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Old 12-04-2009, 05:59 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by TooFrugal View Post
I don't know the difference between 4 wheel or all wheel drive.
Part-time 4WD: No centre differential. Cannot be used on dry/wet, semi-slippery roads due to the lack of the centre differential. When activated, both front and rear axles are physically locked to each other and have to spin at the same rate. This becomes a problem when turning on sufficiently high friction surfaces. Examples: Suzuki SUVs, most 4WD pickup trucks, cheaper SUVs.
Permanent 4WD:. No two wheel drive mode. System is equipped with a centre differential, and hence is safe to use on all surfaces. All four wheels are powered all of the time (usually 50/50 front and rear axles). This is arguably the best system since the torque split ratio does not change and is the most predictable. All wheels "help out" all of the time and this stabilises the vehicle + improves handling. With the extra two drive wheels, the vehicle has twice the amount of traction all of the time (even in no-slip conditions) vs. a 2WD vehicle. Examples: MB M-class SUV, the Range/Land Rovers.
Full-time 4WD: Basically permanent 4WD but with a 2WD mode. This was born out of customer demand (for a 2WD mode). Examples: Toyota Sequoia, Mitsubishi Montero.
Permanent AWD: Basically permanent 4WD but without low range gearing. Examples include the Audi Quattro AWD system, the MB's 4-matic AWD system, Subaru's manual transmission AWD system.
Full-time AWD: System is active at all times, however in most cases, the one set of wheels (usually the rears) only receive 5-10% of the engine's power unless slippage occurs. At that point, power is progressively transfered to the opposite axle to help out. Some systems can transfer power to the rear upon acceleration to improve traction. However, they revert to 2WD mode when coasting.
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Old 12-04-2009, 06:33 AM   #22
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When we quit in 1.5 years we are looking at either one decent sized SUV vehicle (like the Honda) or getting a smaller good gas mileage car like the Fit (or similar) and then adding as small a pickup as we can find to use for hauling yard stuff/bikes etc. Now.....maybe not exactly the safest vehicle....but if they ever start making small cheap pickups again I will be all over them in a heart beat. My old Datsun/Nissan pickups from the 70's got 30mpg even back then on the highway.
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Old 12-04-2009, 07:11 AM   #23
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Part-time 4WD: No centre differential. Cannot be used on dry/wet, semi-slippery roads due to the lack of the centre differential. When activated, both front and rear axles are physically locked to each other and have to spin at the same rate. This becomes a problem when turning on sufficiently high friction surfaces. Examples: Suzuki SUVs, most 4WD pickup trucks, cheaper SUVs.
Are you sure about this? It says the 4wd feature can't be used on semi-slippery surfaces or high friction surfaces, that seems contradictory.
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Old 12-04-2009, 11:19 AM   #24
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We have an Acura MDX that isn't the mileage winner but handles nicely and I believe like all the Acuras is extremely safe (at least Acura says so in their ads ). Son in law has an Excalade that I find very, very difficult to drive and it is expensive to maintain.
An MDX is a fine vehicle.....and it has Honda reliability........
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Old 12-04-2009, 07:09 PM   #25
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the part-time 4wd is like my Jeep has. You don't run it in 4wd on non-slippery surfaces or you wreck it. So you need snow or dirt roads or ice to run it in 4wd. Makes it kind of difficult to use if you often times have mixed road conditions. But put it in 4wd and it'll pretty much crawl anywhere.

On the clearance, if you really need high clearance for off-road travel, you might need to start looking at vehicles like jeeps or land rovers, etc. Cars with 4wd are not designed to go off-road in any difficult terrain.
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Old 12-04-2009, 07:16 PM   #26
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Are you sure about this? It says the 4wd feature can't be used on semi-slippery surfaces or high friction surfaces, that seems contradictory.
I got the info from post #21 from wiki.answers

I can't say for sure that it's true.
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