hiking jump off point. Then again, I've been off road hiking/biking for years and got to the jump offs with 2WD cars just as easily.
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Champion Author Orange County

Joined:Feb 2003
Message Posted: Oct 21, 2013 9:15:19 AM

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Champion Author Lexington

Joined:May 2005
Message Posted: Oct 19, 2013 8:47:42 AM

I have a 4WD and I prefer to be able to put it into gear myself. When all of the wheels are driving a vehicle will burn more gas.
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Champion Author Chicago

Joined:Dec 2004
Message Posted: Oct 19, 2013 8:38:31 AM

I've never owned an AWD vehicle and probably never will. We don't get that many bad snowstorms and the streets are cleaned quickly so I don't see the need to spend $2,000 and give up some mpg for AWD. Obviously, others have a need for AWD.
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Champion Author Winnipeg

Joined:Oct 2002
Message Posted: Oct 19, 2013 1:50:24 AM

Suzuki is AWD. I own an Aerio, and with Hankook winter tires unplowed streets in the winter don't faze me. It is NOT an off-road vehicle, I would not abuse it by trying to go off-road.
I like the Kizashi with Intelligent AWD. In 2WD mode, most power is sent to the front wheels, with some power sent to the rear. The dashboard switch splits the power between front and rear.
The system transfers optimum power to the front and rear wheels, depending on wheel slippage, throttle input and steering input. On slippery road surfaces the AWD system will help the car maintain its composure.
It is too bad Suzuki didn't market better. It is pulling out of Canada, and I believe the last new inventory is now in the hands of dealers.
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Champion Author Akron

Joined:Jun 2003
Message Posted: Oct 19, 2013 1:35:19 AM

Would most drivers even notice the differences between these systems?
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Champion Author Birmingham

Joined:May 2005
Message Posted: Oct 18, 2013 10:42:42 PM

I prefer AWD myself. However, that's a personal choice, and you and/or others may disagree.
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Champion Author Providence

Joined:Oct 2006
Message Posted: Oct 18, 2013 10:35:02 PM

I bought a Kizashi in April. It has selectable 4WD. I've tried using the 4WD but honestly just don't see the difference. Car feels exactly the same whether 2 or 4 wheels are powered.

I do use it though when I go hiking. My jump off point is down a gravel road, which is sometimes muddy, with some up and downhills with ruts. I engage 4WD for this off-roading. The Kizashi is a sports sedan with low profiles and a low slung air dam so its not happy going off road, yet I manage ok.
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Champion Author Twin Cities

Joined:Jun 2009
Message Posted: Oct 18, 2013 7:30:24 PM

My last two cars have been AWD. Last one was a 2012 Fusion with AWD and now I have a 2014 Escape with AWD.

I have driven various other AWD cars but not long enough to really feel the performance difference between them. There is a big difference between AWD and non AWD, especially on wet or icy roads. I really like having it.
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