Test-Riding a Christini 450 DS AWD Motorcycle, awd cars.#Awd #cars


Test-Riding a Christini 450 DS AWD Motorcycle

Awd cars

Last year, PopMech got to tour the Philadelphia headquarters of bikemaker Christini and learn how its all-wheel-drive motorcycles work. Now it’s time for a test ride. We took one of their bikes on an off-road adventure through Amish country to see how it handles many rough miles.

The event: A weekend-long adventure ride put on by AltRider, an adventure-parts manufacturer. AltRider laid out a big main loop through the scenic countryside on asphalt and dirt roads. Seven increasingly difficult optional trails deviated from the main loop. Our ride for this journey: Christini’s 450 DS, a $7695 street-legal dirt bike that gets power to the front wheel through Christini’s clever mechanical drive. When you twist the throttle on a Christini and feel the front wheel help pull the bike through tough terrain, you can imagine the joy Mr. Christini must have felt when he first pedaled his original all-wheel-drive mountain bike up a rocky hill and proved his hypothesis that AWD could be as beneficial to two-wheel vehicles as it is to four-wheelers.

The 450 DS certainly doesn’t have any trouble scrambling up a hill, like the boulder-strewn climb on the third optional trail. In fact, the AWD system flatters the rider in a variety of conditions. In deep sand toward the end of the ride, the bike didn’t struggle and sink in, but floated along on top. In sandy corners, a rider can turn the Chrsitini with the bars instead of having to slide through the corner on the power. And all-wheel drive also makes it much easier to start on a steep uphill. Even on the ride’s steepest ascents, all available traction could be put to use and the bike could be coaxed back into motion.

Awd cars

Most interesting, however, is how AWD changed the less extreme parts of the riding experience. On a conventional dirt bike, approaching max speed on a gravel fire road can get exciting (perhaps a little too exciting) as the back end dances over crests or around corners. On the Christini, that just didn’t happen. As soon as the rear wheel started to spin up, some of the power was transferred to the front wheel. In this way, the AWD system acted as a sort of mechanical traction control for the rear wheel. The bike will also happily drag itself through deep mud, as both wheels fight for traction. On a conventional bike, the rear wheel might spin, unable to push the front forward through the mud.

It quickly became apparent why the U.S. Army has ordered a batch of 90 Christini bikes. An AWD motorcycle simply takes less mental and physical effort to ride on difficult terrain. When we pushed the thumb lever that disengages the front drive, the bike suddenly felt distinctly rear-wheel drive the rear wheel would spin up on loose surfaces, and the back end would come out in the corners. We realized that every other motorcycle we’ve ridden hard constantly exceeds available traction, tearing up trails and shredding rear tires. Christini claims that rear tires last more than twice as long on an AWD bike.

Awd cars

The AWD system comes with some disadvantages, starting with 13 extra pounds. It takes more effort to loft the front wheel because the extra weight of the AWD system sits ahead of the countershaft sprocket. And the system adds complexity to the bike: There are three more chains and several more gears, though Christini includes a grease gun with purchase and Zerk grease fittings make it easy to keep everything running smoothly.

During our factory tour last year, we saw that the quality of the AWD parts is top-notch and the additional complexity is more than offset by the bike’s on-trail competence. Whether you’re roosting your friends on a rocky uphill climb or riding happily through deep sand, AWD makes it easier to go fast (or slowly) off-road.


Test-Riding a Christini 450 DS AWD Motorcycle, awd cars.#Awd #cars


Test-Riding a Christini 450 DS AWD Motorcycle

Awd cars

Last year, PopMech got to tour the Philadelphia headquarters of bikemaker Christini and learn how its all-wheel-drive motorcycles work. Now it’s time for a test ride. We took one of their bikes on an off-road adventure through Amish country to see how it handles many rough miles.

The event: A weekend-long adventure ride put on by AltRider, an adventure-parts manufacturer. AltRider laid out a big main loop through the scenic countryside on asphalt and dirt roads. Seven increasingly difficult optional trails deviated from the main loop. Our ride for this journey: Christini’s 450 DS, a $7695 street-legal dirt bike that gets power to the front wheel through Christini’s clever mechanical drive. When you twist the throttle on a Christini and feel the front wheel help pull the bike through tough terrain, you can imagine the joy Mr. Christini must have felt when he first pedaled his original all-wheel-drive mountain bike up a rocky hill and proved his hypothesis that AWD could be as beneficial to two-wheel vehicles as it is to four-wheelers.

