SUPER HANDLING ALL-WHEEL DRIVE (SH-AWD) TRACTION TEST

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Here’s a test I set up while working for Acura’s agency to show how Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) can get a vehicle moving in difficult situations. This test also demonstrates how all-wheel drive systems are not all the same.

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THIS VS. THAT: TORQUE-VECTORING SYSTEMS

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In this edition of THIS VS. THAT, we’ll cover active torque-vectoring systems — specifically brake-based systems vs. active differentials. What’s torque vectoring, you ask? Torque vectoring usually refers to the ability to actively control how an engine’s power is distributed between a vehicle’s wheels (typically between two wheels on the same axle), in order to help improve vehicle performance in corners.

But how torque is vectored makes a big difference, and it’s the reason why we’re covering this topic. Also, I find that people sometimes aren’t sure which type their car has (as evidenced by some of my car enthusiast friends). In fact, I hear stuff like this all the time: “Oh, my car totally has that torque-vectoring differential thingy. Yeah, it vectors the sh#t out of my car in corners,” to which I once replied, “Really? Because the last time I checked your Scion xA didn’t have it.” Then I ducked to avoid getting punched. In the interest of providing full disclosure, the Scion xA does have a traction control system that vectors torque (passively), but not the way we’re referring to here (actively). [Read more…]

TURBOCHARGERS: THEORY VS. REALITY

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ALL CHARGED UP

It seems that just about every car manufacturer is jumping on the turbocharging bandwagon these days. Even Honda — which has typically resisted turbocharging — is launching its first turbocharged Civic for the 2016 model year.

And why not? Turbocharged engines have been touted as being the Holy Grail of power and efficiency. We constantly hear car companies promising that their turbocharged 4-cylinder engines can provide the power of a V-6 — while still delivering the fuel efficiency of a 4-cylinder.

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