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Acura, Infiniti, Volvo
#57 of 96 Where is all these AWD cars in the real race?
Mar 25, 2007 (9:06 pm)
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.
#58 of 96 Re: Where is all these AWD cars in the real race? [gagrice]
Mar 26, 2007 (10:59 am)
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.
#59 of 96 Re: Real World... [stillwaters]
Mar 26, 2007 (10:50 pm)
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...
#60 of 96 Re: Real World... [sellaturcica]
Mar 26, 2007 (10:53 pm)
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.
Jun 09, 2007 (9:51 am)
My take on this subject is that there isn't a whole lot of real world difference between the various systems for
everyday on-road or light off-road driving. Put another way, the differences are rather marginal, while the tradeoffs between AWD/4WD and 2WD are more significant. Every AWD/4WD system requires negative tradeoffs in terms of initial cost, fuel economy, handling (except at or near the limits), and complexity. It seems to me that for the vast majority of driving situations, in most of the country, FWD, with winter tires, when required, is a better compromise than AWD/4WD. For those willing to trade traction in slippery comditions for better weight ditribution, RWD, and winter tires for the months when it's helpful, may be the best compromise. In a minority of cases, AWD/4WD offers the best solution. In extreme cases, it's the only solution.
It seems to me that AWD systems that employ braking are wasteful, in terms of fuel and brake wear. I'm just not
sure how significant these losses are.
In my opinion, clever marketing has oversold the real world benefits of AWD/4WD, and conveniently neglected to mention the tradeoffs, for most driving requirements. It's what politicians tend to do when they try to sell a program.
#64 of 96 Re: Many Variables [hpmctorque]
Jun 09, 2007 (2:21 pm)
In my opinion, clever marketing has oversold the real world benefits of AWD/4WD, and conveniently neglected to mention the tradeoffs, for most driving requirements...
I'm not sure it's accurate to say AWD/4WD has been oversold because it really wasn't heavily promoted until carmakers noticed that people were buying SUVs and 4WD P'ups in part because of their all-weather abilities. Truth be told those all-weather on-road capabilities of Explorers, Grand Cherokees and the like were a bigger factor in the rapid acceptance of those vehicles than their little-utilized (by the majority of owners) off-road abilities.
In other words it was more something people convinced themselves of. The first time I accelerated up a slushy hill in an AWD A4, I was sold.
Ironically I traded the A4 Quattro in on a RWD BMW 528 despite the fact that I live on a steep hill in NH.
I found out that in more than a few inches of snow it's all about the tires, no matter which wheels are driven. I decided that if it was going to be neccessary to go with dedicated snows there wasn't any point in putting up with the inherent front heaviness of either a FWD or AWD system.
#65 of 96 Re: Real World... [sellaturcica]
Jun 11, 2007 (2:20 pm)
well if we go with WRC it Would be Ford because they won the 2006 manufacturers championship and are leading this year. But for most of us that isn't the question.
To me Audi would have to be in contention for AWD as would Subaru. I prefer 4wd if I have a choice but AWD works pretty well in street applications. Living is Southern California AWD is simply another way to decrease my fuel mileage because I might need AWD two or three days a year. And then it would be simple preference rather than need.
#66 of 96 GM's Saab now has the best AWD system in the world !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.......
Jun 16, 2007 (1:44 am)
It’s still a car that appeals to drivers who favour unruffled progress and appreciates the unmatched comfort of Saab seats. The 9-3, like its forebears, is not intended as a car for hardcore drivers.
But that could all change next spring when Saab introduces the 9-3 XWD (Cross Wheel Drive) as the ultimate expression of a facelifted range.
The XWD transmission is based around the new, fourth-generation, Haldex clutch, mounted ahead of the rear differential.
The really good news is that the unit is now ‘predictive’ so you don't have to wait for front wheel slip before torque is fed rearwards.
But Saab engineers have fitted another Haldex clutch – dubbed the eLSD - to the output side of the differential so torque can also be divided between the rear wheels.
For example, if the XWD hits standing water with its right front wheel, 85 per cent of the engine’s torque would be directed instantly to the rear wheels.
That 85 per cent would then be split by the eLSD 80 per cent to the left-hand rear wheel and just 20 per cent to the water-bound right-hand wheel.
We drove a late XWD prototype on a circuit of gravel, water spray and extreme lane-change manoeuvres and there’s only one conclusion. The XWD works, and brilliantly.
You can see how much difference it makes by checking out our videos section, or clicking here. No matter how extreme the steering action in the simulated lane-chances, the XWD remained neutral and extremely stable. Nose-led lurching and weight transfer were virtually absent.
And with the tail drifting on gravel, the eLSD would tweak it back into line with uncanny accuracy.
On a section of conventional tarmac, the XWD behaved remarkably like a car with 50/50 weight distribution. It cornered hard and flat, gripped like a limpet and could easily deploy all its 280bhp and 295lb ft. We look forward to getting XWD on the open road.