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Go Back   REVscene Automotive Forum > Technical Discussion > Maintenance, Engine & Driveline Tech

Maintenance, Engine & Driveline Tech This forum is brought to you by The Speed Syndicate (TSS) in Burnaby.
Discussion of maintaining your engine, transmission, differentails, rear ends, and mods associated with "driveline" parts..

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Old 11-07-2010, 07:25 PM   #1
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Best AWD System

I'm looking to buy a new car and with Vancouver weather have decided that I want an AWD car. Whether that is overkill remains to be seen, but I hate the feeling of slippage in my current FWD when I come to a stop on a steep hill in the rain (haven't driven it in snow yet!).

So, I'm looking for a small AWD sedan: a 2005-2008 Subaru Impreza tops the list so far, but I have yet to find any definitive information about the different AWD systems. I want a proactive as opposed to reactive system.

I have read that Quattro and Subaru AWD systems are the best out there, while Honda's SH-AWD takes second place. I don't want an Audi if I can avoid it as all the A4 Quattros I can afford (around 2001) have terrible reliability ratings.

Does anyone know definitively which manufacturer offers the best AWD system in a reasonably priced, relatively compact sedan?
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Old 11-07-2010, 07:28 PM   #2
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if you're ballin' there's lancer evo's as well :P although i don't know whats the best awd system but if you're just looking for a cheapwinter beater, there's also eclipse/talons too :P
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Old 11-07-2010, 07:40 PM   #3
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DONT FORGET! TIRES are just as important!
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Old 11-07-2010, 07:43 PM   #4
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but I hate the feeling of slippage in my current FWD when I come to a stop on a steep hill in the rain (haven't driven it in snow yet!).
which wheels are powered doesnt matter when coming to a stop, they are all the same. get decent tires and keep your distance.
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Old 11-07-2010, 10:58 PM   #5
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which wheels are powered doesnt matter when coming to a stop, they are all the same. get decent tires and keep your distance.
Sorry that was badly phrased. The stopping is fine, but the starting after a complete stop usually results in tire spin, even if I'm extra careful.
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Old 11-08-2010, 12:18 AM   #6
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Honestly, it's hard to pick the "best" AWD system. Each system is different and some may favour one over others due to his own preferences. I would suggest getting better tires than hunting for the "best" AWD system.
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Old 11-08-2010, 12:26 AM   #7
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+1000

Proper high quality winter tires on a FWD econobox will absolutely pwn an AWD vehicle running on summer or mild all seasons.

With that said, you will need to make sure when you are searching for input that you are clear that for you, the "best" AWD system is the safest and most neutral system, not the ideal performance AWD system which by very definition will behave differently.

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Old 11-08-2010, 01:26 AM   #8
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DONT FORGET! TIRES are just as important!
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Old 11-08-2010, 11:21 AM   #9
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Tires first learning how to drive in adverse conditions second and AWD third.
AWD isn't the end all and be all but proper vehicle setup and driving is.
Aside from that little rant subbies are my fav even old ones.
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Old 11-08-2010, 11:38 AM   #10
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How does the mitsubishi AWD system compare with the Subaru and Quattro?
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Old 11-08-2010, 03:17 PM   #11
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if you're ballin' there's lancer evo's as well :P although i don't know whats the best awd system but if you're just looking for a cheapwinter beater, there's also eclipse/talons too :P
No, unfortunately any current-ish Evo's are out of my price range I'd LOVE a WRX STI, or an Evo.

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+1000

Proper high quality winter tires on a FWD econobox will absolutely pwn an AWD vehicle running on summer or mild all seasons.

With that said, you will need to make sure when you are searching for input that you are clear that for you, the "best" AWD system is the safest and most neutral system, not the ideal performance AWD system which by very definition will behave differently.

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Honestly, it's hard to pick the "best" AWD system. Each system is different and some may favour one over others due to his own preferences. I would suggest getting better tires than hunting for the "best" AWD system.
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DONT FORGET! TIRES are just as important!
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Tires first learning how to drive in adverse conditions second and AWD third.
AWD isn't the end all and be all but proper vehicle setup and driving is.
Aside from that little rant subbies are my fav even old ones.
So, with good tires, should there be any slipping at all in a FWD vehicle when starting from a full stop on a steep hill in the rain/snow/whatever?
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Old 11-08-2010, 03:27 PM   #12
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If you are into performance AWD systems, you cannot beat the new torque vectoring systems from Acura, BMW, & Audi....light yrs ahead of the old systems from an understeeer perspective.
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Old 11-08-2010, 06:15 PM   #13
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So, with good tires, should there be any slipping at all in a FWD vehicle when starting from a full stop on a steep hill in the rain/snow/whatever?


You're not going to eliminate it but you will minimize it to a significant degree.
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Old 11-08-2010, 06:29 PM   #14
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So, with good tires, should there be any slipping at all in a FWD vehicle when starting from a full stop on a steep hill in the rain/snow/whatever?
If you experience slipping, ease off on the throttle. Unless you're on ice, decent snow tires should keep you safe enough given that you don't drive like a c-lai.
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Old 11-09-2010, 12:06 AM   #15
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in general the more modern the AWD system the better it is. eg most current AWD uses electronic actuators / clutch system instead of hydraulic. It responds better.

Nearly all manufacturers pick their system from the large OEM like Bosch. However Subaru has been having budget constraints so they are falling behind.