The 450 DS certainly doesn’t have any trouble scrambling up a hill, like the boulder-strewn climb on the third optional trail. In fact, the AWD system flatters the rider in a variety of conditions. In deep sand toward the end of the ride, the bike didn’t struggle and sink in, but floated along on top. In sandy corners, a rider can turn the Chrsitini with the bars instead of having to slide through the corner on the power. And all-wheel drive also makes it much easier to start on a steep uphill. Even on the ride’s steepest ascents, all available traction could be put to use and the bike could be coaxed back into motion.

Awd cars

Most interesting, however, is how AWD changed the less extreme parts of the riding experience. On a conventional dirt bike, approaching max speed on a gravel fire road can get exciting (perhaps a little too exciting) as the back end dances over crests or around corners. On the Christini, that just didn’t happen. As soon as the rear wheel started to spin up, some of the power was transferred to the front wheel. In this way, the AWD system acted as a sort of mechanical traction control for the rear wheel. The bike will also happily drag itself through deep mud, as both wheels fight for traction. On a conventional bike, the rear wheel might spin, unable to push the front forward through the mud.

It quickly became apparent why the U.S. Army has ordered a batch of 90 Christini bikes. An AWD motorcycle simply takes less mental and physical effort to ride on difficult terrain. When we pushed the thumb lever that disengages the front drive, the bike suddenly felt distinctly rear-wheel drive the rear wheel would spin up on loose surfaces, and the back end would come out in the corners. We realized that every other motorcycle we’ve ridden hard constantly exceeds available traction, tearing up trails and shredding rear tires. Christini claims that rear tires last more than twice as long on an AWD bike.

Awd cars

The AWD system comes with some disadvantages, starting with 13 extra pounds. It takes more effort to loft the front wheel because the extra weight of the AWD system sits ahead of the countershaft sprocket. And the system adds complexity to the bike: There are three more chains and several more gears, though Christini includes a grease gun with purchase and Zerk grease fittings make it easy to keep everything running smoothly.

During our factory tour last year, we saw that the quality of the AWD parts is top-notch and the additional complexity is more than offset by the bike’s on-trail competence. Whether you’re roosting your friends on a rocky uphill climb or riding happily through deep sand, AWD makes it easier to go fast (or slowly) off-road.


Prime Auto Ltd, Sells and services used cars in Waterloo, Kitchener, Cambridge, Guelph Ontario, awd cars.#Awd #cars


Welcome to Prime Auto Ltd.

It has been our pleasure to serve the Tri-City area of Kitchener-Waterloo and Cambridge since 1994.

We have worked hard to build our reputation for selling quality pre-owned vehicles backed by exceptional service. Customer loyalty, satisfaction and repeat business reflect our commitment to provide you with our extensive inventory of 100+ domestic and import used cars of all makes and models.

We provide a CarProof Report or UCDA Report with every vehicle we sell, offering a variety of car financing programs to meet the individual client’s needs, and provide a selection of extended warranty plans to protect their investment, once purchased. We also provide post-purchase vehicle servicing exclusively to Prime Auto Ltd. clientele in gratitude for their patronage.

We realize our customers have high expectations and as a reputable used car dealer, we enjoy the challenge of meeting and exceeding those expectations each and every time with our undisputed service and substantial used vehicle inventory. We also do wholesale and welcome trade-ins.

Please use the menu above to browse our current inventory and learn more about us.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us and we will be happy to help you find a vehicle to suit your taste and budget.

New Arrivals

Awd cars

Toyota Highlander SR5 + BACK UP CAMERA 2008 | 188613 Kilometres

Awd cars

Mercedes-Benz GL-Class 2014 | 112306 Kilometres

Subaru Outback 2.5i Prem 2011 | 150937 Kilometres

Awd cars

Honda CR-V 2008 | 181540 Kilometres

Awd cars

Dodge Grand Caravan 2009 | 267000 Kilometres

Awd cars

BMW X5 2009 | 114997 Kilometres

Awd cars

INFINITI G35 Coupe Sport 2005 | 191680 Kilometres

Awd cars

Hyundai Santa Fe GL 2006 | 188262 Kilometres

Awd cars

Dodge Caliber 2008 | 185804 Kilometres


Best 4-Door, AWD Cars For The Snow And Cold #cheap #car #insurance


#awd cars
#

Best 4-door, AWD cars for the snow and cold

Best 4-door, AWD cars for the snow and cold

Whether driving in the rain, snow or mud, any of Bankrate’s five best all-wheel-drive, four-door cars for winter driving are foul-weather champs.

