The Benefits of All-Wheel Drive

2013 Subaru Outback AWD

If you have driven an All-Wheel Drive car you know the benefits and why you should drive one. If not, it usually doesn’t take much convincing.

To understand why all-wheel drive is handy it is important to first know how it works.

Unlike four-wheel drive, which locks all the wheels together and powers them in unison, all-wheel-drive acts as a front-wheel drive for most of the time. That is until there is a loss of traction, and some of the power is put into the rear axle. This allows the car to regain traction and not lose control.

Of course there are differences in some manufacturers’ all-wheel drive systems, such as Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive. The Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive sends power to all of the wheels simultaneously for maximum traction. In slippery conditions, that power instinctively flows to the wheel with the best traction, ensuring optimum stability and control.

Subaru's Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive.

Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive.

Ford’s Intelligent All-Wheel Drive uses a sophisticated package of electronics that monitor wheel spin and slip. Like a typical all-wheel drive system, if a loss of traction is detected power will be sent to the other axle, or even a single wheel.

What makes Ford’s system stand out is how quickly it can detect slippage. Their Intelligent All-Wheel Drive samples data approximately 60 times per second, using information from 25 individual sensors measuring speed, lateral acceleration, steering wheel position, and throttle input. These sensors determine whether it should cut the throttle and/or apply the brakes.

Ford also offers their Terrain Management System, a rotary switch on the console that allows the driver to choose from four modes: Normal, Sand, Mud/Rut, and Snow. This allows for different wheel spin amounts depending on your terrain selection.

Mike Murphy, Ford’s Global Small Car Marketing Manager, said:

“All-wheel-drive gives our customers confidence and the ability to be secure when driving”

The benefits of all-wheel drive can be the difference between getting home or being stranded in a ditch. Living in Ohio, we know what it’s like to drive on slick roads, but when we hop into an all-wheel drive car we feel much more confident about our trip.

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