Your question should be which AWD fits your budget.

Remember AWD gets you to go. You still have to have Winter tires to stop.
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Old 11-09-2010, 11:58 AM   #16
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No, unfortunately any current-ish Evo's are out of my price range I'd LOVE a WRX STI, or an Evo.









So, with good tires, should there be any slipping at all in a FWD vehicle when starting from a full stop on a steep hill in the rain/snow/whatever?
At this point you learn good driving practices for inclement weather conditions. Even an AWD car will slip when starting from a full stop on a hill. AWD doesnt mean you have the grip of an octopus.
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Old 11-10-2010, 04:37 PM   #17
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I believe Audi and Subie AWD systems are RWD based, this means theres more power to the rears then the front, but with tech these days the power shits from each wheel. Mitsubishi on the other hand is FWD base and on dry road tests have proven better then Subies. Winter tires are epic, they're made for colder weather thus stick to the ground better. Its not your car its your tires. Don't waste your money on something you don't need (unless your like me and love Sedan AWD vehciles ).
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Old 11-10-2010, 10:49 PM   #18
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The Nissan Juke is the best bang for the buck for AWD. If you can put up with the ugliness look up some videos of it demonstrated.
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Old 11-10-2010, 10:50 PM   #19
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get the evo and smile all the way
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Old 11-11-2010, 02:32 AM   #20
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get the evo and smile all the way
lol without proper tires the OP wouldn't be smiling when he understeers his way into a pole or something.
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Old 11-11-2010, 01:38 PM   #21
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get the evo and smile all the way
Wish it was in the budget.

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The Nissan Juke is the best bang for the buck for AWD. If you can put up with the ugliness look up some videos of it demonstrated.
That does look very cool, thanks!

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I believe Audi and Subie AWD systems are RWD based, this means theres more power to the rears then the front, but with tech these days the power shits from each wheel. Mitsubishi on the other hand is FWD base and on dry road tests have proven better then Subies. Winter tires are epic, they're made for colder weather thus stick to the ground better. Its not your car its your tires. Don't waste your money on something you don't need (unless your like me and love Sedan AWD vehciles ).
Yes I do love AWD vehicles that are not trucks So far I'm still thinking a Subaru Impreza. I don't really like the look of vehicles like the Suzuku SX4 (seeing as it has an AWD variant)... There's something about the high back that I take offense to, or maybe it is the "bubble" look.
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Old 11-12-2010, 02:40 AM   #22
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No they are not RWD based. In fact Audi always have the problem with too much weigh up front because their engines are way over the axles..

One cannot look at the merit of the AWD system alone, you really need to consider other factors like budget etc eg if you look at typical FWD transverse based AWD eg Volvo, VW, Honda.. their turning radius are huge.

Again you have to look at several factors... How many cylinders you want (I won't get a transverse V6 AWD just because of turning radius and it is a bitch to access the rear of the engine)., how much you want to spend on the car (If you are just going to spend sub 30k the argument about cylinders will be moot).

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I believe Audi and Subie AWD systems are RWD based, this means theres more power to the rears then the front, but with tech these days the power shits from each wheel. Mitsubishi on the other hand is FWD base and on dry road tests have proven better then Subies. Winter tires are epic, they're made for colder weather thus stick to the ground better. Its not your car its your tires. Don't waste your money on something you don't need (unless your like me and love Sedan AWD vehciles ).
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Old 11-12-2010, 11:47 PM   #23
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i know everyone said get tires more than once but i agree with them. i did some crazy Northern BC driving for several winters back and forth. i have a FWD and i invested in winter tires on steelies for over a grand and they perform very well. This does not mean u can forget about braking distance, inertia, tire slippage, smooth throttle response, blah blah blah, you still have to factor in safe driving and you'll get virtually anywhere a Subaru will. Maybe not with the WOW factor of owning a subaru like an STI. I have not regretted investing into tires.
price out tires, but u pay for what you get unless u know ppl who can hook u up. The higher the quality typically means longer lasting and better traction.

hope you find what you are looking for.
BTW, start looking last week, because when its that time of the season for when u need them RIGHT NOW, they'll be on back order from Quebec hahahahah.
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Old 11-13-2010, 03:16 PM   #24
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The from 08, the A/S 4/5 series have quattro with sports differential. Basically a hydraulic based differential in the rear end. They finally realized that rear bias makes a car more fun to drive.

The imprezzas in the OPs post are all symmetrical AWD... which is typical Subaru fare. Unless of course its a WRX or STi.

OP - Winter tires will make more of a difference than AWD will in most situations. Braking not on of them. AWD is only active when you have drive going to the wheels, under braking ABS and your cars ESP program will try to help you (if you have it). But if you don't have grip, nothing can save you from a fiery death.
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Old 11-13-2010, 10:55 PM   #25
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I believe Audi and Subie AWD systems are RWD based, this means theres more power to the rears then the front, but with tech these days the power shits from each wheel. Mitsubishi on the other hand is FWD base and on dry road tests have proven better then Subies. Winter tires are epic, they're made for colder weather thus stick to the ground better. Its not your car its your tires. Don't waste your money on something you don't need (unless your like me and love Sedan AWD vehciles ).
Audi is FWD base. subie and mitsu can be change by a button. BMW is RWD base if on a xi model.
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