In putting this list together, Bankrate weighed price, safety and overall reliability.

All-wheel-drive systems aren’t cheap. Consequently, there are only a handful of AWD cars that cost less than this list’s $35,000 price ceiling. From those, Bankrate weeded out any car that didn’t earn the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s top score of “good” in front-offset and side-impact crash tests.

Finally, each car had to post an overall score of 70 or higher out of a possible 100 in tests performed by Consumer Reports, measuring a car’s safety, reliability, maintenance costs, ride quality, performance and owner satisfaction.

In each case, the AWD is a system that operates without driver input, making its own decisions regarding when to redistribute some amount of torque from the front wheels to the rear wheels.

Every car on this list has power windows, door locks and outboard mirrors as well as air conditioning and at least six air bags.

Prices are before destination charges, and the fuel-economy numbers are Environmental Protection Agency estimates. Pick the one that best suits your taste and budget, and prepare to thumb your nose at Old Man Winter.


10 Best AWD Sedans 2015 #best #cars #2010


#awd cars
#

10 Best AWD Sedans 2015

Page 1 of 12

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.

4) 2015 Lexus IS 350 AWD

5) 2015 Infiniti Q50 3.7 AWD

10) 2015 Ford Taurus SHO

More Articles Like This

Fast AWD Cars

Best 2012 AWD Station Wagons

Best 2012 AWD Hybrids

Best 2012 AWD Luxury Cars

Fast Five: Best AWD Crossovers for 2012

Best 2012 AWD Luxury SUVs


4WD vs. AWD #car #starters


#awd cars
#

What s the difference between 4-wheel drive and all-wheel drive?

When shopping for a car, you often hear the terms “four-wheel drive” and “all-wheel drive” thrown around, frequently interchangeably.

If you aren’t a boorish car nerd like me, and kudos to you if you aren’t, you may not know that these two terms aren’t interchangeable. They actually refer to very different systems, which can produce radically different results.

So just what the heck is the difference and why should it matter to you? If you stick with me, I promise to explain it without even having to explain things like chain drive and planetary gears!

You know what? Forget I even mentioned those last two things.

Four-Wheel Drive

Lets start with the old-school version. 4WD, sometimes also referred to as Four by Four, or 4 4, is typically used on off-road vehicles or at least vehicles with off-road pretensions.

There are as many versions of 4WD as there are words in this article, so I am going to stick to the basics in explaining it.

Power goes from the transmission to what is known as a transfer case. This snarl of gears splits power between the front and rear axles so that maximum torque is going to each wheel. It was good enough to beat the Nazis, and it’s still good enough to hurl your Jeep over a big pile of rocks. Despite its heroic heritage, however, it has some problems.

When the transfer case splits power evenly, it ensures that each wheel turns at the same speed. This is deeply problematic when doing things like turning. You see, for a car to make a turn, the inside wheel has to turn more slowly than the outside wheel, which is covering more ground. If the vehicle can’t do this, the inside wheel loses traction and it spins freely. This, as you might be able to guess, isn’t great for moving forward efficiently.

There are a couple of ways that modern 4WD systems get around this. For starters, most modern 4WD systems are only on when you activate them. This can be done electronically or by using that weird secondary lever that usually sits forgotten next to your coffee cup. That way, you can use 4WD at low speed in snow or mud, but enjoy the drivability of regular two-wheel drive in normal conditions.

The other, more refined 4WD systems are activated with buttons or switches, rather than a rudimentary lever, and include multiple settings for the 4WD system. These systems usually have a 4WD ‘High’, which splits power less evenly and allows what’s called ‘limited slip’ between the inside and outside wheels. This corrects the locked, spinning inside wheel problem to a point. Typically, however, High 4WD is recommended only up to around 60 mph. Flip these into ‘Low’, and they act much the same as old, locked systems.

4WD Pros:

       Best traction in off-road conditions

       Can be turned off to improve fuel economy

       Proven, rugged technology

4WD Cons:

       Adds weight and complexity to cars

       Can’t be used in all conditions

       More expensive than two wheel drive models

All-Wheel Drive

All-Wheel Drive is a much more recent innovation, and, as you might expect, much more complicated. It appears in everything from supercars with out-of-this-world performance like the Audi R8 to family crossovers and SUVs like the Volvo XC90.

