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Best All Wheel Drive Cars

Best All Wheel Drive Cars
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  •    April 18, 2017
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Best All Wheel Drive Cars

Photo: General Motors › 1 of 12 › Which All-Wheel Drive Sedan Is Right for You? In the past, many automakers did not offer sedans with all-wheel drive. Its added cost – about $2,000 a vehicle – had been a major obstacle to its acceptance in the family sedan market. That cost differential has not been a problem for buyers of more costly cars. However, that has made it hard to find a luxury sedan that does not offer all-wheel drive, at least as an option. Fortunately, an increasing number of sedans in all price ranges now offer all-wheel drive. Here is a look at a range of models with this feature. Read the 2017 Cadillac CT6 Full Review See 2017 Cadillac CT6 Photos See Luxury Large Cars Rankings
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Best All Wheel Drive Cars

Which All-Wheel Drive Sedan Is Right for You? In the past, many automakers did not offer sedans with all-wheel drive. Its added cost – about $2,000 a vehicle – had been a major obstacle to its acceptance in the family sedan market. That cost differential has not been a problem for buyers of more costly cars. However, that has made it hard to find a luxury sedan that does not offer all-wheel drive, at least as an option. Fortunately, an increasing number of sedans in all price ranges now offer all-wheel drive. Here is a look at a range of models with this feature. Read the 2017 Cadillac CT6 Full Review See 2017 Cadillac CT6 Photos See Luxury Large Cars Rankings
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Best All Wheel Drive Cars

‹ Photo: U.S. News & World Report › ‹ 12 of 12 › More Tools From U.S. News & World Report Most buyers who opt for all-wheel drive do so hoping it will help them cope with snow-covered roads. All-wheel drive certainly offers more traction when the pavement is slippery, but it does not eliminate the need for winter tires. To read more about whether or not you need all-wheel drive check out our article regarding all-wheel drive. And if you’re looking to buy a new car, use our Best Price Program to get the best deal on your new car purchase.
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Best All Wheel Drive Cars

More Tools From U.S. News & World Report Most buyers who opt for all-wheel drive do so hoping it will help them cope with snow-covered roads. All-wheel drive certainly offers more traction when the pavement is slippery, but it does not eliminate the need for winter tires. To read more about whether or not you need all-wheel drive check out our article regarding all-wheel drive. And if you’re looking to buy a new car, use our Best Price Program to get the best deal on your new car purchase.
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Best All Wheel Drive Cars

Acura’s Super-Handling All-Wheel-Drive system employs an electromagnetic clutch to send as much as 70% of power to either the front or rear wheels. As much as 100% of rear axle power can transfer to the non-slipping rear wheel via a second electromagnetic clutch. When cornering in dry or wet, extra power is sent to the outside rear wheel to help power it through a turn; this is called torque vectoring. Other high-end cars have their own mechanical torque vectoring systems (heavy, costly, and good) and some automakers employ a simpler system that brakes the inside wheel, so the outside wheel runs faster around a corner.
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Best All Wheel Drive Cars

Let’s clear up one misconception about AWD versus FWD: On many all-wheel-drive cars, most of the time only the front wheels are powering the vehicle, or rear wheels if it’s based on a rear-drive model. AWD only kicks in when it’s called for, or a fraction of a second just after. This helps fuel economy. Most of the time, all-wheel-drive means front-wheel-drive plus an extra 100 to 250 pounds of weight.
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Best All Wheel Drive Cars

The best all-wheel drive sedans combine the best of both worlds: the comfort and nimble handling of a four-door automobile with the sure-footed four-wheel grip of an SUV. For anyone who doesn’t need the mammoth cargo space offered by a sport utility vehicle but who lives in an area where snowy, slippery roads are a yearly menace, an AWD sedan is often an appealing prospect. We’ve put together this list of the best AWD sedans to help guide you towards some of the most intriguing models out there featuring four-wheel motivation. Let’s take a quick look at each of these all-wheel drive sedans and see what they have to offer.
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Best All Wheel Drive Cars

