Although in the recent months sport utility vehicles have lost some of their popularity, the added traction has not and people still want to get 4WD / AWD cars. The reason for this is because there aren’t any substitutes for the added capability to access remote campsites or drive in unimproved roads, especially when the weather is not very good. When looking out for the best all wheel drive car to buy in a certain price target, customers can get confused by many of the systems available, like the symmetrical all-wheel drive or the Selec-Trac II Full-Time Four-Wheel Drive.
To start searching properly, a customer must learn first and foremost about the difference between AWD (all wheel drive) and 4WD (four wheel drive). In the beginning days, differentiating these two was a piece of cake: the first one permitted the driver to shift in and out and the system was primarily available on trucks. However, things have changed since then and today’s sport utility vehicles (SUV) have in essence an AWD system although manufacturers label these cars as 4WD OEM Replacement Lights.
Many say that customers should forget about this label given by automakers and think about the definition of the AWD: it is a system that requires no driver interaction in order to send power to all of the four wheels of the car; has no four-wheel-drive “low” setting and it was designed especially for on-road purposes. On the other hand, the 4WD is a system that features a four-wheel-drive “low” setting which aids off-road use in specific ways. The “low” setting is simply put another set of gears that multiply the torque of the engine even further in order to aid in sever low-traction situations. For true off-roading, such a “low” system is highly recommended.
People should also know about the part-time systems which are less sophisticated and only a few of the 4WD cars have them. Due to the fact that it needs to be shifted in and out of 4WD drive, it is as a consequence not an AWD system. The reason for the “part time” name is because the driver can use only use it part of the time, namely on the road or the trail that is loose or slippery. The system cannot be used in dry pavement everyday driving.
This part-time system is capable of making a very solid connection between the car’s wheels on the front and rear axles. However, the wheels of the vehicle need to turn at different speeds when the car is going around corners – the outside wheels will travel farther in comparison to the inside wheels. The system has no allowance for that which means that the car’s wheels need to “slip” in order to prevent potential damage to the tires and driveline. The part-time 4WD should not be engaged on dry pavement unless the driver will use the car in straight lines.
In order to pick out the best all wheel drive car to buy, the customer must know about the automatic full-time or on-demand systems. The first one is at the moment the most popular among buyers as it provides the comfortable “set-it-and-forget-it” convenience in all the possible road conditions. Going to this point is what makes the difference between full-time and on-demand. The latter operates primarily in a 2WD mode (either RWD or FWD) until more traction is required. Todays on-demand and full-time systems have the capabilities to transfer the power between the rear and front wheels as the traction needs dictate. Figuring out which one is the best should come to the latitude of the end buyer which means that it is recommended to test drive the cars under slippery conditions in order to figure out which one works best. There are some experts who affirm that the full-time system is better as it is capable of responding quicker to the changing conditions.
When you think that you have found the car that meets your requirements, you need to be certain that you know what kind of system it uses as once you buy it, there is no way coming back. The marketing techniques promoted by the automakers make it very difficult for the customers to get a clear picture of the operational details of the system. For this reason, it is recommended to go to the automaker’s website and look for those keywords that describe the system operation. Remember not to get distracted by the marketing-speak and try to focus on the operational details of the system.
A good example of a best all wheel drive car to buy would be Subaru Impreza. The company’s proprietary AWD system is highly praised among automotive experts and the system has been developed and updated for a long period of time, bringing it closer to perfection with each new generation of the Impreza. If you are looking for serious off-road capabilities, it is highly recommended to get a car with a four-wheel drive system, like most of the SUVs have today as only these are truly capable of handling such rough terrains.
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