The biggest difference between 4WD and AWD is that an AWD drive system is on all the time. Well, mostly. But we’ll get to that, as there are two types of all-wheel drive: mechanical and electronic.

The most common way of accomplishing a capable, mechanical AWD system is by using three differentials. A differential is a box of gears, and engineering magic, that can take power from the transmission and split it at different levels between two wheels or the front and rear axles.

In AWD this system works to get power to the wheels with the most traction by splitting power between the front and rear axels on the center differential and the individual wheels by way of the front and rear differential.

This is useful either in slippery conditions when different wheels might be getting different amounts of grip from moment to moment. The Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG is a perfect example. It is now sold only in AWD in the United States because its power can overwhelm the traction of the rear wheels alone.

AWD isn’t quite as robust as 4WD and it can’t match the same levels of traction in extremely low-speed off-roading that the older 4WD systems provide. But AWD does have some clear advantages.

In the godfather of all AWD systems, Audi’s Quattro, all torque redistribution was done mechanically. Quattro allowed Audi to dominate rallying for nearly a decade. But heaven help you and your bank account if it went wrong. Audi should have included instructions on how to file for bankruptcy in its owner’s manual.

These days, computers are involved in most AWD systems. Sensors on each wheel monitor traction, wheel speed, and several other data points hundreds of times a second. An ECU dictates where power is sent and to which each wheel depending on which wheel has the most grip.

This type of system, usually called torque vectoring, appears on everything from the Subaru WRX to the Dodge Charger these days. Torque vectoring has allowed massive improvements in handling and inclimate weather capability.

AWD Pros:

       Provides increased grip and control under all road conditions

       Gives sportier handling and traction to a broader range of cars.

       Works all the time

AWD Cons:

       Reduces Fuel Economy

       Increases the weight and complexity of vehicles

       Not as good in extreme off-road conditions

Which Should I Get?

As the pros and cons show, your four-wheel drive system decision depends on what you need the system for. If you plan on using your vehicle off-road often, 4WD is definitely the best bet. If you’re keen on wheelin’, though, you probably already knew 4WD was your only option. For most people, however, AWD makes more sense.

In the sort of winter road conditions that most drivers experience, it’s nice to have a drivetrain, like a modern AWD system, that responds instantly without the driver having to toggle any switches. In addition, most vehicles featuring AWD tend to have better weight distribution, which also aids in traction.

The reality is that for many drivers, you don’t need either. If you live in an area that doesn’t get real wintery weather, you probably would only notice the difference a couple of times a year, unless of course you drive like a lunatic. In that case, Mr. AMG, you’ll definitely need some AWD traction.

Update 1-15-2015 by Brandon Widder : This article has been updated since it was originally published to reflect recent car models and technology.


10 Best AWD Sedans 2015 #car #insurance #comparison


#awd cars
#

10 Best AWD Sedans 2015

Page 1 of 12

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.

4) 2015 Lexus IS 350 AWD

5) 2015 Infiniti Q50 3.7 AWD

10) 2015 Ford Taurus SHO

More Articles Like This

Fast AWD Cars

Best 2012 AWD Station Wagons

Best 2012 AWD Hybrids

Best 2012 AWD Luxury Cars

Fast Five: Best AWD Crossovers for 2012

Best 2012 AWD Luxury SUVs


All Wheel Drive Report; A Buyers Guide to New AWD Cars #japanese #cars


#awd cars
#

Introduction: AWD Report is set up for the consumer who is unsure about his next vehicle purchase, outside of the fact that it should be equipped with All Wheel Drive. For that reason, I have overlapped the price point categories, so that vehicles at the extreme range of 1 category may be compared with vehicles in the next higher or lower price range as well. This will give you a truer representation of each vehicle’s competition, and provide the widest range of possibilities. Maybe you thought only a crossover was available, but the price range pages may show you a sharp station wagon that would be just the ticket.

I don’t know who you are, but I know some of you are using CarsDirect to research and purchase your AWD vehicles. I can’t afford to do this forever, and your support of the site through the use of my CarsDirect links helps offset some of my hosting expenses.

Contact Us: It’s real easy. Click here to E-mail The Boss

All the opinions you see here are just that; my opinion. Others will have equally valid opinions. But, as someone who has spent the better part of the last 30 years around the auto aftermarket, I hope you find my opinions valuable. Let me know what you think, and how I can improve the site for your use. After all, this site is about what YOU need; not what I want.