Nissan’s unique Juke offers bold styling and some oddball features. Among them are a G-force meter and color-changing interior lights. But the Juke is also one of the least expensive cars with available all-wheel drive. All-wheel drive models start just over $22,000 in base S trim. That trim also includes side curtain airbags, keyless entry and 17-inch alloys. And for shoppers looking to save on fuel, the Juke does just that, pairing a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder with a CVT automatic. The result is up to 30 mpg on the highway for all-wheel drive models, or 25 mpg in the city.
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This is a good, straight forward article. I liked the unbiased approach. The article also highlights the struggle some long standing companies like Subaru has against other companies operating proactively in the awd market. Companies like Subaru are content set in their ways that their awd system is good enough for the market, and in reality they are falling behind. I do want to discuss what makes a good awd system. Any awd system will consist of one or more of three system layers. 1) Layer one is the decision between part time and all time awd, preferably mechanically connected. Part time will have a delay where all time will be locked together and instant in behavior, resulting in a more stable behavior. Pair this with system balance of front/rear bias and physical symmetry, it influences the overall base character of the system. A fwd based system feels vastly different from a rwd biased system. Typically a default 50/50 split all time system with good symmetry (no torque steer) feels the most balanced overall. This is especially true from a stop or when just starting to apply throttle. It is effectively the default torque split, so even feels great. 2) Layer two is a choice in differential package. This may be simple open differentials to mild viscous diffs to more serious gear/clutch/electronic/hydraulic locking types. In the simplest sense, a more serious diff provides more instant reaction to variations. However, locking types, especially clutch and less so gear type, modify the handling dynamics. They work great off road but interfere during normal driving. Still, they are the fastest reacting system that don’t rely on sensor measurements to be read, deciphered, and reacted upon. Electronic/hydraulic systems may be switched on or off manually or linked to sensors and a computer. A robust diff package is important in creating a fast reacting and stable system. However, most modern cars are basically all simple open diffs paired to an ABS based control to create torque biasing. The result is these simple systems are slow to react waiting for wheel spin first, and then correction. The car is ultimately less stable feeling and slower to control. Robust diffs offer quicker response and often improved predictability and stability. 3) Layer three is the electronic system overlay that offers higher level control. At the base level this is ABS based traction control and stability control. On a higher level this may begin to incorporate electronic/hydraulic clutch system control, more sensors, and introduce torque vectoring algorithms to further enhance control and dynamic ability. Layer three is almost always a reactive system. Mazda is a good example of using this layer and performing some proactive functions to improve awd performance. It’s also important to note that tuning of this system greatly affects the awd systems overall performance and feel to the driver. Sometimes manufacturers develop modes to offer several selectable algorithm options. One may be heavily intrusive, control car slide, and cut power. Another setting may allow much greater wheel spin, no power cut, and let the vehicle get sideways. Algorithms play a huge role now, so a lot of what makes one brand good and another brand mediocre is their tuning choice of this layer. Not all awd systems are equal. They vary a ton, not just across brand and model but also through history with sometimes significant variations between older gen and newer gen vehicles. However, some of the highest performing ones contain robust versions of all three layers. It’s better to have an all time (automatic or selectable) awd system as it provides better response and stabilty. It’s better to have robust differentials that provide fast acting torque biasing plus additional stability and predictability. It’s also better to have a robust electronics package with many sensor inputs, predictive and smart tuning, and when needed user selectable modes. When you start looking at some top performers, you kind of see these same marks checked every time. You look at an Evo or STI, all time balanced system check, robust diff package check, and advanced, dynamic traction control package check. You look at a Jeep, especially the Trailhawk, again check, check, and check on these high end components. These systems end up being incredibly robust, highly competent, and most of all incredibly fast, stable, and confident. As you step down the ladder, you begin to see shortcomings and compromises of the systems and the results they generate. Most modern systems are plenty good and function well for most typical use. It doesn’t take a monster awd system to handle a little bad weather. We shouldn’t kid ourselves. Most of a cars performance comes from tires. The awd system is secondary. Do I have a take away from all of this, yeah but most of what was above was me babbling about awd systems. The take away is most modern awd vehicles are inherently simple system that are either part or all time systems, simple open diffs, and often a simple ABS based traction and stability control system using minimal sensors. Most are pretty generic in that sense. A lot of the fancy work done is just on the tuning side of the electrical system. In some ways this is unfortunately because it means most awd systems out there are kind of crap. BUT…most of us never actually need a monster off-roader. The vast majority will see the tiniest amounts of adverse weather, and the simple, low cost awd systems provided will do wonderfully well for that tiny bit we actually need. I who lives in MN and sees piles of snow and I who adds a secondary challenge of rally racing my car for sport in mud, dirt, gravel, snow, and ice, I have been perfectly content running low end awd systems. I have an old Subaru Forester which has all time, yes, but also open front, mild viscous center, and mild viscous rear diffs with zero layer 3 electronic systems. It’s actually a pretty sub par system by todays standards. I’ve never gotten stuck and I’ve even won my 4 state region racing that sub par system. I also have another Forester with the fancy STI drivetrain and trick diffs. It’s moderately better at putting down power and finding traction. Still, I don’t need it for anything I do except adding some help for putting down more HP to the ground (good for racing) and improving stability and predictability of power delivery to the ground (which it is a moderate improvement). Even so, I still drove an old Mazda RX8 most of last winter and drove through all but one of the blizzards we got. Is awd needed? No, not for most everything people do. What’s needed are good tires. I will tout up and down the heavens to BUY GOOD TIRES. They are the single biggest factor in the whole equation. Buy the best winter tires you can. Buy the best summer tires you can. Buy the best rain tires you can. Whatever your weather, buy the best option. They will give you the best performance and make any car function well. The only thing awd is great for is accelerating. Awd is great for starting from a stop and for climbing hills. It can also aid car stability, although modern traction control and stability control systems do a lot of this work now. For everything else, it’s tires. It’s just tires.

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