Thanks for visiting!

Jim

WARNING: The EPA is willing to risk the destruction of your car’s engine so that we can use even more corn for fuel! In a year chock full of inanities, this one takes the cake.

BACKGROUND: If you didn’t know, the BUSH administration decided it was a good idea to try and use

domestic agriculture to generate alcohol that could be mixed with gasoline, and thereby reduce the amount of petroleum needed to run our cars. Sounds great right? What could possibly go wrong? Well, I’ll tell ya.

UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCE #1: POLITICIANS chose corn instead of sugar beets to be the basis for the fuel, called E-10, to denote that it is 10% Ethanol. Then they subsidized the growth of corn for E-10. So all the farmers now grow corn for E-10. And there is a shortage of corn for livestock feed (can you say corn-fed beef ? Not anymore!) and high fructose corn syrup, and lots of other corn based products.

UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCE #2: Engines and fuel delivery systems were not designed for both Ethanol and gasoline. All the fuel delivery systems had to be re-engineered and computerized engine controls all needed to be adjusted for this new fuel. Remember, this federal fuel is in addition to all the absurd STATE mandated fuels, which cause shortages when the refineries have to switch over from summer fuels to winter fuels and then back again, after the lawyers check the chemistry requirements put in place by more politicians.

EPA STRIKES AGAIN. Now, the tree huggers have decided that E-10 wasn’t good enough! They now are unleashing E-15 on us! Guess what? If your motor (car, truck, SUV, Boat, aircraft, tractor, mower. ) was not built with that fuel in mind, you could easily destroy it or your exhaust system just by putting the wrong fuel grade in it. How do you feel about a $4,000 repair bill to prevent global warming as we enter a new ice age?

Update 1: One site visitor has written to tell me I’m ignorant and need to educate myself before spouting off about the EPA and Global Warming. So this link is for all those who feel that way, and I will not answer any more email on that topic. Economic implications of global warming debate

Update 2. Julia Seymore, writing for Business and Media Institute . wrote this: . “Ethanol burns hotter than gasoline, causing catalytic converters, which help clean engine emissions, to break down faster.” Consumer Reports has said that fuel economy drops for cars running on ethanol and Popular Mechanics has detailed the problems of gasohol (gasoline/ethanol mixtures like E10 or E15) for cars’ fuel systems . In 2008, the Business Media Institute analyzed network coverage of ethanol and found that more than 82 percent of the coverage that connected ethanol to rising food prices neglected to mention the government’s role in creating the problem.

Natural Gas for OTR trucks, massive development of our own petroleum resources and coal for electricity are the answer. During that development, we can afford to wait for battery technology to mature and perhaps find a way to make fuel cell technology cost effective. Windmills and solar will never be more than niche solutions, serving areas currently off the grid.

I feel much better now. )


Best Sedans 2015 – Editor s Choice for Best Luxury, Mid-size, and AWD Sedans – Car and Driver #used #car #search #engine


#luxury cars
#

Full-Size Luxury

Performance Sedans

    Chevrolet SS One to Watch:

Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

Sports Sedans

Mercedes-AMG C63

Premium Sports Sedans

    Audi S6 Mercedes-Benz

4WD vs. AWD #buying #a #new #car


#awd cars
#

What s the difference between 4-wheel drive and all-wheel drive?

When shopping for a car, you often hear the terms “four-wheel drive” and “all-wheel drive” thrown around, frequently interchangeably.

If you aren’t a boorish car nerd like me, and kudos to you if you aren’t, you may not know that these two terms aren’t interchangeable. They actually refer to very different systems, which can produce radically different results.

So just what the heck is the difference and why should it matter to you? If you stick with me, I promise to explain it without even having to explain things like chain drive and planetary gears!

You know what? Forget I even mentioned those last two things.

Four-Wheel Drive

Lets start with the old-school version. 4WD, sometimes also referred to as Four by Four, or 4 4, is typically used on off-road vehicles or at least vehicles with off-road pretensions.

There are as many versions of 4WD as there are words in this article, so I am going to stick to the basics in explaining it.

Power goes from the transmission to what is known as a transfer case. This snarl of gears splits power between the front and rear axles so that maximum torque is going to each wheel. It was good enough to beat the Nazis, and it’s still good enough to hurl your Jeep over a big pile of rocks. Despite its heroic heritage, however, it has some problems.

When the transfer case splits power evenly, it ensures that each wheel turns at the same speed. This is deeply problematic when doing things like turning. You see, for a car to make a turn, the inside wheel has to turn more slowly than the outside wheel, which is covering more ground. If the vehicle can’t do this, the inside wheel loses traction and it spins freely. This, as you might be able to guess, isn’t great for moving forward efficiently.

There are a couple of ways that modern 4WD systems get around this. For starters, most modern 4WD systems are only on when you activate them. This can be done electronically or by using that weird secondary lever that usually sits forgotten next to your coffee cup. That way, you can use 4WD at low speed in snow or mud, but enjoy the drivability of regular two-wheel drive in normal conditions.

The other, more refined 4WD systems are activated with buttons or switches, rather than a rudimentary lever, and include multiple settings for the 4WD system. These systems usually have a 4WD ‘High’, which splits power less evenly and allows what’s called ‘limited slip’ between the inside and outside wheels. This corrects the locked, spinning inside wheel problem to a point. Typically, however, High 4WD is recommended only up to around 60 mph. Flip these into ‘Low’, and they act much the same as old, locked systems.

4WD Pros:

       Best traction in off-road conditions

       Can be turned off to improve fuel economy

       Proven, rugged technology

4WD Cons:

       Adds weight and complexity to cars

       Can’t be used in all conditions

       More expensive than two wheel drive models

All-Wheel Drive

All-Wheel Drive is a much more recent innovation, and, as you might expect, much more complicated. It appears in everything from supercars with out-of-this-world performance like the Audi R8 to family crossovers and SUVs like the Volvo XC90.

The biggest difference between 4WD and AWD is that an AWD drive system is on all the time. Well, mostly. But we’ll get to that, as there are two types of all-wheel drive: mechanical and electronic.

The most common way of accomplishing a capable, mechanical AWD system is by using three differentials. A differential is a box of gears, and engineering magic, that can take power from the transmission and split it at different levels between two wheels or the front and rear axles.

In AWD this system works to get power to the wheels with the most traction by splitting power between the front and rear axels on the center differential and the individual wheels by way of the front and rear differential.

This is useful either in slippery conditions when different wheels might be getting different amounts of grip from moment to moment. The Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG is a perfect example. It is now sold only in AWD in the United States because its power can overwhelm the traction of the rear wheels alone.

AWD isn’t quite as robust as 4WD and it can’t match the same levels of traction in extremely low-speed off-roading that the older 4WD systems provide. But AWD does have some clear advantages.

In the godfather of all AWD systems, Audi’s Quattro, all torque redistribution was done mechanically. Quattro allowed Audi to dominate rallying for nearly a decade. But heaven help you and your bank account if it went wrong. Audi should have included instructions on how to file for bankruptcy in its owner’s manual.

These days, computers are involved in most AWD systems. Sensors on each wheel monitor traction, wheel speed, and several other data points hundreds of times a second. An ECU dictates where power is sent and to which each wheel depending on which wheel has the most grip.

This type of system, usually called torque vectoring, appears on everything from the Subaru WRX to the Dodge Charger these days. Torque vectoring has allowed massive improvements in handling and inclimate weather capability.

AWD Pros:

       Provides increased grip and control under all road conditions

       Gives sportier handling and traction to a broader range of cars.

       Works all the time

AWD Cons:

       Reduces Fuel Economy

       Increases the weight and complexity of vehicles

       Not as good in extreme off-road conditions

Which Should I Get?

As the pros and cons show, your four-wheel drive system decision depends on what you need the system for. If you plan on using your vehicle off-road often, 4WD is definitely the best bet. If you’re keen on wheelin’, though, you probably already knew 4WD was your only option. For most people, however, AWD makes more sense.

In the sort of winter road conditions that most drivers experience, it’s nice to have a drivetrain, like a modern AWD system, that responds instantly without the driver having to toggle any switches. In addition, most vehicles featuring AWD tend to have better weight distribution, which also aids in traction.

The reality is that for many drivers, you don’t need either. If you live in an area that doesn’t get real wintery weather, you probably would only notice the difference a couple of times a year, unless of course you drive like a lunatic. In that case, Mr. AMG, you’ll definitely need some AWD traction.

Update 1-15-2015 by Brandon Widder : This article has been updated since it was originally published to reflect recent car models and technology.